Exploring California – What I Love about the 17 Mile Drive
The 17 Mile Drive through Pebble Beach is one of my most favorite places in California for its beauty is one of a kind. It is located approximately 1 hr 20 mins southwest of the city of San Jose, the capital of Silicon Valley and home to a multitude of high-tech companies like Cisco and eBay.
I prefer to start my tour from the Pacific Grove gate vs the Carmel gate because I usually time it so that after stopping by the breathtaking spots, it is either lunch or dinner time when I reach Carmel. Carmel, or Carmel-by-the-Sea as it is formally called, offers a lot of dining options and it is also a great place to walk around. A word of caution- Carmel can get pretty crowded on the weekends especially in the afternoon which makes finding a parking spot somewhat difficult. However, it is very much worth the visit.
There is a $10 entrance fee per vehicle at the gate in order to enter the community of Pebble Beach. As we continued our drive, we passed by a couple of vast green golf courses that stretch out and provide a lovely contrast against the blue backdrop of the ocean. These famous golf courses have hosted many tournaments, including the 2000 U.S. Open wherein Tiger Woods won.
There are scenic stops along the way, each one looks amazing in photos with very little editing effort. This was our first stop – Spanish Bay.
This is a great spot to have a picnic, so make sure to bring a delicious basket of treats. Just in case, come prepared with a warm coat or blanket, and a hot cup chocolate or latte as it may be chilly the day you visit.
Our next stop was Fanshell Beach. The view from here is mesmerizing as well.
I especially love this one because of the white sand and its shape. The sand area is close to human traffic in the months of April and May as it is populated by harbor seals, but you can still take photos from above.
As we continue our drive, we reach the Lone Cypress. This tree is perched front and center on top of rugged, granite headlands. It has withstood Pacific Storms and winds for roughly 250 years! It is now held and protected by fences and cables in hopes that it will live until 300 years. I definitely have much respect for it and I’m rooting (no pun intended) for it to be around longer than 300.
Along the 17 mile drive, you will also pass by several homes and mansions that are photo-worthy.
Finally, as our drive came to a close, we exited the gate to Carmel-by-the-Sea (or Carmel for short). This very charming town had the great Clint Eastwood as its mayor from 1986 to 1988. We stopped by a local restaurant for some tapas and wine.
I also checked out a chocolate candy shop.
I have visited the 17 Mile Drive at least four times but I continue to revel at how picturesque this stretch is along the coast. There are inns and hotels here to stay at so I may return again this summer! Have you been here? What was your favorite part about it? Let me know. I’d love to hear.