Most sports fans know Pebble Beach as one of the greatest golf courses in the world. But did you know that you can drive around this area south of Monterrey, California? This gorgeous slice of beach is home to famous folks like John Steinbeck, Clint Eastwood, Ansel Adams, and Doris Day, all of whom lived in the area. The 17 mile drive around Pebble Beach costs a little over $10 and allows you to see some of Pebble Beach’s amazing scenery.
You can start the drive at any of Pebble Beach’s entry points. The road runs seventeen miles, and a red stripe between the yellow lines will keep you on the route. It is also rife with signs to guide the way. As you travel the seventeen miles, you’ll pass seventeen points of interest, most of which allow you to get out and stretch your feet. Plan to spend an hour or two to fully explore this area. We’ll talk about our favorite points of interest below.
We began at the Carmel entrance, which we recommend because it gets the boring stops out of the way first.
Stop 17: Ford Meadow
This is the first stop after you enter in from the Carmel Gate, so we are going to list it first since it is the order we visited the 17 mile scenic drive. This meadow honors Robert F. Ford, a generous donor to the Del Monte Conversancy.
Stop 1: Shepherd’s Knoll
If you enter from the Hwy 1 gate, you will find stop 1 first. This is the other place we recommend entering the drive. This stop is mostly a grassy field and trees with an obscured view of Monterey Bay. We didn’t stop for long.
Stop 2: Huckleberry Hill
We also didn’t really stop here, we just drove by. This is a place filled with trees, and the huckleberry fields were said to have been visited by John Steinbeck.
Stop 3: Spanish Bay Beach
This was one of the best stops along the drive. The beach is rocky, but beautiful. There are picnic tables and gorgeous views. This area has a large parking lot.
Stop 4: Restless Sea
The restless sea was the most interesting stop on the 17 mile drive. This section of coast has waves coming in from two different directions, and they collide spectacularly. The sea roils and foams, and it looks like a whitewater river. The sea is angry in this whole area, but the restless sea is really inspiring.
Stop 5: Point Joe
Point Joe is very close to the Restless Sea, so it is another great stop to enjoy the churning water of the ocean.
Stop 6: China Rock
This stop is a rocky spot along the ocean where Chinese fishermen spent time on the beach.
Stop 7: Bird Rock/Island
Bird Island is a large island just off the coast. It is close enough that you can see cormorants and sea lions resting on the rocks. With the golf course at your back and the island in front of you, this was our favorite stop.
Stop 8: Seal Rock
We also enjoyed Seal Beach. We walked out on the sand with the ocean crashing all about us. There were a few tide pools, and the oyster catchers were running in the surf. We spent the most time in this area, feeling the wind on our faces and smelling the salt in the air.
Stop 9: Fanshell Beach
Fanshell Beach was closed because it is a pupping area for Harbor Seals. There were large fences, so you couldn’t even see over onto the beach.
Stop 10: Cypress Point Lookout
This spot is just a lookout over the ocean, and if you are there at sunset it is the perfect spot to enjoy the evening.
Stop 11: Crocker Grove
This grove of trees are the oldest Cypress trees in Monterey.
Stop 12: Lone Cypress Tree
The lone cypress is the most iconic stop on the route. This stop features a single tree clinging to the rock, which it has done for hundreds of years. This cypress is the symbol used on the Pebble Beach logo, which you may have seen on the Golf Channel.
Stop 13: Ghost Trees
These sun-bleached trees along the beach are called ghost trees because they are white.
Stop 14: Visitor Center
The Visitor Center was closed when we drove by or we would have stopped to learn more about Pebble Beach, the golf course, and the area.
Stop 15: Pebble Beach Golf Links
If you want to take a look at one of the most famous golf courses, make sure to stop here and walk around the first hole and driving range.
Stop 16: Pebble Beach Equestrian Center
You can take a guided horseback ride along the 17 mile drive and Pebble Beach.
This map will give you an idea where all of the stops are along the 17 mile drive. And if you’d like more detailed information about each of the stops check out this post put together by Pebble Beach.
We enjoyed the 17 mile drive at Pebble Beach. It is an inspiring place, and a great way to see the ocean at its most spectacular.