Gaze at dazzling mansions and barking sea lions along 17-Mile Drive, a privately owned stretch of road that winds between Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach. This exclusive seafront drive hugs the wild, craggy coastline, passing great cypress trees, rocky coves, sandy beaches and undulating golf courses.
Relax at the beautiful sandy beach of Spanish Bay. Bring a picnic and laze on the beach or splurge on a meal at the upmarket Lodge at Pebble Beach. Afterward, walk off your lunch with a long stroll along the boardwalk, which traverses the rugged coastline and rolling sand dunes. Or, rent a bicycle and pedal along the coastline breathing in the salty sea air and enjoying the far-reaching views. For something more laid-back, join the throngs of spectators who come to admire the skills of the surfers riding the waves.
It’s not just watersports fans who appreciate the waters here. Many visitors come to see the humpback whales, which often pass by in great numbers. Look for their majestic tails flicking above the surface of the water. For more wildlife encounters, meet the sea lions and harbor seals at Fanshell Overlook lookout point and Bird Rock. The aptly named Seal Rock is another popular seal haunt. Spend a leisurely afternoon looking for anemones and crabs in tidal rock pools.
Challenge yourself to a round of golf or enjoy sweeping views of some of the most picturesque golf courses on the planet. Appreciate the beauty of the fourth green nestled between dunes and sea at Spyglass Hill, listen for barking sea lions as you tee off and enjoy some putting at Spanish Bay.
Drivers must pay a fee to access the gated 17-Mile Drive, but the route is free for cyclists and hikers. Motorcycles are not allowed. Follow the red-painted lines on the pavement for the full 17 miles (27 kilometers) to discover the forests, luxury hotels, golf courses and beautiful beaches. There are several entrances but the Highway 1 Gate to the Carmel Gate forms the full extent of the drive.
Accommodation in 17-Mile Drive
While Expedia's comprehensive booking page doesn't feature any places to stay in 17-Mile Drive, it does have listings in Carmel, which is situated 2 miles away. The L Auberge Carmel and the Carmel Valley Ranch are among the more upscale options here. The Hyatt Carmel Highlands and the Carriage House Inn are another two well regarded places if you're after something a bit cheaper.