WORLD FAMOUS 17 MILE DRIVE
The one and only world famous 17 mile drive is a private toll road and is located throughout the Pebble Beach and Del Monte Forest area of Carmel. It is one of the most beautiful sights to visit, with the landscapes of land and sea meeting each other in rocky magnificence.
Within this area are world class golf courses, such as the Pebble Beach Golf Links, The Links at Spanish Bay and Spyglass Hill Golf Course. Also to be seen is one of California's most photographed trees, the Lone Cypress. Many vantage stops are on the 17 mile drive with vistas that make you just gasp in awe.
More pictures of this magnificent drive is in my Pebble Beach travelogue.
Pebble Beach, - A golfer's Mecca
Pebble Beach is on the ocean between Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea, once presided over by Clint Eastwood as Carmel's major. This golf course is widely sough out by golf enthusiasts, with many major golf tournaments held there. Pebble Beach is as close to Carmel as the length of the golfcourse. Monterey is just a couple of miles up the road on the north side. There are of course several hotels in Carmel proper, and a number of hotels in Monterey. About 30 miles east of Pebble Beach is the good size farming town of Salinas with a number of additional hotels.
There are many sights to be seen in the area, if you are so inclined. Check out places like Monterey and Carmel of course, and then, Cannery Row, Monterey Bay Aquarium (a must see), 17 Mile Drive, and of course if you have time, take a drive down south on Hwy 1, through Big Sur, - and if you have a little more time, a t the southern end of Big Sur, is San Simeon with the Hearst Castle. If you cannot go that far, check out the virtual tour on the website asn see what you are missing.....d;o)
There are a number of other things to see and do, but this will give you a good start.
Review and research the sites above. I used to do five star tours through this area, so I am fairly familiar with it.
There is a delightful market right next to the clubhouse where you can purchase a picnic lunch, and then ride down the Big Sur coast, and stop at any of the many great spots along the way and have a picnic lunch.
The 18th hole of the golf course is a golfer's nemesis and is to be savored like fine wine.
Walk the Dog on the Beach
Recently, we took our miniature schnauzer to the beach for the first time. He had a great time checking out the concept of sand, chasing the low flying seabirds, and smelling the piles of seaweed. We saw another dog owner tossing a piece of driftwood into the surf for his golden retriever to fetch. Surprising as it may seem, the uppercrust community of Pebble Beach has few restrictions for dog owners on the beach. Allowing one's dog to hunt sealife or bite strollers on the beach would certainly be a violation of the environmental and pacific code of conduct here, but because the surf is not safe for bathing anyway, the problem of dog doo-doo is basically a non-issue here. There are actually few dogs being walked, and the doo-doo quickly washes in to the turbulent surf with high tide. Stay on the trails, and use common sense when letting your dog swim.
- Hiking and Walking
- Travel with Pets
Walk or Jog to Pebble Beach from Asilomar
I finally got around to jogging in Pebble Beach. I parked at Asilomar Beach along Sunset Drive between the surfer beach and Fishwife restaurant. The trail cuts though some evergreen trees, then immediately becomes a narrow, but sturdy boardwalk on the dunes between the beach and the Links at Spanish Bay golf course. For about a mile you can continue on this boardwalk enjoying great views of the Pacific Ocean until it ends at a big parking area and picnic spot at Moss Beach along Spanish Bay. The trail continues as packed dirt along the water and next to the road in various sections, taking you past Point Joe and the Unsettled Sea (about 1.5 miles from Asilomar), China Rock (~2.25 miles), then Bird Rock (3 miles). This is as far as I have ventured on foot, but the trail definitely continues.
My goal is to have someone drop me off at Asilomar then pick me up at Carmel Beach an hour or so later (it's about 9 miles total if you stick to the eater).
By the way, walking into Pebble Beach is free! Driving costs $9.
17 Mile Drive - Lone Cypress (#16)
Described by most as the pinnacle of the 17 mile drive, the Lone Cypress is a miracle of horticulture. Standing alone out of a rock formation dangling fearlessly into the Pacific Ocean, this tree has stood the test of time. Human contact with the tree has been 250 years, although no one can predict how long the tree stood before this. The Cypress is the symbol of the Pebble Beach community, so it would be a shame not to see it!
- Historical Travel
- Road Trip
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
Bing Crosby created a tradition in 1947 at Pebble Beach that would live on through today. It is an annual tournament with PGA Professionals and Celebrity Amateur golfers with the earnings benefitting charities worldwide. The event normally takes place in early February, which is at the start of the golfing season for the PGA professionals, which makes this tournament well attended. The centerpeice of this tournament is Pebble Beach Golf Links, but also includes the other two courses in the Pebble family, Spyglass and Spanish Bay.
Overall, this is a worthwhile event to come and watch as well as alot of fun, since there are usually a few antics provided by the celebrities.
- Luxury Travel
- Spa and Resort
At stop 7) Joe was a Chinese man who lived alone in a driftwood home near this point in the early 1900s. He made a living selling trinkets to tourist and tending goats. No one knows for sure if the point was named after Joe or if he was named after the point.
Like you, Joe probably saw a variety of wildlife from this spot. During the summer, thousands of pelagic (sea-going) birds migrate past this area. From December to March, you can see gray whales swim by on their yearly trek from feeding grounds off Alaska to calving and breeding grounds off Baja California. In late spring the whales return north.
Early mariners often crashed upon these rocks after mistakenly setting their course for this point, believing that it was the entrance to Monterey Bay.
- Road Trip
- Family Travel
At this stop 6) From this vista point, take note of the unique offshore turbulence generated by the submerged terrain off Point Joe.
Why is the sea so restless?
Some say ocean current collide here to create the restless sea you see on most days. But it's unlikely that offshore currents create the motion so close to shore. The more likely cause is submerged rocks which slow the water, causing waves to break early. This makes the seal look restless.
Seashore life depends on the restless sea to deliver food and nutrients. Many marine animals catch and eat plankton: microscopic sea life that drifts by. But ocean waters can be deadly. Waves slam onto the beaches, ripping seaweeds and sea life from the rocks. Living here is a balancing act between the hazards and benefits.
- Family Travel
- Road Trip
The Links at Spanish Bay
The Links at Spanish Bay mirrors the rugged coastline and natural beauty of Scotland. Links is an old Scottish word for sandy wasteland, usually near the sea, with bristly grasses and ever prevailing wind.
The Links at Spanish Bay was also built with a deep respect for environmental preservation. To further continue this mission, we have designated "environmentally sensitive" areas.
Every evening, a bagpiper closes the course in Scottish tradition.
Holes: 18 Par: 72
- Road Trip
- Family Travel
17 Mile Drive
I finally got around to seeing 17 Mile Drive. It took an invitation to a friend's house in Pebble Beach so I could enter for free. Since we were on the guest list, the gate guard punched our names in the computer to verify, and he waved us through. We entered through the Pacific Grove Gate and did the coastal route twice. The first time we stopped at the Restless Sea, Point Joe, Bird Rock, and the Lone Cypress, then had lunch at the Tap Room in the Pebble Beach Lodge ($15 hamburgers!). We then cut back through some of the residential areas, past the Robert Louis Stevenson School, and Poppy Hills Golf Course, then stopped at the house for a few hours. When we left, we repeated the drive past Point Joe, Bird Rock, and the Lone Cypress, then exited via the Highway 1 gate. My favorite spot is the Restless Sea where waves come in from two different directions at 90 degree angles to each other. I also liked the view of the "Gingerbread House" which was built in 1944 by Pedro de Lemos and is now owned by the Del Monte Forest Foundation.
I really think 17 Mile Drive is very, very overrated for the price. Sure it is some beautiful scenery, but so are Ocean View Drive in Asilomar Beach, Scenic Drive in Carmel, and Highway 1 in Big Sur. Like to walk? You can walk into Pebble Beach from Asilomar Beach to the north for free, and see all of the same sights. You can also walk in from the south along Carmel Beach. Perhaps the only thing that would be difficult to see by walking is the Lone Cypress (which is supported by steel cables and rock walls). Even better...take a walk in Point Lobos for some far better scenery. The worst thing about 17-Mile Drive? Over at least half the drive, houses block the view of the Ocean, so you might as well be driving through the woods for your $9.
The Inn at Spanish Bay
The Inn at Spanish Bay is the newer of the three main resort areas at Pebble Beach. A self-enclosed facility, it has all you need for your leisurely vacation including restaurants, bars, shops, fitness and recreation, and probably help finding anything else you need. One of their signature elements is the bagpiper who plays each evening at sunset at the outdoor Lobby Lounge.
The two main restaurants are Peppoli's and Roy's. Peppoli's is the fancier of the two restaurants and serves Tuscan cuisine, while Roy's has excellent Hawaiian fusion foods, mostly seafood and fine wine. This resort also has three bars: Sticks which is kind of a sports bar with billiards, Traps for a little more classy experience, and my favorite is the Lobby Lounge with indoor and outdoor, fireside tables overlooking the ocean. The bars serve food from their limited bar menus.
The inn was constructed in 1987, has 269 rooms, ranging from $500 to $2,395 per night. The cheapest rooms are supposedly around 600 square feet which is far, far bigger then my first apartment.
If you get bored, you can always golf...
The Pebble Beach community contains eight golf courses. Spyglass, Pebble Beach, and Spanish Bay are open to the public and owned by the Pebble Beach Company. Cypress Point, as well as the Monterey Peninsula Country Club's Dunes Course and Shore Course are private, while Poppy Hills and the Peter Hay 9-hole par 3 golf courses are also available for public use.
Pebble Beach Golf Links is the most expensive of the Pebble Beach Company's courses at $475 per round, followed by Spyglass ($315) then Spanish Bay ($250). Cypress Point's greens fees are $165 and Monterey Peninsula CC's courses are $97, but you must be a club member. Poppy Hills is (only!) $195 for the general public, and the Peter Hay course is just $20 for unlimited play...the best golf deal in town!
A cheaper alternative to the Pebble Beach courses is the Pacific Grove Golf Course; it's just a few miles away, has great views of the ocean and bay, and greens fees are just $20 to $55.
Moss Beach at Spanish Bay
Moss Beach is the Pebble Beach community's largest and most popular beach. Not too many tourists stop in here since you have to pay to get into Pebble Beach ($9 per car). You can walk from the free parking areas at Asilomar to Moss Beach via the boardwalk...it's about 1 mile.
Just north of Moss Beach is North Moss Beach...creative! The two beaches together form Spanish Bay, also the name of the nearby resort and gold course. Spanish Bay is one of the locations Spaniard Juan Portola explored in 1769 when searching for Monterey Bay to establish the Spanish mission and presidio.
There's plenty of parking, about a dozen picnic tables, and great views of the surrounding golf courses, Point Joe, and Asilomar Beach.
Restless Sea & Point Joe
The Restless Sea off the tip of Point Joe is my favorite stop along 17 Mile Drive. Here you have a unique sight...the waves come together at 90-degree angles, crashing into each other before reaching the shore. The pictures do not do it justice, but it's very interesting to watch. They say the odd wave action is caused by the sub-surface currents and the structure of the coast in this area.
It is recorded that early sailors frequently crashed on the rocks at Point Joe, in the fog and rain mistaking it for the entrance to Monterey Bay. That explains why they built Point Pinos Light just down the coast to mark the real entrance to the bay!
GOLF! GOLF!! GOLF!!!! The...
GOLF! GOLF!! GOLF!!!! The Pebble Beach Golf Course is one of the best in the world. But if you, like me, still haven't mastered the art of hitting that ball like how Tiger Woods would (with finesse), don't despair! There are some lovely shops here to distract you.... Scroll down and see my next recommendation. :-))