Not as famous as 17 mile drive but free and almost as scenic is Sunset drive that winds by the coast through Pacific Grove eventually leading back to Monterey by Cannery row. This is rugged California coast at its best sans hills.
This place is crowded on sunny days. There is so much to do here. You can rent scuba gear or kayaks & go out into the water. There's a picnic area with charcoal grills, a volley ball court, & public restroom facilities. You can rent quadricycles for four & ride along the bicycle path to Cannery Row & Fisherman's Wharf. Or just hike along the path & view nature along the way. (such as harbor seals, sea otters, herons, cormorants, ground squirrels, etc.) There are a few restaurants there. I recommend the burger stand, which serves squidburgers. (If you never had it before, you must try the squid (calamari). If you like fried clams, you'll love fried squid.) To the west of the point is the cherished Marine Park Gardens.