While visiting Monterey, we decided to drive the 17-Mile Drive after a day driving through Big Sur. The 17-Mile Drive is located on Pebble Beach Resort land and requires a vehicle entry fee of $10.50 (as of Fall 2019). This fee can be reimbursed with a purchase in any Pebble Beach Resort restaurant. The drive is open to the public from sunrise to sunset.
Since we were coming up from Big Sur in the south, we entered through the Highway 1 Gate giving us access to the stops in order. There are five gates you can enter from giving you different starting points.
We visited at the end of a very long day driving through Big Sur, so some of our opinions on which destinations to stop at may have been influenced by this. We focused on stops that felt visually different from the last stop and places that intrigued us. There are a few stops on the 17-Mile Drive that are kind of unmemorable or that you can get the idea of what it looks like by driving through. Keep reading to see the stops we felt were worth photographs and notes about our trip!
1 Shepherd’s Knoll
This is the official first stop along the 17-Mile drive and honestly one of the least memorable. I didn’t even bother taking photographs. A typo on an early map that included drawings of illustrated sheep is what changed this stops name from Shepard’s Knoll to Shepherd’s Knoll.
2 Huckleberry Hill
Rumor has it that these hills full of huckleberry and preserved forest were frequented by writers Robert Louis Stevenson and John Steinbeck. The view is worth a quick stop and gives you a hint of Santa Cruz in the distance and a hill full of forest.
3 Spanish Bay Beach
The third stop gives you your first taste of the shore. Named after the Spanish Explorers who camped out here in 1769 while trying to find Monterey Bay. It took explorers a year to find the bay.
You’ll see a nice boardwalk taking you through sandy dunes with some areas filled with hundreds of stacked rocks which make for a great photo.
If you think these views are nice, check out my post on A Quick Trip to Big Sur to see the amazing sights we saw right before we did the 17-Mile Drive.
4 The Restless Sea
Waves constantly crashing against submerged rocks just off the shore give the appearance of a very restless sea. This stop will give you access to both The Restless Sea and Point Joe.
5 Point Joe
Early explorers mistook Point Joe for Monterey Bay causing many shipwrecks. The story goes that a man named Joe lived here selling trinkets to tourists and it’s not sure whether or not the point was named after him, or he was named after the point.
6 China Rock
This beautiful stop was once the site of a small Chinese fishing village in the late 1800s.
7 Bird Rock
While this was a beautiful stop, we felt it looked similar to China Rock and just looked as we drove by. This area is known for being a wildlife hub with seals, sea lions, and birds and was actually covered in several feet of bird guano until cleaned off in the 1930s to be harvested as fertilizer. Gross.
8 Seal Rock
Another stop we opted to drive by but if you have time this is where you can see the Gingerbread House, explore tidepools, and walk around.
The 17-Mile drive was a small part of our 5-day trip to San Francisco to Big Sur! Read the San Francisco to Big Sur 5-Day Itinerary to see more beautiful photos and see how much you can do in 5 days.
9 Fanshell Beach Overlook
Yup, another stop we just drove by. Beautiful views but we didn’t feel it was worth the time to stop. Remember, we were at the end of our day full of driving and exploring and were only stopping at places that felt very unique to us.
10 Cypress Point Lookout
Another driveby. I bet at this point you’re wondering if this is worth it… it is! I promise. If we started with this drive we may have stopped at each stop but we decided to keep driving.
11 Crocker Grove
Named after Charles Crocker, railroad baron responsible for the original 17-Mile Drive and Hotel Del Monte, Crocker Grove is home of the largest and oldest Monterey Cypress trees in existence. Pebble Beach has one of only two native Monterey Cypress forests in the world.
12 The Lone Cypress
Believed to have been standing for 250 years, the famous Lone Cypress has withstood the elements and has been in the logo for Pebble Beach Resorts since their founding.
13 Ghost Trees At Pescadero Point
A unique spot with several sunbleached cypress trees that give off an eerie appearance.
14 Pebble Beach Visitor Center
We passed this area because we were just on the drive for the views but if you’re looking for history of the area this is your stop.
15 Pebble Beach Golf Links
Until we passed this point, I had no idea this was a popular golf destination. It shows you how much I sports! I’m honestly not sure if you can visit this part but if golf is your thing you should look into it.
16 Pebble Beach Equestrian Center
You can view the 17-Mile Drive by horseback by choosing the variety of guided trail rides.
Wanting to see more photos of the beautiful California coastline? Take a look at my post on a Day at Point Dume State Beach in Malibu, California.
17 Ford Meadow
The final stop that you’ll drive by on your way back out of Highway 1 Entrance that honors Robert F. Ford who generously donated to the Del Monte Conservancy.
There you go – our drive through the 17-Mile drive! As a reminder, we had a full day driving through Big Sur before the 17-Mile Drive so we were very selective on what points we stopped at.
If you want more information, be sure to check out Pebble Beach’s website.
The 17-Mile Drive, Pacific Grove, CA 03050
$10.50 per vehicle
Sunrise to Sunset
Pebble Beach Website
Know Before You Go
Admission is per car. You can enter three different locations but I recommend starting with the first point. Motorcycles prohibited. If you make a $35+ purchase at any Pebble Beach Resort, excluding the Pebble Beach Market, your admission is reimbursed. Also, the drive is complimentary for overnight guests of The Lodge, The Inn, and Casa Palmero.