6 Must See’s on the 17 Mile Drive

Well, I finally did it. After several amazing trips to Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, we at last drove the world-famous 17 Mile Drive on our holiday trip with the dogs. Beautiful and tranquil, there are indeed several spots in the area with just as gorgeous views and trails without the entrance fee. Yet, we quickly understood the need for the toll charge as you are among some of the most exquisite and elite ocean mansions and homes in the state.


Coming in at a 17 mile coastal drive (see what I did there?), what I appreciated the most to this route is the ability to be in the Redwoods on your left, and yet look to your right and see that breathtaking ocean at your fingertips.

While there’s an app you can download for free to help guide you on your way, I decided to list 6 stops that stuck out with us as most memorable. Tip for fellow first timers: Bring a picnic or lunch to enjoy. You can make this a day trip or if you’re strapped for time or just want to get the gist, you can simply find a few must-stop spots along the way.

And, while dogs are welcome, none of the beaches appear to be off-leash. So, plan to keep Fido by your side.

A friend we made after walking around Spanish Bay.


If you began your journey from the Monterey entrance, one of your first pit stops should be the links to see Spanish Bay. A gorgeous wood path trail will have the sun shining in your face while you look out onto the beach and water. Especially a good option if you have anxious dogs eager to be near the sea. The trail is about a mile to coastal access. These are the links that will take you to your next stop….


Back in 1769, it’s said that Spanish explorer, Don Gaspar de Portola and his crew stayed on this land during their excursion to Monterey. Since 1987, it has been the home of the Spanish Bay Golf Course, which is owned by Pebble Beach Company. Being a Scottish inspired golf course, each evening guests and visitors alike are treated to a bagpiper closing the course.

You’ll also have an ample parking lot and restrooms handy.

The Lone Cypress


While everyone may not agree that the sound of crashing, shattering seas is soothing, I absolutely love it for myself. If you share this love of aggressive waves, the Restless Sea is for you. The rocks looking below you are mostly black, and the blue sky above you is crystal clear.Fierce waves draw them out to shore and the wind hits you.


I love knowing who has previously enjoyed where I am. Next to the Restless Sea lays Point Joe. Point Joe has a flat patch of grass out among the rocks and is where a drift wood home once was. A Chinese man by the name of Joe is said to have resided there in the 1900’s and sold trinkets along the drive. It’s unknown if the point is named for Joe, or after him.


The Crocker Grove looked to be a somewhat overlooked landmark. Park your car and step out at this grove and you will be greeted by a pretty cool sign stating that in this grove are the largest and oldest Monterey Cypress trees in all of existence. So peaceful we could have heard a pin drop, these trees touch the sky and if you look over your shoulder, you may even catch a glimpse of the ocean. A must-stop!


One of the most iconic trees in the country, the Lone Cypress is literally the symbol of Pebble Beach. Like its name suggest, it sits by itself on the edge of a cliff out in the distance. A great photo-opp and room for a small walk, they have a viewing platform with binoculars and benches to relax back and enjoy the view.

While at the Lone Cypress, Mike and I were taken aback that we literally felt back in Maui. Just no surfing at the Restless Sea 😉


And, these were just a few of my highlights. Several more beautiful look out points and stops will be at your disposal when you take the 17 Mile Drive. Remember if you go on this drive, There’s a $11 cash only fee to enter. Bikers and walkers may enter for free.

You can grab more info here to help plan your drive. It’s well worth it and will remind you just how unique and special California truly is! xo

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