A winding road that skirts through upscale neighborhoods, forested areas, and along the oceanfront, 17-Mile Drive is situated on private property and requires and entrance fee. With that in mind, skip the driving and focus on the views by visiting as part of a tour from San Francisco that includes transportation. Your guide will handle navigation and fees, plus many tours also stop at Monterey’s Cannery Row, Carmel-by-the-Sea, and more.
If you prefer to drive the route independently, don’t miss the Cypress Point Lookout, where you can see harbor seals; Spanish Bay, where you can follow a paved coastal trail to Asilomar State Beach; and the iconic Lone Cypress.
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Things to Know Before You Go
Experiencing 17-Mile Drive is a must-do for all first-time visitors to this section of California’s Central Coast.
Your entrance fee to 17-Mile Drive includes a map of the area, with points of interest clearly marked.
The drive takes about 20 minutes, but allow yourself at least two hours if you want to stop at the lookouts and take in the scenery.
The Inn at Spanish Bay and the Lodge at Pebble Beach have the only services open to the public (gas station, restrooms, restaurants).
Hotel or restaurant reservations along the drive will get you out of the non-resident fee.
Bicycles travel free of charge; motorcycles are not allowed.
How to Get There
The 17-Mile Drive runs almost the length of the Monterey Peninsula coastal road, within the gated Pebble Beach community. Pay the entrance fee at any of the five entrances—most often, where Highway 1 meets Highway 68, or the Carmel tollbooth on San Antonio Avenue. The fee is waived if you eat or shop within the community.
When to Get There
Quite busy year-round, 17-Mile Drive is especially choked with visitors in the summer. Fall and spring are the best bets for clear skies; the summer fog is heavy in the morning and can sometimes linger all day, hampering views. The drive closes during major golf events; be sure to check online before departing.
Best Beaches Along the Drive
There are multiple spots to stop and stretch your legs along the drive. Whether you want a quick jaunt down to the frigid Pacific Ocean waters, a picnic lunch spot, or some soft sand on which to nap, you’ll find it here. Spanish Bay and Pebble Beach are favorites for travelers and locals alike.