A road trip in California wouldn’t be complete without driving along the famous 17 Mile Drive.
For more than 100 yerars the 17 Mile Drive is one of the most popular coastal roads in California and the whole world. This route was originally created from the Pacific Improvement Company for tourists of the hotel Del Monte. It quickly turned out to be popular among other visitors. In 1919 the housing estate Pebble Beach was built for people who wanted to wake up with a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean.
The 17 Mile Drive
Imagine your eyes are closed. You feel a fresh breeze and inhale salty air. Your bare feet are touching wet, cool sand. Everything is in different shades of grey. The sand, the sea, the air. It´s August at the Pacific in California. Along the shore are long streaks of seaweed, seashells, while the waves are crushing in.
The perfect time for a road trip in the U.S.
The first time I was enjoying the 17 Mile Drive was when I was visiting my aunt in California. I was 14 by that time and she took a day off, driving with me to Monterey and along the 17 Mile Drive.
It was the first scenic route along the sea I ever took. (I am from the mountain region in Austria and we don’t have an ocean). So I was very impressed by the rough ocean and nature.
When I came back with my friend, doing a 7 week long road trip in California in the summer, I wanted to show here the beautiful route again.
Even though the 17 Mile Drive is not that long there are many places to stop and enjoy the view.
As I always remember the ocean and the drive along it there are parts of the 17 Mile Drive where you pass along woods and have a splendid view from the Huckleberry Hill.
The best places along the 17 Mile Drive
The famous Pebble Beach golf course is one of the reasons golfers come from all over the world. It offers spectacular views and is not an easy one to play. The constant wind from the Pacific Ocean makes it a real challenge.
Even if you are not here for playing golf it’s still fun watching the golf players next to the ocean:
The Lone Cypress
You don’t want to miss the Lone Cypress – the famous symbol of the 17 Mile Drive. This tree is more than 250 years old and stands strong again the wind and the current. This is also the most famous place along the scenic drive.
Seals and Sea Lions
Along the route you will see places where sea lions take a nap or are diving into the ocean. You can spot them from the Fanshell Beach Overlook or from the Seal Rock Picknick area.
Being at the sea doesn´t always mean lying under palm trees looking into blue sky and jumping into warm water. A grey sky and sea too cold to jump in can be as beautiful.
Ghost Trees at Pescadero Point
Besides the Lone Cypress, the ghost trees at Pescadero Point are a popular stop to take pictures.
There are more places to stop. It would be a crime to just drive along without stopping and letting the beauty sink in. Because it is windy and can be chilly don’t forget to bring a jacket or proper clothes with you.
Things To See And Do Close By
Close to the 17 Mile Drive is Monterey which is often the starting point for driving along the scenic drive.
Monterey is especially famous for its Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Old Fisherman’s Wharf and loads of possibilities to do souvenir shopping.
Monterey County is also know as a wine region and you can spend the afternoon sampling wines and enjoying the beautiful countryside.
And if you have more time and enjoy hiking there are plenty of parks, like the Pinnacles National Park, close by.
Is the 17 Mile Drive worth to see? Definitely. If you are close by or doing a road trip in California I can highly recommend taking the time and driving along this scenic route.