You may have heard of the 17 Mile Drive. This famous costal route takes you along a toll road between Pacific Grove and Carmel by the Sea, through the affluent gated community of Pebble Beach. It will cost you $10 US per car to enter the toll road, where a mix of Spanish style homes, fairytale cottages and the odd midcentury dream house enjoys the most idyllic costal view imaginable. When you enter the toll gate at Pacific Grove you'll receive a map highlighting points of interest along the route. This isn't just a pay road to see some richy rich homes - it's truly the gateway to some of the very best costal scenery we saw while in Monterey. Bring a picnic, take your time, and don't you DARE stay in your car! Here's the 17 mile drive from our eyes!
Our first stop sent us running across Spanish Bay Beach. Here the light grey sand was packed down as hard as cement. The water is very cold and rip currents are strong so we just dipped our toes and looked out over the wide blue. There are tsunami hazard signs at each stop along the way, so consider yourself warned I guess.
Bird rock, another stop off point, is covered with cormorants enjoying the spray of the frothing waves. The iconic Lone Cypress vista offers a pretty photo opportunity. Here stands a roughly 250 year old salt pruned Monterey Cypress tree perched upon a wind raked perch. A manmade retention wall secures the roots, attempting to preserve what has become an iconic symbol.
I have to mention that I was pretty much loosing it by this point. I don't know that I've ever been in such a scenic place. Ah! It was INCREDIBLE! And if you dig succulents, they're everywhere here in mass scale and size. Heaven! Who needs grass anyway?
You really have to stop for a walk among the Ghost Tree path at Pescadero Point. Erie blanched, barren cypress trees stand here including one dubbed Witch Tree (below left). Their days are numbered. This is also the sight of reported ghost sightings of a Lady in Lace wandering through the fog (lore here). Sure, why not?
I wonder what it would be like to live in one of these multi million dollar homes? What would it be like to wake up in a thatched roof, fairytale cottage only to look out your window and see the most majestic coastline?
The 17 mile drive is well worth a look. Pack a picnic lunch and take your time exploring the area. It's a definite must-see while touring the coast!