15 mi / 25 km
You'll be amazed at what you can see in just 15 miles of driving! Weaving around Point Pinos from Monterey to Pebble Beach, this must-trodden route has oodles up its sleeve, from seal-dotted beaches to cypress forests to legendary literary locations.
It all begins on Cannery Row, the street that inspired John Stienbeck to write two of the most formative novels of modern America. In the early 20th century, Monterey gained fame as the "Sardine Capital of the World" due to its thriving sardine fishing industry. The canneries lining the waterfront here employed thousands of workers and processed millions of pounds of sardines each year.
However, the industry collapsed by the late 1940s due to overfishing and ecological changes. Today, Cannery Row serves as a reminder of Monterey's fishing heritage, with preserved equipment and historic buildings. Get your fill of lobster tail then hit Ocean View Boulevard. It whisks you west, out to where California fragments into a series of rocky headlands that hug the ocean like twisted crab legs.
There's no end to the wonderful shapes and sands forged by the Pacific in these parts. There's Kissing Rock, where two limpet-speckled boulders lean in like humans having a smooch. There's Anchors Away Beach, where reefs are dashed by kelp forests (a favorite breeding ground for harbor seals and sea otters, so keep your eyes peeled).
There's R&R to be had on the cotton-tinged powder of Asilomar State Beach before you swing inland and join the official route of the Pebble Beach scenic drive. The entrance fee is more than worth it, because what happens next is a montage of idyllic bays like Granite Beach and gardens of salt-caked boulders where seals congregate.
In the late 19th century, Pebble Beach began attracting wealthy visitors, drawn by its breathtaking coastal scenery. In 1880, Pacific Improvement Company, a subsidiary of Southern Pacific Railroad, purchased the land. The company recognized the area's potential for tourism and development.
The Pebble Beach coastal area was quickly transformed into a prestigious resort destination by Samuel F.B. Morse, a successful entrepreneur and developer. He commissioned the design of the legendary Pebble Beach Golf Links, which opened in 1919. The golf course, known for its stunning ocean views and challenging layout, quickly gained acclaim and became a magnet for golf enthusiasts all over the world.
A trio of lookout points finishes the drive with vistas you'll never forget. The first is Cypress Point, which juts out of the side of one of America's most hallowed golf courses. Then there's Lone Cypress, a gnarled tree on a weathered rock set before the Pacific blue. Finally, you'll reach Pescadero Point, where the clusters of granite boulders and 180-degree ocean views hit a real zenith as the sun begins to set.
Whether you come for the golf, the breathtaking views, or simply to bask in the coastal splendor, a road trip through Pebble Beach is an experience that will linger in the memory long after the journey ends.
Admission to 17-Mile Drive is currently $11.25 per vehicle. The gate fee is reimbursed with a purchase of $35 or more at all Pebble Beach Resorts restaurants, excluding Pebble Beach Market. The gates are open from sunrise to sunset.
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