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California’s 17 Mile Drive: Pacific Grove to Pebble Beach

076 Seventeen Mile Drive, Pacific Grove 5-2014. Monterey Cypress

There are a lot of famous road trips in the USA, like California’s Pacific Coast Highway and Montana’s Going to the Sun Highway.  One of the best known drives in America is scenic 17-Mile Drive (actually distance depends on how you enter and leave) which extends from Pacific Grove to Pebble Beach.  17 Mile Drive leads you through a quiet neighborhood, into a forested area (including some rare stands of monterey cypress), along a rugged stretch of the Pacific Ocean and past the notable “Lone Cypress” tree.  The drive takes you by some of the best golf courses in the country, including world-renowned Pebble Beach, and some of the views you’ll enjoy on this short stretch of road are truly grand!

17-Mile Drive is essentially a suburban road through an exclusive neighborhood (whose owners likely wish you weren’t there).  You’ll pay a toll (about $10 per car) to drive it  — no motorcycles allowed.  Once you get past the toll-gate, you’ll find red-painted lines on the pavement to help you follow the route.

Pacific Ocean by Point Joe, 17 Mile Drive

Pacific Ocean by Point Joe, 17 Mile Drive

While it’s pretty and worth doing once, I’m not going to drive it again.  To me its just not worth the money.  The roads along this stretch of the California coast (just south of Monterey) all offer beautiful scenery and no toll required!  The Lone Cypress is an iconic symbol of California, but I’m not sure this is the same tree I saw here 30 years ago.  Maybe it is, maybe it’s been replaced, but I don’t need to see it again.

The photos in this blog (with the exception of the lead photo) share with you our journey down 17-Mile Drive this spring.  My friend, Neil, had never driven it before so we enjoyed a pleasant hour or so, including stops  We started at the north end in Pacific Grove and ended rather non-climatically in Carmel.  For photo legends, hold your mouse over the photos or click on the thumbnails below.

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance)

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