17-Mile Drive Near Monterey: Top Things to See & Other Visiting Tips

Jill on a windy day at the Golden Gate Bridge

by Jill Loeffler  •

Updated: April 18, 2023

17-Mile Drive is a popular scenic ride through the unincorporated community of Pebble Beach. Even though a section of it is free and runs through Pacific Grove, the most famous and talked about portion winds around Pebble Beach and does require an admission fee.

Lone Cypress on the Clear Day

This 16.78-mile drive offers spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean with many interesting stops along the way. It's where you will find the famed Lone Cypress, gorgeous white beaches, and pristine golf courses.

In total, there are 17 marked stops on this route.

While most people enter through the north gate and head south, you can also start from the south and head north. It is not a one-way street nor a loop, but rather a two-lane road that allows you to drive either north or south.

The drive itself is not part of either a National or State Park, so you won't be able to use those passes to enter.

What is the cost to enter?

The gates to the 17-Mile Drive are open from sunrise to sunset. Admission is $12 per vehicle.

You get a reimbursement if you purchase $35 or more at certain Pebble Beach establishments, including resorts and restaurants, but not the Pebble Beach Market.

If you are staying at one of the resorts in Pebble Beach, your entrance is free.

I recommend bringing cash for admission to make the process faster and easier.

Disclaimer: I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.

Best 17-Mile Drive Stops

You will find 17 marked spots along the drive. Even though all of the 17-Mile Drive stops are gorgeous, there are a few that stand out.

These are the 9 stops that I recommend. I've sorted them in order from north to south, since that's the most popular route.

I've added the corresponding numbers in parentheses based on the sign you will see at each stop when you arrive. This is also the number you will see on the official map of Pebble Beach, which you will receive from the gate when you enter.

1. Spanish Bay Beach (#3 on the map)

Spanish Bay #3

You will find a beautiful, soft, white beach on your first stop. You can stroll along its boardwalk or take off your shoes and feel the sand between your toes.

This beach also backs up against one of the gorgeous golf courses here called The Links at Spanish Bay.

2. Point Joe (#5 on the map)

Point Joe

Point Joe is my next recommendation on your 17-Mile Drive adventure. Back in the day, this rocky area was often mistaken as the entrance to the southern end of the Monterey Bay and several ships crashed here.

You will also find a lookout point here that tells you more about who Joe was and why he was important. You will also get great views of this rocky area and the water.

3. China Rock (#6 on the map)

China Rock Ocean

My next recommended stop is China Rock because this is an interesting historical stop. It used to be home to a small Chinese fishing village.

Take a close look at the rocks as you can still see a bit of caked-on cooking smoke from the late 1800s.

Want to bike the 17-Mile Drive? This fun guided tour offers you the chance to go with a guide. You'll spend about 3.5 hours exploring the area on an electric bike, so you can pedal as much or as little as you want. You'll make stops throughout the tour to learn more about some of the most important areas here. Find out more about this fun guided tour.

4. Bird Rock (#7 on the map)

Bird Rock

The next stop is perfect for nature lovers. This stop along the 17-Mile Drive is called bird rock due to the number of birds in the area. It's also home to several sea lions and seals.

Its rocky shores also make for some great photo opportunities.

5. Cypress Point Lookout (#10 on the map)

Cypress Grove Lookout

Cypress Point is another interesting and worthwhile stop. It has amazing views and is a great place to see the sunset. It's also the westernmost part of southern California (the "official" dividing line between Northern and Southern California is about 25 miles north in Moss Landing).

6. The Lone Cypress (#12 on the map)

Famous Cypress Tree along 17-Mile Drive

The Lone Cypress is probably the most famous stop along the 17-Mile Drive. There is a single Monterey cypress tree living on a rock just off the shores of Pebble Beach.

It's estimated to be more than 250 years old. The tree took a beating during a massive storm in 2019 when its smaller branch broke off. However, it's still alive and thriving as strong as ever.

It is a wonderful stop along this scenic drive. You'll want to take a photo since it is so famous. You will also see this tree as part of the official logo for Pebble Beach.

After losing a large branch during a storm, it looks a little smaller than in my photo at the top of the page.

7. Ghost Trees at Pescadero Point (#13 on the map)

These unique and spooky trees are also Monterey cypresses like the Lone Cypress from stop #12. These trees have been bleached white and their bark stripped by the harsh winds and rainstorms in this area.

This area also used to be a famed, but very dangerous, surfing spot. Make sure to check out the powerful waves below during your stop here.

8. Pebble Beach Visitor Center (#14 on the map)

Pebble Beach Visitors Center

The Pebble Beach Visitor Center features more than 20 exhibits that explain more about the history of this area. It's also a retail shop where you will find drinks and can buy souvenirs of your journey.

You can also check out their interactive map to make sure you didn't miss any highlights during your cruise along 17-Mile Drive.

9. Pebble Beach Golf Links (#15 on the map)

Pebble Beach Golf Links

This is the world-famous golf course that you will often hear about when people refer to "Pebble Beach." This stop includes a chance to see the greens up close.

You can watch golfers on the first hole on the course as they are just getting started with their round. You can also check out the 18th hole to see those golfers who are just finishing.

Fun Tours Around Monterey Bay

How to Enter the Pebble Beach 17-Mile Drive

There are five gates leading into the 17-Mile Drive. Each one charges just over $12 per car and allows you access to all the stops mentioned above.

These are the five gates listed from north to south.

Pacific Grove Gate

This is one of the most popular gates and is the best option if you are coming in from Monterey or Pacific Grove. Take 17-Mile Drive through Pacific Grove to arrive at this gate. It just south of Sunset Drive.

Country Club Gate

This is another popular entrance gate to the 17-Mile Drive. This one is also near the northern end. It's on Forest Lodge Road just off Congress Avenue.

S.F.B. Morse Gate

This gate is on Morse Drive. It's right off Highway 68/Holman Highway.

Highway 1 Gate

This gate is off exit 399A. Stay in the left lane to enter the roundabout. Take the second exit out of the roundabout (it's almost a straight line from where you enter) and follow the signs to Pebble Beach/17-Mile Drive.

Carmel Gate

This is the south gate into Pebble Beach. Head north on San Antonio Avenue through Carmel-By-the-Sea. You will find the gate right after 2nd Avenue.

The gates are open to the public from sunrise to sunset daily.

How to Get Here


The Pacific Grove Gate is about 4 miles from Monterey. Make your way through Pacific Grove on Pine Avenue until you hit 17-Mile Drive. This will take you to the gate where you will pay and enter the Pebble Beach section.

San Jose

The Highway 1 Gate is your best entrance point when coming over from San Jose. It's about 75 miles from San Jose, so plan for a drive of about 1 hour and 20 minutes depending time of day and traffic. Take 101 south to exit 336 (toward Monterey/Peninsula).

You will be on Highway 156, which turns into Highway 1. Then follow the directions above to find this gate.

San Francisco

Either the Pacific Grove Gate or the Highway 1 Gate is best if you are coming down from San Francisco. It will take about 2 hours and 30 minutes in non-rush hour traffic.

Santa Cruz

It's usually about 45 minutes to get to the Highway 1 Gate from Santa Cruz. Jump on Highway 1 just outside of Santa Cruz and then head to exit 399A. It's the second exit out of the traffic circle.

Places to Stay Near the 17-Mile Drive

You will find places both inside Pebble Beach and nearby. Here are a few of my top picks.

The Inn at Spanish Bay

This 5-star hotel is always rated as the best in Pebble Beach. It's surrounded by the Spanish Bay Golf Course and many rooms offer views of the course or the Pacific Ocean.

It's absolutely breathtaking and offers everything you want in a 5-star luxury hotel. You will find it at 2700 17-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach.

Check here for recent reviews and room availability.

The Lodge at Pebble Beach

This is another one of the high-end hotels inside the gates of Pebble Beach. The Lodge is a 5-star gem for those who want the height of luxury.

It is within walking distance of the new welcome center with plenty of places to eat and shop nearby. You will find it at 1700 17-Mile Drive, Pebble Beach.

Check recent reviews and availability for your stay.

Carmel Bay View Inn

This is a wonderful location to stay at when you want to be close to the 17-Mile Drive. Being that it is a 3.5-star inn, you'll get some of the better prices around this area.

You are still just 1 mile to Pebble Beach and the Carmel Mission, so it is easy to see and do everything around this gorgeous area. Couples rate it as 9.4 out of 10, so you know it will be romantic.

You'll find this one on Junipero Street between 5th and 6th Avenues in Carmel.

>>Find all the best deals and rates for Carmel Bay View Inn.

Other Places to Stay Nearby

Cypress tree along the 17-Mile Drive in Monterey CA.

Comments? Questions? Suggestions?

I would love for you to join me in my private Facebook group

It's a great place to interact with me and others who know the area well.

You can ask questions, get advice for your upcoming stay, and then share your photos and advice with others when you return home. It's a great community and the fastest way to get answers to those nagging questions about your visit!

Come join the fun here!

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