17 Mile Drive, Carmel | travel

by - February 05, 2015

If you're traveling down the California Coast or just visiting the Bay Area, this stretch of only 17 miles nestled from sea level to cliff edge joining Monterey and Carmel is something you have to see. The drive from San Francisco to Highway 1 Gate in Monterey takes about 1hr45 but the drive even down there is beautiful in itself and you could stop off in Monterey like we did before you even start the drive for brunch or to see the Aquarium.

On entering the community you pay a toll fee per car of $10, this goes to the Pebble Beach Company who maintain the beautiful area, which once you have visited you would be more than happy to contribute too. They also supply you with a map of the area including a route with numbered points to stop at and some information about each one. It would always be beautiful but knowing what you're looking at makes so interesting too, you can also look ahead and maybe plan where you want to stay for longer. We had spent the day in Monterey so planned where we wanted to be for sunset and maybe just drove past a few points we thought we could enjoy just as much as we drove past.

17 miles seems like no distance at all and usually would take about 20 minutes, but it's not just about seeing each spot, its great to get out and explore each area, such as the beach at Spanish Bay. It is absolutely stunning and we ended up spending a lot of time there and it was only our second stop so allow at least 3 hours to fully enjoy everything, this is not something you want to rush.

Another couple of favourite points for me where Seal Rock and the Lone Cypress as well as some 'off roading' (on foot) we did at China Rock which, as a goody two shoes normally I felt very free doing and got some great views, but it really is only advisable to stick to the path as the waves around the Bay are huge. A great thing about friendly California's is they love to share how amazing their home state is, we got talking to an amazing woman at the Lone Cypress who was telling us about the area and some of the amazing homes that you will see throughout Pebble Beach.

We made it back down to the water for sunset before heading home and it was well worth it, just us and the beach. It was beautiful, this would be a great spot to spend a little more time so pack a blanket because Northern California is certainly not a tropical climate once the sun goes down. Before heading off South or back to San Francisco top up for the ride at the cute or almost movie set like shops hidden within the community and even a McDonalds if like us, at 9pm you just don't have will power anymore!

+ Take a packed lunch and enjoy it on the rocks looking down over the waves or on the sand at Spanish Bay
+ Charge your camera, it's amazing to enjoy in person but you need to remember just how beautiful it was too
+ Take your time
+ Plan your own route ahead after you've read the information if you fancy spending longer in some places
+ Take a towel so you don't feel bad enjoying the waves at Spanish Bay
+ Stay until sunset, I honestly think it might be the best sunset I've ever seen
+ I don't want to ruin the surprise on this one, but just wait for something at Bird Rock

Have you ever done the 17 Mile Drive? Are you down the PCH soon?

Until next time,



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