17 Mile Drive

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Have you ever heard of 17 Mile Drive?  Located in the Carmel/Pacific Grove, CA area 17 Mile Drive provides gorgeous views of the California coast.  I spent my sophomore year in college at California State University Monterey Bay.  During my time in Monterey I visited 17 Mile Drive four different times and would love to go there again.  If you ever have the opportunity to visit 17 Mile Drive make sure to allow at least two to three hours.  Bringing a fully charged camera and binoculars are good ideas as well.  The last time that I was at 17 Mile Drive the cost was around $10 but I have not been able to confirm the current entrance price.

17 Mile Drive

The first stop at 17 Mile Drive is Sheppards Knoll which provides visitors with views of the beautiful Monterey Bay.  Following Sheppards Knoll is Huckleberry Hill which has dirt paths for those who want to do some exploring.  Next is the Poppy Hills golf course which I have always driven past but never stopped at.  If you are a golf fan you might be interested in stopping to check it out.  Another great stop for golf fans is the Inn & Links at Spanish Bay.  Spanish Bay is the first stop where you can walk to the ocean.  This is a great location for a picnic since there are quite a few tables here.  There are a lot of stones and rocks along the beach which makes for some incredible pictures.

17 mile drive

The following stops are: the Restless Sea, Point Joe, China Rock, Bird Rock & Seal Rock which are full of large rocks in the ocean which you can climb on to take some pictures. When my sister came to visit while I was at CSUMB we took our Christmas picture on some rocks in this area. Next is the Spyglass Hill Golf Course which is one of the annual hosts of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Following Spyglass Hill is Fanshell Overlook which can be a great place to spot harbor seals although out of my four visits I only saw the seals twice. Cypress Point Lookout provides another great view of the ocean which I can never see enough of.

17 mile drive

Lone Cypress

My favorite place throughout 17 Mile Drive is the Lone Cypress which is one of the most photographed spots.  This spot provides a great view of the stunning scenery that this area has to offer.  As much as I love my picture of the Lone Cypress I don’t think that it truly shows just how phenomenal and beautiful it is.  You will not be able to get too close to the tree and will  have to admire it from a distance but I think this view alone is worth the cost of admission.  I took the above picture of the Lone Cypress during my second visit to 17 Mile Drive which had the best weather of any of my visits which really enhanced the beauty of my pictures.

Ghost Tree

There are around four more stops after the Lone Cypress but the last stop that I ever chose to visit was the Ghost Tree.  The Ghost Tree stop is also known as Pescadero Point.  Ghost Tree is a Monterey Cypress tree.  This spot is my second favorite place at 17 Mile Drive to take pictures because I find the scenery so incredible.  I feel so blessed that I lived such a short distance from this breathtaking drive when I was attending CSUMB.  I hope this post has helped you see the beauty that the California coast has to offer.

For the best pictures I would recommend visiting in the afternoon because if you visit too early in the morning the chances are pretty high that the sun won’t be out.  My two favorite visits were on a sunny afternoon and a late afternoon which meant I got to enjoy a sunset from the Ghost Tree.  While 17 Mile Drive is along the coast this is not the place if you are looking to spend a day at the beach.  This area is intended for you to drive along and stop to take pictures and explore.  This is not a place to surf or have a traditional beach experience.  I would really encourage you to visit this place if you ever have the opportunity.my belle elle

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28 thoughts on “17 Mile Drive

  • Robin Masshole Mommy

    I drove along there when I was out west. It is a very pretty drive.

  • Paola

    That seems like an awesome place to go. Your pictures are so pretty, you should take more advantage of them by having them be bigger sized in your posts. ;)

  • Stephanie

    What?! No, I’ve not heard of it. I’ve lived in LA for the past two years and now am living up in San Jose for work. My sister comes to visit in a few weeks. I will have to visit! Thanks for the guide.

  • Elizabeth O.

    What a lovely view. It would be nice to spend an afternoon there just reading a book by the sea.

  • Allison Jones

    I’ve heard that this is one of the most beautiful roads in America and your pictures are absolutely breathtaking.


  • Claudette

    No, I cannot recall hearing of the 17 mile Drive before, so thank you for this. We live and we learn.

  • Elle Post author

    i haven’t been able to figure out how to make them bigger but i’m looking into it. i hope it won’t make my page slower

  • Becki

    Wow! I grew up in Hawaii and visited California many times but I didn’t know about this hidden gem! Will have to add to my bucket list, thanks for sharing

  • LaQuinda

    i’m headed to California this summer, but I won’t be near the 17 mile drive. Next trip, for sure.

  • GiGi Eats

    I’ve done this drive before but I never knew there was actually a name for it! ha ha! It’s sooooo pretty up there!

  • CourtneyLynne

    Omg I did this drive afew years ago!!! Definitely a drive to remember. So scenic and beautiful