Skip to main content

Famous 17-Mile Drive in California (Including Pebble Beach and Seacoast)

California is a state full of natural wonders, including many state and national parks. See interesting sites in San Francisco and beyond.

17-Mile Drive in California

See pictures and videos taken along the famous 17-Mile Drive, which includes such notable places as Pebble Beach golf course and the iconic Lone Cypress Tree. A dear friend of mine and I spent a beautiful portion of one day on a vacation trip to California taking in these sites many years ago.

Long before I ever personally gazed upon the dunes covered with flowering ice plants in California, I had seen some beautiful slides taken of this prolific ground-cover taken by my husband long before I knew him. As a youngster, he enjoyed a trip to California with his mother and had taken the slides, which I got to view after we were married.

These succulent plants seem to thrive in the moderate climate of the salty coastline in Monterrey and Carmel, as well as the 17-Mile Drive. It is an invasive species of plant life that quickly spreads and chokes out other endemic species of plants. Ice plants do, however, protect against beach erosion, and provide a colorful palate of color pleasing to the eye!

As my friend and I traveled along this scenic tour, we often stopped our car and got out to enjoy the beauty of the different areas. Part of the circuitous route is along the coastline, where one passes world-class golf courses, among other things, and then the tour heads inland. There is a fee to travel this route, but we thought it well worth the money to enjoy, if ever so briefly, these magnificent views. Nine dollars was the charge that we incurred some years ago.

At one point we saw a posted sign which had the following on it:





Many free-roaming deer were present, and one can get quite close to them. The deer are used to seeing a regular parade of tourists traveling through these parts. Perhaps they know that they are safe in this sanctuary area? The Pacific Ocean views are lovely all along this drive.

Golfing Mecca

We were to pass four golf courses on 17-Mile Drive. Some people dream of getting to play these courses, and whether one is a golfer or not, most people have heard of Pebble Beach.

The photos below show some views of the first one we saw: the Spanish Bay Golf Links. It is reminiscent of some of the classic links found in Scotland, and one can view the Pacific Ocean while spending the day on these manicured grounds.

Others we passed include Spyglass Hill Golf Course, Pebble Beach Golf Links, and Poppy Hills Golf Course.

Besides the golf, there are luxurious resorts here if one has the money to stay and be pampered. Multi-million dollar mansions also dot the landscape throughout this alluring area in addition to the golfing resorts.

Bird Rock

Bird Rock gets its name with good reason. One can hear the sounds of the many birds calling this rock home even over the ocean waves' noise.

Bird Rock is also the haven for the numerous sea lions and harbor seals who frequent these salty waters. We could see the dark shapes on the distant Bird Rock as some of them were sunning themselves. Also photographed were some seals resting on some rocks closer to shore.

Crocker Grover sign - 17 Mile Drive

Crocker Grover sign - 17 Mile Drive

The Crocker Grove

Thirteen acres of native pine trees, as well as cypress trees, comprise the Crocker Grove. I took a picture of a sign in this area, which stated the following:

In this grove are the oldest Monterey cypress trees - some nearly 300 years old. These trees occur naturally only here and at Pt. Lobos south of Carmel; all others have been planted. The grove, named for a founding family of this area, became a nature reserve in 1952.

Thus, these magnificent trees have been in place longer than the United States has been a country!

The Lone Cypress

Drum roll, please! Now for the most familiar landmark of 17-Mile Scenic Drive and the Pebble Beach Company: The Lone Cypress. It is over 250 years old. Hesperocyparis macrocarpa is the official name of this species of an evergreen cypress tree that grows along this coastal area. It is commonly called Monterey Cypress.

Windswept in appearance because of the strong winds the Lone Cypress is probably the most photographed iconic tree in this area. Seemingly clinging to life on an outcropping of bare rock, photographers, artists, and vacationers flock to this site.

To view this area from a drone perspective, the video below starts in Monterey's cannery row and heads south to overlook parts of the 17-mile drive. Enjoy!


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2009 Peggy Woods