17-Mile Drive is a scenic drive beside the coast that goes around the Pebble Beach community. This community houses the famous Pebble Beach Golf Links golf course (host of multiple US Open competitions) and residences. For the drive visitor it has a good beach, a rock where sea birds and animals can be seen and the famous Lone Cypress.
Getting there: This lies to the South of the Bay Area, and from Santa Clara it took us 1.5 hours to get here.
Entry: There are 3 gates to get into the property: Highway 1 Gate (on the East), Pacific Grove Gate (to the North) and Carmel Gate (to the South). We entered and exited through the Highway 1 Gate. There was a $10.50 entry fee for our car, payable only by card (no cash).
Route: After payment at the gate, we get a brochure which shows the route to drive and all the 17 stops along the route. It is pretty easy to stick to the drive route since the median of this route has red-and-yellow stripes and there are roadside markers. The only problem we had when we ended up at the Pacific Grove gate at the North instead of at the Spanish Bay beach. We were redirected correctly by the folks at the gate. Of the 17 points of interest, there are not surprisingly only a few worth stopping for which I talk about below.
Bird Rock: Listed as stop number 7 in the brochure, a rock is visible in the sea from this point. We found it to be filled with brown pelicans and seals. You definitely want to get your binoculars and use it at this stop. The next stop Seal Rock is another rock that is similar. There are restrooms available at this stop.
Cypress Point Lookout: Listed as stop number 10 in the brochure, we were able to see the cypress trees girdling the coastline from here. We also found a few sea lions and their pups on the rocks below. This is all fenced up, so you are seeing all this through a high fence.
The Lone Cypress: Listed as stop number 12 in the brochure, a lone cypress tree can be seen growing on a seaside cliff. This is an overhyped vista, which looks great in photos.
Food: After the drive, we headed out to the nearby Del Monte Shopping Center which has lots of options for food.