Best Time to GoThe best time to take the 17-Mile Drive is fall or spring, when skies are clearer. Especially in summer, morning fog can linger until after noon - or even worse, all day. For the best chance of clear skies, go in mid to late afternoon.
If you live in the area and only want to go if it's a nice day, check the Pebble Beach webcams or call The Inn at Spanish Bay (831-647-7500) and ask.
During the big golf tournaments, it's impossible to get in. The U.S. Open Golf Tournament is held at Pebble Beach every few years in June - check their website to find out when - and the Pebble Beach Pro Am is held every February.
How to Get the Most From Your Trip on the 17-Mile Drive
- Although the CA Hwy 1 entrance is the most frequently-used, there's little to see between there and other entrances. We recommend going in through the Pacific Grove entrance and out through Carmel (or vice versa).
- Even though it's written on the bottom of the 17-Mile Drive entry fee receipt, no one looks, so it's a little-known fact that you can get a refund. If you spend more than $25 at any of the Pebble Beach Company restaurants along the 17-Mile Drive, they'll deduct the fee from your bill. We recommend Roy's restaurant at the Inn at Spanish Bay for their great views and service.
- Of course you'll want your camera, but also bring binoculars, especially if you want to get a good look at the birds, sea lions and sea otters.
- Be prepared for the weather. On a day we once visited, when it was 95°F in Gilroy and 82°F in Monterey, it was only 65°F at Spanish Bay.
- If you want to picnic along the 17-Mile Drive, you'll find a Safeway store at the intersection of Highway 1 and Rio Road or try the 5th Avenue Deli (between San Carlos & Dolores) in downtown Carmel. You can also buy picnic goodies along the drive at the Pebble Beach Market next to The Lodge at Pebble Beach. The best picnic spots are between Point Joe and Seal Rock and you'll find picnic tables at many stops. Local seagulls roost on the tables when no one is around, so you may want to bring something to spread over the table before you eat.
Alternatives to the 17-Mile DriveThe 17-Mile Drive is nice, but the Pebble Beach Company doesn't have a monopoly on Monterey Peninsula scenery. If you want to see the Lone Cypress or Pebble Beach, pay up and enjoy yourself, but if you're just looking for great scenery, follow Ocean View Boulevard and Sunset Drive along the water's edge from the Monterey Bay Aquarium past Asilomar State Beach to Highway 68 (which will take you to Highway One).
For a less expensive golf course with views that rival Pebble Beach, try the Pacific Grove Municipal Golf Course where non-residents can play a round for less.