After our two days in Santa Cruz, we began the next phase of our Northern California road trip. We set south on the Pacific Coast Highway toward Big Sur and Carmel. On our drive, we took a minor detour onto 17-mile-drive before checking into the Hyatt Highlands Carmel.
17 Mile Drive
Now, reviews for 17-mile-drive on TripAdvisor are very strange. Some people can’t seem to get past the admission price of $10 (per vehicle). Others seem to think the drive only takes you past mansions that cost millions of dollars. Do you drive past mansions? Yep, but you also get views like this:
Are there other great views along the Pacific Coast Highway that you can see for free? Yup. But I’d still recommend 17-mile-drive to folks visiting the area. We were there on 4th of July weekend, and it wasn’t nearly as crowded as we were expecting (which was another common complaint). So, overall, it was a very pleasant experience!
When you “enter” 17-Mile-Drive, you’re provided with a map, which contains numbers corresponding to the different scenic viewpoints. And, there are descriptions of each of the viewpoints. I’m pretty sure we stopped at EVERY viewpoint, so, be forewarned, we have lots of photos.
The 17-mile drive area is also home to the famous Pebble Beach Golf Course. Golf course holes were visible along much of the drive. I don’t golf, but damn, if I did, I’d like to golf there!
Each vista point has a designated parking area and is numbered, so you can compare it to the map.
I think we said this on every portion of our drive along the Pacific Coast Highway, but it warrants saying again, “MY GAWD, THE VIEWS!”
And what some people won’t do for the perfect Instagram shot. Seriously, how do those people get there?
And back to the views (these were taken at various spots along the drive):
One of the more famous sites along 17-mile drive is the Lone Cypress!
There’s a set of steps nearby that you can use to get an even closer view of the Lone Cypress.
As we were finishing up 17 Mile Drive, we realized we were getting really hungry. We had planned to have lunch closer to our hotel in Carmel, but the drive took us a lot longer than we expected. (In a good way! So many scenic spots to check out!) So, we decided to have a Pebble Beach restaurant called Stillwater Bar and Grill. We just had simple meals (I had the fish and chips and Ken had a burger) since it was a pretty expensive place for our typical restaurant spending habits. But, the view couldn’t be beat, and plus, we were so hungry!
Here was the view!
And, I chuckled at this sign on our table:
We also walked around the inside for a bit, which was home to a lovely seating area, as well as Pebble Beach tournament trophies of course.
After we were good and full from lunch, we continued on with our drive heading to our hotel in Carmel, the Hyatt Highlands. After checking in there and unpacking, we headed out to Carmel.
San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission
That evening, we stopped by a Mission in Carmel for some sightseeing.
It was a lovely and scenic place, great for photography. But a good portion of it was closed for restoration while we were there. They were restoring a courtyard area.
You could also walk around inside the church.
And then we headed back outside at the Mission
This is the area that was being restored:
But, I’m sure it’ll be gorgeous when the restoration is done.
I think I’ll cover the rest of our time in Big Sur in a “part 2” post. I think that’s enough pictures for a single post, don’t you think!?
Here are a few other posts about 17 Mile Drive and The Carmel Mission from around the web:
- Whimsy Soul (Day Date in Monterey County)
- Valerie Was Here (17 Mile Drive – Pebble Beach, California)
- We 3 Travel (Taking 17-Mile Drive through Pebble Beach)
Have you been to the Big Sur or Carmel area recently? Did you include 17-Mile Drive or the Mission during your visit?