The scenic Monterey coastline

If you haven’t heard of the 17 Mile Drive, now you have, and now’s the time to enjoy one of the world’s most beautiful coastlines. Minutes from downtown Monterey, California, the 17 Mile Drive winds through the prestigious gated community of Pebble Beach in Carmel, past the Del Monte Forest, and along gorgeous stretches of secluded coves, pristine beaches, and oceanfront mansions.

There are hundreds of attractions along this scenic coastal road that makes traffic sometimes unbearable during the summer. You can avoid crowds by entering at the Spanish Bay gate, or it may be worthwhile to enjoy this route by bike or during the off-season, though it may be colder, foggier, and less sunny.

Aside from passing three lovely golf courses (Poppy Hills, Spyglass Hill, and Pebble Beach), this scenic road boasts natural attractions such as Fanshell Beach, Seal Rock, and the Lone Cypress tree. There’s even a new big wave surf spot called “Ghost Tree” that’s a spectacle in itself when the swell is just right.

There’s a helpful brochure that you should pick up at the entry gate in Pebble Beach that outlines the “21 Points of Interest” along the 17-Mile Drive. All you have to do is follow the marked route and enjoy the sights along the way.

If the drive is not enough, and you’re not so into golf courses and coastal vistas, there are plenty of fine dining establishments and quaint bed and breakfasts along the route.