After experiencing a disappointing trip to Yosemite National Park, the sunny blue skies and warm weather that greeted us in Carmel-by-the-sea was quite literally a breath of fresh air. One of the first things we were excited to do was cruise along the 17 beautiful miles of scenic Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove on the Monterey Peninsula.
This stunning journey takes you to dramatic coastal cliffs, snow-white beaches, mystical forests and iconic golf courses, to name a few. On one of the first stops I noticed a seal twirling around in the waves and I excitedly jumped up and down. The seals fortunately made a presence at almost every other stop thereafter. Wildlife excites me.
Grab a map at one of the entrance gates for 10 bucks and embark upon a very memorable road trip! Of the 21 total stops on this route, here are my favourite 10 that are not to be missed!
1. Ghost Trees at Pescadero Point
To surfers, this tree marks one of the “gnarliest” Big Wave spots in the world, some approaching 50 feet! And to ghost hunters, this tree marks where the “Lady in Lace” drifts in and out of the fog on haunted nights.
2. The Lone Cypress
The iconic living trademark is considered to be at least 250 years old! It is said that this tree is to the Monterey Peninsula what the pyramids are to Egypt, and what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris.
3. Cypress Point Lookout
This lookout is said to be the best place to catch a sunset in all of Pebble Beach, thanks to its southwesterly view.
4. Fanshell Beach
This beautiful panoramic beach is irresistible to harbour seals that return each spring to bear their young!
5. Seal Rock
This is a great spot for a picnic while harbour seals and sea lions play in the waves before you.
6. Bird Rock
This rock was caked in 4 to 5 feet of pelican and other bird “guano” until it was eventually harvested as a fertilizer. Sea lions took advantage of the cleaned-off perch, and have been sunbathing here ever since. They can be heard hooting and hollering from a distance, that’s for sure. Looks like it is the prime hangout spot for them!
7. China Rock
A large collection of Chinese families set up huts here. You can still see the smoke from cooking fires caked into the rocks.
8. The Restless Sea at Point Joe
This is one of the most turbulent spots along the coast, with waves crashing into each other relentlessly.
9. Spanish Bay
Spanish explorers camped out here in the late 1700’s. They tried to find the Monterey Bay based on a description from the early 1600’s, but it took them a year. Not a bad consolation prize.
10. Huckleberry Hill
Enjoy this view from 800 feet above sea level. This was one of our last stops on route. We made our way back to downtown Carmel and had an amazing dinner at a Greek restaurant on the main strip.
Have you ever driven the 17-mile drive? What were your favourite stops?