Location: Pebble Beach, starting at the Pacific Grove gate off Highway 68 near Spanish Bay.
Cost: $9.75 gate fee
Information: Pebble Beach Co., 647-7500, www.pebblebeach.com

At one time, 17 Mile Drive was a hard sell for prospective homeowners. Too removed from civilization, they said.

Today, it's a coveted address and an enduring tourist attraction. And, yes, it does measure 17 miles, starting at the Pacific Grove gate near Spanish Bay, winding around the route, then back to the same gate.

The route has changed over the years, but the road traces its roots back to 1881. The Pacific Improvement Co., predecessor of the Pebble Beach Co., paved a stretch of road to make a scenic drive for guests at the swanky Hotel Del Monte. Guests typically would be ferried past historic adobes, through wooded Pacific Grove and along the coastline, then stop for a picnic lunch before resuming the ride, up the hill along Pescadero Canyon, then back to the hotel, according to Neal Hotelling of the Pebble Beach Co.

That trip, Hotelling said, was originally called the 18 Mile Drive, but the name change came after the route was remeasured.


By the mid-1920s, the route was completely within Pebble Beach and is essentially the same today. For the $8.75 gate fee, visitors can take in a stunning collection of natural beauty, plus some amazing man-made mansions and golf courses.

In the old days, this was considered part of a daylong trip. Modern-day visitors should take a page from that book, stopping along the way to really take in wonders including Point Joe, with its colliding currents, Bird Rock and its countless winged inhabitants, the dramatic views from Cypress Point, the stately Lone Cypress and more.