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The California Coast is an incredibly varied and beautiful piece of nature. In the past my travels to California had only ever included the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco. So while I had heard plenty about the state’s natural beauty, I hadn’t had many chances to see it for myself. All of that changed, however, when my brother and I set out on our road trip to bring his car back from San Jose. During that trip, we drove part of the way along the famed Highway 1. One of our first stops on the very first day was the 17 Mile Drive at Pebble Beach, where I was absolutely blown away.
17 Mile Drive at Pebble Beach
We entered the drive at the northern-most toll gate near Monterey. From there, we headed to the first stop-off point, Spanish Bay. It was the first time we had actually been able to get a good view of the ocean since setting out on the Pacific Coast highway an hour before. And we were awe-struck at just how beautifully blue the water was.
If it had been a little later in the day, we would have gladly stopped and had our lunch at the picnic tables dotted along the beach. Unfortunately, it was around nine in the morning, and we still had plenty of ground to cross before the end of the day. So we got back into our car and continued on. Of course, there was nothing to worry about. We had only just started along the 17 mile drive and soon enough we were at another jaw-droppingly gorgeous overlook.
Aside from the scenery, one of my favourite things was reading about the varied history of the area in the brochure we were given at the entrance. From Spanish explorers, to Chinese fishermen, to equestrian hunters, all have played a part in Pebble Beach’s history. All this only made the drive all the more fascinating.
We were also excited to learn that we had arrived right in the middle of harbor seal pupping season. We really hoped to be able to catch a glimpse of some of the newborns. Unfortunately, the areas where the harbor seals flock in order to give birth was closed for their protection. So no little baby seals for us.
The Lone Cypress Tree
Our final stop along the road was at the Lone Cypress tree, which is the “living symbol of the Pebble Beach Company”. We couldn’t help but laugh at all of the trademarks next to the name Lone Cypress on the sign. But we had to admit that the view (like everything else on the 17 Mile Drive) was pretty dang breathtaking.
At first, we were skeptical that the $10 toll would be worth it. There was going to be plenty of opportunities to see the ocean on our stretch of Highway 1 after all. But, once we visited Pebble Beach all of those doubts were gone. The 17 mile drive is so worth the money. I would highly recommend it to anyone who has the chance to experience it.