Our Honeymoon Adventures: 17 Mile Drive
One of the main things Josh and I wanted to do in California was drive on the Pacific Coast Highway (a.k.a. The PCH/Highway 1/Route 1/CA 1). We’d seen and heard tales of the beauty and splendor to be witnessed up and down the rugged coast, and we longed to see it ourselves. We had considered doing the drive with whatever rental car we got, but once we had the Mustang, there was absolutely no stopping us. What better way to cruise down one of America’s most beautiful roads, than with the top down and the breeze in your hair? I can’t think of one!
So, we woke up early one morning, had some coffee and a quick breakfast, and then hit the road.
We hopped right on Rt. 1 in Santa Cruz and followed it all the way down to Big Sur. It’s about a 2 hour drive if you go straight through, but we made several stops along the way, so it took us several, lovely hours. We were in no rush!
One of the first places we decided to check out on this southerly trek was
17 Mile Drive on the Monterey Peninsula.
This scenic route winds through Pacific Grove and the Pebble Beach community, offering up tremendous coastal views. Non-residents are required to pay a fee on this toll road (I think it was $10 or so for us), but I think the price is well worth it. (Look at it as if you’re paying to enter a beautiful state park or something similar.)
We were given a pamphlet/map upon entrance to 17 Mile Drive, which turned out to be pretty useful. It was marked with assorted places of interest, including overlooks, parking areas, restrooms, and more.
We got a little turned around at one point, searching for a restroom marked on the map, and we ended up in a peaceful neighborhood off of the main street. We drove around the block, gazing at the charming homes and well-kept yards. As we slowly made our way around the neighborhood, we were shocked when a family of deer exited a nearby yard and crossed the street in front of us! Mama and her babies looked right at us. They stopped to nibble at some grass near the edge of the road, and then entered another yard out of our line of sight. What a lovely experience!
Along with the sweet deer we saw, we got to see a lot of other cool creatures, too.
We think the little sweetie below was either pregnant or very, very interested in food...How cute is she?
Bird Rock certainly lived up to its name. We saw hundreds of sea birds, including cormorants. We also saw our first wild sea lions here! There were loads of them living harmoniously (albeit loudly!) with their bird friends. Can you spy them in the photo below?
At Otter Cove, we got to see our first wild otters! A lot of them! (Otters are one of our absolute favorite animals, so this was very exciting for us!)
I adore the way they float around on their backs with their heads, bellies, paws, and tails poking up out of the water. There were quite a few of these little munchkins floating around in the kelp. (I wish I could have zoomed in on them a little more clearly.)
Along with the otters, there was a lone sea lion sunning himself on the algae covered rocks.
We liked that we had lots of opportunities to pull off of the road and take everything in. We were able to stretch our legs and get some great photos in the process.
Once we had seen everything we wanted to on 17 Mile Drive, we took a few back roads to Carmel and Carmel by the Sea. There, we took in even more incredible views of the ocean and discussed our desire to revisit this place some day. After that, we made our way back to Rt 1 and continued on down the road.
So there you have it. If you're ever in or around the Monterey/Carmel area, I suggest taking a ride around 17 Mile Drive. It really is a beautiful area, with a lot of great things to see.
Make a day out of it and pack a picnic lunch to bring along. The only problem you might have is picking the best spot to stop and eat - There are loads to choose from!
Also, if you do choose to visit, please bear in mind that motorcycles are prohibited from driving on 17 Mile Drive.
Have you ever driven the 17 Mile Drive? What did you think of it? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts!