The 17 Mile Drive is one of the most scenic and famous drives in not only California but the entire United States. It hugs the Pacific Ocean as it winds itself through the Del Monte Forest, golf courses, and luxury homes. Get ready to see the most beautiful coastline, Lone Cypress tree, and more fun on the 17 Mile Drive by bike in Pebble Beach!
The beach views are awe-inspiring and home to many seals, birds, otters, and deer. This section of the California coast is graced by numerous Monterey Cypress trees including the remarkable “Lone Pine”.
Since 1881, people have enjoyed meandering 17 Mile Drive originally by horse and carriage and now by bike or car.
Where Is 17 Mile Drive?
17 Mile Drive is a stretch of road that caresses the coastline of the Pacific Ocean in Northern California.
The road starts in Pacific Grove and goes through the community of Pebble Beach before dropping you off in Carmel. This famous route is commonly referred to as Pebble Beach 17 Mile Drive.
I would consider this area of California on the border between the middle of the state and Northern California. It is an excellent drive to end a Big Sur Road Trip coming from Los Angeles or vice versa if coming from San Francisco.
If you are driving south down from San Francisco expect it to take 2 hours to get to the 17 Mile Drive entrance. Whether you choose to drive or bike the 17 Mile Drive be aware that the traffic can get overwhelming on summer weekends.
The closest airport to fly into would be the Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) followed by San Francisco International Airport (SFO).
If you can, go during the week but if you can’t, get an early start on the weekend. No matter when you go, riding a bike is nice as you can stop whenever you want and not have to worry about a traffic jam.
Are you flying into California and need a rental car? If so, find the best deal on car rentals here so that you can explore this gorgeous region of CA!
Where Does The 17 Mile Drive Start?
There are a few places that you can enter onto the drive but I recommend starting where the 17 Mile Drive crosses Lighthouse Ave in Pacific Grove.
If you stay on 17 Mile Drive, you will arrive at the Pacific Grove Gate right after you cross Sunset Drive (also known as Route 68).
Once at the gate there is an entrance fee of $10.50 per vehicle. The good news is that entry for people on bikes is free!
At the gate, you can get a map and ask any questions you might have from the attendant.
Although you could plow through the 17 miles pretty quickly, make this a day event and take your time. That way you can stop at your leisure, eat lunch, and relax in the California Coast’s beauty.
Where To Stay
The best areas to stay is in Monterey, Pacific Grove, or Carmel. And if budget isn’t an option then a stay in Pebble Beach is a great option!
InterContinental The Clement – border of Pacific Grove & Monterey and along the ocean.
Lighthouse Lodge & Cottages – a boutique hotel in Pacific Grove next to the Point Pinos Lighthouse
The Lodge at Pebble Beach – along the 17 Mile Drive across from the Visitor Center along the beach.
Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa – border of Pacific Grove & Monterey
La Playa Carmel – located in Carmel and a few blocks from the beach.
If you live close enough or taking a road trip to California bring your own bike! But if that isn’t an option, there are a few places where you can rent a regular bike or an electric bike.
The electric bike would definitely make the ride a little easier! Enjoy this guided 17 Mile Drive by bike tour and hop onto an electric bike for a fun tour that includes a bike rental!
If you would rather go at your own pace then both of these bike rental shops offer rentals.
Address: 125 Ocean View Blvd #122, Pacific Grove, CA 93950
Address: 624 Ocean View Blvd, Pacific Grove, CA 93950
Tips For Cycling 17 Mile Drive
- If you choose to complete the drive by car, you can get your entry fee reimbursed if you spend over $35 at one of the restaurants (Ex. The Bench at The Lodge at Pebble Beach).
- It should be obvious but bring a camera! Strap a GoPro on and capture the whole ride. Oh and no drones are allowed…
- The public restrooms are only located next to the Bird Rock stop (#8 below) and at the Pebble Beach Visitor Center (#15 below). So, I recommend going before you start so you aren’t trying to sprint your way to the first one.
- Pack a lunch as there are a number of picnic tables along the road and noted whether available under each stop below.
- Stay hydrated and carry water in this reusable water bottle!
- Luckily there are clear signs for every stop on 17 Mile Drive and a good amount of information on what you see before you.
- The ocean along most of the drive is very rough, so take caution if you want to take a dip in the water.
- Bring a light jacket or windbreaker as it can be cold and windy even when the sun is out.
- Bring sunscreen, a collapsible hat, and sunglasses as you don’t want to burn!
- Access to 17 Mile Drive is available from sunrise to sunset.
17 Mile Drive Bike Route
1. Fuel Up On Breakfast
Start out your bike ride with a good meal that will give you the fuel to power through and bike the 17 Mile Drive! Plus, you won’t have to feel guilty if you indulge a little as you will likely burn plenty of calories. Well, maybe a few less if you are on an electric bike! A few places to try are:
- Crepes of Brittany – 211 Alvarado Street, Monterey, CA 93940 (opens at 7:00 am)
- First Awakenings – 125 Ocean View Blvd, Pacific Grove, CA 93950 (opens at 7:00 am)
- Pavel’s Bakerei – 219 Forest Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950 (opens at 7:00 am)
2. Visit Lover’s Point
Lover’s Point isn’t part of the 17 Mile Drive but it is located near the beginning and worth taking a look at. Go in the morning to avoid the crowds and an excellent spot to enjoy the sunrise.
From the beach walk up along the path through the park out to the rocky outcrop known as Lover’s Point.
Lover’s Point Park and the beach in front of it are popular for picnicking, surfing, swimming, and kayaking. Although the water might be cold, it is a popular spot for scuba diving!
The water here is one of a few protected marine preserves along the coast near Monterey which means no fishing allowed.
On a clear day, you can see up north to Monterey Bay and take in the stunning views around you.
If you are a fan of marine life but don’t want to get wet then don’t miss out on seeing the Monterey Bay Aquarium just a few miles away that is one of the best to see!
In the park, take notice of the large Monterey cypress trees that are popular along this stretch of California coastline. I love their distinctive look! If you are looking to do a photoshoot or get married in the outdoors, this is a picturesque spot…
Address: 631 Ocean View Blvd, Pacific Grove, CA
3. Point Pinos Lighthouse
About a 5-minute drive or about 10 minutes on bike from Lover’s Point is the Point Pinos Lighthouse. Just follow the Ocean View Blvd and turn left on Asilomar Ave. The lighthouse will be on your right within a few minutes.
I was crushed when I pulled up to realize that the lighthouse has very limited hours. But I did peek through the fence and take a few photos at what looks like an adorable lighthouse.
And it just happens to be the oldest operating lighthouse on the West Coast! Since 1855 that is… If you happen to go by when they are open, then you can take a tour of the lighthouse for $5.00.
Hours: Open Monday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm and 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Saturdays. It is closed to visitors on Tuesday and Wednesdays.
Address: 80 Asilomar Ave, Pacific Grove, CA
4. Spanish Bay Beach
Spanish Bay Beach is the first stop as you bike along 17 Mile Drive after you pass the Pacific Grove entrance gate.
It is also home to the Inn at Spanish Bay and The Links at Spanish Bay (golf course). If you didn’t know it yet, this area is extremely famous for golfing.
After Spanish explorers accidentally stumbled on this location in 1769 in hopes that they had reached Monterey Bay, the name Spanish Bay stayed.
Although you are likely getting in enough cardio on the bike, Spanish Bay Beach is a great spot to walk along the shore.
Tip: Picnic Area available
5. The Restless Sea
Well, it doesn’t take much research to understand the name behind this spot along the 17 Mile Drive!
The waves crashing the shore at The Restless Sea stop are very rough waters. It seems more angry than restless to me… It is not a spot I would recommend for a swim as there are a bunch of rocks here.
6. Point Joe
Some of the first sailors to the area thought this point was the entrance to Monterey Bay that is further north. Because of that, several shipwrecks were common unfortunately.
Later in the early 1900s, a guy named Joe lived right on this point in a driftwood hut and sold random items to visiting tourists. And since then it has been referred to as Point Joe. I have to admit, he picked a beautiful spot to call home!
7. China Rock
A little further down from Point Joe, is China Rock. It is said that back in the 1800s there used to be a Chinese fishing village here. I didn’t take a photo of this as it didn’t look like much to see other than a pile of rocks that served as the place where they cooked their food.
Note: A little past China Rock is a Picnic Area.
8. Bird Rock
Bird Rock is a large rock formation right off the coastline in Pebble Beach that has a ton of birds hanging out on it.
No shocker how it got its name as it is quite the popular spot for birds to gather. And with that many birds on it, it is no surprise that there is an extensive amount of bird poop!
The bird droppings give Bird Rock its whitish coloring. Many sea lions like to lay on the rock and bask in the sun. During the months from November to March, keep your eyes open for potential grey whales that might be migrating by!
Tip: Both Restrooms and a Picnic Area are available.
9. Seal Rock
Once you get to Seal Rock, this is a great spot to take a short walk along the sandy beach near the mouth of Seal Rock Creek. If the tide is low, explore the tide pools and see what kind of sea life you can find.
Just like with Bird Rock, Seal Rock is just off the shoreline and is home to both seals and birds. You will likely hear the Sea Lions before you see them as they can get loud.
If you want to get a great close up photo, bring a telephoto lens with a great zoom on it. And don’t be surprised if you find this area a bit smelly, that’s the wildlife for you!
Tip: Picnic Area available
10. Fanshell Beach Overlook
Fanshell Beach is a prime habitat for the Harbor Seal pupping season along the California coast.
For that reason, this area is closed to the public from April 1st to June 1st as that is the season for the pupping.
For those that are curious as to what “pupping” is, it is the time of year when the momma seals come to have their babies on the beach here. If it isn’t pupping season, it is a nice small beach with calm waters to dip your feet into.
11. Cypress Point Lookout
The Cypress Point Lookout is right around the bend from Fanshell Beach and another spot that is known for Harbor Seal pupping.
It is also a great place to watch the sunset or take in gorgeous views at any time of the day.
As you leave and continue on 17 Mile Drive, you will see Crocker Grove on the opposite side of the road.
It is a grove of Monterey Cypress Trees that look like they have had better days. I think it is from the wind that the trees look a little weathered and haggard.
But it could also be what comes with age! The Monterey Cypress trees in Crocker Grove are some of the biggest and oldest in the world. Named after Charles Crocker who created the 17 Mile Drive back in 1881.
12. Gawk At Mansions
As you drive through the Del Monte Forest, gawk at the very grand seaside mansions that are nestled within the cypress trees. Most of the homes are behind gates but you can see the magnificent houses that have stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.
I don’t think I would ever get tired of the view, do you? Over the years, the extremely wealthy including movie stars and heirs have lived on this swanky street. I would venture to guess that the cheapest house would be around $15 or $20 million dollars.
Note: The mega mansions along the 17 Mile are part of a private community so do be respectful and do not disturb the residents. If you are lucky, you might even see a deer crossing the road!
13. The Lone Cypress Tree
By far The Lone Cypress Tree is the most famous stop as you bike along the 17 Mile Drive and it might be one of the most photographed trees in the United States!
It is a small tree but it has the perseverance and mighty will to withstand extreme winds, storms, fire, and time over 250 years!
Although it has lost a limb and needs cables to keep it upright, it stands proudly perched on a rock jutting into the Pacific Ocean.
There is a good chance that you have seen this beautiful Monterey Cypress as it is the logo for Pebble Peach and is iconic to the California coast. In fact, it has been the logo for the Pebble Beach Resorts since 1919!
As this is such a popular spot, you have an advantage of seeing the 17 Mile Drive by bike as you don’t need to worry about finding a parking spot!
14. Ghost Trees
At Pescadero Point are the Ghost Trees that have a spooky and haunted feel to them. Luckily, I was there on a sunny day so they didn’t look too menacing.
The Cypress Trees here look like they have been painted white or bleached. I found out they are indeed bleached but by the sun.
It is said to be haunted by the Lady in Lace walking barefoot when the fog drifts in and out. There are several stories as to who she is and why she wanders this stretch of 17 Mile Drive…
For those that like to surf, this seems to be a favorite among surfers and famous for its enormous waves around 50 feet!
So not for beginners by any means… As far as big wave spots go, this beach has some of the biggest in the world.
15. Pebble Beach Visitor Center
I admit I was impressed with the Pebble Beach Visitor Center as they have a mini-museum, a gift shop, and a place to get snacks. Oh and bathrooms that I was glad to see!
I don’t know if it is considered an actual museum but it does have several photos and panels with information depicting life on 17 Mile Drive since 1881. Back in the early days, you would only see horse and carriage trotting down the celebrated street.
Across from the visitor center is the prominent The Lodge at Pebble Beach that is the premium place to stay in Pebble Beach and has outstanding ocean views. Since 1929, Pebble Beach has been hosting the most famous golf tournaments in the world that bring the best golfers to play.
Tip: Restrooms available at both the visitor center and The Lodge. Before you visit, check the website to see if there will be any big golf tournaments happening. Unless you are there for golf, I would try to avoid those events.
16. Stillwater Cove
Although Stillwater Cove isn’t officially a stop on the 17 Mile Drive, stop to see it if you have the time. The cove is right next to The Lodge at Pebble Beach (south of it). There is a path that you can take down to the pretty cove and sandy beach.
This is a great little beach if you want to do some sunbathing but do be on the lookout for potential golf balls that could come flying by!
17. Ford Meadow
The Ford Meadow is a wide-open meadow that you will pass as you exit the Hwy 1 Gate. The meadow is dedicated to Robert F. Ford who donated a lot to the Pebble Beach community.
From here you will turn left (north) up through Pebble Beach to where you began. Once on Hwy 1 heading north, turn left onto Sunridge Road and follow until it changes to Lopez Road.
Keep on Lopez Road and stay on as it changes to Sloat Road until you pass by the gate you entered at the start of the day! You will be biking through scenic golf courses on both sides as you make your back.
When To Visit 17 Mile Drive
Overall, you can’t get better year-round weather than in California. California has very mild winters with temperatures not varying too much throughout the year. August and September will be the hottest months and my favorite!
Along the coastline, the temperature highs usually peak in the low to mid 80 degrees during the summer.
During the spring and fall months, the temperatures can range from 50 – 70 degrees on average. And in the winter months, it can range widely from 40 – 68 degrees.
What will likely make it seem colder is if it is a windy day. Even though the weather is pretty awesome all year, I would say July, August, September, October, and November are the best months as there tends to be none or very little fog. During the spring especially, the fog can get thick and take most of the day to burn off.
Where To Eat
The two main places to get a delicious bite to eat and with a killer ocean view is at The Inn at Spanish Bay or The Lodge at Pebble Beach. Since the Lodge at Pebble Beach is towards the end, I highly recommend at least getting a coffee or cocktail at The Bench.
- The Bench @ Lodge at Pebble Beach – offering Modern American food (1700 17 Mile Drive, Pebble Beach, CA)
- The Inn at Spanish Bay – There is Roy’s that offers Hawaiian/Seafood and Peppoli that is Italian food (2700 17 Mile Drive, Pebble Beach, CA)
Have a fun time as you see 17 Mile Drive by bike!
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