Pebble Beach photos
 

Pebble Beach is best known for its luxury resorts, golf courses and stunning 17-Mile Drive tour which passes through the Del Monte forest.  To access this haven, you must enter one of five guard gates in Carmel or Pacific Grove where you pay just less than $10 per car.  As you pass through the shady entry gates, you are also given a brochure with extensive information and a map. 


There are approximately 20 stops along the well marked route, each with a landmark of interest and paved parking for your vehicle.  From the trademark Lone Cypress tree to the Restless Sea, Seal Rock to Spanish Bay and Spyglass Hill, you are guaranteed to get a thrill. The well trodden road was once a trail in which covered wagons carried guests from a hotel to picnic grounds along Pebble Beach over 100 years ago. Though a century has passed, some things are timeless in this enchanted forest.  Today, tourists continue to enjoy the crashing waves that hit rugged rocks below vistas where pine trees frame each photo perfectly.  Picnics are still "in" as are strolls along the sand near Seal Rock lookout.  And golf continues to be the number one sport here for over 80 years. 

 

The public courses include Poppy Hills, home of the Northern California Golf Association, the Links at Spanish Bay which is accessible when you stay at the Inn, Spyglass Hill which was designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., Peter Hay Par-3 Course and famous Pebble Beach Golf Links with the Lodge, shops and dining. 

 

For a luxury treat, dine at the Lodge located a short drive from the Carmel Gate. Nothing can beat a lunch on the patio deck overlooking the 18th hole of Pebble Beach Golf Links. Next, wander behind the Lodge to the row of gift shops where you'll find costs on clothing and souvenirs in line with prices at nearby golf courses and resorts.  You can purchase items beginning around $5, with classic golf shirts, slacks and even spa robes available for under $100. There's a wonderful market with a deli selling sandwiches, sodas and wines and should you be inclined to purchase property in Pebble Beach, a Realty office is located there, as well. 

 

Business must be booming. Agents are all quite busy, numerous houses are in various stages of construction along the 17-mile drive and renovation of castles and mansions appears to be the norm. Perusal of a couple brochures for home listings stated prices ranging from $6 million to around $18 million. While you may think the prices seem steep, you will fall in love with incredible mansions shrouded in trees behind stone gates. Remember that this 17-mile stretch offers a list of who's who in the world of entertainment and wealth. In a land where money flows as freely as the ocean waves, evidence of a recession is not apparent. 

 

For average folks passing through by car or riding one of the bus tours, try not to let the cost of admission prohibit you from exploring the 17-mile drive. It is a lifetime memory.  You can see some comparable sites and vistas at other spots along the coast such as Big Sur, but this user-friendly drive is less intense than Coastal Highway 1. The drive can be done in under an hour but most people stop, get out of their cars at the designated spots and spend time experiencing the joys of nature's beauty in one of the most scenic spots on the whole planet. 

 

Here's a partial list of highlights from the tour:

Shepherd's Knoll  - provides a vista with views of the Monterey Bay and Gabilan mountains

Point Joe - spot where many ships crashed into the rocks, mistaking this for the Monterey Bayy

Bird Rock -  thousands of birds, seals and sea lions on towering off shore rocks. A pair of binoculars would be helpful to see them in their off coast location.

The Lone Cypress - You probably have seen this tree before. It is the trademark for the resort and actually exists, perched on a rock with a supporting cable to keep it from falling.

Fanshell Overlook - provides a vista to a white sand beach where seals moult seasonally

The Ghost Tree - A bleached white Monterey Cypress looks dead as driftwood.  Lighting to photograph it is best in the late afternoon. But look around and notice a forest of bleached white trees along the cliffs. 

Restless Sea -  powerful, crashing waves at this location are created from the underwater rocks at Point Joe