Scenic Drives of Carmel-by-the-Sea
The world-renowned scenic drives of Monterey County are legends unto themselves. Whether you are looking to spend the day cruising down Highway 1 to Big Sur or a quick spin through Pebble beach, these are trips that will stay with you long after your time on the road is over.
California Highway 1
Known by a number of different names such as Pacific Coast Route 1 and Big Sur Coast Highway, California Highway One is a historic scenic drive. It has been hailed by London’s Sunday Times as “One of the world’s best drives,” and National Geographic Traveler has called it the “Drive of a Lifetime.” Others like Lonely Planet, SmarterTravel, and Forbes have ranked it as “One of the best scenic drives in the U.S.”
This exciting experience features twists and turns, and it takes about 45 minutes to finish the 26-mile trek. You will start off in Carmel and dip through Garrapata State Park, Bixby Bridge, and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park in Big Sur. This end is best known for its mountainside roads that appear to almost lead right into the Pacific Ocean itself.
Expect to see the towering redwood groves, violent waves crashing on rough rocks, and many animals along the way. It is something that simply needs to top your bucket list.
17-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach
The Pebble Beach drive is known as being another one of the world’s most scenic drives. This 17-mile landmark of a road begins at the bottom of Ocean Avenue in Carmel, not even a mile from the Carmel Green Lantern Inn. You will see dream mansions, the world-renowned golf course and lodge at Pebble Beach, and many coastline splendors like the Del Monte Forest. A fee is required to actually enter the forest, but it is worth every penny.
Scenic Drive Through Carmel
Let us not forget Carmel itself. This town has its fair share of beautiful sights, and Carmel-by-the-Sea packs a lot into its one square mile. Expect to spend anywhere from a half hour to two hours, especially if you are taking in the diverse art and culture in Carmel.
Almost as soon as you step out of the Inn, you can expect to see the jarringly blue Pacific Coast. A block away on Ocean Avenue, you will see the cottages that appear to be plucked from a fairytale. The further you head down the road, the more beaches and ocean vistas you will pass. A few more blocks and you are at the gates of Clint Eastwood’s Mission Ranch, and if you’re lucky you might even catch a glimpse of the star himself.
Drive for 1 mile up Highway One North, take Ocean Ave exit and you are back into Carmel downtown district, much-lauded downtown district. A drive like this will surely work up an appetite so be sure to stop by one of the many restaurants in the area.