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Monterey Peninsula: Pebble Beach, Calif.

Iconic attractions lure visitors to this resort town: golf courses, fine dining, and 17-Mile Drive.

Pacific harbor seals near Pebble Beach, California, image
Photo caption
Pacific harbor seals rest in a rookery near Pebble Beach, California.

Avid golfers don’t need convincing. Pebble Beach boasts some of the most challenging and beautiful golf courses in the world. Several are open to the public, giving visitors a chance to play where the world’s greatest golf pros have competed. The big attraction for non-duffers is 17-Mile Drive, which threads its way along the rocky coastline and up into the pine and cypress forests. The most iconic sight along the way is the much-photographed 250-year-old “Lone Cypress,” perched on its rocky outpost overlooking the ocean. Pebble Beach Resorts, 647-7500, Area code is 831 except as noted.

The most famous place to tee off is Pebble Beach Golf Links. The most challenging, pros say, is Spyglass Hill Golf Course. Less experienced putters can test their skills at the par-3 Peter Hay Golf Course. All three courses are open to the public. For information and reservations: (800) 654-9300, You can enter 17-Mile Drive through any one of several gates between Pacific Grove and Carmel-by-the-Sea. The $9.50 entrance fee is reimbursed if you spend $25 in one of the restaurants. Although most people drive the route, bicyclists flock here, too, to enjoy the views at a slower pace. Rental bikes are available at a variety of locations in Monterey. Pebble Beach also has many hiking trails, a well-kept secret because maps aren’t available. One of the most scenic ones snakes along the coast from Bird Rock to Pacific Grove.

As you’d expect, the accommodations at Pebble Beach are luxurious—a major splurge for most budgets. Rooms at the Lodge at Pebble Beach begin at $695. Digs at the Inn at Spanish Bay start at $595. For reservations: (800) 654-9300,

Pebble Beach dining ranges from elegant to sports casual. Club XIX at the Pebble Beach Lodge tops the list for luxury, with a tasting menu that includes egg and caviar, Dover sole with basil risotto, and crème-fraîche panna cotta. 625-8519. At Stillwater Bar & Grill you can savor Dungeness crab cakes and roasted local artichokes while watching the 18th hole at Pebble Beach. 625-8524. Golfers and nongolfers alike can grab a sandwich or burger at Spyglass Hill Grill. 624-3811, ext. 5445. Another option: put together a picnic at Pebble Beach Market. 1700 17-Mile Drive, 625-8528. In the evenings, Roy’s at Pebble Beach, at the Inn at Spanish Bay, is a local favorite for its inventive mix of Hawaiian-Asian cuisine. 647-7423. Linger long enough on the Inn’s terrace to watch the sun set over Carmel Bay. Even when the fog blows in, as it often does, the fire pits on the terrace provide welcoming warmth.

Photography by Sean Arbabi

Check out the rest of our Monterey Peninsula package:
Carmel-by-the-Sea: art galleries, elegant boutiques, and a dog beach
Carmel Valley: award-winning wineries and sunny weather
Monterey: the Monterey Bay Aquarium and more
Pacific Grove: Victorian homes and a lively main street
Seaside and Sand City: sweet beaches and a happening art scene

This article was first published in February 2011. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.