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Monterey Peninsula: Pebble Beach, California

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 credit
Photo: Sean Arbabi
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. 

TO DO 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 nine-hole par-3 Peter Hay Golf Course. All three courses are open to the public.

You can enter 17-Mile Drive through any one of several gates between Pacific Grove and Carmel-by-the-Sea. (The $10.25 vehicle entrance fee is reimbursed if you spend $35 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; one of the most scenic ones snakes along the coast from Bird Rock to Pacific Grove.

SLEEPS 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 $900. Digs at the Inn at Spanish Bay start at $790. 

EATS More than 120 chefs and 250 winemakers head to the resort for cooking demonstrations, dinners, and more at the annual Pebble Beach Food & Wine (April 5-8, 2018). Other times, dining options range from elegant to sports casual. Pèppoli at Pebble Beach at the Inn at Spanish Bay tops the list for Italian fare, with such pasta dishes as fettuccini with sautéed bay scallops and salt cod in garlic white wine sauce, and osso buco with a Chianti wine and lemon gremolata. At Stillwater Bar & Grill you can savor Dungeness crab cakes and hamachi crudo while watching the 18th hole at Pebble Beach. Golfers and nongolfers alike can grab a sandwich or burger at Spyglass Hill Grill. Another option: put together a picnic at Pebble Beach Market. 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. 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. 

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 updated in March 2018. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.