The 17-mile drive is one of the must sees on the Monterey peninsula, so as most tourists we decided to pay the access fee and take the drive.
Views of the coastline are certainly beautiful, but in all honesty you can get similar views all along the coastline, on roads that do not charge entrance fees. Along the 17-mile drive you also get a peek at the golf courses and the houses surrounding them, which however didn't interest us too much.
As on the entire coast, you don't really see that much if fog from the Pacific covers up the coastline, so check the weather before doing the drive.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.