The 17-mile Drive is a natural wonder that has remained almost untouched for more than 100 years. Today, visitors can drive from vista to vista, park, and admire the infinite patterns of trees and waves breaking on rocks whose edges have been rounded over the centuries. The sea lions, birds, tide pools, and views are virtually the same as they must have looked to well-heeled guests of the bygone Hotel Del Monte during the advent of the motor car in the early 1900s Downton Abbey-era during 17-mile pleasure excursions, looking perhaps at land offered for sale by the Pacific Investment Company for construction of a small mansion. We feel the best way to see the 17-mile drive is from Pacific Grove to Carmel, during the middle of the day. Most of the coastline faces west, so it would be good to finish before late afternoon to avoid shooting photographs directly into the sun. It costs a bit less than $10 to enter the 17 Mile Drive which covers the maintenance of the many turn-outs and parking areas, where visitors stare at the movement of the waves, walk out on rocks, or photograph beggar squirrels. The golf pro shops and building complex for residents and golfers close to the Carmel side area includes several large parking areas, a coffee shop, the Gallery, a grocery store, banks, bathrooms, a souvenir store and real estate companies that display photos of gorgeous houses for sale on the coastline in the hundred million dollar range. The best bargain, of course, is the 17-mile drive for less than $10.
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