17 Mile Drive??

Old Jun 19th, 2005, 05:45 AM
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17 Mile Drive??

Hi Everyone - I have from around 9-5PM to drive from Carmel to San Simeon in July. Planning to hike at Pt. Lobos, stop at Pfeiffer & Julia Pfeiffer St Park and maybe a few other stops as time permits. Would you recommend doing 17 Mile Drive within this timeframe or skipping it? I am getting a lot of mixed reviews - the guide books say that this is one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline - others say skip it if you're not a golf fan. I am not a golf fan Is this something that everyone just has to do while they are driving down the coast or are there other much prettier coastal areas on the drive down?? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!! - Laura
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Old Jun 19th, 2005, 06:26 AM
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I definitely think it's "worth" it - but I don't think you have enough time.

If you want to stop and hike at some of the other glorious places along your route - you won't have time for the 1 to 2 hours you need to enjoy the 17 mile drive.
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Old Jun 19th, 2005, 06:46 AM
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It's more of a must-do for those who don't drive Highway 1 through Big Sur (and preferably on to Santa Monica). Stretches of Highway 1 equal or exceed the beauty of 17 Mile Drive.

I was blown away by 17 Mile Drive when I first drove it over 50 years ago. However, since then locals' understandable efforts to protect the drive have drained the experience of fun and discovery.

You do not need to be a golfer to enjoy the drive; however, you can enjoy the beauty of the coast elsewhere.
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Old Jun 19th, 2005, 07:01 AM
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It looked over-hyped when we were first drivng through the expensive homes UNTIL we hit the ocean part with the waves breaking.. it was absolutely spectacular....and I would do it again.
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Old Jun 19th, 2005, 07:01 AM
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I think you should include it. We made this same drive in about 6 hours a few years ago, so I think you should have time. We didn't do any hiking, but we stopped at a lot of overlooks.
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Old Jun 19th, 2005, 07:24 AM
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I would skip it since you'll see plenty of dramatic coast line on your drive. If you're up for hiking, Point Lobos is much more worthwhile.
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Old Jun 19th, 2005, 07:28 AM
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Yes, do the 17 Mile Drive and then form your own opinion. Have a meal at Roy's and you will be reimbursed for your gate fee. It's gorgeous, enjoy and take it slow! ***kim***
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Old Jun 19th, 2005, 08:18 AM
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If you choose to take 17-Mile Drive, you'll want to drive up Highway One to the Pacific Grove gate -- so you will be on the ocean side of The Drive (best views).

Yes, you have time to take the drive. But I agree with those who tell you to skip it and enjoy yourself instead at Pt. Lobos (equally spectacular views), and all the various scenic points on your way to San Simeon.

Be sure to take a break at Nepenthe -- and the tiny blink-and-you'll-miss-it restaurant in Lucia. We've stayed in their cabins...an unforgettable adventure.

Here's a great website for anyone driving through or to Big Sur -- directions, details, and photos:
http://jrabold.net/bigsur/road.htm
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Old Jun 19th, 2005, 09:04 AM
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Here's the post I started after our visit a number of years ago. The only plus is that I've learned to ask WHY something is a "must-see". 17 mile drive definately wasn't-for us-but other's disagree, and that's fine!

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...id=1&tid=97046

~Liz
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Old Jun 19th, 2005, 10:57 AM
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As someone who travels from the Pacific Grove gate to The Lodge at Pebble Beach around three to four times a week,I think that you could skip the drive,given your planned itinerary.

Spend the extra time at Point Lobos,and the other Parks on Highway 1 that you mentioned.The views fom the highway are just as spectacular as any view you will see on 17 mile Drive.

Also seeing as you are going to be on the coast in July,fog can be a real hinderance to seeing any view at all.So even if you want to do the Drive if its foggy at all save your money and forget the Drive.
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Old Jun 19th, 2005, 11:32 AM
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As you can see opinions vary--I'm in the skip it opinion column, it is not something I consider a must do. I'm not a golf fan and I'm not the kind of person who likes to look at expensive homes. The whole thing is just not my cup of tea. I would rather spend time at Point Lobos. But people will ask if you went and others will insist that you mustn't miss it. A must see is something you will be sorry you didn't see--i.e. Point Lobos. The 17 mile drive is not something you will regret not having seen.
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Old Jun 19th, 2005, 05:16 PM
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Thanks for the advice. Lots of differing opinions here, but I will sort through all of your MUCH APPRECIATED comments here and let you know what I decide. One factor that will help me make my final decision is, how long does the normal drive from Carmel to San Simeon take if you're not stopping?? That will help me determine how much "leisure" time I will have to hike and pull off for lookout points. It's tough to tell exactly how long the drive will take us since I know you have to drive really slow. Thanks again everyone!!
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Old Jun 20th, 2005, 01:41 PM
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According to Yahoo maps, the 90 mile drive will take 2 hours and 4 minutes. I think it would be ashame if you didn't give 2 hours to Point Lobos and then plan a lunch stop somewhere (Rocky Point? Nepenthe?). Take your time. It's a gorgeous drive.
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Old Jun 20th, 2005, 05:10 PM
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Seventeen mile drive was a very easy choice as the most overrated attraction that we saw on our last wonderful trip to that area of California. Don't confuse it with other coast drives that contain scenic and often breathtaking views, or contain opportunities to hike a short distance from the car to find a picture-perfect waterfall on the edge of the ocean, such as one found in Julia Pfeiffer State Park.

In 17 mile drive, you'll find yourself driving a one way obvoiusly man made loop that skirts along a golf course, unimpressive coastline, and the backs and ocasionally the fronts of some very expensive homes. It is time consuming and can be hot, since there's little shade or overhanging trees.

If this is your first trip to this part of California, and you plan on shopping, dining, nite life, and golf and not much else, then this is the scenic drive for you. If you have the time to visit San Simeon and drive the coast road, you'll see the kind of breathtaking beauty that the 17 mile drive claims, but ultimately falls woefully short of. Spend the time booking an aditional tour at San Simeon, or exploring the beautiful coast along the way. Golfers, feel free to disagree.

Best of luck.
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Old Jun 20th, 2005, 06:40 PM
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I'm with you Amber. I first drove the drive in 1957 while stationed at Fort Ord. It was unspoiled. Great. Time has taken its toll, and Highway 1 is so fabulous.
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