An Introduction To Big Sur, Carmel & Monterey, California
I know the feeling. Because I get it myself.
Whenever I watch an event and see beauty shots of the surrounding area, I always think “that looks great, I would love to know more about that place.”
Golf, with its paradise locations and historic courses – from Hawaii to Augusta and the British Open – is especially intriguing from a travel standpoint.
Perhaps no place stands out like Pebble Beach, California, site of the 2019 U.S. Open. And as you watch drives sail across – and sometimes into – the beach and Pacific Ocean, you may be justifiably wondering what it’s really like at that gorgeous location.
That’s the point of this article, to explain what US Open Golf TV viewers should know about Pebble Beach on the California coast.
Where Exactly Is Pebble Beach? Is It Closer To San Francisco Or L.A.?
Pebble Beach in the northern part of Central California, a tiny area tucked into Monterey County and along Monterey Bay. It’s as gorgeous in person as it looks on television. It is about four hours up a scenic coastline from San Francisco – up past Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay – and if you drive the famous Pacific Coast Highway, it’s about 10 hours from Los Angeles. The less scenic (but still interesting ) drive on Highway 101 is about two-and-a-half hours from San Francisco and six to L.A.
The 17-Mile Drive And The Lone Cypress Tree
Other than the golf course and incredible coastal scenery, Pebble Beach’s landmark is the 17-mile drive, which rolls through a forest of tall trees on the way to the ocean. It’s home to the famous Lone Cypress tree, one of the most photographed trees in North America. It was recently damaged in a storm and lost a branch. This tree only grows in Monterey County and Point Lobos and has been the trademark of the Pebble Beach Golf Links since 1919.
Pebble Beach And It’s Relation To Carmel And Monterey
You will often hear the announcers talk about Carmel and Monterey and to give you a lay of the land, Pebble Beach is between the two. Carmel is the town – Pebble Beach has no town and is really a community of coastline and golf courses – while Monterey is about 15 minutes to the north.
In between Pebble Beach and Monterey is another scenic costal town, Pacific Grove. Carmel is adjacent to the Pebble Beach golf course and you can walk into its quaint town from it. This is where many people will be after the tournament each day and why PubClub has this article on the best 19th hole bars of Carmel.
Just south of Pebble Beach (and Carmel) is even more spectacular scenery, the start (from north to south, anyway) of the famous Pacific Coast Highway, one best scenic drives in the world. You only have to go 15 minutes south of Carmel to get to it and the primary feature here is huge cliffs plunging into the Pacific Ocean. There are also tall trees that put you in a forest less than a mile from the ocean. Famed nature photographer Ansel Adams made his home in Big Sur, which is a pretty good endorsement of the place.
The Monterey County Wine Country
It is my opinion that, about seven to eight years ago, the Monterey County wine growers got kind of ticked off at all the attention Napa and Sonoma were getting and put their feet down. On a bunch of grapes.
Suddenly, wineries and wine tasting rooms were everywhere. So much so that I only halfway joke that you can’t walk outside your hotel room without someone putting a glass of wine in your hand. Or, as is the case at the family-run Hofas House in Carmel, in your hand when you walk into your room.
There are wineries all along Highway 101, a little village of wineries has sprung up in Carmel Valley but better yet, there’s a dozen wine tasting rooms in Carmel which you can experience on the Carmel Wine Walk and several more Monterey wine tasting rooms.
Be prepared to drink a lot of wine when you visit Pebble Beach, Carmel and Monterey.
So yes, Pebble Beach is as nice as it looks like on TV. In fact, it’s even better. Hopefully you will get to experience it sometime in person rather than seeing it on television during a golf tournament.