17 Mile Drive: If you only do one thing during your visit to Carmel Valley, take a trip along 17 Mile Drive. Arguably one of the most famous stretches of road anywhere, this legendary bit of highway winds around a breathtaking tract of the Pacific coastline. Travel it at the risk of becoming intoxicated with the sheer beauty and magic of it all: crooked cypress trees, blown into submission by searing winds, arch over the land, and magnificent icy blue waves smash violently against rocky scraps of beach. You’re likely to spot the elegant silhouette of a deer (or five) prancing elegantly along the edge of the forest. The houses that line the road aren’t too shabby, either; stone mansions and dramatic castles make the most of the amazing view, but visitors get a suitable piece of it, too: there are several viewing spots along the road where you can easily pull your car over and jump out to snap a few photos or simply breathe in a few lungfuls of sea air. The immediate surrounding area is called Pebble Beach, so named because people used to collect shiny pebbles that washed ashore on the beaches. Those pebbles attracted quite a following, and now this area is a destination spot for wealthy golfers from around the world who tee up for the most awe-inspiring eighteen holes on the West Coast. The water and air and ambience combine to create a kind of tonic that people travel thousands of miles for, so enjoy every single inch of it. We wouldn’t think remiss of you if you chose to dawdle over these precious seventeen miles for an entire day…

Carmel Mission Basilica:


The Carmen Mission Basilica has an important place in California history: it was founded by Padre Junipero Serra, a monk from the order of the Franciscan Friars who came over from in the late 1700’s and was later named “The Apostle of California.” The mission is set on stunning grounds, with views of the ocean from all directions. Several rooms have been restored to their bygone glory, including the original library that was supposedly the first library in California, containing over 2,000 volumes by 1820. Mass is still served in the chapel, and grounds make a spectacular place to explore and reflect.


Monarch butterflies in the fall:


Every fall, the monarch butterflies travel 2,500 miles to Pacific Grove, a tiny town situated just north of Carmel, where an elaborate mating ritual commences. The brightly colored pairs find each other and join for a glorious (but brief) few moments, and then separate. The females lay their eggs on the many milkweed bushes that are scattered throughout the San Joaquin Valley, an exhausting process that ends in the death of the female when all the eggs have been properly placed. And then the cycle begins again… The annual aggregation of the butterflies (usually during the first couple weeks of October) is a vision not to be missed, and the town of Pacific Grove commemorates the event with a festival in their honor.

Additional Information


Carmel Mission Basilica
3080 Rio Road
Carmel, CA 93923



Friends of the Monarchs



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