Pebble Beach

California, U.S.A.

Starfish Rating of 3.5

Claim to Fame

On one of the most scenic highways in the world, Route 1, that runs along the Pacific coast; home of actor/director Clint Eastwood, former mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea; location of top golf courses, home (depending on the year) to the U.S. Open Golf Tournament.

(click image to enlarge)
image courtesy of Holden Ackerman
  • Where is it?on the Monterey Peninsula, on the Pacific coast 45 miles (72 kilometers) south of Santa Cruz and 120 miles (193 kilometers) south of San Francisco
  • Coordinates: latitude» 36.5656°
    longitude» -121.941°
  • Water Type: saltwater
  • Climate: Mediterranean with lots of sunshine all year
  • Development: small city with beachfront areas
  • Length of Beach: beach areas in this vicinity are broken up; there is no one main stretch of beach
  • Type: pebbles, wet sand in some areas, grainy sand within the water
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Pebble Beach is made to measure for those who love golf, tranquility, great food and wine, and a shoreline that offers photographic opportunities more than a quick dip in the ocean. Off the coast, migrating whales and seals can be seen, and in the harbor areas, especially in Monterey Bay, otters play in the surf. This is a series of beaches and rocky outcrops made for exploring, hiking, shooting photographs and sketching breathtaking scenery.

Bordered by pretty Carmel-by-the-Sea, Pacific Grove, the city of Monterey, and the grand Pacific Ocean, the rugged coastline is an ideal place to stare at the sea and dream. This is an affluent community of less than 5,000 (other region towns boast about the same population, so collectively the Peninsula has a good-sized population); most residents are retired. This is not the best location for a family vacation if you have young children; the orientation of the region is toward older adults.

The setting is spectacular, with pink-toned granite outcrops that glow to orange in the sunset, bold waves, and a string of dramatically featured beaches that are comprised of pebbles and muddy-type sand. Certain stretches of beach are tucked into small indents and coves, and are suitable for swimming.

The U.S. Open is held at top-ranked Pebble Beach Golf Course every few years, and there are seven fabulous golf courses in the immediate vicinity; five of them are open to the public (book your tee times early!). The public courses include Del Monte Golf Course, Pebble Beach Golf Links, The Links at Spanish Bay, Spyglass Hill and Poppy Hills.

Another big draw for Pebble Beach is the annual Concours d’Elegance automobile show that has been held there since 1950. One of the top classic car shows in the world, it features antique automobiles and automotive art, and offers vintage car tours and a classic car auction. Festivities culminate at nearby Laguna Seca raceway with the Monterey Historic Automobile Races.

Within short drives are classic Spanish churches, a Buddhist monastery (visitors are welcome to join the residents for meditation), museums, art galleries and one of the finest aquariums in America. Be careful as you drive around the Monterey Peninsula because some smaller forms of wildlife tend to dart out; signs are posted here and there that politely state: Please watch for newts crossing the road.

Pebble Beach is a golfers’ paradise, a nature-lovers’ treat and a scenic wonder exactly replicated nowhere else in the western hemisphere. It’s a great escape, especially for retired or older adults seeking the refinements of the good life.

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