Surfing 17-Mile Drive: Waves That Range ‘From Beginner to World Class’ in Pebble Beach

Surfing legend Kelly Slater is a regular at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. The event tees off every February, and can coincide with Mavericks, the Big Wave surf competition just up the coast in Half Moon Bay that convenes at a Bat Signal’s notice.

Slater often catches himself day-dreaming of the swells he can see off Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Hill Golf Course during the AT&T. He even posted in 2013, “The surf is gonna be really good tomorrow so I’ll try and finish quickly and get in the water…”

Some sweet surf spots can be spotted from Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill Golf Course and The Links at Spanish Bay, as Surfline notes.

“There are million-dollar houses overlooking world-class golf courses overlooking the prettiest coastline you will see anywhere, all lit up by that slanting north Central California light and cloud. God didn’t forget to throw in some surf, and if you look carefully along this rocky coast, you will find surf that ranges from beginner to world class.”

And while surfing in California has an epic reputation, there’s something special about the waves you can catch here.

It seems like the Monterey Peninsula all came from somewhere else, maybe sliding along on a fault line, because everything about this place is different: the trees, the rocks, the sand, the kelp, the water clarity. Nowhere else in California does the coast change as much as it does between Santa Cruz and Monterey.

As we celebrate July of our Centennial Year highlighting all of the things you can see and do in Pebble Beach beyond golf, let’s check out some of the most popular surf spots between Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Spanish Bay.

Ghost Trees

While Mavericks is one of the most famous Big Wave surf spots in the world, Ghost Tree off Pescadero Point on 17-Mile Drive actually rivals it in magnitude, and might be even more perilous.

“It’s scarier than Maverick’s, heavier than Waimea Bay, among the most dangerous waves in the world. On a good day its steel-gray face reaches heights of 70 feet, with a tube that stretches as long as a football field across a lethal boneyard of black rock.

This is Ghost Tree, the mammoth surf break near Monterey Bay, California, just off the 18th hole at Pebble Beach Golf Links. In the four years since it was first towed into, it has become one of the planet’s most discussed surf spots.”

And unlike Mavericks, where the waves break more than a half-mile off the coast, Ghost Tree is easy to see from shore.

Fanshell Beach

This picturesque spot off Cypress Point Club and just down the road from Spyglass Hill is a haven for harbor seals, who have made Fanshell Beach their preferred pupping location.

It’s also paradise for local surfers.

Spanish Bay Beach

The collection of surf spots here includes Dunes, Cobblestones and Mole Point.

Asilomar State Beach

Stormy Seas on the Central Coast

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Outside the Gates, but practically an extension of Spanish Bay Beach, is Asilomar State Beach in neighboring Pacific Grove.

Carmel Beach

the lone rider…

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Also known as heaven for dogs, Carmel Beach is a peek inside the pearly gates for golfers, too.

If you want views of Pebble Beach Golf Links, Carmel Beach stares right into Nos. 7 through 10 of America’s top-ranked public course.

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If you want to replace your Endless Summer poster with one starring you, Carmel Beach is also the spot.

And if you want to become a surfer on your trip to Pebble Beach, you can even learn right here at Carmel Beach!

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