Tour: Monterey Peninsula, Carmel

Sunrise over Monterey Bay

Ridiculously curvy roads trace the jagged outline of the Monterey Peninsula coastline and offer fun cycling, beautiful views, and a path to delicious food. We started in Pacific Grove near the Monterey Bay Aquarium and cruised west and south along the peninsula. Once on 17 Mile Drive, the twisty roads (restricted for cars but not for bikes) encouraged stops along the dramatic coast and a comfortable cruising speed without much traffic. View a slideshow below.

17 Mile Drive, Monterey Peninsula

click for map

From one point above Pebble Beach, you can see Point Lobos to the south looking much like an island. When Robert Louis Stevenson wrote Treasure Island while living in the Carmel Valley, he looked to this dramatic piece of land to inspire the three-dimensional story of Skeleton Island. This beautiful coast certainly excites the imagination.

Looking south across Carmel Bay toward Point Lobos

During this tour, we found our own delicious treasure at The Cheese Shop in Carmel, where we stopped for a few tastes of cheese and some laughs midway through our ride. The Cheese Shop in Carmel can reportedly take you to five countries in five minutes with just a few bites of cheese (and a barrage of cheesy jokes). I’m partial to their Fleur Vert goat cheese with its infusion of fresh herbs. Whenever I eat the last bite of this pretty cheese, I kick myself again for neglecting to take a photo before I start eating. Maybe I’ll remember next time.

We endured a short climb from Carmel for a low-traffic spin on the peninsula’s ridge before flying downhill again for a loopy cruise back to the car: fun, fun, fun. Back in Monterey, we had several good options nearby for a sustainable meal, including PassionfishMontrio Bistro, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium cafe and restaurant. Each of these restaurants serves sustainably-harvested fish according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program and guidelines.

There’s more foodie destinations to discover on the Monterey Peninsula: we’ll be back, with bikes.

sunrise over Monterey Bay
sunrise over Monterey Bay
Monterey Bay Aquarium
coast road
rocky shore
Point Lobos
Point Lobos
cheese options
The Cheese Shop, Carmel-by-the-Sea
ripe cheese
cheese head
view from ridge

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