Postcard from King City, California
Preamble: Last winter, part of Highway 1 collapsed in a few points due to particularly nasty weather hitting this region. As of today, coming from Monterey, the furthest south you can get is to the hamlet of Lucia.
I started the morning procrastinating on leaving town, hoping for the fog and clouds to finally leave me alone. But after an hour or so of wandering along the pointlessly scenic 17-Mile Drive between a gray Monterey and an even grayer Carmel-by-the-Sea, I gave up, taking my chances and moving towards the Big Sur.
A 130-mile (65*2) psychedelic round trip, driving up and down the rugged and steep stretch of this crazy part of the Californian coastline, a nightmare for every seasoned weatherman. One turn: spring. Another one: November. Another one: spring again. Randomly repeat ad nauseam. I guess that’s what time traveling must feel like.
On the way back, right before entering Carmel-by-the-Sea, I took the planned inland alternative route to move south again: an additional 60 miles through Carmel Valley and its unexpectedly stunning ever-changing landscape. Starting green and lush, it progressively got more and more yellowish and barren, with temperatures hitting 43°C (110°F) making me wonder where my reassuring unappreciated and misjudged clouds had gone.
Total Tacos score update: 9
Driving from Monterey to King City cheat sheet
Accommodation in King City:
- Motel 6 King City, 3 Broadway Cir, King City, CA 93930. King CIty ain’t exactly the most fashionable place out there. This accommodation does the job if you are tired and not looking for anything more than a clean place and a comfy bed.
Where to eat and what to see between Monterey CA and King City CA
- Pebble Beach
- 17 Mile Drive, Monterey. The drive goes all along the coast in Monterey, so expect a slow drive and some traffic, but the views are worth it.
- Big Sur Coast Gallery, 49901 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920 A nice bar with a great rooftop serving (pretty pricy) good food and a few beers.
- Big Sur striking views and incredible landscape. The fact (at the time of writing, summer 2023) the road it is closed half way has probably reduced the traffic by a bit.
- Castro’s Surf n Turf, 721 Broadway St, King City, CA 93930, As strange as it is seems, in this unpretentious place in the middle of nowhere I had some of the best tacos I’ve ever had
Driving from Monterey to King City FAQ
Taking the highway there are 63 miles only between Monterey and King City but I had different plans hence this leg of my road trip was about 3 time longer.
On a straight line it would take . My route on the Cabrillo Highway till the hamlet of Lucia and back and then on Carmel Valley road took me about 7 hours, including the time I’ve stop to eat or to take pics.
What’s the best thing about driving from Monterey to King City?
The best thing about this drive is… the drive itself: both if you take the Cabrillo Highway or if you just enjoy the relaxing drive on Carmel Valley road, driving at these latitudes it is a pleasure.
The major attractions along the way in a road trip from Monterey to King City including a detour to the Big Sur are the Big Sur itself with all its extraordinary views and Carmel Valley, an incredible place probably with less good PR than Napa Valley but as beautiful – if not more – as its Northern Cali counterpart.
The road is all paved so it really depends on the weather (that on the Big Sur might change every other turn)