Big Sur what to see and what to do.
My itinerary discovering one of the most suggestive paths of California, the Pacific Coast Highway, better known as Hwy 101: in about 150km – from Monterrey as far as San Simeon, among rock straight down the Ocean, inlets and small villages – it creates Big Sur, the most beautiful trait of wild and uncontaminated coast of the Golden State.
Few inhabited towns, a boundless and undisputed nature divided into natural reservations, landscaped oasis, lighthouses, inlets, beaches and state parks.
“Big Sur, the greatest meeting of land and sea in the world”
(Robert Louis Stevenson)
Big Sur what to see: the itinerary
Take at least a couple of days leaving from Monterrey and the magnificent 17 Mile Drive and then go towards Carmel to have a stop at the Point Lobos State Preserve – going down progressively southwards – passing by the Bixby Creek Bridge, the Point Sur Lighthouse, the Ventana Wilderness, as far as reaching Jade Cove and San Simeon Point.
Find down here the stages which cannot be missed along the path with some further information:
- 17 Mile Drive – one among the most famous scenic roads in the USA, up to Big Sur, from Pacific Grove to Pebble Beach. Admission for fee.
- Point Lobos State Reserve – a natural reserve where the Monterrey Cypress – the only plant capable of surviving the bad weather (fog, wind, salt, et cetera) of the Pacific Coast – grows.
- Bixby Creek Bridge – one of the postcards of Big Sur, a one-arcades bridge – which can be still driven – dating back to 1932, 79meters high and 213meters long.
- Point Sur Lighthouse – a very beautiful lighthouse in full New England style built on the top of a volcanic cone.
- Andrew Molera State Park – even 15km of trekking paths and 4km of beaches and inlets where to relax.
- Pfeiffer Beach – one of the most beautiful and photographed beaches of Big Sur.
- Ventana Wilderness – a natural area of the Los Padros National Forest with paths for expert trekkers and camping.
- Nepenthe – historic location neighbored by oaks, very loved and crowded by artists and famous characters
- McWay Falls – a fall of about 20meters located in the McWay Cove: from the rock it flows directly into the Pacific.
- Jade Cove – a suggestive jade cove overlooking the Ocean, which can be reached only through a steep path going down along the cliff.
- San Simeon Point – an amazing natural inlet used by William Hearst as a harbor for the building of the near Hearst Castle.
- Hearst Castle – a downright Spanish style (revisited) castle of the 16th century – today it can be visited – built in the early 1900s by the publisher and baron William Hearst. Over the last century it hosted historic international characters and artists.
Big Sur what to see: info and tips to plan the journey
This trait of rocky coast straight down the Ocean is subjected often and however to landslides. It means the path can be interrupted suddenly and detoured towards the inside with a huge rise of kilometers and travelling times.
In proximity of your travel check on the Big Sur official website there are no interruptions along the Hwy 101 and in case reckon immediately an alternative itinerary.
Since it is an area extremely famous and popular from a tourist point of view, if you decide to stay overnight along the route, book your accommodation well in advance.
A such itinerary can be easily put in a wider and more articulated one including California and the South West parks.
Anyway, since it is a trait of only 150km, if you have a little time in your hands, you can select some points of the path and have the whole journey in one day from San Francisco as far as Los Angeles, or vice-versa.
Big Sur what see: where to sleep and where to eat
Little far from the Andrew Molera State Park, you’ll find the Big Sur Village: it is a small village offering a selection of accommodations (mostly Inns, Cabins and camping) and places where to eat, to fuel and go shopping.
If you are looking for something more particular and suggestive, I recommend you the Ventana Big Sur or the Post Ranch Inn for the overnight stay and the Nepenthe Restaurant for dinner with amazing sunset on the coast.
Both are located near Nepenthe. If you are travelling in high season, it is advisable to book the recommended hotels well in advance.