Without a doubt, Big Sur was my favourite region in California. I highly recommend the drive through the winding road that makes up Highway 1 through Big Sur. There are so many hidden spots along the road and it can be difficult to stop at them all! I suggest at least two days in the area to have adequate time to explore the beautiful sights.
I had been sufficiently forewarned that Big Sur had a bad rap for being a tourist trap. While accommodation and meals in the area are quite pricey, there are several affordable options if you research mindfully. It is also very feasible to stay in neighbouring towns such as Carmel or Monterey and travel the beautiful drive in to Big Sur for the day.
It is important to note that WiFi in this area is extremely spotty. Make sure you don’t rely on your phone or Google Maps to direct you. You need to ensure you are aware of where you’re going ahead of time – the good ‘ol fashioned way!
In no particular order, here are my top 10 recommendations of things to do in this stunning region:
1. Buzzard’s Roost
For the hiking lovers! A challenging yet beautiful hike among the Redwoods with several switchbacks.
2. Point Lobos Nature Reserve
A beautiful coastal hike along the rugged cliff side, feeling a million miles away from anything touristy. The reserve is home to plenty of wildlife and birds and also offers activities such as hiking, diving and a Whalers Cabin. We visited just before sundown, and the park was relatively free of other visitors.
3. Julia Burns Pfeiffer State Park
For the nature and hiking lovers, this is a wonderful place to spend the day. From trails to waterfalls to unique wildlife, there are many beautiful sights to discover in this park!
4. McWay Falls
This is the famous area where the waterfall cascades directly onto the sand. The views are extremely picturesque and postcard perfect! Definitely frame worthy photographs.
5. Ewoldsen Trail
This trail leads away from McWay Falls and into the forest. These woods look like a fairy wonderland.
6. Pfeiffer Falls
A charming waterfall hidden along Ewoldsen Trail. We enjoyed our lunch break beneath the falls.
7. Pfeiffer Beach
Not to be missed! The gorgeous purple sands of this beach make for a very memorable visit. Read more about my visit here.
8. Bixby Canyon Bridge
This bridge is one of the most iconic in the entire state. No trip to Big Sur is complete without a stop to admire it.
9. 17 Mile Drive
Another must. Grab a map at one of the entrance gates and cruise 17 beautiful miles of scenic Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove on the Monterey Peninsula. This road trip makes for a very exciting and photogenic day trip!
10. Elephant Seals
A perfect stop for your way in or out of Big Sur. These massive seals can be found on the beach at Piedras Blancas in southern Big Sur near San Simeon. They make the funniest noises! I loved how big and blubbery they were. They would scoot up the beach for a couple of seconds before collapsing.
Did I miss anything? What are some other things you recommend for a visit to Big Sur?