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  • Writer's pictureTara

BIG SURreal Adventures

Updated: May 17, 2019

It's where the forest meets the sea...#BigSur is 90 miles of pristine California coastline! Without any stops, the stretch takes roughly two and a half hours, meaning it’s entirely possible to experience the highlights in just one day. It's been a year after the landslides closed its main entrance. Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge reopened in October and Highway 1's southern access is expected to open later this year. Read below for tips if you're revisiting or planning your first trip to this majestic region.

There are several ways to explore Big Sur - you can camp, or stay in Carmel and travel into Big Sur for day trips (that's what I do) or stay at one of these hotels.

Where to stay:

[taken by Post Ranch Inn]

[taken by Treebones Resort]

  1. I'd love to stay at Post Ranch Inn. It's the #1 hotel in Big Sur with exquisite views, restaurants, spa and even treehouse options. It costs a cool $875+

  2. Ventana Big Sur is new with 59 rooms and Glamping options! Glamping will run you $380+

  3. Deetjen's Big Sur Inn is listed on the National Register of Historic places. Price ranges from $131-400 for rustic rooms on the edge of the redwood forest.

  4. Want to stay in a yurt? Treebones Resort is the place for you. $300+

Where to eat:

I typically pack a picnic, but if you want to stop for lunch or dinner - these are the places I suggest.

  1. Nepenthe - perched on the cliffs above the Pacific has been serving guests since it's opening in 1949! You don't want to miss this place. Opens daily at 11:00am. Cafe Kevah and the Phoenix Shop is here too. I don't ever visit Big Sur without stopping at Nepenthe, mostly to see what's new at the Phoenix.

  2. Sierra Mar is Post Ranch Inn's award winning restaurant. If you don't stay at Post Ranch, you should make reservations for dinner, but please note there is a dress code for non-guests. Don't expect to arrive in hiking gear (learned the hard way), it's business casual.

  3. The Sur House is a nice option for breakfast, lunch or dinner with stellar views of the Redwoods and infinite ocean.

  4. Big Sur Bakery & Restaurant - get there early on the weekends to grab a bacon-and-egg topped “breakfast pizza."

Activities and Tara's Travel Tips:

  1. Mobile service is spotty. You'll get wifi at restaurants and hotels, but it's good to plan ahead if it's your first trip (e.g. navigation, points of interest, restaurants).

  2. Expect crowds, especially during holiday weekends. Parking is tough, get there early!

  3. Prepare to share the road with cyclists.

  4. Stop for pics and views at the famous Bixby Bridge.

  5. Ragged Point - a good stop for people heading North to Big Sur or South to Hearst Castle. Grab food, pics and sometimes listen to live music.

  6. Elephant Seal Viewing south of Big Sur on Highway 1.

  7. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park - Big Sur's largest State Park - the most popular hike – to 60ft-high

Research Hiking in Big Sur in advance:

  • #PfeifferBeach - known for the purple sand and crashing waves.

  • Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park - Big Sur's largest State Park. The most popular hike is to 60ft-high #PfeifferFalls, which usually runs from December to May. 2 miles

  • #McWayFalls is surrounded by turquoise waters and should be seen by every traveler. .64 mile hike

  • Ewoldsen trail across from McWay Falls has streams, ocean views and redwoods.

  • Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park - easy, family friendly hiking near McWay Falls.

  • Partington Cove Trail - it's steep, but is a quick hike that takes you through a 19th century tunnel to a scenic rocky beach.

  • Sand Dollar Beach & Jade Cove Trails are flat bluff trails.

Visit Marc Scarioni's website for photography and prints

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