Imagine steep rugged cliffs, crystal clear waters lapping against huge rocks, rolling meadows, lush forests and aromatic scents of sage and soft chaparral. Big Sur is a serene 90-mile-long coastal gem that sweeps along the challenging hills and redwood tree groves of the California shoreline.
As one of the world’s most picturesque coasts, lined with cypress trees, jagged shores and crescent-shaped bays, Big Sur provides ample opportunities for hiking, immersing in breath-taking views and relaxation on its pristine and untouched beaches. This emerald beauty is truly a dream weekend getaway, perfect for rejuvenating souls, minds and hearts.
A road trip to Big Sur and the Monterey Bay area is less than two and a half hours from San Francisco, that is if you're looking for the fast lane down US-101. For the slow ride, the leisurely run down famed US-1, with its bends along the natural contours of the California coast, add only 30 minutes in exchange for a priceless experience.
Saddle Mountain Ranch offers an intimate stay within Big Sur, with cabins and glamping style and comfort. There is a swimming pool, sun terrace, free WiFi throughout the property, mountain views, and some rooms are equipped with full kitchens. Carmel is only five miles away, and Monterey just past that, for those trips into town for shopping, dining and groceries.
Ventana Big Sur rests on a hillside overlooking Big Sur's beautiful Pacific coastline. It is an adults-only resort situated on 243 secluded acres. Ventana features 2 heated pools adjoined by a Japanese hot bath,. Spacious guest rooms boast a window seat and private deck with views. Attractions such as Andrew Molera State Park and Pfeiffer Beach are easily accessible from Ventana Spa. Visitors can also participate in hiking, whale watching and horseback riding in the area.
Carmel Valley Ranch is an all-suite countryside resort situated on 500 acres. The resort is loaded with all the amenities that will tempt you to "stay in." The Carmel Valley Resort offers a full-service spa as well as 9 tennis courts, golf lessons and 2 outdoor pools. A gym, hot tubs and scenic hiking trails are available as well. And every suite includes a fireplace and free Wi-Fi.
Nepenthe is the spot for lunch or, better yet, a late-afternoon meal. Breathtaking views are the bonus on top of fantastic food and friendly service that rakes in rave reviews by the thousands. The Famous Ambrosiaburger and steak frites are house favorites, but the vegetarian friendly menu makes all feel welcome. Stay for dessert and wine, and soak up the sunset.
Big Sur Bakery & Restaurant carries on a legacy in a historic house built in 1936 by Frank Post’s daughter Alice. Over the years, the building has continuously been used as a place to restore tired and hungry travelers. Enjoy wood-fired pizzas, vegetarian fare, butter-braised local halibut and strawberry-rhubarb pie a la mode ... for starters.
The Big Sur Village General Store is a one-of-a-kind stop. Fill up your car, fill up your belly. Grab a burrito from the burrito bar, made to order. You also can grab some basic groceries and wine for your evening on the beach or morning on the trails.
Bixby Bridge is one of those amazing opportunities that fits into your bigger day of sightseeing along the coast, won't take much time or money, but will etch a lasting memory just the same. You probably even will recognize this coastal scene from postcards or movies. The image will take your breath away with its architectural marvel set amid raw, natural beauty that floats for endless miles beyond the horizon.
The Point Sur Lightstation sits 361 feet above the surf on a large volcanic rock. Point Sur is the only complete turn-of-the century Lightstation open to the public in California, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. First lit on August 1, 1889, the lighthouse has remained in continuous operation.
Old Coast Road is a path first worn by horses and stagecoaches. Drive this dusty trail, winding and narrow through the redwoods. Take in the nature and unspoken history of what has grown and passed through this special spot in Big Sur.
The Hawthorne Gallery is a charming art gallery to accompany your lunch or sunset happy hour across the street at Nepenthe. Enjoy the opportunity to take in world-class creativity, some of which comes from known artists that also happen to be local in Big Sur.
Pfeiffer Beach is a favorite and the reasons will be obvious when you make it your own. Drive through the woods to reach the phenomenal scene of beautiful beach with mountains at the shores. Just offshore but seemingly within reach is a grand rock that focuses your gaze on the mesmerizing rhythm of waves crashing through a keyhole you must see to believe.