If you’re headed down the Pacific Coast Highway, Big Sur is definitely a major highlight. Beautiful scenery can be seen from cliff hugging, winding roads on this famous stretch of highway. Big Sur is a destination all by itself; you could easily spend a lot of time exploring what the area has to offer. But if its part of your coastal road trip, you may have a more limited amount of time. Here are 5 ways to spend some time in Big Sur!
- Andrew Molera State Park
If you’re coming from the north, Andrew Molera State Park will be one of the major parks you first come across. Its $10 to enter the park and there are picnic tables and restrooms here as well. Andrew Molera has a beautiful beach and lots of hiking opportunities. TIP: The trail to get to the beach is 1 mile, however you do have to cross a stream to get to it. I am told that in the summer months there is a plank you can walk across to cross the stream, however this was not the case when we were here. Some people were rolling their pant legs all the way up, others came prepared with high waterproof boots; whatever your strategy, just be aware you may get wet!
- Pfeiffer Beach
The ever elusive Pfeiffer Beach can be somewhat hard to find, but here’s what we learned on this trip. It’s really not as hidden as its made out to be. Check out our post on Pfeiffer Beach for tips on finding this beautiful piece of Big Sur. With purple sand, the keyhole arch and just an overall beautiful stretch of landscape, this was one of my favorite beaches we stopped at during our entire California trip; it’s definitely worth finding!
Ok so I realize this one has been said over and over again by everyone and their mother, I actually hadn’t intended to stop here. But while we were staying in Pacific Grove, it was actually the recommendation of several locals. We didn’t actually eat at Nepenthe, but instead chose the more casual Café Kevah, located directly beneath it. The views are stunning and even though the food was a little pricey, the fact that I could have brunch at 2pm had me sold. I’m from Ohio, we love brunch, what can I say?! This is a great place to stop, recharge and soak it all in. They even have little pots of hot tea and cocoa for kids, which considering it was pretty chilly that day was a much welcomed treat. While you’re here, check out the gift shop below, Phoenix. They have some pretty interesting finds if you’re looking to take something home with you, and they also have (nice!) restrooms here as well.
- McWay Falls
No Big Sur trip would be complete without seeing the world famous waterfall that flows onto the beach. You can hike to it from Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park ($10 to enter) or park on the side of the road and access the trail that way. Tip: This trail is a wooden boardwalk, very easy to walk, but also can get very crowded. Everyone seems to want to stop in the same place. Keep walking past the crowds for some even better views.
- Limekiln State Park
We absolutely loved Limekiln. Beautiful trails, redwoods, a slightly hidden waterfall, towering Limekilns and access to the beach make this gem worth the $10 entrance fee. Check out our post on Limekiln for tips!
If you have more time, all of these places are worth exploring further, along with many others. We would have loved to check out Sand Dollar Beach but ran out of time and if I go back without G, I would love to try Ventana Inn, which I was told is amazing but is for adults only. If you’re looking to stay in Big Sur there are lots of options, from hotels to glamping to campsites. You can find more information on camping here. Happy Exploring!