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The Final Massive Sur Street Journey Itinerary & Greatest Viewpoints


Positioned on the Pacific Coast of Central California, Massive Sur is a ravishing vacation spot stretching 90 miles alongside California Freeway 1. It could be quick however a Massive Sur street journey packs an enormous punch crammed with unbelievable surroundings, a number of state parks, culinary delights, and delightful seaside communities.

It’s no marvel the Massive Sur Street Journey is usually rated as probably the greatest street journeys on this planet. With sea stacks and waterfalls, mountain climbing trails, and ocean cliffs, this is without doubt one of the most lovely locations we’ve been to in the USA. It’s value spending greater than only a day driving from Los Angeles to San Francisco alongside this route. Take your time to see the sights and you’ll want to keep the evening.

Massive Sur Street Journey Itinerary

big sur road trip itinerary - california roadside attraction

We’ve put collectively a Massive Sur Street Journey itinerary highlighting all the high viewpoints on California Freeway 1, urged accommodations, and high points of interest. The Massive Sur drive might simply be completed as a day journey from San Francisco, however there may be a lot to see, that we suggest spending a minimum of 4 days driving alongside this stretch of the Pacific Coast Freeway 1.

Massive Sur is supposed to be taken slowly, so benefit from the experience, pullover when you may, or comply with a backroad to wherever it goes. Take pleasure in!

Word: Parks in Massive Sur are continually altering with openings and closures. Keep updated on the California Authorities Web site right here. Freeway 1 additionally generally has closures so you’ll want to comply with this Web site throughout your Massive Sur itinerary for updates on any issues.

How you can Get to Massive Sur

To Get to Massive Sur from San Francisco, comply with US 101 to 85 South after which merge onto 17 South till you come to freeway 1. You’ll then comply with Freeway 1 all the best way to Monterey the place you’ll start your drive alongside the Massive Sur shoreline of the Pacific Coast Freeway.

Our Massive Sur Street Journey itinerary follows a route from north to south, however it may be driving south to north from L.A. The official Massive Sur drive begins in Carmel by Sea persevering with south to San Simeon. If you wish to exploring every part alongside California Freeway 1 you may learn our Full California Street Journey information right here: The Final California Street Journey Itinerary

Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco

The 2 closest airports to Carmel by the Sea are San Francisco and San Jose Airport (they’re solely half-hour aside, so it doesn’t matter which on you fly into however San Jose is the closes). We suggest flying into San Francisco and spending a couple of days within the metropolis you can begin your street journey by driving throughout the Golden Gate Bridge! Learn our information at 72 Hours in San Francisco – A Native’s Information to the Metropolis

We picked up our rental automotive on the airport and had the liberty to discover the town by automotive earlier than shifting on to Massive Sur. You possibly can’t actually get to Massive Sur for those who don’t drive. There are some excursions and day journeys however for those who don’t have your personal automotive, we extremely suggest renting a automotive to expertise Massive Sur to the fullest. Examine rental automotive costs at RentalCars.com for quotes on automobiles.

Massive Sur Street Journey – Factors of Curiosity

After you have made your approach to Carmel, we recommend making a base both right here or in Monterey. Carmel is just some minute’s drive from Monterey and there are many issues to do in each communities.

We’ve complete posts devoted to all of the issues to do in Monterey and Carmel however let’s break down a couple of issues to see in each communities to begin the street journey off proper. If you wish to learn extra about them, you are able to do so at Issues to do in Carmel by the Sea, California, 20 Nice Issues to do in Monterey, California

1. Monterey

California Roat Trip stop: Monterey
California Roat Journey cease: Monterey

Monterey is a vacation spot in its personal proper and is a implausible place to go to in California. I feel the highest attract Monterey is the Monterey Bay Aquarium which is devoted to analysis and conservation to protect wildlife within the waters offshore. It has interactive shows and an open sea exhibit displaying a whole bunch of species of marine life. It’s situated on Cannery Row which is a historic road crammed with purchasing and eating places.

big sur road trip itinerary sea lions
A lot marinelife to see

When strolling alongside Cannery Row, you are feeling as for those who stepped again in time right into a John Steinbeck novel. This has stored the texture of when it was the sardine capital of the world. We additionally suggest getting on the water, you may go whale watching, kayaking and see the resident sea lions and sea otters. Learn extra: 20 Nice Issues to do in Monterey, California

2. Carmel by the Sea

carmel by the sea

The primary official cease on our Massive Sur street journey itinerary is Carmel by the Sea. It’s a lovely seaside group that is without doubt one of the most unique communities in the USA. Clint Eastwood was the mayor of this lovely seaside city and there are many issues to do in Carmel to maintain you occupied for a day or two. Carmel actually does really feel like a storybook with fairy story cottages, artwork galleries, and beautiful ocean views.

We stayed at The Hideaway which had beautiful rooms and was situated only a half a mile from the seashore. It was centrally situated in downtown Carmel so we might stroll to eating places at evening making it a fantastic base for the north portion of your Massive Sur street journey. TripAdvisor / Reserving.com

3. 17 Mile Drive

big sur road trip - 17 mile drive carmel

There’s a street journey inside a street journey right here the place you may take a detour to see 17-Mile Drive. We rented an e-bike to see this drive. It was an effective way to keep away from visitors and to have the ability to cease in any respect the well-known viewpoints together with the Ghost Tree and the Lone Cypress.

This stretch of street goes via the unique group of Pebble Seashore the place there are world-class golf programs, loads of seashores, and scenic views. Learn all about our time right here: 17 Mile Drive – What to See on the Scenic Drive of Pebble Seashore

4. Level Lobos State Park

road trip big sur - point lobos
Level Lobos State Pure Reserve

The primary designated cease on the Massive Sur street journey is the Level Lobos State Park which is situated simply outdoors Carmel by the Sea. This is without doubt one of the most picturesque stops alongside the Massive Sur street journey situated within the north finish of the drive. There are mountain climbing trails main out to scenic views, and it’s a scuba diving mecca for individuals eager to discover the underwater sea kelp forests. However Level Lobos State Pure Reserve can be a fowl lovers’ paradise. Value: $10 per automobile.

Whale Watching and Historical past

big sur road trip itinerary whales

Be certain that to take a look at Whalers Cove to be taught in regards to the 1800s whaling and abalone enterprise. Whales migrate via this route of the Pacific Ocean and it was as soon as a big whaling space. It’s darkish sure, however necessary to study all historical past. This small cabin was as soon as residence to Chinese language Fishermen and has now been transformed right into a museum.

To go to Level Lobos State Park there’s a $10 price per automobile. You’ll discover that you just’ll be paying $10 so much on the Massive Sur street journey as there’s a $10 price per automobile to enter State Parks. If you happen to plan on visiting quite a lot of the parks, we suggest a State Park Go.  

5. Garrapata State Park

things to do in big sur garrapata state park

One other one of many many California state parks situated alongside this drive outdoors of an city heart is Garrapata State Park. This was one in all our favourite stops and it is without doubt one of the greatest free issues to do in Massive Sur. With mountain climbing trails main out to sea cliffs, Garrapata State Park provides lovely views of rock formations off the coast of the Pacific Ocean.

Positioned in Northern Massive Sur, you’ll discover the pull-off between mile markers 17 and 18. After we had been there hardly anybody else was strolling the mountain climbing trails. We felt like we had extraordinary views all to ourselves.

Word: Most of Garrapata State Park stays closed for the reason that 2016 Soberanes Hearth however the first 1.25 miles of the path is open. Value: Free

6. Bixby Creek Bridge

bixby creek bridge big sur things to do
Bixby Bridge spanning over the gorge at Bixby Creek

The Bixby Creek Bridge (typically simply known as Bixby Bridge) is essentially the most well-known of points of interest alongside our Massive Sur Street journey and is a spot that you need to not miss pulling over to snap some photographs. It’s been featured in numerous movies and most not too long ago, The Bixby Bridge was entrance and heart within the sequence Massive Little Lies. On the opening of every episode, the Bixby Creek Bridge is featured.

California Road Trip Bixby Bridge

The Bixby Bridge is a scenic cease alongside the Massive Sur shoreline with pull-offs on both aspect. It is without doubt one of the most photographed spots within the space and with good purpose. The bridge stands 260 toes above a deep canyon and was inbuilt 1932. It actually is a feat of engineering and is value making a cease to soak up the beautiful views up the coast.

  • There isn’t a price to park on the Bixby Bridge, however parking is proscribed. We went at dawn and no one else was there. We stopped once more at sundown and in mid day and located it troublesome to search out parking.

7. Andrew Molera State Park

Andrew Molero state Park Big Sur

If you’re in search of an extended sandy seashore in your Massive Sur drive, Andrew Molera is an efficient cease. It’s also the most important of the various State Parks alongside this street journey so be ready to stroll. For a enjoyable journey, take the seashore path strolling alongside a 1-mile lengthy route (1.6km) to the seashore the place you’ll should wade via the waters of the Massive Sur River. When the water is excessive, the park places up seasonal footbridges.

8. Level Sur lighthouse

Persevering with north, make your approach to Level Sur Lighthouse, a part of the California State Park system. What was as soon as an necessary beacon of navigation for ships touring via the treacherous waters of the Pacific Ocean of the Central California Coast, can right now be seen on a guided strolling tour. Relationship again to 1889, it provides lovely views from its coveted perch.

9. Massive Sur River Inn & Restaurant

big sur river inn
The Final Massive Sur Street Journey Itinerary & Greatest Viewpoints 90

One among our favourite stops on our Massive Sur street journey was the Massive Sur River Inn and Restaurant. Positioned on the Massive Sur River, visitors can loosen up on the Adirondak Chairs (or as residents of Ontario, Canada wish to name them – Muskoka Chairs) and benefit from the peace and solitude. This inn was the primary restaurant and lodge within the space and is a must-stop. Relationship again to 1888, the property was initially owned by early homesteader Jay Pheneger after which offered to Michael and Barbara Pfeiffer. (I instructed you the Pheiffer’s bought round).

Massive Sur River Inn & Restaurant is simply 2 miles away from Andrew Molera State Park makes for a very good base to take pleasure in this State Park.

Be certain that to peruse the memorabilia hanging on the partitions of the restaurant. It’s additionally a very good place to replenish on the fuel station, decide some meals on the normal retailer and seize and ice cream on the ice cream truck. It is a staple within the space and a very good place for lunch in your Massive Sur drive or to select up some snacks for the street on the Basic Retailer. Don’t neglect to seize an ice cream there as properly. It’s to die for.

10. The Massive Sur Roadhouse

The Massive Sur Roadhouse was a fantastic cease for lunch with meals constructed from native substances and a farm-to-table menu. The meals was implausible, however we additionally liked the relaxed ambiance. Certain, the wealthy and well-known frequent this spot, nevertheless it doesn’t really feel snooty or unwelcoming. In reality, it nonetheless has that hippie vibe that made it so particular within the first place.

11. Pfeiffer Seashore

Pfeiffer beach big Sur

One among our favourite locations to go to in Massive Sur was Pfeiffer Seashore. Positioned simply south of Massive Sur Station, Pfeiffer Seashore was a bit troublesome to search out, however fortunately, Viktor Elizarof wrote a fantastic Images Information right here to assist us discover it!

How you can get to Pfeiffer Seashore: Take the cut-off at Sycamore Canyon Street and drive the rugged two-mile observe right down to the seashore. Right here you’ll discover the beautiful Greenback Seashore and Keyhole Arch rock formation. Pfeiffer Seashore has an extended sandy seashore that could be a lovely stroll at sundown with wonderful views. It’s a large seashore with excessive sand dunes and the place Sycamore Canyon Creek empties into the Pacific Ocean.

Big Sur things to do Pfeiffer Beach Arch
Gorgeous Pfeiffer Seashore at sundown

Remember to take a stroll all the best way alongside the seashore the place you’ll discover the purple sand that made Pfeiffer Seashore well-known. The purple color was created from the manganese garnet rocks discovered within the sea cliffs. There’s a $10 entrance price to Pfeiffer Seashore.

12. Cease in at Nepenthe

things to do in big sur view from nepenthe

This coast has drawn artisans for many years and no place exhibits that greater than Nepenthe. Sitting excessive atop a sea cliff wanting over the Pacific Ocean and Santa Lucia Mountains, this has been the go-to spot for poets, vacationers and artists.

There’s nothing higher than sitting on its out of doors terrace to observe the sundown and picture who else has loved these views. It was as soon as owned by Rita Hayworth and Orsen Wells. Remember to peruse the Phoenix Store that includes native artists.

10. Ventana resort

where to stay in big sur ventana
The foyer of Ventana Resort

We stayed an evening in each Monterey and Carmel however we additionally stayed two nights at Ventana Resort. There’s tenting and different lodging alongside the route as properly. Ventana Resort is pricey however additionally they provide tenting and Glamping so there are inexpensive choices Learn extra about Ventana right here at Glamping in Massive Sur – Luxurious within the Redwood Forest

Two Sides to Ventana

Access to the Amenities at Ventana while Glamping in Big Sur
Entry to the Facilities at Ventana whereas Glamping in Massive Sur

Ventana Resort – We camped within the luxurious tented camp among the many redwoods of Ventana resort after which spent the evening in one in all its luxurious suites. If you wish to really feel what it’s wish to stay like film stars, splurge for an evening on this place. It makes for a fantastic base to discover all the highest issues to do in Massive Sur as properly. Learn: Glamping in Massive Sur – Luxurious within the Redwood Forest

Ventana Massive Sur An Alila Resort is an opulent keep in Massive Sur with decadent suites which have out of doors showers, sizzling tubs and hammocks. If you’re seeking to splurge simply as soon as in your life, keep right here. Taylor Swift and Mark Zuckerberg have stayed at this resort.

11. Glamping at Ventana

Glamping in Big Sur

A extra inexpensive to take pleasure in Ventana is to camp with your personal RV amongst its redwoods or e-book an evening within the Glamping Tents. We stayed in one of many tents they usually equipped every part from sizzling water bottles to cooking utensils and every part we wanted to make SMores. You can even us the services when tenting on the campground and benefit from the eating places.

12. Publish Ranch Inn

Publish Ranch Inn is one other place to remain on you Massive Sur street journey. It’s past unbelievable resort with non-public suites, infinity swimming pools, and ridiculous luxurious. (albeit rather less costly than Ventana) But when you’ll splurge wherever in your life, it would as properly be on this luxury drive in California. Benefit from the lifetime of a film star for an evening or to as you have a good time an anniversary or big day.

13. Henry Miller Memorial Library

The Henry Miller Memorial Library honors the author who was a long-time resident. It additionally options resident artists with stay performances, and books on the market by native writers and it showcases native artists with rotating exhibits. It’s open Wednesday via Saturday. Go to the web site for occasions.

14. McWay Falls at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

what to do in big sur McWay Falls
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, McWay Falls

Positioned within the south of the Massive Sur at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is McWay Falls. It is without doubt one of the hottest issues to do in Massive Sur. To not be confused with Pfeiffer Massive Sur State Park (we’ll get to that in a minute), Julia Pfeiffer State Park was named after Julia Pfeiffer, an early pioneer within the space. Take a brief half-a-mile hike (800 meters) to essentially the most lovely waterfall tumbling into the ocean.

McWay Falls is without doubt one of the most photographed websites in Massive Sur and with good purpose. This excellent little cove plunges 80 toes/24 meters from a granite cliff. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is a ravishing place for dawn or sundown. How do we all know? We went for each!

Value to see McWay Falls at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park – You guessed it, $10 per automotive. For dawn, we took an opportunity and didn’t pay. No one was there that early/

15. Redwood Forests of Pfeiffer Massive Sur State Park

California redwoods big sur
See the redwoods of Pfeiffer Massive Sur State Park

I’ve to say, the Pheiffer’s bought round! (not in the best way you might be pondering). The Pfeiffer Massive Sur State Park takes you to the southernmost place of the California Redwoods. Get off the coast and hike via the redwoods to Massive Sur River. Therea are 38 miles of trails at Pfeiffer Massive Sur and also you’ll discover among the oldest and largest redwoods within the space right here.

If you happen to take the George Path, you’ll be capable to see a recreation of early homesteader John Pfeiffer’s 1884 cabin. Discover this half to witness the Santa Lucia Mountains rising from the Massive Sur River Gorge and get misplaced on this 1,000-acre protect. Value: $10 per automobile.

Limekiln State Park

big sur things to do, dave roasting marhsmallows at camp fire

Can’t get sufficient of Redwoods? If you wish to do some tenting, Limekiln State Park has campgrounds at Limekiln Creek and at a seashore. Study in regards to the historical past of Massive Sur right here as you uncover the Eighties business of lime harvesting. Again then lime was taken from the ocean cliffs and processed in lime kilns fuelled by the huge redwoods. Boy am I glad they stopped this business. Though they didn’t have a lot of a selection, the lime and the redwoods had been exhausted and left in ruins. However nature has grown again across the iron-and-stone kilns connects.

Sand Greenback Seashore

Just a bit farther south is the longest seashore in Massive Sur, Sand Greenback Seashore. In addition to being the longest seashore, it’s a standard spot for browsing. There’s a close by campground so if you wish to spend a while on the seashore, you may arrange store simply down the street. Sand {dollars} will be discovered on the seashore at low tide making this a well-liked tide pooling spot. Simply be certain to look and don’t contact.

There’s a $10 price per automobile to go to Sand Greenback Seashore.

Ragged Level

things to do in big sure video
Watch our video of our drive right here.

If you’re in search of a break, cease in on the Ragged Level Inn and Resort which sits excessive on a sea cliff. Positioned north of San Simeon, Ragged Level was as soon as a part of the Hearst Ranch. The Ramey household arrange store right here within the Nineteen Fifties and it has been handed right down to generations as right now the great-grandchildren run the resort and restaurant. Even in case you are not staying at Ragged Level, be certain to take pleasure in a meal and take within the views of the California Coast. Be certain that to cease at Piedras Blancas State Marine Reserve to see the resident elephant seals.

Finish at San Simeon

hearst castle swimming pool
Hearst Fort Swimming Pool – Street Journey California

San Simeon is the place the Massive Sur Street Journey ends however the Pacific Coast Freeway continues on to Los Angeles. You can also make a base right here as there are many issues to do. That is residence to Hearst Fort, there are seashores, mountain climbing trails, and like this whole street journey, loads of marine life and delightful views of the Pacific Ocean. You possibly can take excursions of Hearst Fort beginning at $30.

Learn These different posts to assist plan your Massive Sur street journey

The place to Eat On Your Massive Sur Drive

where to eat in Big Sur

Ventana

Unbelievable Prix Repair meals and high-quality eating overlooking the Pacific Ocean from excessive atop sea cliffs. We even noticed whales within the distance throughout our breakfast right here. (be certain to convey your binoculars). This place is busy for dinner so reservations are advisable.

Nepenthe

Food at Nepenthe in Big Sur California

Nepenthe is without doubt one of the hottest locations to eat due to its superior view. With views of the Santa Lucia Mountains to the Pacific, be certain so as to add it to your Massive Sur itinerary. We liked our meal and the ambiance of Nepenthe and extremely suggest having dinner right here.

Are there Funds Motels in Massive Sur?

Not likely, this space caters to the luxurious market until you might be tenting. The historic Massive Sur River Inn is the closest to inexpensive but it’s nonetheless dear. Nevertheless, ti doesn’t attain the hundreds of {dollars} per evening of the Publish Ranch in or Ventana.

Fernwood Resort can be a very good possibility with a wide range of tenting, cabins, and a motel.

Tenting in Massive Sur

big sur camping ventana redwoods

Don’t fear, for those who don’t wish to lay our a fortune on a room for an evening, there may be loads of tenting alongside the Massive Sur street journey. Some standard campgrounds are Pfeiffer Massive Sur Campground, Massive Sur Campground and Cabins, and Riverside Campground and Cabins.

If you’re in search of inexpensive lodging, take a look at accommodations in Monterey and Carmel by the Sea. They’re nice locations to make a base whereas in your street journey.

Hire a Automotive – California is a state for driving so lease a automotive to your Massive Sur drive. You possibly can evaluate automotive rental costs at RentalCars.com

If you happen to loved this text, be certain to share it to Pinterest for future journey planning.

big sur road trip itinerary

Ceaselessly Requested Questions

What’s the greatest time to go to Massive Sur?

There isn’t a dangerous time to go to Massive Sur. Being California it may be explored year-round. The height season is from April to November with crowds being heaviest in July and August. September to November continues to be lovely and fewer crowded and winter is an efficient time to search out offers on lodging. We went in Could and June and had few crowds and the climate was pretty with sunny days and chilly evenings.

How lengthy must you spend in Massive Sur?

You possibly can see all of the viewpoints and points of interest in at some point, however we suggest a 3 day Massive Sur itinerary to essentially discover it and to do all of the hikes, benefit from the eating places and accommodations.

Are you able to drive to Massive Sur?

You possibly can drive to Massive Sur from Los Angeles or San Francisco. It’s standard to make a base in Carmel by the Sea or Monterey. It’s a five-hour drive from Los Angeles and is 2 hours and half-hour from San Francisco.

The place does the Massive Sur street journey begin and finish?

There isn’t a particular start line for a Massive Sur itinerary, however the drive is usually thought of to start in Carmel by the Sea in case you are coming from San Francisco and ends close to the San Carpóforo Creek within the north of San Simeon.

And these are the highest issues to do in Massive Sur together with essentially the most lovely locations to go to. If you’re planning a visit to California, you’ll want to take a look at this beautiful stretch of freeway alongside the Pacific Coast.

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