Top ChoicePark in Big Sur

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

If you're chasing waterfalls, swing into this state park named for a Big Sur pioneer. From the parking lot, the 1.3-mile round-trip Waterfall Overlook Trail rushes downhill toward the ocean, offering photogenic...

Top ChoiceLighthouse in Big Sur

Point Sur State Historic Park

Point Sur State Historic Park

A little over 6 miles south of Bixby Bridge, Point Sur rises like a velvety green fortress out of the sea. It looks like an island, but is actually connected to land by a sandbar. Atop the volcanic rock sits an...

Top ChoiceBeach in Big Sur

Pfeiffer Beach

Pfeiffer Beach

This phenomenal crescent-shaped beach is known for its huge double-rock formation, through which waves crash with life-affirming power. Dig down into the wet sand – it’s purple! That’s because manganese garnet...

State Park in Big Sur

Andrew Molera State Park

Named after the farmer who first planted artichokes in California, this oft-overlooked park is a trail-laced pastiche of grassy meadows, ocean bluffs and rugged sandy beaches offering excellent wildlife-watching....

Forest in Big Sur

Los Padres National Forest

The tortuously winding 40-mile stretch of Hwy 1 south of Lucia to Hearst Castle is sparsely populated, rugged and remote, mostly running through national forest lands. Around 5 miles south of Kirk Creek...

Beach in Big Sur

Partington Cove

Partington Cove

This is a raw, breathtaking spot where crashing surf salts your skin. On the steep, half-mile dirt hike down to the cove, you’ll cross a cool bridge and go through an even cooler tunnel. The cove's water is...

Landmark in Big Sur

Bixby Bridge

Less than 15 miles south of Carmel, this landmark spanning Rainbow Canyon is one of the world’s highest single-span bridges. Completed in 1932, it was built by prisoners eager to lop time off their sentences....

Beach in Big Sur

Jade Cove

In the waters of Jade Cove in 1971, local divers recovered a 9000lb jade boulder that measured 8ft long and was valued at $180,000. People still comb the beach today. Jade is black or blue-green and looks dull...

Californian in Big Sur

Nepenthe

Nepenthe comes from a Greek word meaning ‘isle of no sorrow,’ and indeed, it’s hard to feel blue while sitting by the firepit on this aerial terrace. Just-okay California cuisine (try the renowned Ambrosia...

Park in Big Sur

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

Big Sur's largest state park was named after the area's first European settlers who arrived in 1869. It has hiking trails looping through stately redwood groves; the most popular hike is a 2-mile round trip to...

Park in Big Sur

Limekiln State Park

Two miles south of Lucia, this park gets its name from the four remaining wood-fired kilns originally built here in the 1880s to smelt quarried limestone into powder, a key ingredient in cement building...

Park in Big Sur

Sand Dollar Beach

The tortuously winding 40-mile stretch of Hwy 1 south of Lucia to Hearst Castle is sparsely populated, rugged and remote, mostly running through national forest lands. Around 5 miles south of Kirk Creek...

Landmark in Big Sur

Ragged Point

Your last – or first – taste of Big Sur’s rocky grandeur comes at this craggy cliff outcropping with fabulous views of the coastline in both directions, about 15 miles north of Hearst Castle. Once part of the...

American in Big Sur

Deetjen's Restaurant

At a quaint yesteryear lodge, the candlelit, knickknack-filled dining room has a dependably delicious menu of meat-centric culinary Americana, from bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin to rack of lamb and roast chicken....

Museum in Big Sur

Big Sur Discovery Center

From the parking lot at Andrew Molera State Park, walk 0.125 miles south to this educational nature center to learn all about the endangered California condors that are retaking the skies along Big Sur's coast....

American in Big Sur

Big Sur River Inn

Woodsy restaurant with a deck, overlooking a creek teeming with throaty frogs. The food is standard American – burgers, steak, sandwiches, roast chicken and salads – and there are a few vegetarian dishes....

Park in Big Sur

Garrapata State Park

Over 4 miles south of Point Lobos on Hwy 1, pull over to hike coastal headlands, where you might spot whales cruising by offshore during winter, or into canyons of wildflowers and redwood trees. Garrapata is...

Californian in Big Sur

Restaurant at Ventana

The old truism about the better the views, the worse the food just doesn’t seem to apply here. The resort’s clifftop terrace restaurant and cocktail bar are Big Sur's gathering spot for foodies and bon vivants....

Waterfall in Big Sur

Salmon Creek Falls

Take a short hike to splash around in the pools at the base of this double-drop waterfall, tucked uphill in a forested canyon. The falls usually run from December through May, and the trail is dog-friendly. In a...

Historic Building in Big Sur

Henry Miller Memorial Library

Henry Miller lived in Big Sur for 17 years, some 5 miles south of this now nonprofit alternative art space and community center in the home of his late best friend Emil White. Eclectic sculptures line a...