For lovers of the Big Little Lies TV series it is not just the incredible relationships forged by Madeline, Renata, Bonnie, Celeste and Jane that keep viewers coming back for more. It is also the epic setting and sweeping shots of Monterey, Big Sur and Carmel-by-the-Sea that feature nearly as prominently as the amazing Monterey 5 and make us drool with travel lust.
The Bixby Bridge makes constant cameos in Big Little Lies, with good reason © Irina88w / Getty Images
So where can fans go to see these amazing places? Read on to find out.
Old Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey oozes with ambiance and was a popular backdrop for many a Madeline and Celeste gossip session © S. Greg Panosian / Getty Images
Old Fisherman’s Wharf
In the first season of Big Little Lies Jane, Madeline and Celeste often bonded at the fictional Blues Blues cafe. While Blues Blues may not exist, Paluca Trattoria does. Located on the atmospheric Old Fisherman’s Wharf which houses shops and local seafood markets, Paluca was the inspiration for the Blues Blues set in the show.
But there are other amazing cafe’s and restaurants to try in the area too, we like the Alvarado Street Brewery for excellent craft beer and superior bar food.
Expertly showcasing and educating about California's amazingly diverse marine ecosystem, the world-class Monterey Bay Aquarium is a must visit even if you only gawk at the jellies © Denny Soetiono / Getty Images
Monterey Bay Aquarium
In the second season Big Little Lies be sure to keep a look out for the Monterey Bay Aquarium (it also made a cameo in the first season). Considered one of the best aquariums in the world, a visit here is one of Monterey’s most mesmerizing experiences. The three-story kelp forest tank holds 2000 gallons of water and is a meticulous reproduction of the natural conditions just outside.
Plan to spend a good part of the day appreciating all the amazing creatures that fill our oceans. The jellyfish are nothing short of amazing.
Monterey State Beach is as stunning as it is accessible, perfect for Jane-like runs and fun in the sun © S. Goodwin4813 / Getty Images
Del Monte Beach
No one knows if Jane is still going to need to run out her feels in the second season (all signs point to yes), but in the first season she spent a lot of time on Del Monte Beach. This picturesque beach is part of Monterey State beach and is a popular surfing spot.
There are even fire pits available for sunset s’more making (and if you don't know what you're missing with s'mores - check it out).
The historic Colton Hall has held civil debates for everything from Avenue Q to the original California Constitution © Richard Cummins / Getty Images
One huge plot point from Season 1 of Big Little Lies was Madeline’s dedication to the production of Avenue Q. When Madeline’s neighbors got together to debate the controversial show, it was done at Colton Hall. A longtime landmark in the city of Monterey, this is where California’s first constitutional convention took place in 1849.
If California history is your thing you might check out the Custom House, where the US flag first flew formally declaring that California was annexed from Mexico.
Lover's Point in Pacific Grove is a great place to catch a sunset or have a picnic © Mitch Tobias / Getty Images
Lover’s Point Park in Pacific Grove
Admittedly, romantic relationships in Big Little Lies are problematic and maybe its ironic, but Lover’s Point made appearances in a few episodes during the first season and we’ll keep an eye out for more in season 2. The charming village of Pacific Grove is just a little outside Monterey and Lover’s Point Park is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic and a view. We suggest grabbing a Thai lunch box from Zab Zab in Monterey before heading north just a few minutes.
After your picnic head to the Monarch Grove Sanctuary where thousands of migratory butterflies gather between November and February.
The wildflowers in Garrapata State Park are only one of the many draws © Doug Steakley / Getty Images
Garrapata State Park
This writer spends a lot of time, while watching Big Little Lies, trying to figure out where the Monterey 5 actually live. They are constantly driving on Bixby Bridge into and out of Big Sur and hanging out at Garrapata State Park. Trust me, I would too if I lived anywhere close to these epic landmarks. If you’re looking for the views of steep cliffs, crashing waves and misty shorelines that Big Little Lies is riddled with you’ll find them here.