Long a retreat of artists and writers, Big Sur is a place of ancient forests and rugged shoreline, stretching 90 miles from San Simeon to Carmel. Residents have protected it from over development, and much of the region lies within several state parks and the more than 165,000-acre Ventana Wilderness, itself part of the Los Padres National Forest. - Copyright © 2014 by Fodor’s Travel, a division of Random House, LLC. All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2014 by Fodor's Travel, a division of Random House, LLC. All rights reserved.
Things You Can't Miss
Perched on volcanic rock, this lighthouse has been in continuous operation since 1889. It’s automated now, but a docent-led tour fills in the history.
Humpback, gray and blue whales breach and blow as they forage along this stretch of coast. Pull off at turnouts along Highway 1 and look to the sea.
Take in the grandeur of the trees on a 1.4-mile round-trip hike in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park’s redwood grove. There’s a 60-foot waterfall, too.
Many California beaches don’t allow dogs, but Pfeiffer Beach does (on leash in the developed campground and day use areas). And it’s considered one of the prettiest beaches on the Central Coast.
An iconic image of Big Sur is the Bixby Bridge, featured in the film Play Misty for Me. Snap photos from the west side of Highway 1 north of the bridge.
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Must Reads Before You Go
Hate cold weather? Hawaii and Puerto Rico are just two sunny places we recommend visiting during the wintertime.