What Should You Know About Visiting Big Sur?

Turner Blog

When you’re feeling comfortable traveling again, a road trip is a great, socially distanced option.

California in particular, is a favorite among road trippers. You can travel different routes and see everything from the beaches of Southern California to the redwood forests of Northern California.

There are a lot of California road trip hidden gems along the way.

One of the most popular areas to visit in California is Big Sur, and the following are some things to know.

What is Big Sur?

Big Sur is located along some of California’s most beautiful and rugged coastline. You can drive through Big Sur on Highway 1, and there’s everything from campgrounds to charming inns and high-end luxury resorts, depending on where you want to stay during your time there.

Driving along Highway 1, also known as the Pacific Coast Highway, will feel heart-pounding at times. The highway hugs the coastal curves, and you’re also driving along huge cliffs that down below plunge directly into the Pacific Ocean.

It’s a very dramatic drive, and that’s part of the beauty and the overall appeal.

Big Sur isn’t one single town, nor is it one national park. Instead, it’s an area that’s unincorporated along the coast that runs around 70 miles from north to south.

Within the Big Sur area are many beaches, trails, preserves, and state parks.

Where to Stay

While the Big Sur area can be on the more expensive side, there are still places to stay regardless of your budget as well as your style.

For example, you can stay at Big Sur Lodge for a summer camp vibe. Big Sur Lodge is located in Pfeiffer Big Surg State Park. There’s also the historic Big Sur River Inn, which has been a hotel in the area since 1934.

For motel rooms, camping and cabins, head to Fernwood Resort & Campgrounds.

If you want luxury glamping, there’s Ventana Big Sur, which also has spa-inspired guest rooms.

Treebones Resorts is on cliffs overlooking the ocean, and it’s a collection of campsites, tents, and yurts.

The most luxurious spot perhaps in Big Sur is the Post Ranch Inn, which has rooms including standalone houses that are on the edge of the cliff, and also treehouses. The spa at Post Ranch Inn is also one of the best anywhere in the world.

Things to Do

When you’re visiting Big Sur, finding things to do won’t be a problem. Narrowing them down in the time you have will likely be the much bigger issue.

You can visit the Point Sur Lighthouse, which is just north of Big Sur. It was established in 1889.

Pfeiffer Beach has purple sand and massive waves that crash into sea caves.

Garrapata State Park was featured on HBO’s show Big Little Lies, and it offers around 3,000 total acres and two miles of beachfront. At Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, you can hike in a redwood forest.

These are just a few of the many attractions.

What Else Should You Know?

The following are a few general tips and things to know about traveling to Big Sur:

  • You’ll need to do some planning ahead if you’re traveling to Big Sur. First, it’s pretty tough to get mobile service, and you may not even have strong Wi-Fi at your hotel. You might want an offline map for your trip, and you should have an idea of the points of interest you want to visit ahead of time. For example, you can use Google Maps to download maps and then save destinations, and then you can access them even if you’re offline.
  • Count on crowds most of the time. There’s also limited parking at some of the most popular attractions in the area, so try to go to the most popular places like Pfeiffer Beach early.
  • Consider the seasonal situation and the weather before you plan a trip. For example, right now, much of California is dealing with wildfires. Wildfires are common in the summer when the weather is dry. Rainier times of year such as spring can cause mud and rock slides. You can usually check the DOT website to find out what the current road conditions are in the area.

Finally, because Big Sur is so popular, try to make hotel and dining reservations well in advance. It’s not uncommon for most places to sell out, especially on the weekends. Now is a time when a lot of California businesses are operating at limited capacity, making this an even more important consideration.