Thursday, August 2, 2012

Big Sur, CA: 3 Must-see Sights on the Edge of the World

Big Sur, the roughly 90 miles of California coast from Monterey south, is some of the finest coastline anywhere, and the drive up the Pacific Coast Highway (that's PCH for short) is breathtaking--if not for it's beauty, for its sheer drops and terror-inducing turns! So, if you're lucky enough to be planning a trip to Big Sur, here are a few suggestions for tackling the kick-you-in-the-stomach awesomeness!

1. Point Lobos State Park

My top pick. No need to go on and on about the place, just look at my pictures! 

 Point Lobos State Park
Point Lobos State Park, CA
The best thing about Point Lobos is its size. There are many other spots that equal Point Lobos in beauty, but they are a one shot stop--get out...look at the scenery... drive. Point Lobos offers trails with amazing views nearly 100% of the time! You can really start to unwind and relax as you walk along the trails.

Waves at Point Lobos State Park
Point Lobos State Park, CA
Point Lobos State Park, CA
Monterey Pine in Point Lobos State Park. Big Sur, CA
Point Lobos is heavily wooded and, as you stroll along its easily accessible paths, you'll find more than a few beautiful Monterey Pines (including the one pictured above).

One quick tip, you can park along the road for free. Just find some spot near the Point Lobos sign. There are trails from the road into the park.

2. The Old Coast Road

Try something completely different! The Old Coast Road is a steep dirt road that climbs high into the mountains. If you're looking to leave behind the crowds on the PCH and explore some amazing pine, ceder, and redwood groves, take the Coast Road.

Redwood Forest on the Old Coast Road. Big Sur, CA

Some of the groves on this route are beautiful (as you can see from my photography)! A few words of caution... I drove this road in a front wheel drive Chrysler, so the road is well maintained... HOWEVER... it takes a little guts. Most of the road is narrow--only wide enough for one car. It is also extremely steep and winding.

3. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

This is the obligatory, Facebook profile pic stop... which is why I didn't post pictures... the cliche bores me. It's also a simple there and back stop. It's a short walk to the view point, and a short walk back... For all these reasons, this amazing cove is third on my list of Big Sur things to do. That being said, set aside an hour to see this place... it's amazing! If you don't believe me, go ahead and google it... but honestly, you should trust me and just be pleasantly surprised.


Awesome! How do I get there?

This handy map should help. Going from north to south, here are the destinations in this travel recommendation:

View Larger Map
A. Point Lobos
B. North end of the Old Coast Road. It's a dirt road, so it is a little hard to find. This end comes out right before the Bixy Creek Bridge (which is a destination in its own right).
C. South end of the Old Coast Road. This end is much more difficult to find (which is why you might be better off going north to south). The blog Pedal! Damn It! has a has a great post about the Old Coast Road with many pictures including a picture of this southern entrance. Check it out if you are considering driving (or pedaling!) this road.
D. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

You have some nice pictures. How did you get them?

Hey, thanks! Here's all the equipment I used for these photographs (These links take you to Amazon where, if you buy anything, you support this starving blogger):
Or you can become the proud owner of the very pictures on this blog. Skip the mass-produced posters and opt for some original art!

A Few Useful Links



  1. Big Sur is on of my favorite places! My family used to go camping there every summer when i was a kid. So beautiful!

  2. Amazing and beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing them!