In 1542 Cabrillo sailed by here and wrote: "There are mountains which seem to reach to the heavens, and the sea beats on them."
Margaret Owings, resident and conservationist, said, "There's something about Big Sur that puts people in their place. Something they have to come back to, because it does something to you. And it gives you a responsibility to keep it like this."
Today, Big Sur is a coastal wilderness of 200,000 acres, with 90 miles of California coast. The highway was constructed in the 1930s for people to see it.
Fondest memory: Driving along the highway (with my husband doing the driving, so I could look at the views) and each corner that we rounded had something beautiful and different.
A website which has a lot of history and pictures of the area is:
When driving to Big Sur from the Bay Area, you will be driving through areas such as Monterey and Carmel. This is also very close to the Laguna Seca Raceway. You can tell it is race season by nice arses in camouflage.
Fondest memory: She walked in the picture, what was I supposed to do?
Big Sur, the “town” (read: there really isn’t one) is located 150 miles south of San Francisco and 300 miles north of LA. But it is actually a 90-mile stretch of rugged and awesomely beautiful coastline between Carmel to the north and San Simeon (Hearst Castle) to the south.
Fondest memory: If you plan to drive it once, it is better to drive south, because it is much easier to stop your car off the side of the road, especially on tourist days.
...while driving over Bixbie Bridge
I’ve been to the Hearst Castle a few times with the family, and found some info on good ol’ Billy Randolph. There are some interesting tidbits about the mansion that they don’t elaborate on when you take the tours, but I feel is important to know. Chinese Slave Labor built much of the Castle. He took some slaves for his own personal usage from the Railway labor. Also, while taking the tour, you will see many artifacts that look like they belong in Catholic Churches. Well, surprisingly enough most were in Catholic Churches until he paid a visit to them with his mob-squad and instructed his goons to take what he wanted. Extorting extortionists.
Favorite thing: The earliest known people to live in the area were the Ohlone, also called the Costanoan, Native Americans. (Cliff dwellers in Spanish, I think) Peaceful bands of this tribe populated present-day California from the Golden Gate to Big Sur some 3,000 to 3,500 years ago. They were hunters and gatherers, until they were virtually wiped out in the late 1700s by European diseases and attempts to change their religion and lifestyle. (read: enslaved)
Favorite thing: The fog came in last night. But no worries, it burns off by midday. Under the clouds of the fog we make breakfast and go gather wood. This was done legally at the Big Sur Market for about $7.00 a bundle. It was now time to pack lunches for our afternoon hike.
Favorite thing: Find much needed water. We’ve been out. We’re thirsty. We were back at the base of the loop, where the waterfall was. A lot of California waters have Kooties and that gives you the trots. You do not wish to have it. We drank the water. So far so good… intestines working fine and not at a faster pace. (Writing 5 days after. I think I am in the clear)
Favorite thing: There's a good information center in Big Sur Valley's Pfeiffer-Big Sur State Park. You can get information on hiking in the area, as well as facilities and upcoming events. There are a number of redwoods in the area around the information center.
These pages chronicle my epic overland journey of the United States from landing in New York on January 28th 2002, to my departure from Oahu on April 7th 2002 for New Zealand...
Big Sur: From Sequoia National Park – on the way to San Francisco (See these pages for further details!)
One of the most ruggedly beautiful stretches of coastal road on the planet.
Getting up early as we knew we had a long day ahead of us, we left San Luis Obispo by 8am and took Highway One heading north.
At San Simeone we stopped for a huge breakfast at an excellent restaurant which I think was called the Cavalier - it was certainly the coastal side of the road at any rate.
Next was our first major appointment at Hearst Castle, this was a wonderful experience and is covered in full under my must see activities.
Just a bit further along is the Elephant Seal colony at Piedras Blancas, where you can watch and find out about these magnificent creatures.
Distractions aside, we headed further into Big Sur and marvelled at the spectacular views on either side of the road, stopping briefly at the many vantage points and attractions along the road as detailed in my tips.
It was somewhat unfortunate that we only had one day to experience this wonderful untamed coast, as we were a bit rushed towards the end as it grew dark and we knew that the beauty of Big Sur was being shrouded from our sight by the advancing night.
About this point we were rudely awaked by the fact that our need for petrol meant our potentially becoming victims of the most expensive petrol station in the USA! On principle, I drove on even though we were running on empty and it was a nerve-wracking drive to Carmel.
We found a decent B&B almost immediately and settled for the night.
The next day we took a tour of the world famous Monarch Butterfly groves in Pacific Grove that gives the town its name before taking a tour round the foreshore of Carmel and Monterey and Cannery Row, before heading off to San Francisco…
Fondest memory: Highlights had to be the amazingly opulent Hearst Castle - a must see if you're in this area!
The sheer beauty of Big Sur is difficult to quantify, except to say that it definitely compares favourably with the 'Great Ocean Road' in Australia (Currently my Cape Otway page) as one of the most impressive coastal roads in the world - this might have been because during early spring there wasn't much traffic and you definitely felt a world away in an untamed wilderness...
Other places I would really recommend visiting are Nepenthe Restaurant which was a fabulous experience as the sun set, and the art gallery across the road...
If you're looking for a stand out place to stay, try Deetjen's as it's cabins really capture the essence of Big Sur.
All of these places are covered in my tips - Enjoy!
drive along Highway 1 to enjoy such breathtaking scenery.....
Fondest memory: Did you know that the name 'Big Sur' is derived from the original Spanish-language 'El Sur Grande' which simply means 'the Big South'. The Big Sur region, is about 145KM in length along California's coastal Highway 1.... and it lies between the Los Angeles area and the San Francisco Bay area. Just in case you're wondering, Big Sur's northern end is at Carmel, approximately 210KM away from San Francisco and just next to Monterey. Its southern end is over at San Simeon, approximately 385KM away from Los Angeles and near San Luis Obispo.
Confused?? Don't worry... Me too! But whatever it is, just memorize this little fact because if you're driving, you certainly don't want to get lost! In all honesty, even if you forget to bring a map along with you, I doubt if you'll get lost here! :-)) We certainly didn't! Yeah, bravo to us huh?
Post Ranch Inn Big Sur
2 Reviews and 486 Opinions This hotel is incredible, beside the location, rooms and restaurant the people who work there are so...
Ventana Inn And Spa Big Sur
2 Reviews and 423 Opinions Enjoy dramatic scapes, invigorating hikes, wine service, and a "clothing optional" pool. This is a...