Luggage and bags:
With most hikes relatively short, a small day pack is sufficient to carry all you will need.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Hiking boots are the wise thing to wear if walking on rocky terrain as you will be in this rugged area but water sandals with covered toes also come in handy to not only get to the beaches, but to enjoy them once there. Bring some warm clothes, nights (and days) are can be quite chilly. You can forget that bikini unless you're a member of the polar bear club.
Photo Equipment: Wilde angle for those big coastal shots and a good zoom for sea lions and elephant seals.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Camping along Big Sur is a great experience. If you plan in advance, you could have views that even expensive rooms will not in this building-restricted area. Dig out that tent and sleeping bag. You'll be glad you did!
Personally speaking, I think it is wise to bring along both warm and cold weather clothings when packing for Big Sur. A cool, foggy morning can be followed (a few hours later) by a warm afternoon! I kid you not. Because of the close proximity of the Pacific Ocean to this coastal town, the climate here is somewhat temperate-like (if you know what I mean).
Photo Equipment: I ALWAYS, ALWAYS bring along at least 2 camaras with me... just in case one breaks down. My friends used to laugh at me.... until their one and only camera broke down. Then when they had to RELY SOLELY on me and my amateurish photographic skills, they stopped laughing. Yes, immediately. Serve them right! :-))
Miscellaneous: DON'T forget to bring along your much-treasured ATM card to withdraw cash. Yes, no need to rush to the money-changers to change all your currencies into American dollars before your trip.
And DON'T use your Visa or Mastercard to withdraw cash. This is considered a CASH ADVANCE and you'd be slapped with a HEFTY fee whereas if you were to use YOUR own ATM card, you will NOT be charged for any fees. In fact, you WILL benefit and enjoy from the low interbank exchange rates. Trust me (I used to work for an American bank).
Just ensure that you adhere to the following steps:
Flip to the back of your local ATM card, do you see the logos 'Cirrus', 'Plus', 'The Exchange', 'Maestro' etc on it?
If the answer is 'yes', then you have absolutely nothing to worry about!
Why? Because you can withdraw cash from any ATM machines in U.S.A., no matter how obscure the town you're at is.
If you use this method, you'd also save alot from the interbank exchange rates. Money changers will charge you much, much more compared to a bank.
I've been using this method countless of times before and so far, no ATM machines in this world have failed me.... Yes, even at the remotest village in Africa or China! :-)) Have a great trip!
Pic Below: A cartoon about ATM machines... with a twist! Enjoy the humor... ;-)
'There are three wants which can never be satisfied: that of the rich, who wants something more; that of the sick, who wants something different, and that of the traveler, who says... 'Anywhere but here.' ' - Ralph Waldo Emerson (American Essayist & Writer); 1803-1882