Piedras Blanca Elephant Seal View Point is a fun and interesting activity, which is free of charge and well worth a side trip if you have time before or after your tour of the Castle. This viewing area is located 5.5 miles north of the Hearst Castle and south of the Point Piedras Blancas Lighthouse. Look for a large parking lot on the ocean side of highway 1 north of the Hearst Castle. Pull off and park, so that you can take a short walk to observe elephant seals that use the beach year round. A fence bordering the beach protects the seals from human interference. A series of signs will give you information about the lives of elephant seals, as well as explaining which elephant seals can be seen during the different times of the year.
Highway 1 will take you along the beautiful Big Sur region of the California coast. This may be the most famous drive in the state. Skirting the ocean you will have breath taking panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. This Big Sur Coastline extends, depending on who you talk to or which pamphlet you read, from about Monterey south to San Simeon along highway 1, or from San Francisco south to Los Angeles. As a warning, highway 1 is a narrow, twisty, two-lane road, which in places has huge drop offs on the ocean side of the road. If you have ever driven a narrow, curvy mountain road, and felt fearful, you may not like this road. If you have a fear of heights, you may find that looking over the side in some areas will cause you to feel tense and uncomfortable. In this case you may not wish to try this Off the Beaten Path tip. For more detailed information on the Big Sur area, please visit my Big Sur pages.
Visiting the fable Hearst Castle in the Central Coast of California can be breathtaking and more so if you are fond of wines and vinyards, it is just less than an hour drive from the nearby Paso Robles Wine Region of Central California via California Route 46 and Highway 1 South and if you are touring the Hearst Castle on your own and not on any part of a bus tour group, Paso Robles can be an exciting excursion since they have many fine wines here (althoug is is much smaller in acreage than Napa valley and Sonoma in Northern California). You will find 26,000 vineyard acres, producing more than 40 winegrape varieties ranging from Spanish to Italian, Bordeaux to Rhône, including the area's heritage variety Zinfandel. The styles of wine are diverse in this very distinct region. Wine Tasting in a local winery in Paso Robles will cost about $ 5 for regular wines and $ 8 for the vintage and premium wines.
Carmel By the Sea is a quaint town in the Monterey Peninsula, located about 90 miles north of Hearst Castle and is a quaint destination in itself where you can go high end shopping in it's upscale and stylish strip malls and the assorted art galleries that made the town famous where you can buy expensive art pieces. plus it is one of the original 21 Spanish Missions in California and where the Iconic Spanish Friar Junipero Serra is Buried. Thanks a lot to old Clint Eastwood to Make the Town a big blip in the Map of California. A Side to to Monterey and 17 Mile Drive in Pacific Grove which are nearby can be done.
Lucia is a Small Hamlet in the Santa Lucia Mountain Range at the Winding and Scenic Highway 1 and is bannered by a small lodge and restaurant where there are spectacular views of the pacific Ocean and they have a 10 room lodge for people who want to savor the view and have some privacy. While primarily a motel and lodge on the side of the road, this is a nice place to stop and rest for a while. You can stop in at gift and convenience store and pick up something to eat at the tables, or even stop in at the restaurant.
address: 62400 Hwy 1, Big Sur, CA 93920
From the North:
Big Sur Valley - 22 miles
Monterey / Carmel - 48 miles
San Jose / Silicon Valley - 110 miles
San Francisco - 180 miles
From the South:
Hearst Castle - 38 miles
Cambria - 50 miles
Morro Bay - 70 miles
San Luis Obispo - 85 miles
Santa Barbara - 180 miles
according to their website:
Lucia Lodge is an historic cliff-side resort located in the heart of the Big Sur coast.
The lodge was constructed on a secluded stretch of Coast Highway One in the 1930’s by the Harlan family, which settled the area in the latter half of the 19th century. Today Lucia Lodge is run by the 5th generation of the Harlan clan and enjoys the same level of peace and solitude prevalent from the beginning.
Ten updated cabins and rooms, family style indoor/outdoor dining, and a quaint country store await you. A gift shop within the store carries arts & crafts from local artisans.
Lucia Lodge is located adjacent to highway one in the village of Lucia, 50 miles south of Carmel, California, and 40 miles north of San Simeon / Cambria, California (home to Hearst Castle). You can make a reservation to stay in one the cliff-side cabins or ocean view rooms… stop in just for lunch or dinner, or visit the store/gift shop.
Lucia lodge is famous for its close proximity to the ocean. No other Big Sur resort gets you this close to the sea. The lodge is a wonderful place to relax and enjoy the stunning views of the Big Sur coastline and the rugged Santa Lucia Mountains. The cabins are situated along a southwest facing cliff 300 feet above the Pacific Ocean which offers an unparalleled view of the Big Sur coast.
There is a large deck adjoining the restaurant where you can take in a home-cooked meal and view the whales swimming along their migration path. Or, enjoy the ocean view from inside the historic restaurant while enjoying fireside dining.
The location of Lucia is also a perfect launching point for exploring the rest of Big Sur. Check out the links on this site to familiarize yourself with the wildlife, locate great day hikes and nearby beaches, or find fun locations to visit… all within 10 minutes by foot, to an hour’s reach by car.
Monterey is about a 90 mile drive (and 1 1/2 to 2 hour drive, depending on the driving conditions on highway 1) north via the Spectacular Highway 1 through Big Sur and then Carmel and Pacific Grove and is made popular by the Cannery row by novelist John Steinbeck (will do more detailed monterey tips on my monterey pages). There are lots of activities and things to do at the Monterey Peninsula and bay plus the fact that is was the former capital of the Great State of California during the Spanish and Mexican Period. Activities include strolling at the Cannery Row, Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Jazz festival, the fisherman's wharf and more. When in Monterey, a side trip to Carmel and 17 mile drive and pebble beach is a must.
address is: Monterey, CA 93942
although the Pebble Beach and Golf Course is part of the famed 17 mile drive throughout the various sceneries around the gofl course and the sea and surrounding areas of Monterey and Carmel and Pacific Grove, I've decided to make a separate tip and concentrate on the Golf Links in the Pebble Beach area, which was the site of the 2010 US Open Golf Tournament (sadly, the 2011 US Open was played at the Congressional Country Club in bethesda, Maryland). They say that the Pebble Beach is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful courses in the world. It hugs the rugged coastline and has wide open views of Carmel Bay, opening to the Pacific Ocean, on the south side of the Monterey Peninsula. Pebble Beach and 17 mile drive belong to the Pebble Beach Company, which also operates three hotels and a spa at the resort. The other courses are The Links at Spanish Bay, Spyglass Hill Golf Course, and Del Monte Golf Course. They have the usual amenities here like hotels, golf courses, club house and restaurants and souvenir shops.
address is: Pebble Beach, CA 93953
Again, like what I've said, I had divided my 17 mile drive tips into two parts and these is the second part, concentrating on the views around the 17 mile drive inside the sprawling Pebble Beach and Golf Course. the huge 17 mile drive passes through areas of Monterey, Carmel, Pacific Grove and Pebble beach itself and has lots of nice sceneries and vista points for picture and video taking, bannered by the Iconic Lone Cypress. The 17-Mile Drive is 9.6 miles (15.4 km) long, between the entrances at California State Route 1 and Sunset Drive and owned by the Pebble Beach Corporation and to drive the section of the 17-Mile Drive Road that exists within the Pebble Beach Gated Community requires a payment of $ 9.50 by all visitors. Amo0ng the points of interests are: The Lone Cypress – one of California’s best-known landmarks – Spanish Bay, Cypress Point Lookout and Carmel Bay. You can also see the emerald fairways of The Links at Spanish Bay, Spyglass Hill and the world-renowned Pebble Beach Golf Links.
adress is: 17-Mile Drive, Pebble Beach, CA 93953
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