if you are visiting the Hearst Castle Historical State Park after a walk through of Monterey and Carmel with lost of spare time or having 2 to 3 day extra time, I would suggest a timely stop along Big Sur and the historic Highway 1 that straddles the Santa Lucia Mountain range and the Pacific Ocean for spectacular panoramic vistas for a picture perfect view. Big usr is located roughly 40 miles south of monterey along the famous Bixby and Rocky Creek Bridges and there are many nature related activities in big sur like hiking trails, white water rafting, camping areas and more. Stay overnite then proceed to the Hearst Castle.
Officially named Municipal Wharf II (but usually called Commercial Wharf or Wharf II) this structure was built in 1926 to ease congestion on Fisherman's Wharf (or Municipal Wharf I). It hosts several commercial fishing operations, a couple of great restaurants, and the local fancy yacht club. This structure is next to the open beach along the Monterey Bay and is lined with about 100 metered parking spaces. At the end of the wharf is a fish market, with fresh seafood, straight off the boat! This is also a good spot to see the sunset over the city.
This is a great place to check out the yachts, see some otters and sea lions, and grab a bite to eat at Lou Lou's or the Sandbar and Grill, two of my favorite restaurants in town.
Many locals head out here to enjoy the water without being run over by the crowds of Fishermans wharf.
One of Monterey's most beautiful beaches, this one is somewhat out of the way. It offers a lot of outdoor activities, and is an excellent place to watch a sunset. Dead kelp plants often wash up onto the shore here.
Take State Highway 1 south. Exit at Highway 68 West to Pacific Grove. Turn left on Sunset Drive in Pacific Grove. Follow Sunset Drive to the beach.
This is a very cool village about 10 miles or less south of Monterey. A very artsy downtown with plenty of galleries, coffeeshops, beautiful outdoor cafes, and anything that is for the more wealthier set. The small downtown leads right to the ocean, with an absolutly beautiful beach, which I feel has the some of the biggest and best sand dunes in the Central Coast.
While driving north on the Pacific Coast Highway, we saw some deserted beaches that seemed ideal for enjoying the sun and sand. Not sure if it was safe to go in the water, but if your happy just getting your feet wet, then this should be perfect.
Along with beautiful beaches, Carmel has a awe inspiring sunset. Bring a glass of wine, relax with a loved one.
Here we are on the 17 mile scenic drive and where we like to camp out and play on the beach at Pacific Grove
We enjoyed many stops on the ride up toward San Francisco. There were hidden beaches, the ocean crashing on rocks, light houses and beautiful wild flowers scattered along the way.