Big Sur is described by many as one of the most beautiful coastlines anywhere in the world. It is somewhat difficult to get to but you will be rewarded with its rugged scenery and stunning views.
Big Sur, located in the Central Coast of California has been on our list of places to visit ever since we moved to the Bay Area. The recent fires has kept us away but now that its slowly passing Big Sur Village, the roads have opened up and the air quality has improved. We saw many signs along the way thanking local Firefighters for their tireless effort in protecting the surrounding cities. It was nice to see so many locals supporting our heroes.
Now that we have made the famous drive on Highway 1, here are some tips I’d like to share with you all before going.
- Fill up your gas tank in Carmel. There won’t be a lot of gas stations once you are driving along the coast.
- Traffic getting into Big Sur will be terrible. The later you leave, the worse traffic gets. If you can, try and leave as early as possible.
- Get directions before driving. Cell service is a hit or miss once you pass Carmel and pretty much drops off the farther into Big Sur you get.
- Dress accordingly. It gets very windy and very chilly there and if you’re going to be staying outdoors for a long period of time, make sure to wear lots of layers and bring a warm jacket.
- This is a very popular tourist destination. When you get to the turnouts, be patient. Be kind. Be courteous. Everyone is there for the same reason you are.
- If you are going for the day, make sure to block out the entire day so you can take your time. There is far too much to see and we made the mistake of not leaving our house early enough so we didn’t have time to drive to McWay Falls which was a bummer. We definitely need to plan to come back.
- Restaurants are extremely overpriced here. We’re talking $15 for a burger. Pack snacks, sandwiches, drinks, etc.. and make a picnic out of it. We packed ready made salads from Trader Joes and ate them at Pfeiffer Beach before heading back.
- Pull over to as many turnouts as you can and just take in the natural beauty of California.
- Be careful stepping on the edge of the cliffs. You can die taking a selfie. Follow the barriers and do not go past them. Beautiful view, yes. Worth risking your life? Not so much.
- Parking to see the iconic Bixby Bridge can be tough. It is a one lane road so make sure not to stop in the middle of the lane. Find a place to park off to the side.
Bonus Tip: At Bixby Bridge, on the mountain side, you will see a “Road Closed” sign. Walk up that dirt road and take a picture of Bixby Bridge with the ocean in the background. You will get the best view of the bridge from here.