Roadtrippin’ Big Sur, California

Roadtrippin’ Big Sur, California

We’ve already told a lot about California State Route 1 (Highway 1, Pacific Coast Highway or whatever you’d like to call it) and why we are so in love with its breathtaking ocean views and wildlife watching opportunities.

Now we want to highlight our favorite part of this long highway and share our 1 day itinerary for roadtripping along the Big Sur coastline in Central California.

The most scenic section of Highway 1 in 1 day

Big Sur, California, USA

In our opinion Big Sur is the most wonderful section of Highway 1!

It’s very close to the ocean all the way, it’s a wild coastline with high cliffs and charming little bays, there’s tons of shorter and longer hiking trails on the coast and in the nearby forests – and there are those famous bridges above the ocean…

Monterey and Carmel-By-The-Sea

Monterey, California, USA

We started at Monterey which is a charming little coastal town. It’s worth to take a walk in its lively harbour with tons of sea lions and birds any time of the year. The best whale watching cruises also start from Monterey, but more about those in a later post…

Carmel-By-The-Sea is right next to Monterey and it’s also such a lovely town! It’s famous for its art galleries and its central walking street heading to the beach is nice, too.

Then comes that wild coastline!

Big Sur, California, USA

But after a short walk in Monterey and Carmel it’s time to head south into the wild beauties of the Pacific Coast!

We want to mention all the famous vista points and short hikes we’ve done during this drive, but if you ever decide to do it, you will see that it’s impossible to mention every place which is worth a stop. Because we stopped like after every curve and we just couldn’t get enough of these views…

Andrew Molera State Park

Andrew Molera State Park, CA, USA

This state park was our first longer stop. It has an 8.8 miles loop trail (Andrew Molera Loop) on the coast which offers spectacular views and access to some very beautiful remote beaches.

Of course, doing the whole loop and driving all along Big Sur takes more time than what would fit into a day (but if you have more, that’s great!), but you could do just part of it, that’s what we did.

Andrew Molera State Park, CA, USA

Maybe because we arrived relatively early in the morning, but we didn’t find this park busy at all. There were very few people around us and we had our perfect romantic beach walk. 🙂

Partington Cove

Partington Cove, Big Sur, CA, USA

Watch out for the trailhead of Partington Cove Trail, it comes a little bit before Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. There’s a short (1 mile round-trip) and steep hike down to a scenic rocky beach and through a tunnel to Partington Cove.

McWay Falls

MyWay Falls, California State Route 1, USA

McWay Falls is probably the most popular spot along Big Sur – and probably the most photographed, too. This magically beautiful bay with the waterfall that flows into the ocean is like a perfect painting – it’s hard to believe it exists in reality, but it does!

The Waterfall Trail is only a 0.64 mile easy round-trip and you can just park next to the road to access the trail.

Pacific Valley Bluff Trail

Big Sur, California, USA

This awesome coastal bluff walk is somewhere between Lucia and Gorda and you need to watch out for a larger pullout and the sign for Pacific Valley Bluff Trail. This area is especially wonderful in early spring when hundreds of California poppies are in bloom!

Another waterfall stop: Salmon Creek Falls

Big Sur, California, USA

Salmon Creek Falls is just a bit north of Ragged Point. It’s a 10 minutes hike to reach the falls which is hidden in the forest. It’s less popular and also less crowded than McWay Falls.

We could actually see the top of the falls from the road – then we just parked at a pullout and found the sign indicating the trailhead.

A perfect ending: Pacific sunset

Big Sur, California, USA

I think ‘officially’ Ragged Point is the end of the Big Sur coastline and by the time you reach it, I bet it will be already late afternoon.

Driving back to McWay Falls for viewing the sunset could be a perfect ending of this road trip. But if you don’t have time to get there to catch the sunset, you can just stop wherever you want, Big Sur won’t disappoint you!

Do you have any favorite coastal road trips?



Roadtrippin’ Big Sur, California

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10 Responses

  1. […] State Route 1 goes along the Pacific coastline and rewards with fascinating ocean views. Big Sur is our favorite section of this long drive and if you are looking for easy hikes with great […]

  2. […] But we are quite confident in our two favorite coastal areas there: Big Sur and Point Reyes. While Big Sur is the ideal place for roadtripping along the coastline, Point Reyes can be best explored on […]

  3. […] wouldn’t question that. Driving along the Great Ocean Road can easily compete with driving California’s Big Sur coastline. Now, if you read this blog for a while, you must have realized that very few things on Earth can […]

  4. […] Pacific Coast is magical all along! If we have to choose our favorite section though it would be Big Sur. And Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is one of the most iconic places of Big Sur because of MyWay […]

  5. […] lucky you can even see dolphins and whales jumping out of the water or seals lying on the shore. Big Sur is a section of Highway 1 – the most beautiful section in our […]

  6. […] Big Sur is by far our favorite section, because it’s very scenic all the way! It goes from around Monterey to Ragged Point and it’s a perfect one day drive. […]

  7. […] along the Atlantic Ocean. Roadtrippin’ along the ocean coast… It awakens magical memories. From California. Australia. Also from the Atlantic coast of Portugal. And we passionately love the ocean, anyway. […]

  8. […] Big Sur was one of our favorite coastal hiking place anyway and it hasn’t disappointed us with its wildflowers either. Andrew Molera State Park or Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park have charming shorter and longer hikes but any of the coastal bluff trails could also be a good choice for a beautiful wildflower walk. […]

  9. […] an unquestionable advantage in our eyes. Moreover, Portugal’s Atlantic Coast can cope with the California Coast or Australia’s Great Ocean Road. It might not win, but they are in the same game. 🙂 It’s […]

  10. […] Read our guide to roadtrippin’ Big Sur here! […]

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