12 Best Things to Do in Big Sur, California
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Occupying an nearly mythic place within the American psyche are the spellbinding coastal surroundings and views of California’s Large Sur. Thought of to be one of many prettiest stretches of coast on this planet, its rugged reaches are house to lovely seashores, colossal cliffs and lovely groves of redwoods.

Situated alongside the Golden State’s glittering Central Coast, it consists of not simply pristine state parks and wilderness areas however sights similar to Bixby Bridge and Pfeiffer Seashore too. As a result of its unending nature, it has lengthy been related to unencumbered freedom with tens of millions road-tripping alongside its Pacific Coast Freeway annually.

With so many scenic spots to cease off at and innumerable lively issues to do in Large Sur, this coastal area is without doubt one of the most memorable and magical locations to go to within the States.

12. Andrew Molera State Park

Andrew Molera State Park© Dreamstime

As they’re largely untouched and undeveloped, the beautiful landscapes of Andrew Molera State Park actually are a deal with to discover. Set on the mouth of the Large Sur River, its sprawling confines supply up every kind of enjoyable out of doors actions and leisure alternatives.

The biggest state park alongside Large Sur, it encompasses every part from secluded seashores and coves to scenic redwood groves, meadows and waterfalls. Except for climbing, biking and horseback using across the park, guests can swim and surf within the sea or take pleasure in divine views from atop its ridges.

Some sensible tenting and beachcombing will also be had amidst the dramatic bluffs and seashores that line the Pacific. Established in 1968, the gorgeous park may be discovered simply forty-five minutes drive down the coast from Carmel.

11. Partington Cove

Partington Cove© Shutterstock

Cruise half an hour additional alongside California State Route 1 and also you’ll come throughout the picturesque Partington Cove. An exceptional spot to cease off, discover and photograph, it lies simply outdoors the attractive Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

After parking on the trailhead, you’ll should hike down via a craggy canyon to the scenic cove and its glowing sapphire-blue waters. On the best way, you’ll cross via a historic tunnel and over a quaint picket bridge with the views solely getting higher and higher the nearer you get to the ocean.

When you arrive on the remoted inlet and its rugged seaside, you possibly can lastly sit again, chill out and take within the surroundings whereas snapping some pictures. As not many individuals find out about it, you’ll usually discover you’re the one one clambering in regards to the cove’s tidal swimming pools and visiting its twinkling waterfall.

10. Sand Greenback Seashore

Sand Dollar Beach© Dreamstime

As picture-perfect as they arrive, the stupendous Sand Greenback Seashore is the biggest unbroken swathe of sand in Large Sur. A part of Los Padres Nationwide Forest, it lies simply throughout the freeway from Plaskett Creek Campground with bogs, barbecue pits and picnic areas all being out there.

Whereas it’s well-protected from the wind, swimming and wading aren’t really useful because the sturdy currents and surf may be fairly harmful. This, nevertheless, implies that its coastal cliffs and sea stacks look much more spectacular with the tough waves pounding away at them.

In addition to basking within the sweeping views from atop its grassy bluffs, you possibly can hike alongside its trails or prime up your tan on the seaside. Sundown is a very memorable time to go to whereas at low tide you possibly can discover its caves and rock swimming pools.

9. Henry Miller Memorial Library

Henry Miller Memorial LibraryFabrice Florin / Flickr

The beating cultural coronary heart of Large Sur, the Henry Miller Memorial Library hosts dwell music, readings and artwork exhibits every week at its cute and comfortable heart. Except for perusing its really particular bookstore, you possibly can attend its improbable style exhibits, movie festivals and writing workshops.

Like many different artists, poets and musicians, Henry Miller was significantly impressed by the breathtaking fantastic thing about Large Sur. Within the mid-sixties, his pal Emil White, a colourful character himself, constructed the charming home for him to work in. He later turned it right into a memorial to the novelist and gallery for native artists following his loss of life in 1980.

Nestled amidst towering redwoods simply off the street, the ramshackle home is ready in a shocking spot with its photo-filled library and art-cluttered exterior being simply as magical. With so many enjoyable occasions and exhibitions happening on a regular basis, it truly is a must-visit when road-tripping alongside the coast.

8. Level Sur State Historic Park

Point Sur State Historic Park© Dreamstime

Seen for miles round, the protruding Level Sur State Historic Park lies simply half an hour south of Carmel, proper subsequent to Andrew Molera State Park. In addition to providing up engaging seaside hikes and distinguished viewpoints, it is usually house to a stunning previous lighthouse of the identical title.

Whereas the smallish park overlooks an enormous stretch of tough and rugged shoreline, its focus is the good-looking, historic lighthouse that watches over it. Inbuilt 1889, its stone partitions and vintage lantern make for some hanging pictures and views of the shimmering waters of the Pacific stretching away endlessly into the space.

Visitors can take excursions of its inside and study extra about its historical past and wind-swept setting from knowledgeable guides. Afterwards, you possibly can hike up the hulking nice volcanic rock upon which it’s perched and revel in awe-inspiring panoramas over the Pacific.

7. Garrapata State Park

Garrapata State Park© Dreamstime

Even nearer to Carmel you’ll discover the craggy coastal cliffs and epic canyons of Garrapata State Park. With snaking trails, sunbathing and swimming all to take pleasure in, it is without doubt one of the finest locations to go on the northern finish of Large Sur.

Overlaying an enormous a part of the coast, the park protects rocky headlands, quiet seashores and coves with flower-filled valleys and canyons mendacity inland. Whether or not climbing via groves of redwoods, up into the St. Lucia Mountains or to the highest of Soberanes Level, splendid surroundings and views are assured wherever you go.

What’s extra, California sea lions, harbor seals and sea otters are sometimes noticed offshore alongside pods of grey whales throughout their yearly migration. Whereas some stretches of its coast are too rugged for swimming and sunbathing, others are the right place to chill out and unwind amidst nature.

6. Limekiln State Park

Limekiln State Park© Shutterstock

Regardless of being one in all Large Sur’s smallest state parks, Limekiln definitely packs a punch with all that it has to supply. Named after the 4 rusting previous kilns that dot its confines, it boasts not simply spectacular ocean views and coastal canyons however a outstanding redwood forest stuffed with campsites too.

Additionally situated inside the Santa Lucia vary, its steep scree slopes have been initially harvested for limestone between 1887 and 1890. Whereas the quarry was quickly exhausted, the historic limekilns hidden away amidst the timber now make for some fabulous pictures as does the park’s 100-foot-high waterfall.

In addition to climbing and tenting amongst the colossal redwoods, guests can enterprise right down to its fairly seashores or wander alongside the highest of its towering cliffs.

5. Ragged Level

Ragged Point© Dreamstime

The southern entrance to Large Sur, Ragged Level is the right spot to tug over and expertise all its unbelievable coastal surroundings for the primary time. Right here too, you possibly can cease for the evening at both its fashionable resort or atmospheric inn and replenish on provides from its retailer and petrol station.

Mendacity alongside California’s Central Coast, the humongous headland looms roughly 300 ft above the glinting waters of the Pacific far beneath. In addition to having fun with beautiful views via its ‘Window to Large Sur’, you possibly can navigate a steep path right down to the ocean’s edge the place gigantic elephant seals usually lounge within the solar.

Earlier than heading onwards, many individuals keep at Ragged Level and construct up anticipation for the scenic journey to return. Its connoisseur restaurant can also be effectively value making an attempt out for its scrumptious dishes, desserts and snacks.

4. Bixby Creek Bridge

Bixby Bridge© Dreamstime

One of the vital iconic man-made landmarks alongside the entire of Large Sur’s shoreline is after all the spectacular Bixby Creek Bridge. Spanning a big, rugged canyon, its sleek structure and spellbinding setting make it a very talked-about photograph spot and viewpoint.

Regardless of being accomplished in 1932, it stays one of many highest single-span arch bridges on this planet with it standing 260 ft tall in complete. Held up by big concrete columns and retrofitted metal beams, its precipitous street reaches 714 ft in size.

From both finish of the bridge and the mountains surrounding it, you possibly can take phenomenal pictures of the hanging construction standing out towards the ocean. Dawn and sundown are significantly particular occasions to go to or when the bridge and canyon are shrouded within the early morning mist.

3. Pfeiffer Seashore

Pfeiffer Beach© Dreamstime

One other of Large Sur’s prime sights is the picturesque Pfeiffer Seashore. Recognized for its purple sands, sea stacks and the gorgeous Santa Lucia Mountains, the gorgeous seaside actually is one in all Large Sur’s must-see sights.

Situated inside Los Padres Nationwide Forest, its secluded but expansive purple sands lie on the finish of Sycamore Canyon amidst rearing rock formations and vegetation-clad cliffs. Simply offshore, you possibly can spy one in all its most well-known options – the Pfeiffer Keyhole Rock. At low tide, you possibly can really stroll as much as its distinctive arch, snap pictures via it and discover the tidal round it.

Sundown is, once more, the very best time to see the arch and seaside as that is when a radiant beam of sunshine shines via it and coats the entire space in a stunning heat hue.

2. Pfeiffer Large Sur State Park

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park© Shutterstock

Simply up the street from the seaside are the chic landscapes, surroundings and nature of Pfeiffer Large Sur State Park. Sprawling throughout the western slopes of the hovering St. Lucia Mountains, it’s best identified for its romantic redwood groves which have earned it the nickname of ‘mini Yosemite’.

Centered across the Large Sur River, the big park is exclusive for the area because it lies inland as a substitute of alongside the coast. Its meadows, forests and riverbanks have a number of shady climbing trails to discover with a comfortable visitor lodge and campgrounds dotted right here and there.

Amidst its lush undergrowth and distant reaches, guests can usually spot native wildlife with bobcats, deer and raccoons all residing inside the tranquil park.

1. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park© Dreamstime

Arguably Large Sur’s standout spot to go to, nevertheless, is the fantastic Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. In addition to the majestic McWay Falls, which programs off the highest of a cliff into the ocean, it has a great deal of fascinating coastal surroundings, redwoods and viewpoints to take pleasure in.

Named after a revered resident and rancher of the area, it was based in 1962 to guard the pristine wilderness and wildlife. Alongside big granite cliffs and lovely coves, hikers will come throughout effervescent creeks and large previous redwoods, a few of that are over 2,500 years previous.

The spotlight although needs to be McWay Falls which sparkles within the solar because it plunges over eight ft into the Pacific. With a lot spectacular surroundings on present, and glorious climbing and tenting available, the state park is, for a lot of, essentially the most memorable a part of their whole journey.

Map of Issues to Do in Large Sur, California


Freeway 1 is absolutely open to vacationers who could now journey with out interruption from Monterey/Carmel space to Cambria/Morro Bay alongside the Large Sur Coast.01-Nov-2021

Large Sur has been known as the “longest and most scenic stretch of undeveloped shoreline within the contiguous United States”, a chic “nationwide treasure that calls for extraordinary procedures to guard it from improvement”, and “one of the lovely coastlines anyplace on this planet, an remoted stretch of street, mythic

2-3 days

The most well-liked time to go to Large Sur is between April to October, when the climate is nicest. (Although one ought to be warned that the marine layer coats a lot of the coast within the mornings throughout elements of the excessive season.) Companies aren’t open as lengthy throughout the off-peak season.10-Mar-2022

Large Sur continues to be accessible regardless of Freeway 1 injury, avoiding a repeat of 2017’s isolation.30-Jan-2021

Driving the scenic coastal route of California’s Freeway 1 via Large Sur is an epic street journey that may be a should! The shoreline of Large Sur is likely to be one of the dramatic and luxurious drives as a result of it actually hugs the cliffs providing essentially the most insane views.23-Oct-2019


Large Sur is a coastal area in California, which presents lovely views of seashores and shoreline. The principle sights are Andrew Molera State Park, Partington Cove, Sand Greenback Seashore, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, and Bixby Bridge. It’s generally visited on street journeys from the

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