Big Sur is home to some of America’s most recognizable natural and public lands. There’s so much you can do in the area, from the majestic mountain peaks to lush redwood forests along the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), or Highway 1, to the beautiful beaches at the coast.
It is difficult to find the right place to visit Big Sur, which packs so many natural beauty and coastline along 71 miles. This guide will help you find the most exciting outdoor adventures Big Sur has.
Why Big Sur Feels Bigger
We noted that Big Sur is one of America’s top beach getaways for spring break. Big Sur is the most undeveloped stretch of coastline in the lower 48 States. It offers glimpses of a new kind of coast living that’s not common in large cities such as San Francisco and Big Sur to the north and Los Angeles to south. Big Sur is a vast open space where you can walk through lush forests, climb down to rugged beaches and avoid the crowds at central beaches with their many multimillion-dollar estates.
These forests and beaches are located where? These are the best places in Big Sur to discover America’s greatest outdoors.
Garrapata State Park
Garrapata State Park is located approximately 13 miles from Downtown Monterey, and 8 miles south Carmel-by-the-Sea. It has many hiking trails, which offer plenty of natural beauty but are still close to the Monterey Peninsula. You can hike into the forest by looking for the pullout near the PCH signs. This is the Soberanes Canyon trailhead. It will take you through redwood forests and provide breathtaking views of Santa Lucia Mountains.
You can continue your explorations of the region by following the trails that run along the coast side PCH. Painter’s Point offers a wonderful spot for you to relax and enjoy the beautiful coastline. Continue south along the Soberanes Trail to reach Garrapata Beach. If you want to enjoy the hidden treasure at the northern end Big Sur’s Northern End, continue down the dirt trail. However, swimming is not recommended due to strong rip currents and the cold water.
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Bixby Creek Bridge, and the Brazil Trail
Bixby Creek Bridge is perhaps the most well-known bridge in the world, and there are many tourists who take photos of it. You can escape the crowds by continuing south on PCH, and take the opportunity to stretch your legs. Continue for one-tenth mile. The trailhead is located near Highway 1’s Old Coast Highway intersection. Brazil Ranch was established in late 19th-century. It was then a ranch that operated for almost a century until real estate investors started to look at the region for potential home developments. The Trust for Public Land bought the ranch to give it to Los Padres National Forest in 2002.
Brazil Ranch Trail offers 5 miles of challenging hiking with stunning views over the Bixby Creek Bridge and Sierra Creek. It is located approximately 15 miles from Carmel so make sure to have all your supplies, such as water and sunscreen. To park at the trailhead, this area is on national forest land.
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Andrew Molera State Park
Andrew Molera State Park, located 23 miles from Carmel and the biggest state park on the Big Sur Coast coast, offers plenty of things to do. For a hike further inland, you can take the East Molera trail near the entrance to the park for a 1.8 mile climb through switchbacks up to a ridgetop with views over the redwoods and meadows below. You can also continue the unofficial trail to see more breathtaking ocean and mountain views. However, please do not jump fences and cross boundary markers as these will likely mark the boundaries between private and state land.
You can also connect with the trail that leads down to the ocean by taking the Creamery Meadow Trail, or the River Trail. There are plenty of things to do once you get there. One of the few surf beaches in the region is located at the Big Sur River mouth. You can walk along the Bluffs Trail south to find many remote beaches where you can stretch out and do some beachcombing. Camping sites are also available if you wish to stay for longer. However, it is important to book your campsite in advance.
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Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, McWay Falls
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is located 36 miles south from Carmel, 37 miles north Ragged Point. It also includes McWay Falls. McWay creek flows from this point and creates a waterfall, which drops 80 feet to the shore. The beach is not open to the public in order to protect the environment. You can still hike the trail to PCH from your parking spot. Then, go under PCH and follow a path to reach a wooden path to an overlook where you will take photos sure to impress all of your Instagram friends.
You can head to the Partington Cove Trail if you want to really get down to the beaches. The 1.5-mile trail runs to the creek, which you can cross. This tunnel was constructed in 1880s for oak timber transportation to the ships. Finally, it leads through blackberry bushes and brush to the end at the beach. Although it is a tiny cove, the beach offers a great place to relax after a hard day’s hiking.
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Sand Dollar Beach, Jade Cove
Sand Dollar Beach lies along the coast about 16 miles from Ragged Point. It is also the longest beach in this area. This beach is popular with surfers because of its big waves. However, the water’s rip currents make it difficult for beginners to swim in. The beach extends almost one mile from land. However, you’ll need to hike a steep downhill to reach it. The views are amazing and it is worth the effort to reach the beach.
Jade Cove is the nearest beach for treasure hunters if you are interested in hunting. You can find Monterey Jade on this scenic, rocky beach. However, only loose stones can be taken away and only what can actually be carried. Jade Cove offers a blufftop hiking trail with great views and wildflowers. Sand Dollar Beach is connected to the 1.6-mile Pacific Valley Bluff Trail, which offers stunning views and easy access for all levels. Plaskett Creek Campground can be reserved well in advance if you want to extend your stay.
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Ragged point and Piedras Blancas
Crossing the San Luis Obispo County Line will bring you to Ragged Point. This is approximately 22 miles north from Cambria, and 57 miles north the City of San Luis Obispo. Ragged Point has been traditionally considered the southern gateway of Big Sur. This is the last opportunity to see Big Sur’s sights. The Ragged Point Cliffside Trail is located near the Ragged Point Inn Hotel. It begins 400ft above the sea and continues along a steep path beside Young Creek until it reaches Young Creek Beach.
Continue south on Highway 1 to Hearst San Simeon State Park for an additional mile. At the pull-out area stop and then follow the long trail to San Carpoforo Creek Beach. This beach is great for surfing and beachcombing. Nine miles from the Ragged Point inn is the turnoff for a parking area. Here you will find the footpath that leads to Point Piedras Blancas Beach. This beach is great to stroll the shore and see the elephant seals. You can catch the Boucher Trail from here to reach a lighthouse dating back to 1875. The trail then continues to Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery where more seals can be viewed at the beach.
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Big Sur has been called the “longest and most scenic stretch of undeveloped coastline in the contiguous United States”, a sublime “national treasure that demands extraordinary procedures to protect it from development”, and “one of the most beautiful coastlines anywhere in the world, an isolated stretch of road, mythic
– Admire McWay Falls.
– Snap a photo of Bixby Creek Bridge.
– Look for Purple Sand at Pfeiffer Beach.
– View Jade-Green China Cove in Point Lobos.
– Enjoy Sand Dollar Beach.
– Drive Old Coast Road.
– Tour Point Sur Light Station.
– Marvel at the Seals at Piedras Blancas Rookery.
– Point Lobos State Natural Reserve.
– Ragged Point.
– Limekiln State Park.
– Henry Miller Memorial Library.
– Garrapata State Park.
– Partington Cove.
– Andrew Molera State Park.
– Point Sur State Historic Park. Point Sur Lighthouse.
macOS Big Sur updates improve the stability, performance, or compatibility of your Mac and are recommended for all macOS Big Sur users. After installing macOS Big Sur, choose System Preferences from the Apple menu , then click Software Update to check for the latest updates.22-Mar-2022
Big Sur is home to some of America’s most recognizable natural and public lands. There’s so much you can do in the area, from the majestic mountain peaks to lush redwood forests along the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), or Highway 1, to the beautiful beaches at the coast. It is