The Best Big Sur Road Trip And Viewpoints
Jan 05, 2023 By Juliana Daniel

Big Sur is a picturesque region that stretches for 90 miles along California Highway 1 on the Pacific coast of Central California. Big Sur is a short drive, but it delivers a lot of punch because of its stunning natural beauty, an abundance of state parks, delicious food, and charming coastal towns.

The Big Sur Highway is a stunning route, and it's easy to see why it's consistently ranked among the top road trips in the world. This is one of the most picturesque places in the United States; there are sea stacks, waterfalls, hiking paths, and seaside cliffs.

Getting To Big Sur

From San Francisco, head south on US-101 to 85, and enter onto 17 South toward Big Sur; at highway 1, turn left. From there, you'll continue down Highway 1 to Monterey, picking up the Pacific Coast Highway and starting your journey along the Big Sur coast. We recommend starting your Big Sur road trip from Los Angeles and heading north. The Big Sur official route starts at Carmel by the Sea and goes down to San Simeon.

Attractions Along the Big Sur Highway

We recommend you base yourself in either Carmel or Monterey after you've arrived in the area. Carmel is a short drive from Monterey, and the two cities share abundant attractions. Even though we've already broken down everything to do in Monterey and Carmel in separate pieces, let's go over the highlights so you can plan the rest of your vacation.


The city of Monterey is a must-see for anybody travelling to California. The Monterey Bay Aquarium, which focuses on marine life preservation via scientific study and conservation efforts, is Monterey's most compelling tourist attraction. There are hands-on exhibits and an open-sea exhibit where visitors can see marine creatures worldwide. Cannery Row, a historic district with several shops and eateries, is where you will find it.

Carmel By The Sea

Carmel by the Sea is our trip's first official stop along Big Sur's winding highway. It's one of the most exclusive neighbourhoods in the country, and it's located on a stunning stretch of coastline.

Carmel is a picturesque coastal town where Clint Eastwood formerly served as mayor, and it offers visitors a wide range of activities to keep them busy for at least a few days.

Cottages straight out of a fairy tale, art galleries, and breathtaking vistas of the ocean give Carmel an enchanting, fictional quality. The Hideaway, where we stayed, had beautiful accommodations and was about a half mile from the beach.

The 17-Mile Drive

Here, you may extend your driving excursion by diverting to 17-Mile Drive. To explore the area, we rented an electric bike. This allowed us to see all popular attractions like the Ghost Tree and the Lone Cypress without dealing with traffic. This section of road winds through the posh neighbourhood of Pebble Beach, known for its beautiful scenery, many beaches, and world-famous golf courses.

Point Lobos State Park

Point Lobos State Park, just outside Carmel by the Sea, is the first planned stop on the Big Sur road trip. Towards the northern end of the Big Sur journey, you'll find one of the most photogenic attractions.

Scuba divers flock to explore the underwater kelp forests, while hikers may get to breathtaking vistas on the region's many routes. But for those interested in birds, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is a haven. Rates are $10 per car.

Garrapata State Park

There are numerous California state parks along this route, and Garrapata State Park is one among them. One of our favourite destinations and one of the greatest free activities in Big Sur. Hiking paths in Garrapata State Park take visitors to sea cliffs, where they may take in stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and its rocky shoreline.

Bixby Creek Bridge

The Bixby Creek Bridge, sometimes known simply as Bixby Bridge, is one of the most well-known landmarks along our Big Sur Road journey, so be sure to stop there for some pictures. Big Little Lies was the most recent film to showcase the iconic Bixby Bridge.

In the first moments of each new episode, we see the Bixby Creek Bridge. Both sides of the Bixby Bridge have pull-offs, making it a popular photo spot for tourists driving down the Big Sur coast.

For a good reason, it's one of the area's most photographed landmarks. The bridge was constructed in 1932 and spans a gorge that is 260 feet deep. It's an impressive engineering job, and the vistas up the coast are well worth the detour.

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