Big Sur is one of the most beautiful places in California. I decided to finally do a road trip there this year, but unfortunately, a major landslide happened a few months after I booked my flight. After talking to the Monterey tourism board, I was reassured there were still plenty of beautiful parts of Big Sur that were accessible. Here’s my guide on where to stop on a road trip to Big Sur!
You’ll likely fly into San Francisco if you’re coming from out of state. It’s worth it to spend a day or two in this city exploring. There’s the famous Golden Gate Bridge, which is best seen at sunrise or sunset in my opinion. Make sure to check out Fisherman’s Wharf by the water as well.
Where to Stay: Music City Hotel
There is so much to do in Monterey, so plan on spending a few days here. They also have their own Fisherman’s Wharf, as seen below. I loved walking on the pier and seeing all the shops and restaurants (many which have free samples outside). Cannery Row is another cute area to walk around or grab a glass of wine and enjoy the view of the ocean.
Where to Stay: The Stevenson Monterey
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
If you’re a nature lover, you’ll enjoy visiting this part of the California State Park system. Bring your hiking shoes to enjoy a peaceful walk through the forest and down to the water. You could even bring a picnic for lunch to eat by the water.
Cost: $10 per vehicle to enter
Garrapata State Park and Beach
One part I loved about exploring Big Sur was how many scenes I recognized from movies and TV shows, such as “Big Little Lies.” I can see why they filmed here – the views are absolutely stunning.
Bixby Creek Bridge
This is one of the most recognized parts of the trip to Big Sur. When coming from the north, there’s a pull out you can stop your car at to get this ideal shot safely.
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
You can hike and even camp in some parts here, which I’d recommend when the weather is nice. Since there’s not much around, it’s a quiet area where you can get lost in nature. You should plan on spending a few days here to fully enjoy the area.
Cost: $10 per vehicle to enter
Big Sur Lodge is a hotel, restaurant, and store, making it a convenient place to stop. It’s also the last place to buy anything before the road ends, so it’s a good place to stock up on items. They have plenty of camping supplies, food, and souvenirs in the store. The Lodge has a cozy feel to it, so I’d recommend staying here if you don’t like camping.
Where to Stay: Big Sur Lodge
Here are a few helpful tips for driving down to Big Sur!
The road ends at Big Sur Station.
I was curious how far I could go down Highway 1, so I drove all the way until I ran into this sign. This is just past Big Sur Lodge, so you can turn around and get lunch there or spend the night.
Cell service is limited.
Don’t expect to take any calls on the road trip, as only small areas of the road have service. This isn’t really a problem though, as 1) there’s only one road, so you can’t get lost and 2) don’t be on your phone when you have so much beauty around you!
I partnered with Mazda for my road trip, and couldn’t have been happier with my Mazda CX-3. It had plenty of room for my luggage, but was still small enough to fit into almost any space. Features I particularly loved were how comfortable the seats were, lane assist so I didn’t have to worry about accidentally running into another car.
Some mornings started off cold, especially being on the coast, so I loved the seat warmers the Mazda CX-3 had. I’m starting to explore new areas by driving instead of flying a lot more, as there’s just so much more you see that way. I’d absolutely love to drive this car again for my next trip!
Where was the last road trip you took?
This post was sponsored by Mazda, but all opinions are my own.
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