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Overview

One of the most spectacular — and photographed — coasts in the world, Big Sur doesn't disappoint (except perhaps when summer fogs roll in, shrouding the views). Extending almost 100 miles south from Carmel, the coast is marked by rugged mountains rising sheer from the Pacific Ocean. Waves crash against rocky stacks and promontories, and sheltered coves provide havens for sea-lions and elephant seals. Inland, majestic redwood forests cast shadows in narrow mountain valleys. The most impressive is Pfeiffer-Big Sur State Park, protecting massive stands of redwoods in the Big Sur River valley. A de rigeur stop (visits by reservations only) south ...

One of the most spectacular — and photographed — coasts in the world, Big Sur doesn't disappoint (except perhaps when summer fogs roll in, shrouding the views). Extending almost 100 miles south from Carmel, the coast is marked by rugged mountains rising sheer from the Pacific Ocean. Waves crash against rocky stacks and promontories, and sheltered coves provide havens for sea-lions and elephant seals. Inland, majestic redwood forests cast shadows in narrow mountain valleys. The most impressive is Pfeiffer-Big Sur State Park, protecting massive stands of redwoods in the Big Sur River valley. A de rigeur stop (visits by reservations only) south of Big Sur is Hearst San Simeon Historical Monument, a 127-acre mountaintop estate and Mediterranean-Revival castle built in the early 1900s by media magnate William Randolph Hearst. Filled with priceless art, it also features the Neptune Pool reflecting a Greco-Roman temple. Highway 1 runs along the wild shore, sometimes hanging precipitously above the ocean. It is nowhere more photogenic than at Bixby Creek Bridge, one of the ten longest single-span bridges in the world.

Christopher Baker
About the Expert

Christopher P. Baker has authored guidebooks to Costa Rica, California, and various Caribbean islands for Frommer's, Lonely Planet, and National Geographic, among others.

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Christopher Baker for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Big Sur is a sparsely populated region of the Central Coast of California located south of the Monterey Peninsula. The terrain offers stunning views, making Big Sur a popular tourist destination.
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Spring and autumn are best, but summer days can be spectacular