Insider's Guide to Monterey & Carmel

Major attractions, tips and our top things to see and do.

Get the
Inside Scoop

Privacy Policy

Everything is big in the 90-mile stretch of California coastline known as Big Sur. From the mountains that seem to dive into the Pacific Ocean, the night sky crowded with glittering stars, the epic surf, and the views that go on forever and have to be seen to be believed. Big Sur should not be missed.

The natural beauty of Big Sur is a great place to get away from it all and the size of the area means that you can often hike in total solitude. Numerous hiking trails run through the area, from a gentle coastal walk past redwoods and the 80-foot McWay Falls in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, to the mountainous terrain of Los Padres National Forest.

The area famously inspired such artists and writers as Ansel Adams and Jack Kerouac and is still home to a large artistic community. You will find dozens of galleries and studios throughout the area, and the Henry Miller Memorial Library hosts a varied schedule of readings, workshops, concerts and film screenings.

Practical Info:

Big Sur is 140 mi (225 km) south of San Francisco and 310 mi (500 km) north of Los Angeles. Most campsites are located within the state and federal parks and are usually on a first come, first served basis. If you want to stay at a hotel, however, you should make reservations in advance or risk disappointment.

Occasional winter mudslides can close the Highway 1 around Big Sur: check conditions before you go.

Viator uses cookies to improve your experience on our website. Learn more about how we use cookies and how to change your cookie settings | Close message