Big Sur CA: Travel guide – things to do – Why you should travel here

Last Updated on October 25, 2023 by Jerardo Gomez

You should travel to Big Sur because of its dynamic outdoor spots and breathtaking scenery.

a waterfall in big sur on a beach

What is Big Sur?

Big Sur is a mountainous stretch of land on the coast of central California. This coastline attracts tourists worldwide, including hikers, campers, surfers, photographers, and more.

Big Sur is also known to be remote with limited services, so when traveling, some resources may be readily available such as phones, car service, eateries/stores, and the lack of incorporated towns.

As a top destination with numerous State/National parks, this is another side of California that more people should visit.

Useful Tips when traveling to Big Sur

  1. Restroom limitations. These can be found in State Parks and restaurants, and inns.
  2. Stick to hiking trails
    • There are a variety of trails ranging in difficulty which are posted on signs at the start of the trail. Backpack and hike carefully as injuries can occur
  3. Don’t throw trash in nature
  4. Recommended to bring water and snacks/meals if you are just driving by
  5. Fill up the gas tank
  6. Wifi and cellphone reception may be weak so plan accordingly
  7. Weather; check beforehand as it can get chilly
  8. While the Pacific Ocean is beautiful, swimming is discouraged as there are lots of rocks, unpredicted waters, and whirlpools. Stay safe and stay out of the water. Lifejackets if you must surf.
  9. Drive safe; roads are curvy and weather can vary from windy to foggy. Don’t rush and drive at a reasonable pace.

*Useful guide* While Big Sur is great, people with physical disabilities may find it navigating around differently than able-bodied persons. This just means a little extra planning is a good idea.

Here is a guide for accessibility in Big Sur for people who need ADA designated areas.

red wood trees in big sur california

How long should you stay in Big Sur?

This is a weekend getaway destination that can last between 1-5 days. While it will still be a good day trip, having only 1 day restricts what you can enjoy to a few options. In my opinion, 2-3 full days is enough to visit popular landmarks, popular Instagram spots, beaches, camping, and hiking. If you want to go at a slower pace and visit the whole stretch of what is considered to be Big Sur of 71-90 miles long to visit most places and enjoy the inns/restaurants.

If you are in the area, check out some breweries in Santa Cruz, check out the 14 best here.

Things to do in Big Sur

As there are hundreds of trails, many restaurants, and things to do, this is you can choose your own adventure. Here are just SOME of the things you can do

  • Bixby Bridge
    • As you drive down Highway 1 you will encounter Bixby Bridge. It is on postcards and in many travel magazines. There are areas to pull over for pictures.
  • Pfeiffer Beach
    • This beach is popular for people to admire the beach arch as well as the famous Pfeiffer keyhole rock formation
  • Pfeiffer Big Sur State park
    • I recommend staying here for campers as its the largest camping site in the area and home to the redwood forest with trees over 1,000 years old! Hiking trails are available here and amenities.
  • Point Sur Historic State park
    • Visit here if you like lighthouses
  • Hearst Castle
    • Newly renovated and open for tours if you are interested.
  • Sand Dollar Beach

As there is hundreds of places to pick from and things to do, research what you like to find trails, beaches, campsites, parks/forests, waterfall, restaurants, and more. Check out this post from Sacramento.

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