While traveling the West Coast, you will undoubtedly become a big fan of numerous Californian locations. The state stretches for miles and miles along the Pacific Coast and ranges from the blazing hot beaches like Malibu to the chillier waves of Northern California. Of course, the perfect central part of the coast is represented by Big Sur.
Bir Sur is a mountainous location in the Central Part of the California Coast. It combines the best features of the two sides of the state: South and North. This picturesque area is depicted by many artists and used by movie directors for its scenic views and the unique mood of the location. Big Sur is the perfect place to reflect, dive into your inspirations, and rest your soul from the daily routine. You can turn it into a calm family vacation or a perfectly solitary retreat.
This relatively long stretch of the shore of around 90 miles was placed into the deep parts of my soul from the first view. Strangely, I saw it first on a rainy day when waves were trying to engulf the mountainous shore whole. And it painted a rich picture in my mind. Strangely the first association was the book Wuthering Heights. Though it is located in the Yorkshire Moors, my mind painted these cliffs, mist, and rain that I observed in Big Sur.
Truth be told, the location is not often so gloomy. It is rather sunny and hot on a regular day. But if you come in winter or fall, I imagine you’ll see just the same views.
Now, no matter when you visit Big Sur, you’ll find enough attractions for the whole family. I sincerely hope that these best things to do in Big Sur will help you with planning your trip.
Visit the Beach
I may sound boring when you are traveling along the coast!! But this beach is distinctive in comparison with others of Southern California if you travel that way. If you happen to witness the wrath of nature as I did, enjoy it from afar. But if you come in summer, warm weather and mild waves await you.
Note that most Big Sur beaches require a short hike through some debris. It’s not a smooth sandy beach of the Southern Coast; you’ll need shoes here.
Unfortunately, swimming is not recommended on the Big Sur coast. The tides are too strong and waves heavy. But you still have plenty of things to do on the beach. As it is relatively cool, you can organize picnics on the beach at all times. Opt for active beach games such as volleyball or soccer. For family fun, fly a colorful kite. The winds of the area will make it soar high!
The most picturesque Big Sur beach is Pfeiffer Beach! This is one of the best beaches in California that I’ve written about previously.
Join an Active Hiking Tour
I know, I know. Many of my reviews of U.S. locations contain some hiking recommendations. I’m an active traveler; I can’t stay on the beach or in a hotel the whole day. I have to enjoy the full range of natural wonders an area has to offer. And I always recommend you to join!
Among Big Sur activities, you can choose any hiking tour and be sure it’ll offer you breathtaking views. The luxury tours will even ride you around the picturesque locations, and you just have to relax. Or order custom tours for a small party. But that is too expensive.
Personally, I’ve traveled across the Santa Lucia Mountains. The trails are suitable for the intermediate level of hikers. Among the best hikes in Big Sur is the Salmon Creek Trail alongside the river, Ragged Point Cliffside Trail, which shows the shoreline’s dangerous beauty, and Pfeiffer Falls/ Valley View Trails filled with trees and waterfalls.
Visit the Henry Miller Library
Henry Miller Library is a lively art center and performance venue that hosts entertaining evenings throughout the year. In summer, the center is booked with lectures, community events, live performances, and signings. If you visit Big Sur on weekends, you are guaranteed an exciting event in the library. Some of them are occasional, but there are also a few ongoing programs, including the recurring Big Sur Short Film Festival, regular music shows, and poetry reading with various authors.
Capture the View on The Bixby Bridge
The Bixby Bridge has historical importance as an engineering marvel of the time of its opening in 1932. If you are a history nerd, you’ll enjoy visiting one of the most important bridges of the area. If not, you’ll surely enjoy its beauty.
Yes, the place may be crowded, and the parking lot is too small for those who come to the bridge, but the scenery is amazing! It is one of the most photographed bridges in the country. And if you are an artist looking for inspiration, here’s your chance. The bridge connects to the green cliffs with the blue dominion of cold waves. When looking at the scenery, I wished I could paint this beautiful view!
Dine and Wine
In general, California is a state of delicious wines. Big Sur has a variety of restaurants that offer local wines and luxury food to pair it with.
The location that I highly recommend is not a budget one. Sierra Mar offers the most picturesque view on the Pacific Coast! It’s a notable entry in the Michelin Guide; thus, expect above-average prices. But the view and delicious food are a worthy treat once in a while!
For something more budget-friendly, I recommend Big Sur Bakery with its small private garden and amazing views of the green hills. It’s a perfect location for lunch. Thus, I don’t know what kinds of wine it serves. But I’m sure that dinner there is just as good!
This is the must-do list of things to do in Big Sur. If you come for more than a couple of days, you can enjoy more hikes, visit several beaches, and visit a few beautiful state parks, Arrapata, Andrew Molera, and Julia Pfeiffer Burns. Overall, Big Sur Califronia is the perfect place to connect with nature and relax without the hassle of a modern city.