If you’re looking for an awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping getaway that will make you feel all the feels, look no further than Big Sur. Located on California’s Central Coast, this rugged and majestic destination offers visitors unparalleled natural beauty and a wealth of outdoor activities to enjoy.
From hiking and camping in the stunning Santa Lucia Mountains to soaking up the sun on one of Big Sur’s many beaches, there is no shortage of things to do in this slice of paradise.
And when you’re ready to rest your weary head, you’ll find plenty of cozy accommodations to choose from, whether you’re looking for a rustic cabin in the woods or a luxurious hotel overlooking the ocean.
Here are 15 things to do in Big Sur that will make you fall in love with this magical place.
Drive The World-Famous Big Sur Coast Highway
One of the best ways to experience the beauty of Big Sur is to take a drive along its famous coastline. The Big Sur Coast Highway (Highway 1) winds its way along the coast for nearly 120 miles. It offers breathtaking ocean views, towering redwood forests, and plenty of opportunities to stop and explore along the way.
Explore Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is one of the most popular state parks in Big Sur, and it’s easy to see why. The park features a number of beautiful hiking trails that wind through redwood forests and offer stunning ocean views.
Be sure to hike to McWay Falls, an 80-foot waterfall that flows directly into the Pacific Ocean.
Visit Pfeiffer Beach
Pfeiffer Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Big Sur, and it’s easy to see why. The beach is known for its dramatic rock formations, turquoise waters, and picturesque setting. Be sure to explore the tide pools around the rocks, and keep an eye out for the friendly seals that often lounge on the beach.
Go Camping in Big Sur
Big Sur is a mecca for campers, with a number of beautiful campgrounds to choose from. The area is home to a number of state parks, as well as the Los Padres National Forest, which offers a wealth of camping opportunities.
Take A Scenic Drive on the 17-Mile Drive
The 17-Mile Drive is a scenic road that winds its way through the town of Carmel-by-the-Sea and past a number of beautiful beaches, golf courses, and forests. The drive is one of the most popular things to do in Big Sur, and it’s easy to see why.
Visit Point Lobos State Reserve
Point Lobos State Reserve is a must-visit for any nature lover. The reserve is home to a number of hiking trails, as well as a variety of plant and animal life. Be sure to keep an eye out for the seals, sea lions, and otters that call the reserve home.
Relax At Garrapata State Beach
Garrapata State Beach is a beautiful spot for a picnic or a leisurely stroll. The beach is known for its dramatic cliffs, stunning ocean views, and tranquil atmosphere. With its close proximity to Big Sur’s many hiking trails, the beach is also a popular spot for trail runners and hikers.
Visit Big Sur’s Waterfalls
Big Sur is home to a number of beautiful waterfalls, including McWay Falls, Salmon Creek Falls, and Berry Creek Falls. Be sure to pack your hiking shoes, as the trails to these falls can be quite challenging. But the views are well worth the effort!
Go Whale Watching
Big Sur is one of the best places in California to go whale watching. The area is home to a number of marine protected areas, which make it a sanctuary for a variety of marine life, including whales, dolphins, and seals.
There are a number of charter companies that offer whale-watching tours, and you’re sure to spot a whale or two if you keep your eyes peeled.
Stay In a Cozy Big Sur Lodge
When it’s time to rest your head, you’ll find no shortage of cozy lodges to choose from in Big Sur. The area is home to a number of charming inns and B&Bs, as well as luxe resorts overlooking the ocean. No matter what your budget is, you’re sure to find a place to rest your head in style.
Visit Big Sur’s Hot Springs
Big Sur is home to a number of natural hot springs, which are perfect for soaking up after a long day of hiking or exploring. Some of the most popular hot springs in the area include Sykes Hot Springs, Riverbend Hot Springs, and The Springs Resort and Spa.
Attend The Big Sur International Marathon
Held every April, the Big Sur International Marathon is one of the most popular events in Big Sur. The marathon course winds its way through some of the most beautiful scenery in the area, making it a truly unforgettable experience.
Even if you’re not a runner, the marathon is worth checking out—the atmosphere is electric, and the views are incredible.
Hike To Big Sur’s Highest Peak
For those who love a challenge, the hike to Big Sur’s highest peak, Cone Peak, is a must-do. The strenuous 14-mile round-trip hike takes you through some of the most beautiful scenery in the area. Be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks, as there are no services along the way.
Visit the Henry Miller Memorial Library
The Henry Miller Memorial Library is a non-profit organization that was created in memory of the famous American writer. The library is located in Big Sur and houses a collection of books, manuscripts, and letters by Miller.
Visitors can also purchase copies of his work, as well as other books about him. The library is open to the public from Wednesday to Sunday.
Stop at Nepenthe for a drink
Nepenthe is a must-stop when visiting Big Sur. This iconic restaurant is perched on a cliff with sweeping ocean views. This makes it the perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine or cocktail as you watch the sunset.
Nepenthe also serves up delicious California-inspired cuisine, so be sure to stop here for a bite to eat as well!
As you can see, there’s no shortage of things to do in Big Sur. Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, you’re sure to find it in this beautiful corner of California.