Big Sur

Our northernmost destination on our roadtrip was Big Sur. It’s long been on my list of places to see, and it was definitely worth the drive. The best and only way to see Big Sur coming from the south is to drive along the 1 north of San Simeon and stop whenever you like to enjoy the view or go on a hike. It’s a very windy road that largely hugs the coast, so it’s not for the faint of heart. But take your time and enjoy it—there are plenty of turn-offs, viewpoints, and trails to enjoy.

Our first stop was Ragged Point, which is where Big Sur begins at it’s southernmost point. It consists of a hotel, viewpoint, cafe, and expensive gas station (pro tip: fill up in Morro Bay or San Luis Obispo if you’re driving north. The gas is stupid expensive is Big Sur and few and far between). We parked and walked along the viewpoint, spotting a whale or two from the coast and watching for some time. It’s a great introduction to Big Sur and a chance to stretch your legs.

Big Sur

Another great stop is McWay Falls, which is in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. Park near the entrance of the park (there’s a big state park sign) and walk across the 1 towards the coast. There is a very short and easy trail leading to viewpoints all around the falls, which drops directly into the ocean. There is also a trail or two that start across the street in the park, and afford great views and lots of redwoods.

Big Sur

We camped in Big Sur, and this was our tent plot. We were in a circle of beautiful redwood trees! Camping is a great way to experience the region, and fancier accommodations can get pretty expensive. Do your research and book early when it’s high season.

Big Sur

On our second day before starting the drive back down, we drove up a few miles to Bixby Bridge. Next trip I’d like to keep going north a bit and check out the Monterey area.

Big Sur

On our drive back down through Big Sur, we stopped at an unmarked trail that led us down to the coast, past a stream, through a tunnel, and to a couple of coves. Basically, you can’t go wrong stopping at any official trail. They all lead to something beautiful.

Big Sur

Redwoods! This is the view looking up from our tent site.

Big Sur One last view. Every view is beautiful in this part of the state, including inland, since there’s lovely forest, streams, and big beautiful trees. We saw whales a few times while just staring out at the ocean, and sometimes you can spot happy seals. We’ll be back, and you should check it out, too.

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Big Sur

Morro Bay

I’m sorry for the radio silence as of late. Work got unexpectedly busy and then we had a short but much-needed vacation, but now I’m determined to get back into posting on the reg. I had such a great time on our road trip, I thought I’d share some of my favorite places and fun stuff we did.

Morro Bay Morro Bay is about a 3 1/2 hour drive from Los Angeles or San Francisco, and, as its name implies, it’s a beautiful bay on the Pacific Ocean. It attracts some tourists, but it’s not an overrun resort town. The inns are small, the activities are nature-filled, and the wildlife abundant. Morro Bay

We camped at the state park campground on the south end of the bay, just a block from the water. While there, we rented a tandem kayak and paddled around in the bay, getting great looks at lounging sea otters and rowdy seals. The prices at Kayak Horizons were reasonable, we called ahead for tide info which they happily provided, and their dock is right on the bay for easy in-and-out.Morro Bay

We ate lunch at one of the bay-side seafood restaurants before checking out the giant Morro rock and walking along the beach. It can be pretty windy on the water, so we didn’t stay for long, but lots of people were surfing some good waves that day. The rock is covered in birds, and we saw pelicans skimming the water.Morro Bay

We set up camp and walked up to the nearby Natural History Museum to take in the view. Morro Bay also has boating trips, a tiny aquarium, hiking, and all the amenities you’ll need (groceries, shops, etc). Especially since it’s a relatively easy drive and near San Luis Obispo (more on that later), we’ll definitely be back.

Morro Bay

Morro Bay