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Grand Circle and California


Big Sur, PCH Hwy 1

  • 170Audio Points
  • LocationCalifornia, USA
  • Suggested TimeAllow 1+ Days

What to Expect

Welcome to Big Sur. This roughly 130 mile stretch of California’s coast, which can be enjoyed over 1-2 days, is designated as an America’s National Scenic Byway and and you are going to love it.

Known for stunningly beautiful coastal scenery, its road engineering marvels and as a retreat for artists, Hollywood stars and moguls, fantastic opportunities to spot marine animals and some great food & drinks along the way.

On the tour we’ll point out our “7 Not To Be Missed” places of interest. Bixby Bridge, the Giant Redwoods at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Pfeiffer Beach, Napenthe, McWay Falls, Elephant Seal Vista Point and Hearst Castle.

But our journey isn’t a checklist, so we’ll also recommend many other suggested stops and share stories along the route. Then you can decide what you want to prioritize and the pace to set.

Listen to the Tour Intro

Highlights

  • Bixby Beach
  • McWay Falls
  • Giant Redwoods
  • Elephant Seal Vista
  • Pfeiffer Beach
  • Hearst Castle*
  • Napenthe
  • Sand Dollar Beach
  • Morro Bay
  • Point Lobos

Map

Suggested Start Location

Carmel-by-the-Sea or San Luis Obispo

Suggested Time

It is possible to drive the Big Sur in a long day, but to fully enjoy the road trip and explore all the sidetrips and attractions along the way, we recommended staying overnight (or 2) in the coastal towns of San Simeon, Cambria or along the route

Driving Distance

One way – 130 miles

FAQ

WHY IS BIG SUR CALLED BIG SUR?

The name of this scenic stretch of California’s coast was historically derived from the original Spanish-language “el sur grande”, which translates as “the big south”. Today, Big Sur refers to the coastline between Carmel and San Simeon.

WHAT IS BIG SUR KNOWN FOR?

California’s coastal Highway 1 is one of the most scenic and awe inspiring drives in the country. Big Sur is designated as an America’s National Scenic Byway, and is renowned for its stunningly beautiful coastal scenery and road engineering marvels.

WHAT IS THE BEST TIME OF YEAR TO VISIT BIG SUR?

The warmest months in Big Sur is from August through October, and with less rainfall brings clearer skies to enjoy the drive. Big Sur has moderate, cool weather year round and December to March are the rainiest months.

HOW MANY DAYS DO YOU NEED IN BIG SUR?

It is possible to drive Big Sur in a long day, but to fully enjoy the drive and explore all the side trips and attractions along the way, we recommended staying overnight (or two nights) in the coastal towns of San Simeon, Cambria, or along the route.

CAN YOU DRIVE ALONG BIG SUR?

California’s Highway 1 is well-maintained, but Big Sur’s sharp curves and steep hills mean that you’ll want to take care and avoid speeding even when the weather is good.