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Big Sur—the 90-mile-long stretch of rugged, central California coastline between Carmel and San Simeon—attracts visitors from all over the world. They come not just for the towering redwoods, coastal bluffs, and wind-swept beaches, but also for the quaint seaside towns that brim with world-class amenities: art galleries, spas, wineries, and farm-to-table restaurants. Soak up the abundant natural beauty while hiking the Santa Lucia Mountains, biking in one of the region’s state parks, or strolling uncrowded beaches. Experience a bit of the Big Sur magic that has enticed writers and filmmakers (like Jack Kerouac and Clint Eastwood) for nearly a century.
Anchored by the Carmel Mission, this seaside town offers much in the way of entertainment: beaches, art galleries, restaurants, and museums. With whimsical architecture, the charming town center feels plucked from a fairytale.
The Monterey Peninsula is home to some of the most famous golf courses in the country: Spyglass Hill, Spanish Bay, or the world-renowned Pebble Beach. Play a round surrounded by sand dunes, towering pines, and coastal bluffs.
The library is dedicated to the late writer and Big Sur resident Henry Miller. It functions as a music, film, and fashion venue, described by CNN as the "beating cultural heart of Big Sur."
Volunteers lead three-hour walking tours of this California State Historic Park. Prior to the lighthouse's construction, multiple shipwrecks were a common occurrence on the nearby shore.
Once the residence of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, the Hearst Castle is now open to the public for tours. Peek into the hilltop estate where Hearst once hosted lavish parties for Hollywood guests in the ‘20s and ‘30s.
Arguably Big Sur’s most recognizable landmark, the Bixby Bridge spans a deep canyon carved out by Bixby Creek. Highway 1 offers plenty of pullouts for photographing this iconic spot.
Thick waves of fog roll off the ocean and onto Big Sur's rocky coastline in the summer, blanketing the jagged landscape in cool, moist air that helps vegetation stay lush and green. Temperatures stay relatively steady throughout the year, with the only remarkable dip happening from November to May. Be sure to bring an umbrella during the rainiest months, usually December to February.