Big Sur, CA

Big Sur California Travel Guide by Map & Menu

Much can be said, or for that matter, has been said – especially in recent years – about Big Sur as a destination. The lush landscapes, dramatic coastal vistas, and larger than life trees (particularly for us East Coasters) are truly incredible and worthy of the constant praise and attention that Big Sur seems to garner. Shortly after our trip there last spring I came home and shared some of my thoughts on experiencing destinations like Big Sur that have been made increasingly popular through visual social media. Though I had my reservations about the trendiest parts of the area, by the time we left for the airport, I was infatuated with yet another part of the stunning California coast and sincerely hope I have the chance to visit Big Sur again in the future.

Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn

If you aren’t lucky enough to snag a room at this charming, popular inn, be sure to at least swing by Deetjen’s for a post-hike brunch like we did. You cannot go wrong with the Huevos Rancheros, followed by a quick walk around the idyllic property. FYI – we’ve heard the dinners there are just as good.

Molera Horseback Riding Tour

Our horses – Ruby & Brittany – led us through the meadows and groves of Andrew Molera State Park, across the Big Sur River, to Molera Beach and back. Neither of us had ridden since we were much younger, but any hesitations we had quickly gave way to constant giggling and awe. Read more about our horseback riding experience in Big Sur here. 

Big Sur Bakery

We ducked into the cozy Big Sur Bakery to dodge the rain and grab some lunch after we finished up our horseback ride. Our grilled cheeses hit the spot and after looking at the dinner menu, we wished that our plans were not taking us back to Carmel for dinner that night.

Hiking in Pfeiffer Big State Park

While Big Sur’s dramatic coastline and bright blue water is surely not to be missed, a walk through the woods to appreciate the region’s Red Woods should be high on anyone’s list as well. For two East Coast kids like ourselves, we were in absolute awe of the size and scale of the trees on our hike through Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Our trail took us to Pfeiffer Falls and up to a lookout of the beautiful Big Sur River Valley.

Big Sur California Travel Guide by Map & Menu

Big Sur California Travel Guide by Map & Menu

Cain in Big Sur

Must-See Views

If you, like us, are not at all accustomed to the depth and sheer beauty of the California coastline, I’d be willing to bet that nearly all of the sights in Big Sur and the surrounding communities could be classified as must-see views. For starters, be sure to stop at any number of the pull-offs along Highway 1 as you make your way up and down the coast – you will not be disappointed. Other popular spots, for good reason, are Bixby Bridge and McWay Falls in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

Deetjens Big Sur Inn

Big Sur California Travel Guide by Map & Menu

Big Sur California Travel Guide by Map & Menu

Big Sur California Travel Guide by Map & Menu

Big Sur Bakery

Big Sur Bakery

Big Sur Trip Planning Resources

We found the following blog posts and travel guides helpful when planning our own trip to Big Sur.
The Fresh Exchange’s Big Sur Travel Guide
Em For Marvelous’s California Road Trip
Spotted SF’s blog posts
Hither & Thither’s 48 Hours in Big Sur
The Style Eater’s Big Sur guide

Andrew Molera State Park

Big Sur Horseback Rides

Meredith and Michael

Big Sur California Travel Guide by Map & Menu

Big Sur California Travel Guide by Map & Menu

Big Sur California Travel Guide by Map & Menu

Big Sur California Travel Guide by Map & Menu

On Our Radar for Next Time

Stay: Ventana Inn or Treebones Yurts
Eat: Dinner or drinks at Nepenthe
Do: Spa treatment at Esalen and wine time picnic on the beach at Pfeiffer Beach

Big Sur California Travel Guide by Map & Menu

Cain in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

Big Sur California Travel Guide by Map & Menu

Big Sur California Travel Guide by Map & Menu

Hiking in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

Big Sur California Travel Guide by Map & Menu

Do you have any Big Sur recommendations to add? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

Photos by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu. 

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