Ryan Hunter Bluestone is an entrepreneur and avid traveler. In the following article, Ryan Bluestone discusses traveling to Big Sur; preparing for the journey, things to see and do, and the best time to visit.
For those looking to get away from the hustle of major Californian cities, Big Sur offers the perfect retreat.
Thankfully, most of the key attractions are on Highway 1 which stretches along Big Sur’s Coastline. Stop off at the highly photographed Bixby Bridge, before heading on to some of Big Sur’s State Parks with their coastal vistas and redwood forests. Stop at Nepenthe for a bite to eat, breathtaking views, and rich history.
Ryan Hunter Bluestone discusses below how to plan the perfect Big Sur day trip.
Starting the Journey
Pescadero Point serves as a great starting point for any Big Sur day trip. Located in the Northern town of Monterey, most key attractions are within a 2-hour drive.
With panoramic views across all of Carmel Bay and beyond, visitors to Pescadero Point can take in the incredible coastline that makes this place one of a kind.
From here, Ryan Hunter Bluestone says that it is an easy drive to Highway 1 to start the main adventure.
Bixby Bridge is one of the first must-see stops for anyone traveling through Big Sur according to Ryan Bluestone. Completed in 1932, the concrete bridge rivals San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge in terms of being one of the most photographed bridges in the state.
Suspended 260 feet above Bixby Creek which joins the ocean, the savvy traveler knows that although views from the bridge itself are phenomenal, there are plenty of other snap-worthy views from just a short drive away.
Ryan Bluestone says that Castle Rock Viewpoint sits just further North up the road from the bridge, and for those who are willing to take a small detour, the Bixby Bridge Viewpoint on Coast Road is spectacular.
There are plenty of places to pull off the road along this stretch of Highway 1, and for good reason. There are an array of coastal walks, all of which are short but scenic routes that allow car-weary travelers to stretch their legs before continuing on the journey.
If hikes are your thing, a detailed map of the walking trails is recommended. Nearly every route will greet you with breathtaking views, the amazing sound of the Pacific Ocean waves, and you may even spy a sea otter or two!
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is the largest of the state parks in this region and is named after the first settlers in this area.
Just off Highway 1, Ryan Hunter Bluestone says that the paths wind their way through a majestic redwood forest. Take the 2-mile hiking trail, which will lead visitors past the 60ft tall Pfeiffer Falls, which cascades its way through the woodland in the winter and spring months, before looping back to continue on the journey.
A Bite to Eat
Just a few miles down the highway from Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is Nepenthe. This restaurant was founded in 1949 and remains in the same family to this day.
Enjoy a relaxed atmosphere with great food featuring the very best California ingredients. Their famed “ambrosia burger” is mouthwateringly delicious. Sit on the terrace with its stunning views all the way down the coast, maybe even a glimpse of the Santa Maria Mountains if the weather is favorable, and unwind from your morning hikes.
Ryan Bluestone says that a trip to Nepenthe puts you in very good company, with previous guests including Rita Hayworth, Orson Welles, and famous author Henry Miller, who even lived above the restaurant for a period of time!
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
This state park is located towards the Southern end of the coastal road through Big Sur and makes for a perfect final stop before making the trip back up Highway 1.
One of the main attractions of Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is the McWay waterfall. Although a small stream of water, the unique way that it falls from the cliffside onto the beach below makes it a popular landmark for many Big Sur travelers.
Ryan Hunter Bluestone says that the waterfall can be seen from the side of the road on Highway 1, but for the best views and an enhanced experience it is recommended to visit it through the state park path.
An Alternate Route
For those starting their journey from the South, this day itinerary can be easily reversed.
There are also self-guided driving tours that can be purchased to guide travelers along every step of the way.