There is probably no more picturesque area in Northern California than that of Big Sur. You have read of my admoration of the famous Highway 1 from San Fransisco south toward Los Angeles. But quite frankly that drive going south is actually pretty scarey. Those of you who have done it know exactly what I am talking about.
Highway 1 through Big Sur has been designated as an American National Scenic Byway & California Scenic Highway, an honor reserved for highways that are so distinctive they are destinations unto themselves.
Big Sur was voted "Best Place to Play Hookie," and "Best Romantic Getaway." Big Sur is also home of the "Best Marathon in North America" and the "Best Hotel in North America." Adding to our 'best of' list, Big Sur is now home to the "Best Restaurant in California," per the Zagat Survey. National Geographic Traveler listed Big Sur as one of the "50 Places of a Lifetime/The World's Greatest Destinations." Oh, and Big Sur was recently on the cover of Sunset Magazine, stated "Spring Escapes; Our top picks for weekend getaways and fantasy vacations." As if that wasn't enough, Smart Money Magazine rates Big Sur #7 in its "30 Trips of a Lifetime." So, if you believe either of those comments, you'll truly love it there.
California Gray whales have started their migration from Baja Mexico to Alaska and can be seen from the roadside turnouts throughout Big Sur. Bring your binoculars and watch for the water spouts. Although frankly, we never saw any of them. (I think it might either take a trained eye, or at least a GOOD one)!
Local Hiking is allowed along the beaches to the mountains... Hike along the streams in the cool, tree lined valleys. Climb up on the high ridges for a spectacular view of the coastline on the western slope and gaze into three million acres of wilderness in the Los Padres National Forest on the eastern slope. There are not a whole lot of places to stop safely along the highway, but I did manage to get a shot of this pretty, well populated (yet seemingly isolated) beach.
Evenings in Big Sur offer the opportunity to dine in restaurants from fanciful to exquisite. You can relax in lodging that ranges from rustic to luxurious. Camp out in the many well equipped campgrounds. We say several back packers in and around this area. You can also luxuriate at the local health spas. And of course one of the favorite past-times of Big Sur, Do Nothing!
That's right. Relax and take in the magnificent beauty of Big Sur. Once you are here there is no reason to do anything more. Replenish your spirit by simply absorbing the weepingly beautiful vistas of Big Sur. Do Nothing in Big Sur and leave refreshed and rejuvenated from head to toe. We didn't have that luxury. I did, but frankly (as long as I wasn't driving) right on the edge of Highway 1 (at about 1,000 feet above the ocean) I automatically relaxed!" the open road is a beckoning, a strangeness, a place where a man can lose himself."
-William Least Heat Moon (William Trogdon)