This weekend R and I took a drive up California’s famously scenic Route 1 for a weekend of R&R&eating in Big Sur, California’s famously beautiful hippie enclave.
The trip is worth at least five blog post (still to come, the story of our 3 hours of nudity at The Esalen Institute!), but today I wanted to focus on something DIY-friendly for your own future travel. Enjoy 7 (just because that’s become my number) of the most “must-see” sights along this killer stretch of practically un-touched land.
1. The doorway to the Pacific Ocean, Pfeiffer Beach
DO NOT MISS this remote but ridiculously gorgeous beach/cove/heaven spot. This specific Yelp review helped us find it easily, and we were happy to have gotten there before people started arriving to picnic for lunch (they came around 11). Sunset would also be another perfect time to visit. Be sure you have $10 cash handy for the parking lot. Street parking is illegal, and you will get a ticket.
Doorway to the Pacific Ocean
2. The Blueberry Strudel at Big Sur Bakery
The full brunch at Big Sur Bakery is famous, but they don’t start serving it until 10:30AM, and we wanted an earlier start. That ended up being lucky because we snagged a strudel from the pastry case (pastries and coffee available starting at 8:00am). It is not pictured here because I ate it before I could remember to take a photo for the blog. Yes, this pastry was that good.
Picturesque Big Sur Bakery
3. The old journals at Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn
Yes, this requires you to stay at Deetjen’s, but you need to do that anyway, so it all works out. The journals are kept in all of the magical little cabins, and they’re specific to the room. Each features notes, letters and stories from the people who visited before, dating back to the founding of the property in the 1930s! Since there is no TV or Internet access, this becomes the activity of the night (following dinner at their restaurant and star-gazing on their property). I promise it is wildly entertaining…in bed…with wine!
Famous Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn journals
4. Purple Sand on Pfeiffer Beach
I’m cheating because this is the same Pfeiffer Beach where you’ll see the rock door, but purple sand is incredibly rare so this is just one more reason to make sure you visit. That is not a weird glare or optical illusion. The sand is really that purple.
Purple Sand at Pfeifer Beach
5. The McWay Falls Water Trickle
McWay Falls and the Ewoldsen Trail were one of our two favorite hikes during the trip, but if you only have time for one make it this insane view from atop the absolutely adorable little waterfall that spits onto this green/blue cove. It’s like being on the set of LOST.
McWay “Trickle” fall
6. This bust of Henry Miller that watches you potty
Technically the Henry Miller Memorial Library is the spot to see, though prepare for a book store and park featuring outdoor couches and a tiny coffee bar vs. your traditional public library. Miller lived in Big Sur for 15 years of his epic life so I guess he earned the right to join you in the bathroom.
Henry Miller potty approval
7. This view from Post Ranch Inn
Post Ranch Inn is the ritziest spot in Big Sur for a very good reason; this is the view from their patio (and almost every one of their private bungalows). We didn’t splurge to stay there on this trip (…she wrote in a way to suggest they ever could…) but we took full advantage of the fact that their bar and restaurant are open to the public. Arrive by 5:30 or 6:00 for a glass of rose ($15 but worth it) on the patio overlooking this killer view. It gets crowded after that, and you don’t want to miss the chance to snag a spot.
Post Ranch perfection
P.S. the 8th/cheat image – the featured image on the post – is our feet enjoying a sunset view from the bench at the top of the trail inside Deetjen’s. One more reason to stay there…and book a trip to Big Sur immediately.