Big Sur, California, a very special place that is very difficult to capture in words or photos. You have to come here to take in the grandeur of it all. Driving south from Carmel, through Carmel Highlands, many people wonder, “Where is Big Sur? Where does it start? Where is the town?”
The whole idea is to get away from the busy life of the urban areas. Breathe the air, observe the colors of nature, and take in the constantly changing Pacific Ocean as the tides rise and fall. At night go outside into the darkness to see the brilliant stars and planets above us. Relax, renew, remember … you are in Big Sur.
Big Sur is an area, not a town. About 100 miles long and 35 miles wide, starting just south of Carmel Highlands and extending to the San Carporforo Creek in the south, the area is mountainous and stretches along the coast. The majority of the land is within the Los Padres National Forest, or California State Park Lands. There are no commercial establishments, and no gas stations for many miles. Most travelers want to take their time, to take in the views and take pictures.
While on the Monterey Peninsula, don’t miss the Monterey Bay Aquarium, located between Cannery Row and Fisherman’s Wharf in the City of Monterey. Here you will receive an education about marine life and all the creatures and plants that live in the sea, in the Monterey Bay Area.
Take a day to walk down Ocean Avenue in the charming town of Carmel. Numerous shops, art galleries and fine restaurants will attract your attention. Head to Carmel Beach at the end of the street, a place that at all times of the day is enjoyed by locals, visitors, and their dogs.
Before heading south on Highway One, stock up on gas and groceries at the Crossroads Shopping Center on Rio Road, Carmel. Traveling south along the coast you will cross over Rocky Creek Bridge and then Bixby Bridge.
A few miles further, you will see the Point Sur Lighthouse sitting on its own small mountain. In years past three different lighthouse keepers staffed the lighthouse and they lived in this lonely location with their families. Today, the light is maintained via computerized controls and no one needs to be be there on a full time basis. Learn the history of the Point Sur Lighthouse by signing up for a guided tour, led by lighthouse volunteers, and offered several times each week.
A short drive south of Point Sur, is the Andrew Molera State Park. The park offers beautiful hiking trails with mountain and ocean views, as well as a spectacular beach, about one mile’s walk from the parking lot. If you love horses, sign up for a trail ride on horseback with Andrew Molera Trail Rides.
Two miles south of Molera you will find the Big Sur River Inn, known as the heart of the Big Sur community. Here you will find a Valero Gas Station, a grocery store with burrito bar, a motel with swimming pool, and a restaurant which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Take in the wonder of the numerous coastal redwood trees growing on the property. Some are more than 1000 years old. Step into the refreshing Big Sur River and on a hot day, place a big wooden chair right into the water and sit back and relax.