It's no secret that Big Sur is one of the most beautiful places in the entire world. Famous for its deep blue waters crashing against the California Coastline, it's no wonder visitors travel from near and far to drive the 85-mile stretch for scenic coastal views.
With incredible lookouts on every winding turn, you're bound to stop a few [hundred] times along the way to get a peak at the Big Sur coastline from a new angle every chance you get!
A day trip to Big Sur is just enough to soak in all the highlights. Rushing through is a total crime, but given the steep costs and scarce availability of accommodations, you can safely do it all in a day. If you're looking to catch the main attractions, there are 3 in particular I recommend. Plus, check out my helpful tips at the end of this guide before you plan your visit!
Don't miss these 3 Stunning Stops on Your Day Trip to Big Sur, California
1. BIXBY CREEK BRIDGE
The historic Bixby Bridge is one of the most photographed bridges on the Pacific Coast. Safely turn left just before the bridge to park for a perfect photo opportunity!
2. MCWAY FALLS
Located in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is McWay Falls. You know, the classic shot you have to get for your Instagram. This breathtaking waterfall flows directly onto the untouched beach and into the Pacific Ocean. Since you can't walk all the way down to the cove, it's the perfect place for a tourist-free photo. Plus, the unobstructed views simply add to the beauty IMO!
3. PFEIFFER BEACH
My absolute favorite stop along the California coast was this beautiful beach in Big Sur! Known for its iconic purple sand and massive keyhole arch, Pfeiffer Beach has one of the most magical sunsets I have ever seen!
What You Need to Know Before You Hit the Road
- Prepare for terrible cell service. Regardless of who your provider is, once you enter Big Sur, you will lose signal. While this is perfect for a social media hiatus, you won't be able to route to your destinations once service drops off.
- Plan ahead. Map out your points of interest in advance. Print/Screenshot this map or download your Google Maps offline to your phone. The flashing blue dot will not be there to guide you!
- Make a Playlist. Create a fun playlist for the road and download it to your phone. This way, you'll still have something to listen to even when you lose service!
- Carry cash. Some of the state parks require an entrance or parking fee and will only accept cash as a form of payment.
- Dress in layers. Though the sun burns bright throughout the day, the temperatures usually cool down by evening. If you plan to stay for sunset (and you should), maybe even bring along that cozy blanket to share a seat on the beach!