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California Coast Series: A Guide to Exploring Big Sur


Big Sur (Near McWay Falls)

One of the most iconic stretches of highway in the U.S. runs along the Central Coast of California — Big Sur. This incredibly scenic region offers unlimited coastal access, unspoiled forests, and rugged mountains. This guide will reveal must-visit attractions in Big Sur. Check out more of the California Coast Series — click here for a detailed travel guide on Cambria and San Simeon.


South of Big Sur

Ragged Point


Ragged Point is the perfect rest stop in Big Sur — it features cliffside vistas and beautifully landscaped gardens. Adirondack chairs and benches can be found throughout the grounds, making it a great place to relax and enjoy the surrounding scenery.


Ragged Point


McWay Falls


McWay Falls is a Big Sur classic — it’s an 80-foot waterfall that cascades directly into the ocean and is nestled in a private cove. Beneath the falls, you’ll find vibrant turquoise waters unlike what you’d typically see at California beaches.


McWay Falls

Pfeiffer Beach


Pfeiffer Beach is off the beaten path, but well worth navigating through the narrow, pothole-ridden road. While its long stretch of beach and streaks of purple sand make it picturesque, the most captivating part of Pfeiffer Beach is its keyhole rock formation. Watching the waves crash through the archway and sunlight seeping through the keyhole is a marvel.


Pfeiffer Beach

Bixby Bridge


Sitting over 280 feet high above a steep canyon and ribboning along the coast, is one of the most photographed bridges in California — Bixby Bridge. Stop by one of the designated turnouts for stunning vistas of the Big Sur coast.


Big Sur (Near McWay Falls)

Big Sur (Near McWay Falls)

While the locations listed in this guide are my top picks, there is much more to see and do in the region. Big Sur is abundant in natural wonders, and has numerous state parks for visitors to explore. I hope this post has inspired you to plan a visit to Big Sur — I find myself in awe at its unmatched scenery each time I come back.