When I first visited Big Sur, I was sure its beauty had to have been hyped out of proportion. But in fact, all these reports were entirely accurate. Located between San Francisco and San Luis Obispo, Big Sur is a breathtakingly beautiful, rugged stretch of the Central Coast. The crashing waves along the coastline were nothing like I had ever seen before--huge and filled with a million shades of blue and green. The terrain is treacherous and many of the region's most beautiful sites are inaccessible by land or foot, making Big Sur even more alluring. Big Sur has long been the muse of many authors, poets and artists--most famously Jack Kerouac who lived on the coastline and penned the novel, Big Sur. Looking down at the jagged cliffs ending the Pacific Ocean, its easy to see why.
On of the most popular sites within Big Sur is Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, which includes McWay Falls. Located on the beach below, McWay Falls is an eighty foot waterfall that flows year-round. It is one of two on the West Coast that empties into the ocean. McWay Falls is incredibly beautiful--drawing a shocking amount of people each year. Situated at the southern end of Big Sur, beware of cars pulled over to check out the scenery. The entire region of Big Sur is actually not designated as a National Park, but is home to over ten state parks and reserves. Big Sur is a fantastic place to camp, hike and explore the natural California landscape.
After cruising along the winding Highway One, be sure to pull off for a delicious lunch at Nepenthe. This restaurant, cafe and shop has been a long time favorite for Big Sur travelers and has been open since 1949. The atmosphere is relaxed, the food is natural and delicious, and the views are incredible. The main restaurant of Nepenthe often has quite the wait, so if you're looking for a quicker (and more cost-efficient) option, visit their bistro Cafe Kevah. Located just below, Cafe Kevah has a simpler menu with the same killer views.
Big Sur is truly a unique place to visit with so much natural beauty. It is the epitome of the Central Coast, and of California in general. If you are looking to take a scenic road trip, make this one top on your list.