When it comes to must-see travel destinations, Big Sur, California should be on your list. As a Monterey Peninsula native, a perk of living just a short 45-minute drive from Big Sur is that we can hop in the car and head down to this majestic locale whenever we want.

Now that the Pacific Coast Highway just re-opened (which was closed due to recent natural disasters), it’s the perfect excuse to head to Big Sur (either for a day trip or for a weekend adventure). To inspire your next vacation in Big Sur, here are some of our favorite places to go and things to do there. 

Where To Go & What To Do in Big Sur, California

From restaurants that offer tasty organic dishes to hiking through the picturesque Redwoods, today’s travel guide features several of the must-see spots in Big Sur. Located between Cambria and Carmel, California lies a natural wonderland filled with lush forests, breathtaking waterfalls, and sweeping vistas of the Pacific Ocean. From quirky shops and rustic retreats to exceptional local restaurants, here are some of the best place to visit in Big Sur.

The Local's Guide to Big Sur - Where To Go and What To Do in Big Sur California

Bixby Bridge

One of the most photographed places in this area can be found on the Pacific Coast Highway heading from the Monterey Peninsula south-bound along Highway 1. The iconic Bixby Bridge was built in the early 1930’s and has since become a notable landmark along California’s pristine coastline, as it’s one of the most scenic places to visit. Stop here for a photo, or go exploring the rural backroads by taking your off-road vehicle for a spin along the unpaved dirt road leading into the mountains.

The Local's Guide to Big Sur - Where To Go and What To Do in Big Sur California The Local's Guide to Big Sur - Where To Go and What To Do in Big Sur California The Local's Guide to Big Sur - Where To Go and What To Do in Big Sur California The Local's Guide to Big Sur - Where To Go and What To Do in Big Sur California

River Inn Big Sur

Whether you stop here for a bite or just a coffee break, one of the coolest hangout spots here is the River Inn. Featuring indoor and outdoor dining, this rustic restaurant and inn not only offers great food options, it’s also a must-see destination for another unique reason. For a refreshing way to cool down in Summer, kick off your shoes and take a dip in the Big Sur River. Here you can lounge in the relaxing Adirondack chairs that are perched in the river. It’s a great place to take the kids, or even to bring along your furry pal, as it’s also dog-friendly. 

The Local's Guide to Big Sur - Where To Go and What To Do in Big Sur California The Local's Guide to Big Sur - Where To Go and What To Do in Big Sur California The Local's Guide to Big Sur - Where To Go and What To Do in Big Sur California

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

If you want to venture into the majestic Redwoods for a hike, one of the best places to go is Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. As you walk underneath towering trees (some of which have been living for 100 years!), you’ll find babbling brooks, tranquil waterfalls, and even a surreal valley view. You can also stay overnight here at one of the scenic campsites. Plus, they have a restaurant on-site which offers great food options.

The Local's Guide to Big Sur - Where To Go and What To Do in Big Sur California The Local's Guide to Big Sur - Where To Go and What To Do in Big Sur California The Local's Guide to Big Sur - Where To Go and What To Do in Big Sur California

Big Sur Bakery & Restaurant

When it comes to delicious organic eats, one of the local’s best-kept secrets is the Big Sur Bakery & Restaurant. This funky, rustic restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor dining, as well as a wide variety of fresh foods to choose from. Whether you want to dig into a decadent burger or keep things light with a chicken salad, they have a lot of options. Plus, you can explore the beautiful grounds, which include a garden, shops (where you can pick-up jade, jewelry, and other eclectic treasures), and other relaxed places to just hang out.

The Local's Guide to Big Sur - Where To Go and What To Do in Big Sur California The Local's Guide to Big Sur - Where To Go and What To Do in Big Sur California The Local's Guide to Big Sur - Where To Go and What To Do in Big Sur California

For more inspiring travel tips and ideas, check out the Travel section on Inspirations & Celebrations.

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