The rugged gem of California's Central Coast, Big Sur is unspoiled natural beauty. Traversing roughly 100 miles of coast between Carmel-by-the-Sea and San Simeon on isolated Highway 1, Big Sur has an almost mythical reputation.
Big Sur's rugged coastline and lack of development give it an edge-of-the-world vibe. With endless dirt roads, undiscovered Redwood Groves and postcard panoramas, exploring Big Sur for yourself is a trip with limitless potential. Easily accessible by car from either Los Angeles or San Francisco, it's the quintessential California Coast experience, and makes for an excellent road trip.
A huge component of Big Sur's charm is its isolation and lack of development. Sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the Saint Lucia Mountain range, Big Sur is only accessible by Highway 1. This lack of development means endless possibilities for hiking and exploring, and makes Big Sur excellent habitat for wildlife. The highway's position up on the hillside makes for stunning vistas, and provides excellent whale-watching opportunities.
Big Sur is also well-known for landmarks such as the Bixby Creek Bridge and McWay Falls in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. Bixby's Bridge's iconic arch is one of California's best known architectural landmarks. Constructed in 1932, the Bridge informally marks the northern end of Big Sur, and will surely make for a jaw-dropping Instagram.
Perhaps the only other Big Sur landmark of equal notoriety is McWay Falls. Located in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, McWay Falls plunges 80 feet from a hanging canyon to the beach below. Historically, the Falls fell directly into the ocean. During an exceptionally wet season in 1983, landslide activity deposited a significant amount of sediment into the ocean nearby, which accumulated in McWay Cove and formed the sandy beach that exists today. Over time, this beach will erode and the Falls will once again drop straight into the ocean at all tide levels.
If you're visiting either San Francisco or Los Angeles, Big Sur can make for an excellent way to explore California's unspoiled natural beauty. The drive can be easily done in a day if you're traveling between cities. Or you can slow down your pace and make a whole week out of it. With how spectacular Big Sur is, you may never want to leave.
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