Visiting Big Sur

Just a couple of weeks ago, I was able to cross a destination off my 2018 travel bucket list. I’d say 2018 is starting to look up! Believe it or not, I’ve lived in California nearly my entire life and had only been to Big Sur once, when I was about 12. How could I have overlooked this majestic place that had here, in my own backyard, for all these years? It wasn’t until one of the largest landslides in California’s history hit the region, that this beautiful, yet rugged, stretch of the central coast was on top of mind. Heavy rainfall last winter caused devastating landslides and a collapsed bridge on Highway 1, cutting off access to the region for nearly 8 months. Big Sur has since bounced back with most of the iconic highway cleared and a newly constructed bridge in place. Nature is a beast and a blessing, isn’t it? Anyway, I’m so thrilled to have finally made the trip. Spectacular is an understatement when describing Big Sur – its coastline is one of the most beautiful I have ever, ever seen. If you haven’t been, I urge you to go. Don’t just drive through. Stay the weekend . . . and follow some of my recommendations on where to stay and what to see!

See Bixby Bridge: If you’re coming from the North, Bixby Bridge is one of the first photogenic spots on Highway 1. It’s the perfect place to stop as you’re entering Big Sur. Built in 1932, the concrete span is an architectural marvel, with its single span concrete arch. Once you pull over, there are opportunities to capture the most photographed landmark in the West Coast from the East and West sides.

Stay at Ventana Big Sur: As we pulled up to Ventana‘s isolated enclave, tucked amongst 160 forest acres on the Pacific coast, I felt immediately in awe and at ease. Besides the obvious dramatic setting, the adults-only resort is flawlessly and luxuriously executed. While Big Sur was cut off from public access due to the landslides, the resort took advantage of the downturn and underwent a rebranding and makeover. 59 renovated suites humbly blend into their majestic surroundings – each surrounded by tall redwoods and views of the ocean, and equipped with outdoor hammocks and showers. Scenic pathways led us throughout the property, allowing us to explore the Social House, the Japanese Hot Baths, the Redwood Cathedral, the pools and The Sur House restaurant. It’s all about relaxed vibes here and I loved every minute spent here.


See McWay Falls: McWay Falls is a 80ft waterfall that cascades right into the ocean, and is surrounded by an untouched cove. It’s about 9 miles (a 20 minute drive) from Ventana, and you’ll hike about a quarter of a mile to get the perfect vantage point. I recommend visiting McWay in the late afternoon, when the sun hits the falls just right.

Where to eat: Don’t miss breakfast at Big Sur Bakery and Deetjen’s. For a casual lunch with the most epic views, go to Nepenthe. Grab a cocktail and watch the sunset at Post Ranch Inn or Ventana’s The Sur House. If you end up at The Sur House, post up for the evening and enjoy a locally sourced meal outdoors on their massive deck, overlooking the ocean. And if you’re looking for a nightcap, head to Big Sur Taphouse and have a drink with the locals.

Glamp at Ventana Big Sur: So in addition to the 59 suites at Ventana, there are 15 safari-style canvas tents spread over 20 acres of Redwood forests on Ventana’s property. You know, in case you’re in the mood to “rough it.” I didn’t get a chance to try the newly launched glamping experience, but I’m super excited to bring back the kids since it is family friendly! Each glampsite includes a wood burning fire pit, a luxurious bed with heated blankets, and ice chest, a picnic table, and a turndown service that leaves you with hot cocoa and a s’mores kit. Dream. And if you’re willing to pay an additional resort fee, you can have access to Ventana’s spa, Social House, pools and fitness center. Done and done. I’m so coming back for this!

Visit Pfeiffer Beach at Sunset: Just a 3 and half miles from Ventana is Pfeiffer Beach, the only place you wanna be at sunset. And if you’re a photography buff, it’s even better in the middle of the night to capture the smattering of stars. The turn-off is easy to miss – it’s just north of the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge – and you might think you’re on the wrong road but keep driving and you’ll hit the parking lot to this picturesque beach, where photographers are clamoring to capture the sun setting behind one of many rock keyholes and archways. You might even notice purple sand, which comes from manganese garnet rocks in the cliffs!

(images by HonestlyWTF & HonestlyYUM)

Leave a Comment

45 Comments

  1. Rena wrote:

    Wow, it is such a dream there!
    With love from Bavaria/Germany, Rena
    http://www.dressedwithsoul.com

    1.25.18
    Reply
    • Erica wrote:

      @Rena 🙂

      1.25.18
  2. DEMELER wrote:

    ahhh yes! big sur is my hometown. such a magical place
    xx
    http://thedemeler.com

    1.25.18
    Reply
    • Erica wrote:

      @Lily no way! I’m so curious how it was like growing up there. My husband and I were humoring ourselves by looking up open houses on our drive back 😉

      1.25.18
  3. Michelle wrote:

    This place is absolutely breathtaking! Now I definitely want to go there as well!
    https://www.makeandmess.com/

    1.25.18
    Reply
    • Erica wrote:

      @Michelle you should! it’s BEYOND.

      1.25.18
  4. Kristie wrote:

    This place looks amazing! The decor is dreamy and it looks so secluded. The perfect way to really have a vacation. It must’ve been hard to go back home?!

    https://www.bluelabelsboutique.com
    https://www.fashionnotfear.com

    1.25.18
    Reply
    • Erica wrote:

      @Kristie, SO HARD to go back home. Can’t wait to go back!

      1.25.18
  5. Jessie wrote:

    I think you’ve just convinced my husband that we should spend our 10th wedding anniversary in Big Sur! Definitely booking our stay at Ventana. It’s gorgeous. Thank you for this!

    1.25.18
    Reply
  6. Eva wrote:

    Such beautiful photos of an amazing location! My husband and I stayed at Ventana for one night and it was amazing. We were just passing through though and I was too young to recognize how good I had it for that one night!

    http://www.shessobright.com

    1.25.18
    Reply
    • Erica wrote:

      @Eva Amazing. You should go back sometime – I’m sure it’s changed quite a bit since the renovation!

      1.26.18
  7. Gabi wrote:

    Just fabulous!

    1.26.18
    Reply
  8. Laura wrote:

    Hi. Your blog is amazing! I was thinking if we could use one of your DIY-guides with pictures on our blog http://www.mariesideer.com ? Then we would link to your medias and perhaps write a little text about you.

    If you are interested, pleas write back in an e-mail or on Instagram @laurahjertefryd.

    1.26.18
    Reply
  9. These photos are gorgeous! Definitely would like to visit!

    1.26.18
    Reply
  10. nerr wrote:

    no words how beautiful these pictures are. i wish i could just teleport myself in them.

    1.26.18
    Reply
  11. I really like the photos. I am from India the north Indian (Himachal Pradesh) beauty nearly like this. But without sea in north India. The home decor and home-style are nearly same with your photos.Definitely would like to visit!
    https://www.indiansarres.com/

    1.28.18
    Reply
  12. Very informative article overall

    1.28.18
    Reply
  13. Tala wrote:

    Amazing place! Wonderful photos! I would love to spend a vacation there!

    1.29.18
    Reply
  14. Guideto30 wrote:

    These pictures are truly breathtaking. A must add to the bucket list. Thanks for sharing!

    1.29.18
    Reply
  15. Very informative article overall

    1.29.18
    Reply
  16. Jacqueline wrote:

    These photos are incredible! Looks like you had an amazing time. I totally want to check out Big Sur for myself now xx

    -Jacqueline
    Jackieomy.com

    2.1.18
    Reply
  17. Natasha wrote:

    awww this is breathtaking! And I will be passing Big Sur this September, so I was like jeee let me check the rates! and its sooo unaffordable ( Ventana) , and the glamping option is currently unavailable…..made me so sad.. Anyway i’ve followed them on instagram and now have one more thing in my bucket list. ( PS so in love with your blog)

    2.7.18
    Reply
  18. Dottie wrote:

    What a stunning place. I am looking out at a snowstorm here in New England and I really want to be photographing the sunset at Pfeiffer Beach! Thank you for sharing your beautiful photographs and your tips about visiting Big Sur. I hope that I have the chance to visit soon.
    Dottie

    2.7.18
    Reply
  19. Bocoran Hk wrote:

    Visiting the big sur must be very nice because of the natural average of nature and I really like this place. Thank you for sharing information about about big sur.

    3.9.18
    Reply
  20. bandot wrote:

    a very beautiful place, I want to go there to see firsthand this beauty. I am very grateful to the admin for sharing this information.

    3.29.18
    Reply
  21. sgppools wrote:

    I was amazed to see the beauty of nature in this place. hopefully there is a chance for me to go this place. thank you very much for sharing this information with me.

    3.29.18
    Reply
  22. Abby wrote:

    It’s important today more than ever traveling to make a better future. After reading it seems like a pretty fancy way to travel

    3.29.18
    Reply
  23. andrew wrote:

    nice place

    4.11.18
    Reply
  24. andrew78313 wrote:

    very beautiful place

    4.11.18
    Reply
  25. nice place, want to go there

    4.15.18
    Reply
  26. thanks for sharing this wonderful place

    4.15.18
    Reply
  27. amazing, some day maybe go to there 🙂

    4.15.18
    Reply
  28. wow, Awesome Place..

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    4.19.18
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  29. beautiful lanscape ..

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    4.19.18
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  30. meriahqq wrote:

    amazing place for vacation
    bandar q

    4.21.18
    Reply
  31. Amazing place 🙂

    4.25.18
    Reply
  32. What a beautiful scenery. I wish i can go there as well!

    4.25.18
    Reply
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    5.10.18
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    5.26.18
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  35. wow,, amazing.

    6.5.18
    Reply
  36. SYAIRMBAH wrote:

    this is a very interesting story
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    7.14.18
    Reply