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When to see big sur

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posts: 244
reviews: 19
When to see big sur

My husband and I are traveling through California in July/august. We are starting in San Francisco, then To napa, to yosemite and then back over to the coast stopping for 4 nights before we make it to san Diego. Right now I would like to stop for 2 nights in Carmel and 1 night in Pismo Beach before we head down to visit family and San Diego. My question is.. Does it make sense to visit Big Sur during one of our days in Carmel and then have to travel back north to Carmel? Or should we a lot for it in our drive from carmel to Pismo. Also about how long does the drive take (taking into consideration some stops along the way). Thanks

San Jose
Destination Expert
for California
posts: 9,518
reviews: 77
1. Re: When to see big sur

You should make time to explore Big Sur on your way from Carmel to Pismo Beach. Big Sur is really the whole stretch of coastline between Carmel and San Simeon - about 90 miles long. You can visit some of it as a day trip from Carmel, but it is really better if you drive the whole length - and you have to go south anyway, might as well take the scenic drive rather than the less-scenic inland route.

The drive itself is probably about 3 hours without stops. With stops obviously depends on how many and how long.

Shell Beach...
Destination Expert
for Big Sur
posts: 1,256
reviews: 7
2. Re: When to see big sur

This link may help, as it shows average driving times along the coast.


It's more like 4 hours from Carmel to Pismo Beach without stops, and of course you're not going to travel through Big Sur without stopping.

Carmel-Big Sur "village" (around Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park): 1 hour

Big Sur village-Cambria: 2 hours

Cambria-Pismo Beach: 1 hour

Moreover, keep in mind that July and August are the height of fog season. Although the fog usually burns off by noon, there can be days when the fog lingers and obscures the ocean views. It's impossible to predict more than a few days in advance what the weather conditions will be like.

You may also want to check out my blog for more Central Coast travel tips:


3. Re: When to see big sur

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