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Big Sur without a car

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London, United...
posts: 10
reviews: 2
Big Sur without a car

Hi,

I am travelling to California with my partner in August. We are planning on visiting San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.

We were hoping to be able to do the trip without hiring a car and travelling by train between the cities. I was wondering if it is at all possible to visit the Big Sur coastal region without a car. For example are there buses that go along Highway1?

Alternatively if we were to rent a car for a day is it possible to do the trip from SF and back again in one day, with enough time to enjoy the region as well.

Thanks for your help!

Shell Beach...
Destination Expert
for Big Sur
posts: 1,524
reviews: 8
1. Re: Big Sur without a car

Welcome to the Big Sur forum! It's difficult to visit Big Sur without a car, and I don't recommend it. There's a public bus that runs from Monterey to the restaurant Nepenthe during summer, but the schedule is really infrequent.

http://www.mst.org/wp-content/media/22.pdf

It's roughly three hours from the northern end of Big Sur to San Francisco, taking Highway 280 > Hwy 85 > Hwy 17 > Hwy 1, and it's a gorgeous drive. It's a totally viable day trip, but you'd need to focus on Big Sur. With more 6 six hours of driving, you may not have much time to see anything else.

Keep in mind that August is often the height of fog season along the coast, and there are days that the fog doesn't burn off until afternoon, or at all.

There are several links on the top right of this web page that may help your planning: see the "Top Questions" and "Big Sur Itineraries." Here's my suggested itinerary of things to see and do while you're there.

tripadvisor.com/GoListDetail-i14592-Big_Sur_…

I also used to write a blog about the Central Coast and Big Sur, and much of the information is still useful (the driving distances and landmarks haven't changed.)

thecentralcoasttraveler.com/tag/big-sur/

Edited: 8:28 am, March 07, 2013
London, United...
posts: 10
reviews: 2
2. Re: Big Sur without a car

Thanks for your quick response Scott!

In terms of the fog, is the trip still worth it with the fog? would you suggest that the trip would therefore not be advisable it at this time of year, or would we just need to try to be more flexible during our stay in SF and pick the day when it is least foggy?

Shell Beach...
Destination Expert
for Big Sur
posts: 1,524
reviews: 8
3. Re: Big Sur without a car

I think flexibility is a good idea for your entire trip. The coastal fog is highly random and unpredictable, but it tends to be heaviest in summer. If it's foggy in Big Sur, most likely it will be foggy in San Francisco too. The clear vistas and blue skies in tourist brochures are usually photographed in fall and early spring when the weather tends to be clearer.

There are also different kinds of fog. Sometimes it's a layer that blocks the sun while not approaching the ground (so you can still see views), while at other times it's hard to see more than a hundred feet into the distance. And the fog completely disappears about a mile inland, as the summer sun warms the land too much for fog to collect.

As to whether it's "worth it," that totally depends on you. Many visitors love the mystery and beauty of the fog, while others find it annoying.

Before you set out, you may want to check the web cam at Nepenthe restaurant, which will give you a very good idea of the view situation. Go to their website and click the "weather cam" link.

http://www.nepenthebigsur.com/

4. Re: Big Sur without a car

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