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Big Sur in one afternoon

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Worcester, UK
posts: 70
reviews: 6
Big Sur in one afternoon

Staying at Cambria and will be at Hearst Castle for the first tour of the day. After that have the rest of the day to do the Big Sur on the way to Monterey. Not interested in hiking, just want to see the most notable sights that are easily accessible from highway 1. I have been doing my research and have the top sights to see as:

Elephant Seal Rookery (4 miles N of Hearst), Ragged Point, famous view of McWay Falls (Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park), Bixby Creek & Rocky Creek bridges (between Point Sur & Point Lobos), Point Lobos State Reserve (nr Carmel). Stop at Nepenthe café.

Are these places easily found? Easily accessible? Well signposted? Having just an afternoon I don't want to spend too much time going off the beaten track.

San Francisco...
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
posts: 27,030
reviews: 132
1. Re: Big Sur in one afternoon

Sure it should be fine. There are signs in some places but the biggest give away will be the cars and crowds. There are signs for the State Parks and for Nepenthe and you will be on the Bridge so you cannot miss it

Edited: 9:43 am, March 19, 2013
posts: 29,002
reviews: 780
2. Re: Big Sur in one afternoon

Nepenthe is a very nice choice for a meal. California Market @ The Highland's is a nice choice for the Pt. Lobos area. Happy Travels! :)

Grover Beach, Ca
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
posts: 15,856
reviews: 8
3. Re: Big Sur in one afternoon

Just an FYI: Nepenthe would come between Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park (McWay Falls) and Bixby Bridge. I don't recall a turn out for Rocky Creek Bridge, although there's a pretty good view of it from Rocky Point restaurant.

Edited: 8:26 pm, March 19, 2013
Worcester, UK
posts: 70
reviews: 6
4. Re: Big Sur in one afternoon

Thanks for those replies guys.

San Francisco...
posts: 3,507
reviews: 123
5. Re: Big Sur in one afternoon

You could check the mileage from www.bigsurcalifornia.org/mile_markers.html and check your odometer.

Worcester, UK
posts: 70
reviews: 6
6. Re: Big Sur in one afternoon

Thanks Al Tippet

Shell Beach...
Destination Expert
for Big Sur
posts: 1,524
reviews: 8
7. Re: Big Sur in one afternoon

Like everyone else has said, your plan is totally doable. It's three hours of driving without stops from Hearst Castle to Monterey, and of course you'll be stopping frequently. This link has other suggestions of things to do and see in Big Sur. Since there's only road, it's impossible to get lost.


Greenbelt, Maryland
posts: 48
reviews: 37
8. Re: Big Sur in one afternoon

My only reservation with this little time is the inclusion of Point Lobos.

This place seems to get "tossed in" frequently as a "do this and Big Sur in a day." It took me most of a day to do PL, and I think I can tell you that you don't want to make this a toss-off. You pay ten bucks to get in; it is so popular that access is frequently one-car-in, one-car-out; and the place is famous for very good reason.

(Hint: "the greatest meeting of land and water in the world" is frequently misapplied to Big Sur. It was said about Point Lobos.)

Unless you can't walk and thus can't hike, anything less then five to six hours here is...well, spend the time along CA 1 instead.

I should note that this advice is a Happy Accident. We were going to do the PL-plus-Big Sur thing; saw the traffic to get into PL; and skipped it. I visited on my own later that trip, and saw what a bad idea ours was.

9. Re: Big Sur in one afternoon

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