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Carmel/ Big Sur vacation. Need advise what 2 do?

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Miami, Florida
posts: 20
reviews: 22
Carmel/ Big Sur vacation. Need advise what 2 do?

Coming to Carmel/Big Sur in 10 days from 24-29JUN. Fly into SFO late morning and hope to drive down to Elkhorn Slough to kayak with Kayak Connection watching the sea otters in mid afternoon then drive to Monterrey. Spend short time at Fisherman Wharf/Cannery Row(not a big fan of cheesy touristy places as I grew up on Miami Beach) for sunset - maybe at a wine bar called Taste of Monterey watching the seals. Then drive to Carmel to our hotel.

The following days are open and this is where I need help. We are both active and enjoy hikes and picnics and horseback riding(especially on the beach). Of course would want to see Point Lobos to hike. Which trails for short hikes along the Big Sur drive? Also is it worth it to spend a day in the Carmel Valley?

Will want to drive down to Cambria/Moonstone Beach to spend the night of 28JUN there and then drive back up to SF via 101 vs I-5 to sleep there for an early flight home 29JUN.

Would also like suggestions on romantic restaurants but also beautiful picnic spots. Also any clubs to party at?

Thank you for any suggestions you may have to offer?

Grover Beach, Ca
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
posts: 13,940
reviews: 3
11. Re: Carmel/ Big Sur vacation. Need advise what 2 do?

Carmel Beach is a great spot to watch the sunset... if the fog hasn't rolled in by then.

The 17 Mile Drive isn't flat. There are rollers and some major hills to climb in some areas. The closest bike rentals are in Monterey on Cannery Row. You could rent the bikes, ride along Ocean View Blvd through Pacific Grove, past Asilomar SP and make a right turn onto Seventeen Mile Drive after the road turns away from the coast, go through the toll area, make a right turn and ride as far as Pebble Beach before turning around and riding back toward Monterey. You don't need to ride the whole 17 Mile Drive, especially since the road rises steeply past Pebble Beach.

Nepenthe/Cafe Kevah have similar views. Dine at whichever one has items on their menu that looks best to you. http://nepenthebigsur.com/

Moonstone Beach lodging: Best Western Fireside Inn, Fog Catcher Inn, Little Sur Inn, Sand Pebbles Inn, are just a few. Pretty much all the hotels on Moonstone Beach Drive are a good choice. http://cambriachamber.org/motels-beach.php

Cambria is a sleepy little coastal town by the sea. Not a whole lot of nightlife there. Cambria Pines Lodge does have nightly music, as does Las Cambritas toward the east end of Main Street.

Cambria does have some fine dining options: Robin's, Sow's Ear, Wild Ginger, Moonstone Beach Bar & Grill

Quickest route to SF from Cambria: Highway 1 south (4 miles) to Highway 46 east (25 minutes) to Highway 101 north. To shave time off the drive and avoid the traffic nightmares through San Jose: Take Highway 85 north just north of Gilroy to I-280 north toward San Francisco, then I-380 east toward SFO. Altogether, about a 3 1/2- 4 hour drive.

Monterey Peninsula...
posts: 1,674
12. Re: Carmel/ Big Sur vacation. Need advise what 2 do?

Adventures By The Sea has a bicycle rental outlet n Pebble Beach near Stillwater Cove. www.adventuresbythesea.com/bicycling.html I suggest you contact them directly about biking 17 Mile Drive. The shoreline areas are relatively flat, but many parts are narrow (no shoulders) with blind curves, particularly between the Lone Cypress (aka Midway Point) and Cypress Point. I wouldn't feel real comfortable biking there.

We do see whales in the summer, but not as regularly as during the winter migration. This time of year its quite hit-or-miss. Blue whales and orcas are sometimes here in the summer. A couple days ago a small pod of orcas were filmed in Monterey, harbor, but that's a very rare occurrence! About a week or so ago I was walking the hills of Seaside and spotted a large number of whale spouts covering a very large area (at least half a mile square) of the bay between Seaside and Monterey. Again, this is not something I see often in the summer, but it does happen.

-Mr. Toy


Miami, Florida
posts: 20
reviews: 22
13. Re: Carmel/ Big Sur vacation. Need advise what 2 do?

Again thank u friends for all your great suggestions! Spoke with adventures-by-the-sea and will plan to bike the coast along Ocean View Blvd into 17 mile Drive on Monday afternoon after whale watching.

This should open Sunday up. I though we could drive down the PCH to Molera SP and do a 11am horseback tour. Then drive to the the Carmel Highlands for Chateau Julien and Mabel supper at Pacific Edge

14. Re: Carmel/ Big Sur vacation. Need advise what 2 do?

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