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Ventana vs. Highlands Inn....and Best Camping in Big Sur

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Georgia
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Ventana vs. Highlands Inn....and Best Camping in Big Sur

2 things: - I will spend 2 days in Big Sur area, and want a taste of both types of heaven - the luxury/cozy cottage/spoil me rotten experience, and then the camping out to get as close to the beauty as it gets experience.

The first - Luxury experience - I am willing to spend up to $500 on a room for one night with a spectacular view of the ocean, to be spoiled with a luxurious and beautiful, peace and quiet experience. Maybe a massage a well. I was looking at the Ventana vs. the Highlands Inn, Park Hyatt Carmel. What is your vote? If you can comment on access to the beaches below, that would be great.

If neither is your preference - do you have a cozy recommendation with just as spectacular views of the ocean? Will my money be better spent elsewhere? Ocean view, comfort, and peacefulness are the main criteria here.

The second - Camping experience - I also would like to get as close to the great redwoods as possible, with easy access to great hikes at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, or other recommended Parks close by. Any suggestions from your experience?

Thanks in advance for your advice !

-Noreen

Grover Beach...
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for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
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1. Re: Ventana vs. Highlands Inn....and Best Camping in Big Sur

I haven't stayed at either luxury inns you're inquiring about, but, if I had a choice, it would be Highlands Inn or Tickle Pink Inn (next door to Highlands). The ocean views here are spectacular!!! Ventana has nice views, too, but just don't have the dramatic effect of the Carmel Highlands, IMO.

For camping next to redwoods, Julia Pfeiffer SP is the place. There's a trail through the redwoods leading up to a waterfall where you can rest and decide whether to go further into the wild.

Don't miss Nepenthe restaurant and the Phoenix Shop (same property) in Big Sur.

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2. Re: Ventana vs. Highlands Inn....and Best Camping in Big Sur

We have enjoyed a few very nice stays at the Highland's Inn and one stay at the Tickle Pink Inn next door. The Highland's is a beautiful property and the rooms are more like small apartments with a full living area, fireplace, small, fully stocked kitchen. There is turndown service and two great restaurants on-site. Pacific's Edge is very gourmet with spectacular views of the coastline.

We haven't stayed at Ventana,but do like their restaurant there, Cielo. You will have beautiful views of the ocean from the outdoor patio there, but not the rugged coasline that Highland's offers.

Have you check into Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, we enjoyed a very nice meal there at Sierra Mar, it gets glowing reviews in prestigious publications and is very secluded. Have fun on your travels and I hope you find the perfect spot for your relaxation! :)

New York City, New...
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3. Re: Ventana vs. Highlands Inn....and Best Camping in Big Sur

Once again we have Pfeiffer confusion. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, while it does have some of the best camping in Big Sur, does not have any campsites among redwoods, it has only two walk in sites directly above the ocean, which are reserved months in advance. I checked these about a month ago and found only a few scattered days available for the coming summer at that time. There are some redwoods at Julia Pfeiffer-Burns but they are on a hike on the inland side of the highway, about a 5 mile loop on the Ewoldsen Trail which also includes great views of the ocean.

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is about ten miles north of Julia Pfeiffer Burns, and has a large drive in campground with hundreds of sites back in a redwood grove along the Big Sur River. It is the largest campground in Big Sur and caters to RVs as well as tents, so it is not exactly a secluded experience.

Ventana has a campground in a redwood grove, which is smaller and more intimate than the Pfeiffer Big Sur campground, so you could have both experiences at Ventana.

I can't really comment on the luxuriousness of Ventana vs the Highlands Inn, but the Highlands is not really in Big Sur, it's still Carmel, even if it is Carmel Highlands. Ventana and Post Ranch Inn rooms *start* at $500 a night, without ocean views. None of these places has direct access to beaches, Post Ranch and Ventana are hundreds of feet above the rocky shoreline, and Carmel Highlands is across Highway One in the hills.

Huntington Beach
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4. Re: Ventana vs. Highlands Inn....and Best Camping in Big Sur

We have stayed twice at Big Sur Campground. It is very small compared to the state park but personable. Get a spot right on the river. If you have kids they can get the inner tubes and float along down the small distance of it . It is not that deep...3 feet at most. They do have some terrific cabins facing the river..in a perfect grassy location and set a bit away from the regular campers to boot! This is another option. I have only taken an RV and not hard camped here . Campground has laundry, playground, basketball hoops and small store...very family/kid oriented.

campingfriend.com/bigsurcampgroundandcabins/

We drove into the State Park to check it out. It is very nice with a nice general store too. Big and more spacious campsites..but then again, it was not full like ours was when we dropped by so it could have been deceiving.

Santa Cruz...
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5. Re: Ventana vs. Highlands Inn....and Best Camping in Big Sur

For heaven's sake look at Post Ranch Inn if you want luxury and spectacular. I am very surprised it hasn't been mentioned here....very expensive, but worth it.

I can't help with the camping.

Georgia
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6. Re: Ventana vs. Highlands Inn....and Best Camping in Big Sur

Thanks to all for the information you shared - you deinitely helped me make my decisions!!!

San Diego
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7. Re: Ventana vs. Highlands Inn....and Best Camping in Big Sur

Sure glad I read this forum before our trip to Big Sur. I listened to Bayarum's post and camped at Ventana; it is truly lovely and I couldn't believe people would pay the same $27 a night and stay in the crowded Big Sur Pfeiffer campground when they would have had a spot on the river and in the trees with hot showers for the same money. I actually hope not too many people find out about Ventana!. Thanks all for your great information on Big Sur.

San Diego
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8. Re: Ventana vs. Highlands Inn....and Best Camping in Big Sur

Whoops I meant Bayatunings reply!

9. Re: Ventana vs. Highlands Inn....and Best Camping in Big Sur

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