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2-3 day drive down Highway 1 from Yosemite to Big Sur

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Woodhaven, Michigan
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2-3 day drive down Highway 1 from Yosemite to Big Sur

Hey everyone! My friends and I just graduated college and are taking a trip to California as a reward :-) We are planning 3 nights/ 4 days at Yosemite then driving for 2-3 days down the PCH to the Big Sur. We were thinking of spending 1 night at a lighthouse in Point Montara, but what other sites/cities/towns would you recommend staying in or stopping at. The trip is planned for late June, although the exact dates aren't set it stone yet (We currently have broken reservations for the 19, 20, and 21st at Yosemite). All we know is we want to see the Big Sur since we have heard its stunning. We are planning to fly into and out of San Francisco but if there is another airport closer to both of these points, that'd be good to know too! Please and thank you!

Woodhaven, Michigan
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1. Re: 2-3 day drive down Highway 1 from Yosemite to Big Sur

I forgot to say some important things:

Spending more than one day at Big Sur is fine for us. We are, for the most part, really big into Nature (We're from southern Michigan, so ocean would be nice :-)) Activity would be great, but we are on a budget, so it can't be something costing more than like $100 per person, tops.

Grover Beach...
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2. Re: 2-3 day drive down Highway 1 from Yosemite to Big Sur

Congrats on finishing college!!

Here's a list of towns between SF & Big Sur:

Half Moon Bay

Santa Cruz (fun beach town with a boardwalk on the beach with rides. Surfer museum, redwood forest nearby)

Monterey/Carmel (Monterey Bay Aquarium, Point Lobos State Reserve (a MUST), Carmel Beach, Pacific Grove coastline)

What to see in Big Sur:

Bixby Bridge

Point Sur Lighthouse

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park waterfall trail

Pfeiffer Beach

Lunch at Nepenthe for gorgeous Big Sur views, though pricey

Partington Cove Trail

McWay Falls @ Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park (11 miles south of Nepenthe)

Just an FYI: Highway 1 is currently closed 63 miles south of Carmel due to a huge landslide and may still be impassable by the time of your trip. However... all the sights mentioned above are accessible and will give you a good feel for Big Sur.

Drive safe and have a good time.

Edited: 5:28 pm, May 12, 2011
Grover Beach...
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3. Re: 2-3 day drive down Highway 1 from Yosemite to Big Sur

You won't find affordable ocean view lodging in Big Sur. Plan on staying within the village area under the redwoods.

Here are your options:

Big Sur Lodge

Glen Oaks

Ripplewood

Fernwood

Big Sur River Inn

Woodhaven, Michigan
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4. Re: 2-3 day drive down Highway 1 from Yosemite to Big Sur

Thanks Kibblesmom! That was amazingly helpful! Out of all those things in the Big Sur, how many are do-able in one day? Is 2 days enough to see everything?

Grover Beach...
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5. Re: 2-3 day drive down Highway 1 from Yosemite to Big Sur

2 days isn't enough to see everything well, but well enough to get a small taste. Santa Cruz and Monterey could take up to several hours each. With your limited amount of time and your desire to see more natural than urban, you can skip Santa Cruz Beach and maybe just stop to watch the surfers from West Cliff Ave.

Instead of focusing on Monterey/Carmel, head to Point Lobos just south of Carmel for spectacular coastal and wildlife scenery. Plan on at least 2-4 hours for Point Lobos.

You can stop for/see Bixby Bridge and the Point Sur Lighthouse on the drive to Big Sur (**Note: There is no access to the lighthouse unless you're part of a tour and those have limited days/hours).

If you're planning on 2 nights for Big Sur, you will have a full day for the other sights mentioned in my previous post: Pfeiffer Falls, Pfeiffer Beach, Nepenthe, Partington Cove, McWay Falls @ Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

Edited: 7:20 pm, May 12, 2011
Woodhaven, Michigan
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6. Re: 2-3 day drive down Highway 1 from Yosemite to Big Sur

Great, that was super helpful! I can't wait to drive Highway 1, I've always wanted to :-)

Grover Beach...
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7. Re: 2-3 day drive down Highway 1 from Yosemite to Big Sur

I can't wait to drive it, either. I wish they would get my end of the drive cleared so I can make it up to Big Sur without a huge detour. :-D

You're going to love it! Have a great time.

Woodhaven, Michigan
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8. Re: 2-3 day drive down Highway 1 from Yosemite to Big Sur

Will do! I'll post pictures when we get back! Thanks again!

Grover Beach...
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9. Re: 2-3 day drive down Highway 1 from Yosemite to Big Sur

You're welcome. I look forward to seeing your photo journal.

Woodhaven, Michigan
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10. Re: 2-3 day drive down Highway 1 from Yosemite to Big Sur

Hi all! I have another question. I was trying to map the route between Monterey and Big Sur, and for some reason the map is taking me on an inland route instead of down Highway 1. Is there some closure I should know about, or can we take Highway 1 between these two points? Our plan is to leave Yosemite during the afternoon of June 22nd and get to Monterey and see the Big Sur either that day or the next.

Thanks!