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Big Sur area - PCH

Windsor
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83 posts
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Big Sur area - PCH

Hi,

We're planning a 2-week California vacation in mid-October, part of which we hope to enjoy the coast between San Luis and Monterey, especially the Big Sur area. Would appreciate any tips/advice, especially re easy/moderate hiking from the hwy down to the Big Sur beaches.

Thanks

Grover Beach...
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for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
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1. Re: Big Sur area - PCH

The main beaches along the Big Sur coast include Sand Dollar Beach, Pfeiffer Beach and the beach at Andrew Molera State Park.

Sand Dollar requires climbing over a fence line (There are ladder type stairs) and hiking down a bluff. Haven't done that hike myself, so not sure how steep it is down to the beach.

Pfeiffer Beach is accessed via a trail from a parking area (There's a $5.00 charge, BTW).

Haven't stopped at Andrew Molera, but I know there are some trails leading to a beach. Not sure if there's parking at beach level or not.

Don't miss Point Lobos State Reserve a few miles north of the Carmel Highlands. This is one of the most stunning settings along the California coast.

Windsor
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83 posts
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2. Re: Big Sur area - PCH

Thanks, Point Lobos is on our list. (Wise looking cat)

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: Big Sur area - PCH

The turn off to get to Pfeiffer Beach can easily be missed, as there is no Pfeiffer Beach sign on the hwy. When travelling south from the Big Sur Lodge it was the 2nd turn on the right hand side. When travelling north from the Big Sur Bakery, you will drive over a mini bridge and it is the 1st turn on your left.I believe there is a yellow sign that says "narrow road". You drive down 1-2 miles on a paved road until you get to the parking lot (expect a $5 fee per Kibblesmom). From the lot it is only a few mins walk to the beach. Bring a sweater as it will probably be very windy.

Even more impressive than the Pfeiffer Beach is McWay Falls. Park in the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park lot, and follow the walking path for a few mins. Go through the little tunnel and you're pretty much there...a very short walk.

I heard Partington Cove is also very nice, but I have not had a chance to go myself.

Have lunch at Nepenthe.

Definitely visit Point Lobos!

Morro Bay...
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4. Re: Big Sur area - PCH

Hello,

You should consider stopping in Morro Bay along the way! Our seaside village is a picture-perfect getaway for travelers seeking outdoor adventures and a gorgeous natural setting. We have a lot of beautiful hikes with ocean views and views of our famous Morro Rock. Find more information at www.morrobay.org and let us know if you have any questions!

Best,

Morro Bay

Paso Robles Wine...
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5. Re: Big Sur area - PCH

There are great hiking paths just past Cayucos that run all along the ocean with plenty of places to get to the beaches. Just park at one of three parking lots on the west side of the highway after you pass through Cayucos, which, by the way, is a really cute little beach town. After that is Cambria which is also worth a visit.

Hearst Castle is also a not miss as well as the Elephant Seals just north of there. Plan plenty of time traveling to Big Sur as you will be constantly stopping to take pictures! I know of a great cabin to rent in Big Sur if you're interested. It's not mine so not advertising here. We stayed there for four days to explore Big Sur and loved every minute of it.

Rochester, Minnesota
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6. Re: Big Sur area - PCH

Just got back from the Big Sur area (Saturday). Absolutely gorgeous, but be forewarned that due to the government shutdown, Pfeiffer Beach, was closed to any access, including walk-ins. Since this is located in National Forest, the rangers were very apologetic when explaining they had to shut it all down.

Molera and Point Lobos were full as far as parking. People were parking on the PCH/Hwy 1 shoulder and hiking in.

The Bixby bridge was open though : )

And only a 5-8 minute wait at the one-way just south of it due to the washout and viaduct construction.

Ate dinner at the Big Sur Bakery, had to kill 45 minutes that I was going to use at Pfeiffer Beach since dinner did not start serving until 5:30pm. Make sure you make reservations if you can, it was dead at 5:30pm but filled up quickly with walk-ins and reservations. They were a little short staffed also.

Final tip, print out maps of where you want to go. There is NO cell phone reception, at least for ATT (and T-Mobile for my BlackBerry). The folks at Big Sur were also nice enough to charge my cell phone, although I got sat at the bar so I could supervise it. (But I was only a single and I now understand why they wanted to keep the tables open).

The clam appetizer and the new lamb osso buco are awesome. The gravies/sauces were subtle yet very well done and tasty. If I was at home, I would have been licking both plates clean.

7. Re: Big Sur area - PCH

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Grover Beach...
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
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20,398 posts
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8. Re: Big Sur area - PCH

C'mon, Bayatuning

We all know what the OP meant. Plus, they used the "PCH/Highway 1" configuration, so let it go.

+++++++++++++++++++

@ Guy...

Thanks for the heads up on Pfeiffer Beach. Good to know. Bummer to hear it's closed due to the shutdown.

Edited: 8:15 am, October 06, 2013
Rochester, Minnesota
3 posts
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9. Re: Big Sur area - PCH

Hmm...By PCH I meant "Pacific Coast Hwy" which is why I qualified with Hwy 1. I think that was the road on the signs when I was rolling thru Big Sur.

What does "PCH" mean in New Yorkie terms : )

Rochester, Minnesota
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10. Re: Big Sur area - PCH

Ah, I see now that Hwy 1 is labelled "Cabrillo Hwy" along the Central Coast.

You are so correct - it's just that us Midwestern hicks just call all of Hwy 1 the PCH.

I guess we just use PCH to generically describe the highway.

Not many, including myself would realize that one was taking about Hwy 1 in Big Sur if one described it as the "Cabrillo Hwy". I guess I can "one-up" the next person I talk to about my trip - unless it's a friendship I care about.