Postcard from California: Driving the Big Sur Coastline

Big Sur coastline

A drive along the California coast is a classic American road trip, and no stretch is more iconic than Big Sur. Our drive along the Big Sur coastline last year began draped in fog, obscuring our views but adding a mystical quality to the glimpses of the shore we caught as we traveled through breaks in the mist. Luckily,the fog burned off as the day progressed, revealing even more stunning vistas.

When you make the trip, don’t worry about knowing where to stop. Every few miles is an overlook with beautiful views — enough that you can’t possibly visit all of them. However, there aren’t many places that offer gas, food or restrooms. In Big Sur, the Nepenthe gift shop and restaurant is an ideal stopping point. From here, we captured stunning views of the small coves that cut into the green mountains along the coast. We could also make out the varying shades of blue water crashing along the rocks in a white foam.

The other not-to-be-missed stop in Big Sur is Pfeiffer State Park, where a short walk leads out to the viewpoint overlooking McWay Falls. You can’t visit the beach here, but you can take in the view of the 30-foot falls tumbling to the white sand below. There are also many other hikes in Pfeiffer State Park to enjoy if there’s time. For families looking to stay overnight in Big Sur, be sure to plan well in advance, as accommodations are quite limited.

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Editor’s Note: Photo by Tamara Gruber.

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