Getting it Together on the Road: Big Sur Travel Guide

Big Sur Travel Guide | Almost Getting it Together

Have you ever been somewhere so beautiful or amazing that you can’t get it out of your head when you lay down to go to sleep? Before 4th of July weekend, that list was somewhat short – Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Versailles in Paris, an active volcano in Hawaii and now, Big Sur. I’ve been very fortunate to see a lot in my short 26 years and I’m even more fortunate that one of these is in my back yard.

Big Sur | Almost Getting it Together Big Sur Travel Guide | Almost Getting it Together Big Sur | Almost Getting it Together

Big Sur was absolutely magical and just the weekend I needed. My friend Chrissy and I road tripped from San Francisco to San Luis Obispo, spending Friday and Sunday in Big Sur proper. There wasn’t cell reception. I got a sunburn. We ate an entire bucket of shellfish (and no allergic reaction to Dungeness Crab, which was a relief after I had one a couple months ago). I could finally detach from all of the stress from work and life and blogging.

Do

mcway falls big sur | almost getting it together

McWay Falls in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

  • Hike Julia Pfieffer State Park
    You know those idyllic photos of a waterfall on a white sandy beach going into the ocean? Yeah, that’s here. That hike is like a quarter mile and a total joke but if you go around the parking lot and take the Canyon Trail you’ll go up into the Ewoldsen loop. From there, you can take the water trail and see – you guessed it – water from the Pacific Ocean. It’s super epic. We were going to keep going to the Tin House Trail and onto a vista point but we saw a dismembered skunk skull and animal droppings and decided we should probably turn around and not turn into a bear’s lunch. Plus, it was foggy.
Andrew Molera State Park Big Sur | Almost Getting it Together

We stumbled upon this private beach on our hike.

  • Hike Andrew Molera State Park
    We did this hike on Friday and it was a great start to the trip – and a great way to get me to sleep nine hours straight (much needed). We went the wrong direction (we wanted to end at the ocean instead of starting there) but it was okay because it was pretty foggy (surprise, surprise). There was a ton of elevation gain and if you are willing to scramble over a pile of driftwood you will find a private beach.
Andrew Molera State Park Big Sur | Almost Getting it Together

No words.

  • Stop at Vista Points
    There are plenty of places to stop for photo ops on the drive. Definitely get on the road early before it’s overrun by tourists (except I was one too, I guess?). Channel your inner-Ben Gibbard and take a photo at Bixby Canyon Bridge.
Bixby Canyon Bridge Big Sur | Almost Getting it Together

Bixby Canyon Bridge

Bixby Canyon Bridge Big Sur | Almost Getting it Together

Bixby Canyon Bridge

Eat

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Nepenthe in Big Sur

The View from Nepenthe in Big Sur | Almost Getting it Together

The View from Nepenthe

  • Nepenthe
    You’ll feel like you just stepped back into the 1970s at this place but man, are the views worth it. I had just finished an eight-ish mile hike with a lot of elevation change and very little breakfast but I still think this place was great. We split a burger and got two salads – the Caprese and the beet salad (and a half-bottle of Rose because #roseseason). The burger came with a bean salad too and you know with my current bean obsession I was all over that.
Nepenthe in Big Sur | Almost Getting it Together

Eating all the food and taking all the terrible photos.

Nepenthe in Big Sur | Almost Getting it Together

Incase there was any doubt I’ve ever eaten a burger on bread – here is proof.

Nepenthe in Big Sur | Almost Getting it Together

Beet salad.

  • Big Sur Bakery
    I struggle slightly with putting this on the list. The food is great but the service can be hit or miss. We stopped for a post-hike lunch on Friday and I got a salad with chicken salad and bread because I lost all abandon for basically a week and ate all the gluten (then hated seeing myself in a bikini until the last day in Mexico, hence total lack of bikini photos).We went back for breakfast pre-hike on Sunday only to be told they weren’t really serving breakfast for another hour and a half. Our only choices were pastries and a joke of a yogurt parfait (aka trifle). When I asked for more yogurt the waitress who was channeling Adam Driver’s sister from Girls with her eyebrow grooming choices told me they had fruit with yogurt for breakfast… at 10:30. Okay, cool. You don’t have to turn on a stove to spoon some more yogurt in a bowl and then take like $10 for it because it’s over-priced but you’re in the middle of the California coast and you have three options and each are 10 miles apart. As you can tell, I’m slightly bitter – but honestly it’s good (albeit pricer than even what I pay for meals in SF) and maybe that one girl just sucked.
Big Sur Bakery | Almost Getting it Together

Big Sur Bakery

big-sur-bakery-almost-getting-it-together

Big Sur Bakery – Greens Salad with added chicken salad.

Pack

  • Hiking Boots
    Now that I’m a real life California resident who goes on adventures and stuff, I need to make a trip to REI and buy hiking boots. I could have totally used them on our hikes.
  • Snacks
    You can check out my Healthy Hiking Snacks post for ideas but I love Picky Bars because they actually make me feel satiated. I also love Vega One Bars because they are meal replacement bars with a ton of protein, fiber and even some Omega 3s and a serving of greens. I’m also a major fan of Kind Bars. I kind of rotate through all three of those.
  • Shower Pill Athletic Wipes
    A lot of these trails were SO dusty. I wore shorts one day and was just covered in dust and grime – super attractive to picture, I know (but I ran cross-country in high school, so I’ve been accustomed to getting dirty outside for a long time). You probably still have a couple hours in the car post-hike unless you’re staying somewhere in Big Sur proper so it’s nice to feel clean.

Chat with me:
Have you been to Big Sur? Any places I missed? What place have you been that made you lay awake thinking about because it was so beautiful?

23 comments on “Getting it Together on the Road: Big Sur Travel Guide

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Lisa @ RunWiki on July 27, 2015 10:58 am

Great tips and picks! I’ve been to Big Sur many times but as a single person. Now I’m married with children and plan on taking them next summer. It’s so beautiful isn’t it? Glad you had a nice time and thank you for this wonderful guide!

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Cassie on August 4, 2015 12:30 am

I think taking your kids there is going to be so amazing for them – I wish I had seen as a child, it’s so awe-inspiring.

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Liz on July 27, 2015 11:18 am

Wow – awesome pictures! Big Sur looks beautiful. I hope you had a great trip :)
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Cassie on August 4, 2015 12:30 am

Thank you!!

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Alyssa @ RenaissanceRunnerGirl on July 27, 2015 12:14 pm

This is on my to-go list – I went to northern Cali last year for the first time but only saw Berkeley (I stayed with a friend at Cal) and SF, because we were car-less. It looks gorgeous!
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Cassie on August 4, 2015 12:27 am

Yes, if you ever make it back to California it’s a must-do!

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Melanie on July 27, 2015 12:50 pm

Big Sur looks gorgeous! A place that I think about that I thought was so beautiful was Subdance in Utah. I went skiing there, and I couldn’t help but just be in awe of the beautiful world we live in! If I ever make my way to Big Sur (which it sounds like I should), I will definitely refer back to this post!
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Melanie on July 27, 2015 12:51 pm

And by Subdance I mean Sundance ;)
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Cassie on August 4, 2015 12:27 am

I want to go to Utah so badly – I’ve heard suichamazing things!

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Jill on July 27, 2015 1:16 pm

Beautiful photos! I’m currently planning my first ever trip to CA in Sept and planning to drive Hwy 1 from San Diego to SF. So even though I won’t be going as far north as Big Sur your post is inspiring!
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Cassie on August 4, 2015 12:25 am

You’ll pass through Big Sur on your way from SD to SF :) It’s in between SF & LA if you drive Highway 1!

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Wendy @ Wholistic Woman on July 27, 2015 3:14 pm

gorgeous! I may have to look this up next time I’m in California!
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Cassie on August 4, 2015 12:26 am

It’s definitely worth the trip!

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Erin @ Her Heartland Soul on July 27, 2015 4:13 pm

I love Big Sur!

Ahh take me back!
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Cassie on August 4, 2015 12:25 am

As long as you come visit SF too :)

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Clare Speer on July 27, 2015 5:58 pm

Wow – how gorgeous and you have captured the beauty with such wonderful pics!

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Cassie on August 4, 2015 12:25 am

Thank you!!

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Deanna Segrave-Daly on July 27, 2015 7:23 pm

Oh this just sounds like a magical trip. Northern California is glorious – I’ve spend more time North of SF since my sister-in-law lives there but one year we drove south to Monterey and Carmel By the Sea – I love Cali!

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Cassie on August 4, 2015 12:24 am

Both of those towns are so beautiful! But to be honest – Northern California is my fave. Something magical about it!

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Brooke on July 28, 2015 12:01 am

Wow!! I’ve never been to Big Sur, personally, but it looks -so- beautiful!! <3 I'll definitely be adding it to my "Wanderlust List" where I keep track of all the places I want to visit, haha! :p

xoxo, Brooke ( http://www.ThePinkLyme.com )
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Cassie on August 4, 2015 12:24 am

I hope you make it out here… definitely amazing!

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Shashi at RunninSrilankan on July 28, 2015 10:46 am

Oh WOW – What gorgeous pictures Cassie! What a beautiful and mesmerizing adventure this was – and it’s pretty much in your back yard!

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Cassie on August 4, 2015 12:23 am

Thank you!!! Means a lot re: the photo comments coming from you xoxo

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