Getting it Together on the Road: Big Sur Travel Guide
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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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?