Big Sur Travel Guide

USA  #2 in Best Honeymoon Destinations in the USA
Credit

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Best Things To Do in Big Sur

With more than 90 miles of jagged Pacific coastline to the west and the St. Lucia Mountain range to the east, Big Sur is truly nirvana for nature lovers. While you're here, hike the 3,379-foot-tall Manuel Peak at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, excavate jade at Sand Dollar Beach, wander through some of Monterey County's oldest redwood groves at Limekiln State Park, or watch McWay Falls gracefully cascade directly into the ocean at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. Andrew Molera State Park and Garrapata State Park offer treks that take visitors to the edge of the coastline, while the Keyhole Arch Rock at Pfeiffer Beach is considered to be one of the most photogenic sunset spots on the central coast. With so many awe-inspiring attractions to choose from, there is no such thing as boredom in Big Sur. 

How we rank Things to Do
  • #1
    Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
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    #1 in Big Sur
    Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Named after one of Big Sur's most beloved pioneers, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is a favorite among both locals and tourists. A feast for the eyes, the park features seven marked trails that take travelers to tucked away coves, up to waterfalls, along miles-long creeks, through redwood-clad forests and more.

    ...Read More »
  • #2
    Andrew Molera State Park
    View all Photos
    #2 in Big Sur
    Beaches, Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    This 4,800-acre park is the largest state park on the Big Sur coast and offers multiple activities and attractions, not to mention several hiking trails. Named after the man who brought the artichoke to California, Andrew Molera Park's natural wonders include secluded beaches, redwood groves, meadows and the Big Sur River along

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  • #3
    Pfeiffer Beach
    View all Photos
    #3 in Big Sur
    Beaches, Natural Wonders
    TYPE
    Beaches, Natural Wonders
    TYPE

    If you're on a tight itinerary and don't have time to traverse any state park trails, head to Pfeiffer Beach. Located about 7 miles south ofAndrew Molera State Park next to Los Padres National Forest, Pfeiffer Beach is secluded in feel, offering expansive shorelines covered by towering, vegetation-heavy bluffs and striking rock

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  • #4
    Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
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    #4 in Big Sur
    Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Not to be confused withJulia Pfeiffer Burns State ParkorPfeiffer Beach, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is adjacent to the Los Padres National Forest and covers 1,600 acres on the western slope of the St. Lucia Mountains. Like most state parks in this region, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park features redwood groves, open

    ...Read More »
  • #5
    Garrapata State Park
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    #5 in Big Sur
    Beaches, Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Situated between the base of the St. Lucia Mountains and the rugged Pacific coastline, this 3,000-acre state park is overflowing with trails highlighting the park's diverse landscape. From coastal headlands to redwood canyons and a valley lined with calla lilies, there is terrain to appease every type of traveler. Garrapata

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  • #6
    Sand Dollar Beach
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    #6 in Big Sur
    Beaches, Hiking, Natural Wonders, Recreation
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Hiking, Natural Wonders, Recreation
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    A great option for those who don't want to work up a sweat on the trails but want to experience Big Sur's beauty from outside the car is Sand Dollar Beach. Located about 7 miles south ofLimekiln State Park, Sand Dollar Beach is the largest unbroken stretch of sand in

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  • #7
    Limekiln State Park
    View all Photos
    #7 in Big Sur
    Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Located about 7 miles north ofSand Dollar Beach, Limekiln State Park is one of the smallest state parks in Big Sur, but it packs some serious history. The 716-acre park is named after the limestone business that once thrived here. In the late 17th century, the Rockland Lime and Lumber

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Explore More of Big Sur

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