Best time to visit California

Big Sur Road Trip in California 2024

Beautiful coastline, amazing forests, and gorgeous mountains—Big Sur has it all

Best time: March–May | September–March

Big Sur Road Trip
Big Sur Road Trip
Big Sur Road Trip
Big Sur Road Trip
Big Sur Road Trip
Big Sur Road Trip
Big Sur Road Trip
Big Sur Road Trip

This beautiful stretch of coastline and forest is an ultimate nature escape. Big Sur is a picturesque area that begins at Yankee Point, stretches along Highway 1, and ends approximately in the San Simeon area. Check out the picturesque coastline and true wilderness. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is popular among hikers, sunbathers, and nature lovers.

The park features lots of camping facilities and the more comfortable Big Sur Lodge. The highlight of the park is Valley Overlook that opens amazing views over the ocean and the Big Sur River Valley.

Another popular area of Big Sur is Garrapata State Park, with the long and wide Garrapat Beach. This golden crescent-shaped beach is not the best for swimming, but definitely for marvelling the scenery and sunsets. Over 350 km of hiking trails provide unforgettable views of the coastline, mountains, and redwoods.

Bixby Bridge, one of the most famous spots, is often called the Big Sur's version of the Golden Gate. The Bixby Bridge is located on the hight of 79 metres above a steep canyon. It took several years and lots of hard work to construct the bridge above the creek before the route linking Carmel to San Luis Obispo appeared. The bridge is one of the most photographed spots at Big Sur and is known for some perfect sunset shots.

Big Sur River Gorge is another scenic spot located in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. A short half-mil trail starts at the northeast end of park's campground. It features some scrambling and several river crossings so be prepared to get wet. After reaching a large tree suspended between two cliffs,you can see a swimming hole and take some time to relax in the water.

The area has more than 300 sunshine days. The peak tourist season runs from April till October, it's the busiest and the hottest period. Starting from the end of August crowds thin out and the temperatures get more pleasant.

September through November is the prime time to enjoy the pure nature in more silent and comfortable atmosphere. The rainy season occurs in winter, with eventual road closures. The blooming period in spring is also quite good for a visit. You should remember that the temperatures at Big Sur vary due to location. It may be quite cold in the mountains even in summer, so a warm jacket is recommended in any season.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Big Sur?

To avoid crowds and enjoy pleasant temperatures, visitors should plan their trip to Big Sur between March to May, or September to November. The tourist peak season is between April and October, characterized by high temperatures and overcrowding. In contrast, the rainy season hits during winter and may result in road closures. Autumn offers fewer crowds with mild temperatures, making it a favorable time to visit. Show more

Where is the Valley Overlook in Big Sur located?

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park houses the renowned Valley Overlook in Big Sur, providing breathtaking views of the surrounding ocean and the Big Sur River Valley. The park has a wide range of facilities, such as camping areas and hiking trails. The Big Sur Lodge is also within the park, and visitors can access the River Gorge and swimming hole located in the park. Show more

What is the significance of Bixby Bridge in Big Sur?

Bixby Bridge is a significant historical landmark in Big Sur, often cited as the region's Golden Gate Bridge equivalent. Built 79 meters over a steep canyon and connecting the Carmel and San Luis Obispo communities, the bridge offers an iconic panoramic view of the coastline. Sunset photography enthusiasts frequent the spot to capture that ideal shot. Show more

Where can we find a swimming hole in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park?

A swimming hole is accessible in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park through a half-mile trail that starts at the northeast end of the park's camping site. The swimming hole is located in the Big Sur River Gorge, with some scrambling required and several river crossings that may need visitors to get wet. The swimming hole offers a perfect place to relax and appreciate the area's natural surroundings. Show more

What is the temperature during summer in the mountains of Big Sur?

Summer temperatures in the mountains of Big Sur can be surprisingly cold, making it essential to keep warm jackets on-hand. It is worth noting that temperatures may vary, depending on the location within Big Sur. The region experiences over 300 sunny days, with winter being the rainy season and leading to road closures. Regardless of the season, visitors should embrace warm clothing and prepare for any climate changes. Show more

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