Explore Big Sur and Highway 1
I wanted to explore Big Sur and Highway 1 while camping in Big Sur. I decided to go there for the July 4th weekend. I drove there from Tucson which was a long 12 hours drive for me but totally worth it. The weather was perfect compared to Tucson. It was 60° F during day and would lower to 38° F at night. Driving along west coast has been a dream for me and this is one my favorite drive on highway 1 along pacific ocean and exploring the beautiful beaches and falls.
Stay in Big Sur:
I camped in Big Sur for 3 nights for the 4th of July weekend and stayed in Plaskett Creek Campground. I really wanted to camp at Kirk Creek Campground, which is approximately 5 miles from Plaskett Creek, because it is on the Pacific side and you can see the ocean. Even at Plaskett Creek Campgound, the sites at the entrance can give you a beautiful view of the ocean. It is really hard to get a reservation at Kirk Creek since it is always booked in advance and specially on weekends like 4th it is next to impossible. I was very happy with Plaskett Creek as well because it is a nice and clean campground with an ideal location.
Sand Dollar Beach:
Sand Dollar Beach was a mile away from Plaskett Creek Camground. I would make my coffee early morning and head to the beach to enjoy a relaxing walk. It is famous for surfing and you will see a lot of people with their surfing gear heading to ride the waves on this beautiful beach. There is stairway access to beach so if you are not comfortable, plan accordingly.
Mill Creek Picnic Area:
My next stop was Mill Creek. It was approximately 5 miles from Sand Dollar Beach. It is nice little spot to relax and touch the waves. There is also picnic tables if you want to enjoy a romantic ocean side snack, lunch or dinner.
Limekiln State Park:
Approximately 3 miles from Mill Creek, I stopped at Limekiln State Park. There is a beautiful bridge and beach access. You also have alot of hiking options and the park offers campsites as well for overnight stay.
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park (McWay Falls):
My next stop was Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park approximately 15 miles from Limekiln State Park which is home to the famous McWay Falls. This is a famous stop amount tourists and is usually crowded. The parking is limited and usually gets filled quickly. I recommend parking along highway 1 if you don’t want to pay $10. Walk to the scenic McWay falls and enjoy the beautiful scenes of McWay Falls and take pictures.
After spending quality time at McWay falls, I continued my drive towards Big Sur, enjoying breathtaking views of Pacific Ocean along Highway 1. I stopped in Big Sur to take a quick break and grab a coffee and some desserts from the bakery. There is also a gas station if you want to fill up your tank, but the gas is very expensive for the obvious reasons.
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park:
After a quick relaxing break at Big Sur, I continued my journey and stopped at the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. I parked outside the park along Highway 1 and walked inside the park. The park is home to the giant redwood trees. I walked along the river loop on the river path trail to enjoy the calmness and tranquility of this place. There is camping option as well if you want to stay overnight. You can also swim in the river. Returning from the river path, I took the Pfeiffer falls trail which will take you the falls and enjoy the beautiful trail through giant Redwood and Oak. If you have more time, there are so many options to explore this park.
Bixby Creek Bridge:
My next step was Bixby Creek Bridge, which is the iconic bridge on the Big Sur coast of California. It is usually crowded and is hard to to find a parking spot. Take some time to enjoy this architectural beauty and capture it with your camera.
Pebble Beach (17 Mile Drive):
From Bixby bridge, I headed towards Pebble Beach which is my favorite part of the coastal drive. Pebble Beach is a 17 miles drive with breathtaking views. If you have to make a single stop along Highway 1, this has to include this 17 miles drive. There is a $10 fee to do this drive but it is totally worth it. You can stop at different pullouts and every stop has its uniqueness and tranquility.
Santa Cruz Beach Broadwalk:
My final stop was at Santa Cruz Beach Broadwalk. There are alot of options for dining and entertainment. The beach is also very lively here and you can walk on the beach or swim in the Pacific water.
Point Piedras Blancas, San Simon:
On my final day driving back home to Tucson, I stopped at Point Piedras Blancas in San Simon. There is beautiful trail along the shore with sea lions sun bathing. You can catch a close and personal glimpse of sea lions relaxing on the shore.
After spending 3 nights in Big Sur, I didn’t want to go back home and I will definitely go back.