Big Sur

Spotlight: Big Sur

Monterey Bay California USA

The scenic drive along Highway 1 toward Big Sur is unlike any other in the world. Learn more about the storied bridge.
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Big Sur turns heads with its dramatic coastline, but venture inland a bit and enjoy a hiking and camping haven. Dining with a view? Plenty. All that and enough refuge to renew the heart and mind.

Sierra Mar is fine dining at its best. Located at the resplendent Post Ranch Inn, the cliffside restaurant boasts floor-to-ceiling windows, bountiful ocean views, and an award-winning wine cellar (take your time deciding among the 2,600 selections).

Across the highway at Ventana Inn, The Sur House wows thanks to executive chef Paul Corsentino, whose commitment to using free-range meats from local farmers and Pacific-sourced seafood creates remarkable meals.

California-themed organic meals and an extensive wine list and bar await at Nepenthe Restaurant, perched high on a mountain ridge (the sunsets here can’t be beat). Order a basket of the signature — and unforgettable — french fries to share.

Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn along Highway 1, just south of Nepenthe, is your go-to for brunches and lunches. Evening hours offer homecooked meals by candlelight.


The Phoenix Shop in Nepenthe Big Sur is one of the area’s longtime hubs for visitors in search of unique clothing, hats, custom-made jewelry (some even crafted by well-known local artists), books, and fine art.

Big Sur–specific items made by local artisans are the thing at Big Sur Garden Gallery. Here, everything from specialty soaps, clothing, and handmade blankets are yours for the taking.

Like Carmel, art abounds in Big Sur. Hawthorne Gallery impresses with its handcrafted jewelry, ornate furniture, ceramics, and unique wood designs.

Nightlife & Entertainment

Robust live music — some from local entertainers — and fabulous cocktail conversations are legendary at Fernwood Tavern. You can also catch great entertainment before dusk at Big Sur River Inn and Restaurant. Sunday afternoons are slated for live music on the venue’s Riverside Deck and alternates weekly between jazz, folk, zydeco, and world music.


Best bets for photo ops include stops at any one of the many pullouts along Highway 1. Keep moving south and stop by the iconic Bixby Bridge.

Consider McWay Falls. At 80 feet, it is one of the most photographed and scenic hiking destinations in Big Sur. The falls, creek, and canyon are named after Christopher McWay, an early settler and farmer from New York state who arrived in the area with his son in 1874.

Point Sur Lighthouse Tours give you an opportunity to stand atop a dramatic volcanic rock just offshore and appreciate the rarity of the area’s modern aerobeacon.

And don’t rule out Henry Miller Memorial Library. Nestled in a forest clearing, it honors the late famed writer, who was also a Big Sur resident, with a collection of vintage and modern books for sale and a public cultural resource center that functions as a performance, workshop, and gallery space.


The Henry Miller Memorial Library hosts several events during the summer, including lectures, book signings, and the Big Sur International Short Film Screening Series.
Photo courtesy Visit California in partnership with AFAR

Don’t Miss

Big Sur Food & Wine Festival

Local and visiting restaurateurs, resorts, and wineries team up for dinners and tastings throughout Big Sur.