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Exploring Big Sur, a Photographer's Dream

Big Sur from Carmel to Pfeiffer State Park

By: Rufino Martinez + Save to a List

The greatest meeting between land and water

I remember going to Pfeiffer State Park as kid and having such a great time in the river with my family. I remember those drives back to my hometown, Seaside, used to seem like forever but now seem so short. Big Sur is a place where you could go with anyone and have one of the best times of your life. It's such a blessing to be living next to paradise. It's a photographers dream spot. I've spent the last 9 months of my life photographing in Big Sur, and to this day I'm still finding new spots. Photography is one of the best things in my life; I could go on and on about so many adventures I've had out there because of photography - this could go on forever! But I won't, I'm here to tell you and share some of my most beloved spots in Big Sur.

Garrapata State Park

One of the most beautiful and more popular spots in Big Sur is Garrapata. Although the actual state park has been closed for nearly a year due to the Soberanes fire that happened last year in the summer. The coastal access it has right across from it has beautiful and breathtaking views. 

FYI: Just so no one is confused, I'll be putting the directions above the image that is shown. ALSO there is no internet connection in Big Sur so remember to save the area on google maps so your GPS can function when connection is lost! ESSENTIAL!!

Dropped Pin near 24856-24998 Cabrillo Hwy, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923

Dropped Pin near 25058 Cabrillo Hwy, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923

  • Travel a bit further down south and you'll be able to go up a mountain to the right to get a view of the entire coast. The trail is more visible now due to construction workers making stairs that lead you to the top.

Dropped Pin: near 25068 Cabrillo Hwy, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923

  • The most popular beach in all Garrapata, around a 10-15 minute drive from the actual state park. This spot is almost always packed during the summer so I recommend going in the morning or evening if you want to avoid all the tourist.

26432-, 26472 Cabrillo Hwy, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923

Rocky Point Restaurant

  • If you're hungry and want to grab something to eat, Rocky Point is the place to go. With an amazing choice of food and an amazing view there's really nothing better than this! Also now would be the time to do it because there won't be anything else for another 15 miles!

This next spot is a hidden gem and real easy to miss. It's a little ahead of Rocky Point but trust me these are the coordinates that will take you down a trail and lead you to the picture shown below.

36°23'28.0"N 121°54'07.0"W

View of Rocky Creek Bridge

  • If you ever wanted to get another perspective of the Rocky Creek Bridge, this spot will take your breath away. After going through the Rocky Creek Bridge you'll need to turn to the left and go through the opposite lane to park. Once you're parked you need to cross both lanes and start going up the small mountain. As long as you follow the trail it should leave you with a view of the bridge. Like the one shown below.

Google Maps

Bixby Creek Bridge

  • Once going through Rocky Creek, a couple seconds later you'll be presented with the famous Bixby Creek Bridge. You can pull over where everyone does, but if you want a shot from another angle keep going. Once you pass the bridge, pull over in the next turn out and look behind you. Walk through the trail and you'll get this epic view of this beautiful bridge.

Google Maps

Hurricane Point

  • This view of Big Sur is magical. It's the highest peak in big sur and it doesn't fail to impress!

Google Maps

Another hidden gem in Big Sur

  • If you're a hiking person or someone that will do anything for the shot, here's a challenge. This spot is also located at Hurricane Point but you have to drive/walk all the way to the end of the turn out to see the trail. If you've been to Hurricane Point before, you know that you're quite up there. If you turn to the west you'll see a very steep cliff going down to the ocean. That's the spot I'm talking about. It's definitely not an easy task but if you like a challenge this is definitely worth the hike! P.S. my friend and I named this spot (the one in the picture below) Falcon Point because there was a falcon trying to attack us the whole time!



Down south of Hurricane Point

  • Now this spot doesn't have a name but its amazing and you should definitely pull over to see this!

Google Maps

Pfeiffer State Park

If you're looking for the perfect place to camp, swim, be in touch with nature Pfeiffer State Park is the way to go. It being the last area you could access before the road closes. It's definitely more of a family place than a photography place as of now because there are only two trails open and they both don't total up to 2 miles. 

Google Maps

Extra thrown in locations

  • Old coast road located in Bixby & Andrew molera (the dirt road) Google Maps
  • Old coast road located in Andrew Molera turn to your left at the turn out and its the dirt road going up the hill.  Google Maps
  • Nacimiento Fergusson Road Google Maps


We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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