• Activities:

    Chillin, Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Year Round

Beach
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Romantic
Scenic
Wildflowers

No matter the time of year, Garrapata State Park, located on the very northern edge of Big Sur, is a phenomenal place to take in the sunset and watch the waves crash against the shore.

Garrapata State Park is located along California's Highway 1, roughly 5 miles south of Carmel, California. The park is entirely free with multiple pull-outs and serves as one of the first grand views travelers encounter while heading south from the Monterey Peninsula to southern California. Garrapata is where you will find many scenic and iconic vistas of both the San Lucia Mountain range and jagged rocks that have been standing firm against the brutal waves for centuries. These are just a few of the reasons that make Garrapata State Park a must visit when coming to Big Sur.

Along the highway, Garrapata State Park is roughly broken up into two parts: the north side and the south side. The north side features the extremely jagged coastline that is constantly eroding as the cold ocean batters the shore. This "north" side is located from Soberanes Point, and northward. South of Soberanes Point, you will find some iconic locations such as Calla Lily Valley and Garrapata Beach. No matter where you decide to be for sunset, it is sure to be spectacular. Some of the best places to be to watch the sunset are either above Garrapata Beach along the cliffs covered in ice plant, or north of Soberanes Point where you can get right on the edge of the ocean, just feet away from the roaring waves.

Between December and June, this is a great spot to watch the yearly gray whale migration as they swim between the arctic waters where they feed, down to Baja California where they mate and give birth to live young. Anytime of year however, you can expect to see sea otters, sea lions, harbor seals, dolphins, and other species of whales such as humpbacks or killer whales.

So grab your camera and your tripod and find your own cove or beach and take amazing and memorable photos of a Garrapat State Park sunset!

Pack List

  • Backpack
  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Lens Filters (CPL, ND, etc.)
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun Hat
  • Binoculars
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Chase Dekker

Wildlife photographer and biologist currently based in my coastal hometown of Monterey, California. Always looking for the next wildlife adventure!

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