Explore Highway 1 from Carmel to Big Sur


Added by Blake Maitoza

Explore the scenic highlights from Highway 1 as you head down the coast from Carmel to Big Sur.

Being from the Central Coast, every time I visit the area I like to do the same trip - Simply because it is amazing. The trip starts along 17 mile drive located in Carmel. From the road, you see the Central Coast icon, the Lone Cypress. Being one of the most photographed trees in North America, it is truly an incredible site to see. This Monterey Cypress has been standing on the granite cliff for over 250 years. Also along this 17 mile stretch, you come across one of the most beautiful golf courses in the world, Pebble Beach.

After the 17 mile drive, continue on the beautiful Highway 1, southbound to Big Sur, and be sure to stop at an amazing unmarked beach. You will continue for about 20 miles until you come to the Garrapata Creek Bridge where you will see parking as well as a few trails. These trails lead you to a secluded beach where you can get away from the crowds. If you come to this spot early spring, Calla Lilies bloom all around the trail; this is a photographers dream.

After plenty of time spent at this secluded beach, the next stop is the Big Sur River Inn . On the way to the Rivers Inn you will cross the historic Bixby Bridge. Built in 1932, Bixby Bridge is a truly jaw dropping site to see, and you won't be able to help yourself from spending countless minutes starring at it. Once you finally decide to get moving again, you will find the restaurant, Big Sur River Inn Restaurant, which is perfect for the family. What makes this spot unique is they have furniture located directly in the river! Enjoying a meal or a drink in the middle of the river is a truly relaxing experience.

After having a nice meal on the river, you should stretch your legs and do a little hiking. The next stop, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, showcases the most beautiful cove on the West Coast. When you arrive at the park you will see signs to McWay Falls, this is the way you need to go! After a short hike you will come to a viewing platform of the incredible 80-foot waterfall that flows year round directly into the Pacific Ocean. The best way to view this spot is during sunset, so try to plan this adventure so you end up here at the end of the day.

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🥇Top Contributor

over 4 years ago

Must do

What more can you say about one of the nicest driving sections in the US? Get in your car and head north-to-south, not the other way around so you have a direct view of the ocean and access to all of the turn-outs.


🥈 Contributor

over 4 years ago

Great way to spend the day

The drive is incredible. It actually reminds me of Hawaii a little bit. And a great way to get down to big sur and see some iconic land marks.


over 4 years ago

Amazing Beautiful Awesome!

It's a beautiful drive, not to be missed! Beware- it is a little scary though. I'm not a great passenger and I was a bit nervous with all the winding and cliff edges, but the stunning views of the ocean and rocky cliffs above you make up for all of the moments of fear. We stopped and took pics of the VW in all the fun iconic spots along the road (we should really make a VW calendar at this point, haha)! Even white knuckled at points, I would do the drive again in a second- prefer if I was the driver but that's just me...! Beautifuuuul!

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