Sure it was a magnet for ’60s counterculture. But Big Sur is more than a great place to stage a rock festival or start a commune. It’s a travel destination that lets every picture tell a beautiful story.
There are several roads that connect Los Angeles to San Francisco, the longest of which is historic Highway 1 – particularly that 90-mile stretch that cuts through the Big Sur coast of California. Imagine traveling down this expanse of highway with your top down, listening to your favorite tunes (or on your Harley) basking in the wind and the sunny California weather. It’s no wonder this road trip is well-catalogued by AAA magazine and many coffee table books, blogs, and travel brochures.
In case you’re wondering, the name “Big Sur” is derived from the original Spanish-language “el sur grande”, meaning “the big south,” or from “el país grande del sur,” “the big country of the south.” Basically, it’s a reference to its location south of the city of Monterey.But here’s what you really need to know: the terrain offers the kind of stunning views that make it a perennially popular tourist attraction.
If you check my wallet, you’ll find I avoid being a frequent flyer when I can just as easily be a frequent rental car driver (and I’ve seen some of the most amazing places on Earth from behind the wheel of a rental. Big Sur certainly ranks high on the list as one of the most picturesque places I have ever motored through.
Just a few notes before you head out to Big Sur – accommodations are limited, so book your hotel ahead. There are several rustic lodges and also fabulous, over-the-top ones, like The Post Ranch Inn. Both Taylor Swift and Jake Gyllenhaal have stayed there once upon a time, but even the Taylor Swifts of the world need to make reservations because they’re booked months in advance. After all, they only have 39 guest rooms.
Another tip: start your day early. You wouldn’t want to be driving around crooked poorly-lit roads in the dark. Ideally, you’d do well to be checked in before the sunset. There are not a lot of convenience stores or gas stations either, so pack what you need before you drive through the park. And be sure to remember to pack your hiking boots. There are numerous hiking trails along the coast and through the lush mountains. You wouldn’t want to miss any of it.
Also- pack your camera … you’re gonna need to capture the sceneries and the memories.
Enjoy new highlights of travel photographer Edwin Santiago’s journeys each week.
Last modified: April 17, 2018