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Santa Barbara to Big Sur via Carmel By the Sea

driving   /   1 day   /   no pets   /   no RV

Santa Barbara to Big Sur road trip planner

Here's a sample itinerary for a drive from Santa Barbara to Big Sur. If you're planning a road trip to Big Sur, you can research locations to stop along the way. Make sure you check road conditions to double check the weather. Traveling with a dog or cat? Find pet-friendly stops. Camping along the way? Search for RV campgrounds. Find the best hotels, restaurants, and attractions based on the most talked about places recommended by Trippy members.

customize this trip

10:00 am  start in Santa Barbara
drive for about 44 minutes

10:44 am  Solvang
stay for about 1 hour
and leave at 11:44 am
drive for about 58 minutes

12:42 pm  Pismo Beach (California)
eat at Splash Cafe
stay for about 1 hour
and leave at 1:42 pm
drive for about 2.5 hours

4:24 pm  Carmel By the Sea
stay for about 1.5 hours
and leave at 5:54 pm
drive for about 41 minutes

6:35 pm  arrive in Big Sur
eat at Nepenthe
stay at Fernwood Resort

driving ≈ 5 hours


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Where should I stop along the way?

Solvang  (46 answers)
    Firestone Vineyard  (3 mentions)
    Fess Parker Winery  (3 mentions)
    R Country Market  (2 mentions)
    Blackjack Ranch  (2 mentions)
    Saarloos And Sons Tasting Room  (2 mentions)
    restaurants around Solvang:
        Los Olivos Wine Merchant Cafe
        Olsen's Danish Village Bakery & Coffee Shop
        Industrial Eats
        Panino
        Petros
    hotels around Solvang:
        Ballard Inn & Restaurant
        HOTEL CORQUE
    questions about Solvang:
        What to do in Solvang... good places to stay, eat, etc.

Pismo Beach (California)  (47 answers)
    Laetitia Vineyard & Winery  (3 mentions)
    San Luis Obispo Mission  (3 mentions)
    Edna Valley  (2 mentions)
    F. McLintocks Saloon and Dining House  (2 mentions)
    restaurants around Pismo Beach (California):
        Splash Cafe
        Avila Valley Barn
    hotels around Pismo Beach (California):
        Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort
        Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa
        Seacrest Beach Resort

Carmel By the Sea  (69 answers)
    Monterey Bay Aquarium  (41 mentions)
    Pebble Beach  (21 mentions)
    Point Lobos  (9 mentions)
    Point Lobos State Reserve  (8 mentions)
    17-Mile Drive  (6 mentions)
    restaurants around Carmel By the Sea:
        Passionfish
        Katy's Place
        Epsilon Fine Greek Restaurant
        Flaherty's Seafood Grill & Oyster Bar
        Old Fisherman's Grotto
    hotels around Carmel By the Sea:
        Mission Ranch Hotel
        Lodge at Pebble Beach
        Seven Gables Inn
        Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa
        La Playa Hotel Carmel-By-The-Sea
    questions about Carmel By the Sea:
        Romantic restaurant and hotel in Carmel
        Things to do that'll interest 17-year-old brother


Where's the best place to stay in Big Sur?

Are you going straight to a hotel, or looking for a vacation rental or Airbnb?

The best resource on neighborhoods, areas, and hotels is the Trippy page on where to stay in Big Sur.

If you're looking for a quick answer, you can check out Fernwood Resort, which was mentioned 3 times on Trippy.

Here are some more hotels people talk about:

Deetjen's Big Sur Inn  (2 mentions)
Ventana Inn & Spa  (2 mentions)
Deetjen's Big Sur Inn  (2 mentions)

Want to research more popular hotels in Big Sur? Click the blue button below.




Where's the best place to eat in Big Sur?

Need some recommendations on somewhere to get food?

Trippy members suggest Nepenthe, which was mentioned 33 times.

Here are some more restaurants people talk about:

Post Ranch Inn  (11 mentions)
Coast Gallery & Cafe  (4 mentions)
Big Sur River Inn  (3 mentions)

Want to research more popular restaurants in Big Sur? Click the blue button below.




What are some things to do in Big Sur?

This section could be endless, so rather than trying to suggest every local activity or attraction, we'll leave it open-ended.

These are some of the places people talk about on Trippy:

McWay Falls  (16 mentions)
Pfeiffer State Beach  (9 mentions)
Pfeiffer Beach  (6 mentions)

Of course, Trippy is the perfect place to ask questions because there's an entire community of travelers talking to each other and sharing tips and advice. Trippy is where you can get answers personalized for your tastes, budgets, trip dates & more!

For example, here are some questions people have asked about Big Sur. Click on any question to see answers from the community!

profile  Carolyn from Detroit asked:
Whats the best hike in Big Sur? Best beach?  (4 answers)

profile  Shawn from Presidio asked:
First-come, first-serve camping sites in Big Sur?  (1 answer)

profile  Jennifer from asked:
how far is the drive to sequoia national aprk  (1 answer)

Click the button below to explore more questions and answers related to Big Sur.




Do I really have to go back home?

Yes, even this step is optional, because if you're on vacation who wants the trip to end? It's okay, you can start planning your next trip!

Want to plan the trip back? Get the reverse directions for a Big Sur to Santa Barbara drive, or go to the main page to plan a new road trip.

You can also compare the travel time if you're flying or driving by calculating the distance from Santa Barbara to Big Sur. Or get a full Santa Barbara to Big Sur flight plan.

Don't forget about exploring your own hometown with a staycation. You can also find some cool day trips or get away for a weekend. Maybe try typing in a faraway location like London, Hong Kong, or Sydney, and get inspired for your dream trip around the world.

And if you know Santa Barbara well, please help your fellow travelers and answer their questions about Santa Barbara!





At a Glance
without making any stops
total driving distance is 264 miles
driving time of 4 hours, 38 minutes
189 Santa Barbara travel answers
46 Solvang travel answers
47 Pismo Beach (California) travel answers
69 Carmel By the Sea travel answers
203 Big Sur travel answers





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