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Vail to Big Sur drive

driving   /   3 days   /   no pets   /   no RV

Vail to Big Sur road trip planner

Here's a sample itinerary for a drive from Vail 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
 Day 1

9:00 am  start in Vail
drive for about 2.5 hours

11:18 am  Grand Junction (Colorado)
stay for about 1 hour
and leave at 12:18 pm
drive for about 3.5 hours

3:53 pm  Capitol Reef National Park
stay for about 1 hour
and leave at 4:53 pm
drive for about 4.5 hours

9:13 pm  Zion National Park
stay overnight and leave the next day around 10:00 am

day 1 driving ≈ 10 hours
find more stops

 Day 2

10:00 am  leave from Zion National Park
drive for about 2.5 hours

12:41 pm  Las Vegas
eat at Giada
stay for about 4 hours
and leave at 4:41 pm
drive for about 2.5 hours

7:02 pm  Barstow
stay overnight and leave the next day around 9:00 am

day 2 driving ≈ 5 hours
find more stops

 Day 3

9:00 am  leave from Barstow
drive for about 2 hours

11:04 am  Bakersfield
stay for about 1 hour
and leave at 12:04 pm
drive for about 2.5 hours

2:19 pm  San Luis Obispo
stay for about 3 hours
and leave at 5:19 pm
drive for about 3 hours

8:15 pm  arrive in Big Sur
stay at Fernwood Resort

day 3 driving ≈ 7 hours
find more stops

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Where should I stop along the way?

Grand Junction (Colorado)  (16 answers)

Capitol Reef National Park  (11 mentions)

Zion National Park  (83 mentions)
    questions about Zion National Park:
        When is the best time to visit/hike Zion national park?
        Canyoneer boots, Keen sandals, or old tennis shoes for Narrows hike?
        What's the best time of year to hike in Zion?
        Poisonous plants/ Venomous animals in Zion Canyon
        Are hiking boots necessary now if I hike Angels Landing

Las Vegas  (324 answers)
    Downtown Container Park  (15 mentions)
    Fremont Street Experience  (15 mentions)
    High Roller  (10 mentions)
    The Mob Museum  (8 mentions)
    Neon Museum  (8 mentions)
    restaurants around Las Vegas:
        Giada
        Mon Ami Gabi
        Wicked Spoon
        Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino
        Lotus of Siam
    questions about Las Vegas:
        Best new restaurants in Vegas?
        What time of year is the best for scoring a cheap deals in Las Vegas
        Best tips and casinos for first time gambler?
        Is it better to stay on or off the Las Vegas strip?
        Top things to do in Las Vegas that don't include gambling?

Barstow  (13 answers)
    restaurants around Barstow:
        Del Taco
    questions about Barstow:
        What's the best neighborhood in Barstow for a first time visitor?
        Where to sleep RV trailer

Bakersfield  (19 answers)
    questions about Bakersfield:
        Best free things to do in Bakersfield?

San Luis Obispo  (122 answers)
    Bishop Peak  (4 mentions)
    San Luis Obispo Mission  (3 mentions)
    California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo  (3 mentions)
    Edna Valley  (2 mentions)
    F. McLintocks Saloon and Dining House  (2 mentions)
    restaurants around San Luis Obispo:
        Firestone Grill
        Novo Restaurant & Lounge
        Bello Mundo
        Splash Cafe
        Avila Valley Barn
    questions about San Luis Obispo:
        What is your favorite restaurant in San Luis Obispo?
        Lodging
        Exploring SLO in March to scout moving there - what should I check out?
        Where to stay outside of San Luis Obispo for Cal Poly graduation


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 Vail 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 Vail to Big Sur. Or get a full Vail 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 Vail well, please help your fellow travelers and answer their questions about Vail!





At a Glance
without making any stops
total driving distance is 1,184 miles
driving time of 17 hours, 35 minutes
Big Sur is 1 hour behind Vail
53 Vail travel answers
16 Grand Junction (Colorado) travel answers
324 Las Vegas travel answers
13 Barstow travel answers
19 Bakersfield travel answers
122 San Luis Obispo travel answers
203 Big Sur travel answers





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