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Agatha from New York City asked

Best places to visit in Monterey and Big Sur during a quick two day trip?

I'll be traveling from Los Angeles to Big Sur and Monterey Bay, but staying in Marina. I'm looking for a good quick hike, tide pools and other outdoor activities in the area. Also, I'm open to restaurant recommendations by or on the coast!

Big Sur   Monterey   Marina

1 Answer
answered first by
Krista from San Francisco

Hi Agatha,

Awesome that you're traveling to Monterey and Big Sur! Two days is a short amount of time for the amazing area, but here are some must-sees, along with a few fave restaurants:


Carmel (Don't miss it if you're in the area!):

  • The best place to walk is Scenic Rd or just around town. 
  • Ocean Ave is the main drag, lined with what seems to be an endless amount of charming side streets.
  • For food, check out Katy's Place (BEST Eggs Benedict!), Dametra CafePastries and Petals
  • Mission Ranch Hotel also has a restaurant, which is a really fun experience. The piano bar draws locals and tourists and while the food is only so-so, it's sure to be a night to remember (with a possible Clint Eastwood sighting).
  • Explore Point Lobos State Reserve . The trails range in difficulty, but this place is one of the most spectacular sights in all of California!

Big Sur:

  • Garrapata State Park , a short distance before Bixby Creek Bridge , is my favorite beach in Big Sur. 
  • For food, try Big Sur Bakery and Restaurant or Nepenthe . Nepenthe is the best on a clear day, where you can often see whales migrating from the coast. Order the hamburger with the ambrosia sauce - even if you think you don't like it. 
  • Spend time at the Coast Gallery & Cafe . Not only does it have a large collection of Henry Miller crafts (the Henry Miller Memorial Library is nearby) but has a great rooftop where you can snack or drink delicious coffee/hot chocolate and look at the water.
  • Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is a beautiful place to hike. The natural waterfall is a mile walk from the parking lot and draw crowds, but the trails are much less populated.
  • Hike to the hot springs. There are a variety of options, written about nicely here .
  • More of my Big Sur faveshere .

Have a great time!

Comments (0)


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Monterey Bay Coastal Trail (attraction)
  2. Monterey Bay Aquarium (attraction)
  3. Lovers Point Park (attraction)
  4. Scenic Rd (attraction)
  5. Ocean Ave (attraction)
  6. Katy's Place (restaurant)
  7. Dametra Cafe (restaurant)
  8. Pastries and Petals (attraction)
  9. Mission Ranch Hotel (hotel)
  10. Point Lobos State Reserve (attraction)
  11. Garrapata State Park (attraction)
  12. Bixby Creek Bridge (attraction)
  13. Big Sur Bakery and Restaurant (restaurant)
  14. Nepenthe (restaurant)
  15. Coast Gallery & Cafe (restaurant)
  16. Henry Miller Memorial Library (attraction)
  17. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park (attraction)

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