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Big Sur

BigSur...have 2 days, suggestions please?

Hi All,
Myself and my wife plan to spend around 4-5 days around the place of Monterey, BigSur and Hearst castle. I plan to drive down from LA to Monterey and spend the night there...
On first day, take the 17 mile drive(need booking?), walk around cannery row, visit aquarium for the day..then move on to BigSur.
Second day, just do some hiking around Bigsur's Point Lobos SR..and plan to relax here for 2 days.
On the final day, drive towards Hearst castle(obviously need to book in advance) and drive back to LA.

Since I am visiting the place the first time, want to know :
a) Is there something else am missing out in Monterey/ a visit/hiking trip to Garland Ranch Regional Park worth ?
b) I thought of doing hiking in Bigsur,we are just begineers and want to get some nice views around BigSur and dont want to miss em..any suggestions you have here?
c) Since am planning to spend 2 days in BigSur want to know if its worth and could I do something more there?

Any pointers would be very much appreciated. Thanks.

6 Answers

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Salinas

Garland Ranch would be a way to enjoy the Carmel Valley for a day, with perhaps lunch in Carmel Valley Village. But know there are many opportunities for an enjoyable hike along the Big Sur coast. Garrapata Beach has bluffside trails above the surf, and another somewhat strenuous trail which ends at a ridge overlooking the coastline. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park has an easy trail to a waterfall in the redwoods, and other trails that lead into the Santa Lucias. Julia Pfeiffer Burns has an overlook of McWay Falls, which drops almost directly into the surf, and another waterfall trail through a shaded redwood canyon. Andrew Molera is another good choice. These sites will tell you more:

Garrapata Beach:
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park:
Big Sur in general:

A combination of Garrapata State Park and Julia Pfeiffer Burns has the advantage of diversity. Together, they offer views of the ocean, an afternoon in a redwood canyon and a ridge-side view of the coast.

That said, it's good to be flexible. You may be drawn to something else that may fill your day. I'm thinking of the booming surf and granite headlands of the Pacific Grove shoreline between Cannery Row and the Lighthouse Gate to the Seventeen Mile Drive.

No reservations are necessary to tour the Seventeen-Mile Drive.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from California

First, a note about American vernacular: when we speak of going 'down', we mean southward. (ie: you plan to drive up from LA to Monterey ). It may save you some confusion later.

You don't need to book the 17-mile drive in advance.

Point Lobos is a wonderful place. So is the aquarium. If you like those, you'll probably want to see the elephant seals near San Simeon. Check out my elephant seal page: [original VT link]

If you like hiking, maybe try Muir woods.

It's not exactly clear how far you were planning to drive in one day, but keep in mind that LA to Monterey in one day is a very hard drive.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Delaware

I used to live very close to Garland State Park and although I used it all the time (for jogging), I wouldn't have gone out of my way to stop there as a tourist. Better to follow the excellent suggestions about the parks on Rte. 1 in the Big Sur area.

By the way, Hearst Castle is nowhere near the Monterey area--it is a good four hours south, in San Luis Obispo. It is actually closer to Los Angeles. I would agree with the above poster that driving all the way down Rte. 1 from Monterey to LA is quite tough to do in one day. It's possible, but it is not an easy drive (the road is very windy and runs along the cliff in spots). Also, you will want to take a lot of stops along the way to look at the views and visit the little towns you pass. A good place to stop for the night is Cambria, a little more than halfway. You could also stop in San Luis Obispo itself--there are plenty of hotels there.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from California

"By the way, Hearst Castle is nowhere near the Monterey area--it is a good four hours south, in San Luis Obispo. It is actually closer to Los Angeles."

Pardon me for quibbling, but it is about 100 miles from Monterey, and about 240 miles from LA.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Delaware

Whoops, you are correct, I apologize for the misinformation. I'm also mistaking the town that Hearst Castle is in, which is San Simeon, not SLO, but SLO is the closest big town that will have a lot of hotels.

In any case, it's still a hike from Monterey (that 100 miles will probably take 2.5 hours to drive, not including stops) so I would not do it as a round-trip in one day. It's a good place to overnight en route to LA though.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member

Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I will plan accordingly based on your inputs. Thanks

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