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Big Sur Travel Answers

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · July 11, 2016
Drive time/Traffic? LA to Big Sur~Better to go Fri-Sun or Sun. to Tues.  (5 Answers)


  Would it be better to plan a trip for "Option #1" leaving Friday 7/29 about 10am from LA & return Sun. 7/31. If we left by 10am on a Friday, would weekend travel already be picking up & travel times much longer than the 6-6.5 hours I've seen estimated as a general drive time ( without stops). If so, any sense of how much time it would add? It sounds like it's important to make it out past Santa Barbara before or after commute times & then traffic improves. We really didn't want to leave at 5 a.m. as I saw recommended on a few postings, so I thought it would be better to plan to leave about 10am and hope a.m. traffic had eased up.           Our "Option #2" = Leaving Sun. 7/31 10am from LA to Big Sur and return Tuesday 8/2. If we left LA for Big Sur on Sun 7/31 would we be going against the traffic and therefore have a shorter drive time? We want to make the most of the time we have in CA. This will be our first family trip together to CA.  I know we can make the ride a bit shorter if we skip portions of the PCH but we will stick to the scenic route as much as we can. So much great info. here....Thanks from Boston!

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · October 07, 2015
Big Sur with Dogs  (4 Answers)

I am going to Big Sur over the weekend with my dog. What are the best attractions (hiking, beaches and lookouts) and accommodations (campgrounds and restaurants) that allow dogs?

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · January 06, 2015
Accommodation for the 2015 Big Sur Marathon  (3 Answers)

Hello Everybody,
My wife and I will be running the Big Sur Marathon this year : 26th of April
We are looking for a nice and convenient accommodation. Any suggestion ?

Many Thanks,

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · August 15, 2014
Hiking places with scenic views near Paso Robles

What are the best places to hike and walk around Paso Robles in 6 hours?

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · June 25, 2014
Public transit from Big sur or nearby?  (8 Answers)

I'll be needing a ride from Big Sur back to San Francisco in Mid August. Is there some form of public transit?

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · January 21, 2014
Waves and surf?  (5 Answers)

I would like to photograph the Big Sur coast in March, if possible, when the waves will be big. Should I wait until the end of March so as to avoid as much rain as possible? I want sunny days.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · November 01, 2013
Will i be o.k if I have Fear of heights and at times get motion sickness?  (13 Answers)

I have a fear of heights and can motion sickness from windy roads however I am thinking about driving from san Francisco to Big Sur and back. I am nervous after reading some of these comments I may be in trouble. Has anyone who has fear of heights gone this drive and found it wasn't that bad? The same question for people who get motion sickness, anyone who normally gets motion sickness successfully got through this drive without getting sick? This drive looks so amazing I would love to go but my husband is worrying it may not be worth it if I get sick and am in fear the whole time.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · August 07, 2013
Tent Camp site - All or mostly paved...  (2 Answers)

I would like to know of a nice and available tent camping site that is either completely paved or nearly so...I will be there on a Harley Davidson touring bike, which is not real keen on dirt. Thanks so much!

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · February 13, 2013
From Big Sur to San Francisco  (10 Answers)

Hi all, here I am again...
I'm planning to drive from S. Francisco to Big Sur enjoying the landscape on the way down, and driving straight back to S. Francisco airport, staying overnight in Big Sur.
My question is: do you think I can easily drive back in the morning to catch a flight leaving early in the afternoon or is it too risky? I can't get an idea of the time needed to drive the distance...!

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · January 14, 2012
Returning back to Santa Barbara from Yosemite  (3 Answers)

we want to spend a night on the coast as we head back down to SB we are on a budget, where would you recommend we stay for one night? Thanks

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · November 20, 2011
Driving to Hearst Castle  (5 Answers)

Planning a daytrip to and back from Hearst Castle from Santa Clara & wondered if:
1. Is it too much to try to do in one day?
2. Is a Sunday or a (Mon/Tue) the better day choice for less for traffic, etc?
3. Is driving Rte 1 trouble in the night and should take different route back to Santa Clara ?

Any help would be appreciated..

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · November 13, 2011
California Dreamin Trip being planned starting in Santa Barbara  (5 Answers)

will be coming in May 2012 with my 23 yr old daughter and I need info on a couple of places to stay, a cabin, cottage would like small place with frig and microwave, coffee maker of course we are on a budget. We plan to be in this area for 4 days and then head to Yosemite. Any suggestions most welcomed. Thanks

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · April 03, 2011
big sur road washed away  (2 Answers)

We were planning to drive down the big sur but heard it got washed away near bixby bridge. Can we still get to Garrapata state beach? if we cant drive the big Sur, where else can we go? What is the alternative route south to get to Cambria?

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · February 12, 2011
sea otters  (3 Answers)

I will be driving from San Francisco down to Cambria in mid-april. I know I can hire a kayak and do a boat ( whale watch) trip in Monterey bay to see sea otters. Is there anywhere else along the coast where you can reliably see and photograph sea otters, particularly from a boat.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · November 19, 2010
Back country camping question fro Big Sur Area  (6 Answers)


I am looking to go camping with 2-3 friends in this area in mid December. We are all experienced backpackers, and are looking to get away from the mainstream campsites (not that anything will be too full this time of year). We would like to hike 5-10 miles into a campground (or area where we can make one). Any river/stream fishing near the camping area would be a bonus, but not necessary.

Does anyone have any suggestions? They would be much appreciated. We have all camped in the Big Sur area, but usually in more popular campsites, and have not managed to get away from everyone else.



Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · August 18, 2010
Driving the Big Sur - advice  (3 Answers)

Hi all,

I would love some advice please. We will be arriving in San Francisco in 3 weeks time. After a few days acclimatizing we will be driving down to Santa Barbara for a few days and then back up to San Franciso, with stops at Solvang and San Luis Obispo on the way. What I'm unsure of is it better to drive the Big Sur on the way down to Santa Barbara? Or is it better to drive it when we return back up to San Francisco?

Many thanks, Matt

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · August 18, 2010
Esalen  (24 Answers)

Hi -- I'm looking to book massage appointments and visit the hot springs at Esalen. Any tips? Is it worth the extra money to stay the night there or just find another place in Big Sur?


Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · May 24, 2010
last minute Big Sur getaway memorial day weekend?  (2 Answers)

I'm looking for one or two nights (Fri, Sat, or both) Memorial day weekend and I'm striking out. Anyone have a cabin or vacation rental with one or both of these nights available or have any tips for me for finding one? I've contacted all those on and craigslist and not having luck. All ideas welcome, and thank you in advance!!

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · November 10, 2009
Coming to Big Sure in December...  (2 Answers)

Hello this is my first post in the forum. It seems to have a lot of great info. I am looking for some good hikes in December. Ideally I'd like to spend 3-4 days hiking and camping any recommendations. My final destination is the LA area. Is there any hikes that would take me from the Big Sur area to within a couple hrs (driving) to LA? Any info or input is appreciated so long as it pertains to the central coast or just great day hikes. Are camping spots open in Dec. I am open for any suggestions and appreciate any guidance :) I'm coming from PA so not too familiar with the West Coast.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · November 10, 2009
Beach at MCWay Falls  (3 Answers)

Does anyone know a route to the beach shoreline at McWay Falls? I'd like to snap some pics from that vantage point

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · March 02, 2009
Big Sur current conditions.  (1 Answer)

I am coming to San Francisco at the end of March and was going to drive down to Big Sur to do some hiking. I know there were some fires about a year or so ago. How are the conditions for hiking and should I still come here or is it best to head to another area? Any recommended hikes are also welcome. Tks. Bill.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · December 20, 2008
Will Hwy 1 be safe in the rain on Christmas Eve  (7 Answers)

Rain is predicted on Christmas Eve in Big Sur. I will be driving up in the dark. This is suppose to be an enjoyable, although short trip. Any insight on the road conditions of Hwy 1 and would it be better to postpone?

Any input from informed individuals will be appreciated.


Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · September 30, 2008
climbing and hiking in big sur in the winter  (4 Answers)

anyone know about rockcliming/bouldering as well as hiking/backpacking oppurtunities in big sur in January. I don't know what the weather is like over there and what the options are...

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · August 23, 2008
Carmel by The Sea to San Luis Obispo  (4 Answers)


Driving from Carmel to San Luis Obispo in September.

Would ideally like to book a tour of Hearst Castle, but am worried about rushing through the Big Sur.

This is our first trip to this region, and hotels are booked either end.

Would you recommend not tying ourselves up with the Castle, or do you think we could fit it in?

Suggested iterniaries and estimated timescales would be most welcome

many thanks


Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · May 31, 2008
Beach Bonfires??  (2 Answers)

I'm heading to Big Sur for a weekend in a few weeks, and was wondering if any of the local beaches allow bonfires??

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · August 25, 2007
Another question on the drive from LA to Monterey, Bigsur..  (3 Answers)

Hi All,

I will drive up from LA to monterey and was wondering the best of the routes. Mapquest, google and yahoo provide options which are different.
Option 1 : I-5 to CA 46W to 101N to CA68W
Option 2 : I-5 to CA 152 to CA 156 to CA 1S
Option 3 : I-5 to CA 33(1.5miles) to CA 198 to 101N to CA68W.

Also on my way back, I plan to go from Monterey-BigSur-SanSimeon and then connect somewhere onto I5 rather than drive CA 1. Since, am the only driver, driving so much could be stressful and want to ensure that I opt the best.

Any suggestions would be really appreciated. Thanks very much guys.VT folks have always been very helpful..chz

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · August 18, 2007
BigSur...have 2 days, suggestions please?  (6 Answers)

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.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · July 31, 2007
Big Sur/Hwy 1: Nacimiento-Ferguson Road  (4 Answers)

My wife & I from UK have been visiting Big Sur for 30 years but have never ventured far up the Nacimiento Road. Know it is all unpaved but some sources say "best avoided" although the views are magnificent..we are coming mid-October, will be driving from LA & SLO up to Big Sur & thought it might be good instead of going via Ragged Point etc. as usual, to go via Paso Robles & the Fort Hunter Liggett base and across the Sta Lucia mountains using the Nacimiento-Ferguson road. Can anyone reassure us that it will (normally) be passable please? If so, should we upgrade the rental car to a 4WD SUV? Any advice gratefully received.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · April 04, 2007
How to Get to Big Sur...  (7 Answers)

We're visiting Big Sur in early June. We'll be arriving in California(driving) from Reno. I really wanted to travel up the coast from Big Sur (south to north) but upon studying the map it appears that it's going to be more practical to start from the north and travel south. Any thoughts on this?

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · February 26, 2007
Big Sur in March  (6 Answers)

I will be traveling from NJ to LA in March. I am interested in taking the drive to BIG SUR from Burbank CA. Is there a specific point that has breathtaking views and cafe, shopping in all in one? Will just be going for the day.


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