Big Sur – A Photo Essay

This much awaited drive truly captured the spirit of our iconic California Dreamin’ trip. By this time, our Pinterest board was full of pictures of the vast and rugged green shoreline, and that beautiful Pacific blue dotted with ships along the horizon. “Don’t forget to spot the whales”, AM yelled in an excited tone! Big Sur was the highlight of the trip, and the experience cannot be described in words – so we’ll just let the photos do the talking! 🙂

The route was simple…Take the 101 North and follow the Pacific ocean along State Route 1  (aka. Pacific Coast Highway) – the name itself screams vacation!

It should take you about six hours, but with all the stops and little “finds” and “hidden gems” along the way, it’s probably close to ~12 hours. You should plan to spend an entire day along this part of the coast. We sure did!

The gorgeous drive with amazing views that you simply can’t get enough of!
The vast Pacific
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Pink flowers against the blue of the ocean

1. Bixby Creek Bridge

The scenic location of this bridge makes it one of the most photographed bridges along the Pacific Coast.

The bridge standing tall and strong, while the waves crash against the rugged cliff
The first of many stops!!
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Incredible views from this location

Drive a little further to reach flat beds and be amazed by the scenery…

And while you’re admiring the views, look out for shooting plumes of water, followed by a glimpse of the grey head  – yep, that was a whale! We spotted several of them 🙂

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Flat rock with bright yellow flowers
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Walk to the edge to admire the scale of the coastline

2. Pfeiffer Beach

Along a winding side road, make a quick stop at this beach in Big Sur. Follow the sign to the Sycamore Canyon road and drive down the trail to the beach. The beach can be very windy and cool, so dress accordingly since this is not a lay-on-the-warm-sand kinda beach. But the views from here are spectacular!

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Extremely windy at the beach
The famous spot of a window to the world – Pacific coast

The cool thing about Pfeiffer is the purple tinged sand! The color is from the manganese garnet particles that wash down the large rocks surrounding the beach. The purple is brightest after some rain; but we could still see some hints of it in this California drought!

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Can you see hints of purple in the sand?

3. McWay falls

Drive to the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park for a short hike to see the famous McWay Falls.

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Tunnels on the way to McWay falls

The 80 foot falls cascades down onto the sandy floor to meet the ocean.

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McWay Falls – beautiful views but the falls are a bit underwhelming…
Take a breather on this mini-hike!

4. Amazing Sunset

Time your drive with the sunset. Find a good spot and get your cameras ready for the most beautiful sunset. The colors of the sky were absolutely breathtaking!

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Perfect spot to catch the hues magnified by the reflection in the water
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A Ball of fire with an intense orange – no filter!
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Gorgeous hues of the setting sun
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Getting darker now…
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And the final glimpse before it’s over…

5. Elephant Seal Boardwalk

And while you’re driving on, look out for this sign by an empty parking lot. This is THE best place to see the Elephant Seals up-and-close. Although…you may not want to get close because the stench can be really nauseating!

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The hidden spot for Elephant seals
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Ominous sky – looks almost like Iceland!
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While the lazy seals are too tired to move…
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The stink was just incredibly disgusting; True definition of slobs!

That marked the end of Big Sur and we docked in Santa Barbara for the night. An end to another epic journey in California. Until next time…

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California – you will be missed!

Hope this was helpful for your own California Dreamin!

Thanks for reading 🙂

xo, – A&A

Thanks for reading!

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