3 Days in Big Sur, California
Spend a weekend wandering the rugged coastline of Big Sur, California, where breathtaking once-in-a-lifetime resorts sit just down the road from mom-and-pop inns oozing with charm. Pack your hiking shoes and an appetite for some hiking followed by delicious farm-to-table dining, usually with a stunning cliffside ocean view.
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Where to stay
Post Ranch Inn
This is bucket-list Big Sur: Chic clifftop cottages in a spectacularly romantic setting overlooking the Pacific.
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Daily full breakfast, for two guests per bedroom
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Ventana Bay Resort
Set on a quiet beach in La Ventana, this upscale hotel offers beachside bungalows with a gorgeous pool and onsite activities.
Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn
A Big Sur icon dating to the 1930s, set among the redwoods just off Route 1.
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Day 1: Drive South from San Francisco to Big Sur
On the way, be sure to stop to see the view from Bixby Creek Bridge. There is plenty of parking before the bridge to pull over and snap photos. If you want a once-in-a-lifetime luxury experience, stay at Post Ranch Inn or Ventana. If you’re interested in glamping, you can stay at one of Ventana’s charming glamping cabins, which come with gorgeous linens, a private sink and gas firepit, picnic table, etc. For dinner, grab cocktails at the ambrosia burger at Nepenthe (they don’t take reservations.)
Day 2: Explore Big Sur
Grab coffee and breakfast at Big Sur Bakery (the baked goods and scones are delicious.) Wander through the outdoor Henry Miller Memorial Library before heading over to the Bluffs Trail in Andrew Molera State Park. This light hike ends at a small beach. After the hike, stop for lunch at Big Sur River Inn, where your lunch can be served to you as you dip your feet into the river sitting on a lawn chair — a very unique experience with friendly locals and tourists combined. Finish off the day with dinner at the charming Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn.
Day 3: Check-Out and Head Home
In the morning, check out Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, and make sure you pull over to see McWay Falls. You can also explore the Point Sur Lighthouse and Limekiln State Park, before packing up the car and heading north back to San Francisco.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to California.