Big Sur, California
What do see and do…
A drive along Highway One
From Cambria in the south, to Carmel in the north, this 140km stretch along California’s Highway One has been deemed one of the most beautiful driving routes in the world. With only a thin ribbon of road to hug the shoulder of Ventana Mountain, this bird’s eye view of California’s breathtaking coastline is second to none on a clear summer day.
Tip: Fill up on gas before the drive. Gas stations are few and far between along this stretch!
Esalen Hot Springs
After a multi-million dollar, four-year restoration project following a devastating hurricane, the Esalen Hot Springs baths are finally open to the public again. The baths found at The Escalen Institute – a retreat center that specializes in alternative education and programs – are only open to the general public for select hours during the day, so reservations are a must! Carved out in the seaside cliff and perched just feet above the ocean, the baths offer up intimate views into the lives of frolicking sea creatures such as seals, otters and migratory whales. They have also been deemed for generations as a spot of enlightenment.
Point Sur Lighthouse
Nestled atop a large volcanic rock, 391 feet above the Pacific Ocean, Point Sur lighthouse has been illuminating the coast since 1889. The site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a California State Landmark. Get the full lighthouse experience with a guided tour that involves a half mile climb to the top of the secluded volcanic rock.
Point Sur lighthouse is located on CA 1, 19 miles south of Rio Road in Carmel. (408) 625-4419
Where else can you dip your toes into purple sand? With manganese garnet particles washing down the hillside, the beautiful unspoiled beach known as Pfeiffer Beach is known amongst locals for its beautiful offshore views, perfect surfing waves and of course unusual purple sand.
Tip: The further north you go, the more purple the sand you’ll find.
Pfeiffer Beach is off CA 1 in Big Sur on Sycamore Canyon Road. There is no sign on the highway, but you’ll find the turnoff just past the entrance to Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.
Post Ranch Inn
Its no wonder this seaside inn found nestled on the cliffs of Big Sur has received top honours as one of the best hotels by the respected Zagat survey. The ultimate in luxury and romance, Post Ranch Inn offers custom packages for any occasion. From spa treatments and daily yoga classes, to dinner at the Inn’s award winning Sierra Mar restaurant, you’ll be pampered and relaxed in no time in this organic bohemian sanctuary. For a taste of home, be sure to check out eight sepia photographs by Canadian artists Gregory Colbert found at the restaurant.
Highway 1, PO Box 219 Big Sur, CA 93920 USA. (800) 527-2200 or (831) 667-2200