Top 10 Things To Do In Big Sur, California

things to do big sur
Rae Marielle
Rae Marielle 

Big Sur is the place to go for those looking for an escape from their everyday routines. Tourists flock here to go on a thrilling adventure or take eye-catching photos. Experience a road trip like no other on California Highway 1. Ride along this winding road while enjoying a seemingly endless view of the Pacific Ocean. Stop by a couple of beachside attractions and go on an adventure into the hidden parts of the region. Big Sur is also a great destination for those who wish to forget about their stress for a while. Everywhere you go, you’ll be provided with an exceptional view of the horizon. With so many things to do and so many places to check out, it can get pretty overwhelming. If you don’t know where to start, scroll through this list to know more about the top 10 things to do in Big Sur, California

1. Watch the incredible pink-purple sunset from the Pfeiffer Beach

Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur, California, United States
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Robert Brett used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Travel down a narrow and twisted road and you’ll discover this coastal haven. Getting to Pfeiffer beach is definitely no easy task but it’s guaranteed to be worth it. All your troubles will be washed away as soon as you hear the crashing waves and see the glistening sand. What makes Pfeiffer beach particularly special is Keyhole Rock, a large beautiful rock formation with a natural arch. Try to arrive here before sunset and you’ll see the last rays of the sun peeking through the unique arch.

Pfeiffer Beach

Address: Sycamore Canyon Rd, Big Sur, CA 93920, United States

Website: Pfeiffer Beach

Opening hours: 9am - 8pm (daily)

Price: 12 USD parking fee

2. Drive through the world's most beautiful coastal highway, California Highway 1

Highway 1 Big Sur California
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Fred Moore used under CC BY 2.0

Stretching up to 656 miles (1,056 kilometers), California Highway 1 is the go-to destination of road trip enthusiasts due to the stunning attractions and scenic view it offers. You’ll pass by all sorts of natural beauties, such as towering mountains and steep picturesque hills. Take a break at one of the many restaurants along the way Blast some music while you’re on the road and take a couple of photos to remember later on. However, don’t forget to always keep your eyes on the road.

3. See the historic lighthouse at Point Sur State Historic Park

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Point Sur Lighthouse</div>
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Aaron Albrecht used under CC BY 3.0

Just 6 miles (10 kilometers) from Bixby Bridge is a volcanic rock that towers over the sea. On top of this giant structure is a lighthouse, which has been in constant operation ever since 1889. It was built after a series of multiple shipwrecks. It’s only open to public whenever there’s a guided tour lead by a docent who will walk you around and tell you stories of the lighthouse keepers and their families who used to reside here. Enjoy unparalleled ocean views from the top. If you’re looking for a unique tour, then visit Point Sur State Historic Park now.

Point Sur State Historic Park

Address: CA-1, Monterey, CA 93940, United States

Website: Point Sur State Historic Park

Opening hours: Closed to public except by guided tour

4. Take an Instagram-worthy photo at Bixby Bridge

The Bixby Bridge
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jonathan Miller used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Bixby Bridge is an attraction that you should never miss out on especially if you’re in Big Sur. Well, not like you can miss it anyway. This historical giant bridge connects two cliffs and overlooks the beautiful horizon. Whether you love collecting breathtaking photos or you simply want a nice shot to brag to your Instagram followers, stopping by here is a must. There’s a parking area by the north end of the bridge that gives you the perfect position to take photos. If you want to level up your Instagram game, make sure to arrive a little bit before sunset so you can catch the stunning red-orange skies.

Bixby Creek Bridge

Address: CA-1, Monterey, CA 93940, USA

5. Enjoy Ambrosia burger with a spectacular view at Nepenthe

Nepenthe - Big Sur, California
Source: Photo by Flickr user TravelingOtter used under CC BY-SA 2.0

One of the best ways to unwind is eating a hearty meal or staring at calming views. Here in Nepenthe, you can have the best of both worlds. Fill your stomach while sitting on the patio and overlooking a dazzling view of the skyline. While most people come here for the scenery, everyone ends up savoring the food as well. Their popular Ambrosia burger is their upgraded version of a steak sandwich. Take one bite and you can easily tell that it’s been crafted from the finest ingredients and cooked with the utmost care. You’ll have to visit here to see the hype for yourself.


Address: 48510 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, United States

Website: Nepenthe

Opening hours: 11:30am - 10pm (daily)

6. Explore the undisturbed beach of Andrew Molera

Andrew Molera State Park Beach
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Eschscholziacalif... used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Escape from the city for a couple of hours and reconnect with the great outdoors at Andrew Molera State Park. Wander upon miles of sand filled with rocks and debris or go surfing. There are a number of trails that you can hike on, each with different levels of length and difficulties. If you don’t feel like walking, you can tour around the park while riding a horse. Have a healing time with nature surrounded by the sand and the sea.

Andrew Molera State Park

Address: D 45500 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, United States

Website: Andrew Molera State Park

Opening hours: 8am - sunset (daily)

Price: 10 USD per car

7. Browse through books and art at Henry Miller Memorial Library

Henry Miller Memorial Library - panoramio
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Thomson M used under CC BY 3.0

The Henry Miller Memorial Library is a cultural hotspot created in honor of the legendary American writer. Whatever the weather may be, you can come here whenever you want and settle down. Sit back, relax, and browse through the library’s large collection of books. You can also look at a couple of art pieces made by Henry Miller himself and a few local artists. Over time, this place also became a performance venue. If you’re interested, you can catch a couple of their shows. Step into a whole new world filled with art and literature.

Henry Miller Memorial Library

Address: 48603 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, United States

Website: Henry Miller Memorial Library

Opening hours: Wed - Mon: 11am - 6pm (closed on Tue)

Price: Free entry

8. Treat yourself with delicious food and amazing sea views at Sierra Mar

Breakfast View, Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur, CA
Source: Photo by Flickr user AVID Vines used under CC BY 2.0

Feel like you’re on top of the world at this fine dining restaurant— literally. Located on a cliff, Sierra Mar offers you unparalleled views of the sea and the sky. Treat your taste buds to a curated meal made from seasonal local ingredients. Choose your favorite dishes from their menu or go for the nine-course meal. Whether you eat inside or outside, your eyes will always wander to the magnificent scenery. Sierra Mar also has a collection of high-quality wine that you can pair with your meal. Don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime dining experience.

Sierra Mar

Address: 47900 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, United

Website: Sierra Mar

Opening hours: 5pm - 9pm (daily)

9. Trek to the secluded cove of Partington Cove

01 - Path to Partington Cove
Source: Photo by Flickr user tinyfroglet used under CC BY 2.0

Partington Cove is a serene rocky sanctuary found below Partington Point. Exploring this place is a guaranteed fulfilling adventure. You’ll start off by travelling on a dirt road that leads to the cove. There are two trails that you can choose from. The right trail will lead you to a small cove filled with smooth rocks, while the left trail will bring you to a long tunnel. If you want to hike even more, you can head towards the TanBark Trail. Partington Cove is also the ideal spot for scuba divers, so you should definitely go for a dip.

Partington Cove

Address: 51700 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, United States

Website: Partington Cove

Opening hours: Open 24 hours

10. Connect with nature and camp out at Ventana Campground

Go on an outdoor retreat
Source: Pixabay

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Sleep under the stars in this 40-acre (16 hectares) canyon. Don’t let the thought of going out of your comfort zone intimidate you and let yourself find peace outside. Set up your tent and you’re good to go. There are amenities within the area that you can use for your convenience, such as the community bath houses and an on-site coffee shop. Each campsite also comes with a picnic table and a fire ring where you can all gather around and enjoy your meal together. Relish in the beauty of nature while unwinding with your loved ones.

Ventana Campground

Address: 48123 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, United States

Website: Ventana Campground

Opening hours: 4pm - 11am (daily)

Capture every moment

Staying in Big Sur is like living in a movie. Hop in a car with your friends and go wherever your heart desires. Watch the sunset while feeling the wind on your skin or go on a hike to discover a secret sanctuary. There are so many attractions and activities that you can explore here. But no matter where you go, the sea and the sky are always watching over you. Wherever you look, you’ll find breathtaking landscapes. So, don’t forget to capture photos that you can look back on.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Rae Marielle is a fiercely independent woman whose longest relationship is with food. She has a Bachelor's degree in Information Technology and a Master's degree in Communication Research....Read more

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