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Guide to Big Sur: Where to Eat, Sleep, and Hike

McWay Falls, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

McWay Falls, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Photos by Dana Rebmann

Use the warm and dry weather to your advantage to get outside in Big Sur. It’s hard, but resist the urge to stop in Carmel; do it on the way home. Keep heading south to scenic Big Sur.

Glen Oaks Big Sur

Glen Oaks Big Sur Trail

Eat, Sleep & Hit the Trail

If you’re staying a night or two, Glen Oaks Big Sur has all the makings of a good home base. I like options, and you’ve got plenty of them here. Ranging from hotel rooms, to cottages and cabins of assorted sizes and some with kitchens, you should be able to find something you like here. Ask at the front desk for a map and hop on the trail that weaves through the property. It’s well marked at parts, but at times, you’ll appreciate having the map. It’s easy to start the trail just behind Big Sur Roadhouse. After your walk, the outdoor patio is a great spot to grab lunch or dinner, with plenty of outdoor heaters to keep you nice and toasty if the weather turns chilly. The housemade, hand cut potato chips are a must order.

Big Sur Roadhouse

Big Sur Roadhouse

What’s even better about Glen Oaks Big Sur and the Big Sur Roadhouse, they’re fabulous neighbors. When the recent fire broke out in Big Sur, the restaurant and all the rooms were made available to folks displaced by the flames.

Waterfalls are Waiting

Not one, but two. You'll barely have time to stretch your legs on the walk to McWay Falls in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. At only half a mile long, the “Overlook Trail” delivers instant scenic gratification. The 80-foot waterfall tumbles down to the beach in McWay Cove. There’s no beach access here, but a few extra steps and you can take in more views from the former site of a luxury home built in 1940. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park straddles Highway 1, about 10 miles south of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. It’s easy to confuse the two, because the latter is home to waterfall number two on the visit list. (Parts of the park are still closed due to damage caused by the Pfeiffer Fire, so check before you go.)

Bixby Creek Bridge

Bixby Creek Bridge

Thousands of runners take on the Bixby Creek Bridge in the annual Big Sur Marathon, but the view lasts longer when you’re standing still. You won’t be the only one stopping to stare, but there’s plenty of space to pull over on either side of the road.

Point Sur Lightstation

It’s first come, first serve for tours of the Point Sur Lightstation. Volunteers lead three-hour walking tours on a paved road, about a half mile each way with a rise in elevation of 360 feet and two stairways. If you time your visit to Big Sur right, a moonlight tour is also an option.

Dana can be found on Twitter @drebmann