One of the world's most famous drives is back now that Highway 1 has at last reopened around Big Sur after closure due to the 2017 mudslides that transformed the coast.
If you're in a hurry to get somewhere, you'll want to drive the 101, but for those wishing to stop and smell the roses—or rather, to see the wildlife—there's nothing that compares to this coastal sojourn. Here's where to pull over and sight some of Northern California's most awesome creatures.
Tide Pools at Point Lobos
Stare deep into the tide pools and connect with the poets, nature lovers, and wanderers who've come before you. Weston Beach, at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, is an ideal spot with a variety of accessible pools at various depths where you can nearly always find impressive collections of crabs, sea stars, limpets, and sponges. Remember, do not touch!
Don't forget your copy of John Steinbeck's The Log From the Sea of Cortez: "Perhaps this is the […] narrowing we observe in relation to ourselves and the tide pool—a man looking at reality brings his own limitations to the world. If he has strength and energy of mind the tide pool stretches both ways, digs back to electrons and leaps space into the universe and fights out of the moment into non-conceptual time."
While you're there, check out Whaler's Cove, opposite the beach, where a former whaler's cabin now houses a little museum where you can learn some history about the area. Ss you walk around, you'll see the sparkle of abalone shells beneath your feet.