Big Sur Romantic Getaway
The big sur romantic getaway is the best of central coast destinations and recently named "Most Romantic Hideaway" by Condé Nast Johansens.
It ranked second among all United States destinations in TripAdvisor's 2008 Travelers' Choice Destination Awards.
Highway 1 through Big Sur is a designated American National Scenic Byway & California Scenic Highway, an honor reserved for highways that are so distinctive they are destinations unto themselves.
The dramatic seaside cliffs offer spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and there are many things to do and see in the 90 miles (145 km) of coastline between the Carmel River and San Carpoforo Creek that extend about 20 miles (32 km) inland to the eastern foothills of the Santa Lucias.
Other definitions of the area include the limit the eastern border to the coastal flanks of these mountains, only three to 12 miles (4.8-19 km) inland.
There is no town of Big Sur, although you might see it on a map. Commercial activity is concentrated between Andrew Molera State Park and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Sometimes called The Village - this is where you will find shops, restaurants and lodging options.
Big Sur, Voted Best Romantic Getaway, is an experience rather then a place.
Things to do and see on a big sur romantic getaway
- Check out Blue Whales, Grey Whales and Elephant Seals snuggling and spooning on the Piedras Blancas beach. We were just there for baby elephant seal season. The Piedras Blancas elephant seal rookery is located 7.7 miles north of San Simeon along scenic Coast Highway One.
- Bixby Bridge
One of the most photographed landmarks on a big sur romantic getaway - Bixby Bridge introduced automobile travel to Big Sur, connecting the remote central coast destinations towns to each other.
- Horseback riding: On the beach:
Scenic coastal horseback tours in historical Andrew Molera State Park, Big Sur, California. The 4,800 acre coastal paradise possesses flower-studded meadows, enduring Redwood groves, translucent streams and secluded beaches. The surpassing beauty of Big Sur and the dramatic meeting of land and sea entrances those who view it.
- Hearst Castle:
We missed this one since we were in a hurry to see baby elephant seals! But other travelers we met thought it was really worth it.
It's a 165-room Moorish castle with 127 acres of gardens, terraces, pools and walkways, furnished with Spanish and Italian antiques and art, flanked by three large guest houses. In its heyday, Hearst Castle had a zoo, tennis courts and two magnificent swimming pools.
- Point Sur Light Station: A scenic light house at Big Sur, California. Check the schedule, tours are limited.
- Allegria Spa: Located at Ventana Inn. The romantic package getaway at Ventana Inn & Spa
- Sand Dollar Beach Three miles up Highway 1 from Willow Creek is the beguiling Sand Dollar Beach, a glistening crescent of pure, white sand yawning into a horseshoe cove of shifty sandbars.
- Partington Cove is a beautiful and often overlooked section of Big Sur with great views, tide pools, swimming in the creek and romantic picnic spots.
Jade Cove A path descends from Highway 1 to a beach where bits of jade can be found.
- Hot Springs
Big Sur has two hot springs which are open to the public; Sykes Hot Springs and the hot springs located at the Esalen Institute. A third hot springs is located at the Tassajara Zen Center which is accessible by way of Big Sur and an 18 mile hike over the rugged Ventana Wilderness. You can reach Tassajara by automobile through Carmel Valley.
Sykes Hot Springs (right) is a popular hiking destination. The springs are farther down the creek than one is led to believe in a few of the guidebooks. Sykes Hot Springs has a stone lined natural tub that sometimes gets washed out in winter storms. Its about 8 feet across and knee deep. It averages about 100 degrees Faihrenheit and can hold about four adults.
Take a drive. Pack a picnic. Enjoy the view and your Big Sur romantic getaway.
Hiking on your big sur romantic getaway
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
Pfeiffer Falls: 1.4 miles roundtrip, easy. A scenic hike along Pfeiffer Big Sur Creek through one of the park's finest redwood groves ends at a 60-foot high waterfall. (This trail is closed for the winter)
Valley View: 2 miles roundtrip from trailhead or 1/2 mile from Pfeiffer Falls; easy. To beautiful views of Point Sur and the Big Sur Valley. (This trail is closed for the winter)
Buzzard's Roost: 4.8 miles rountrip loop, moderate. Along shady redwoods to a switchback trail through tan oaks and bay trees, peaking at Pfeiffer Ridge with beautiful coastal views.(This trail remains open)
Oak Grove Trail: 3 miles roundtrip from the entrance to Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, easy to moderate hike. This trail intersects with the Pfeiffer Falls trail. There is a variety of ecosystems beginning with redwood groves, open oak woodlands, and dry chaparral. (This trail is closed for the winter)
Andrew Molera State Park
Creamery Meadow to Molera Beach: 2 miles roundtrip, easy. A stroll through Creamery Meadow to a driftwood covered Molera beach.
Molera 8-mile loop: 8 miles roundtrip, moderate to strenuous. A combination of the Ridge Trail, the Panorama Trail and the Bluffs Trail with great coastal views and beach access.
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
Ewoldsen Trail: 4.5 miles roundtrip, moderate to strenuous. A loop trail starting in the redwood forest by McWay Creek and climbing to incredible coastal views. (This trail is closed for the winter 2008-2009)
McWay Waterfall Trail: .64 mile roundtrip, easy. A quick walk to an overlook facing McWay Falls, an incredible 80-foot waterfall that drops directly onto the sandy beach. (This trail is open for the winter 2008-2009)
USFS Pfeiffer Beach
Directions: Travel 1/2 mile south on Highway 1, take 2nd right at single lane road. Two miles to the beach.
Big Sur romantic getaway: More things to do in central coast destinations
Esalen's Institute explores the humanities and sciences of human potential through public workshops, work-study programs, conferences, and projects.
46278 Highway 1
Big sur, CA 93920
• hot tubs fed by sulfur-rich natural geothermal springs, accessible for clothing-optional communal bathing 24 hours/day
• professional massage and various forms of body work and energy work for additional fees
• a movement and meditation program including such activities as yoga, dance, and meditation
• heated outdoor swimming pool
• the Arts Center
• 27 acres of lovely grounds to enjoy exploring
Henry Millar Library
49273 Highway 1
Big sur, CA 93920
His most characteristic works of this kind are Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn and Black Spring. He also wrote travel memoirs and essays of literary criticism and analysis.This museum showcases the works of American author, artist, and Big Sur resident Henry Miller, as well as features a gallery, sculpture garden, art, music, area history, and a bookstore with a treasure of fine books including rare books.
Romantic Places to stay:
Ventana Inn And Spa
Ventana Inn & Spa is located on the Big Sur Coast, between Monterey and San Luis Obispo - off Highway 1, 28 miles South of Carmel.
The Post Ranch Inn is popular with honeymooners and has earned its reputation with the 2008 Traveler’s Choice Award for Best Romantic Hotel in the United States and the Conde Nast Traveler 2008 Gold List for World’s Best 700 Hotels, Resorts & Cruise Lines. They were also named one of the top “Ten Greenest Accommodations in the World” by Trip Advisor.
Follow Highway 1 past Carmel into Big Sur
Turn right into the entrance of Post Ranch Inn (From Carmel the drive is about 45 minutes)
When to go on a big sur romantic getaway
The jagged topography of Big Sur causes many separate microclimates. This is one of the few places on Earth where redwoods grow within sight of cacti.
The Weather: Big Sur typically enjoys a mild climate year-round, with a sunny, dry summer and fall, and a cool, wet winter. Coastal temperatures vary little during the year, ranging from the 50s at night to the 70s by day (Fahrenheit) from June through October, and in the 40s to 60s from November through May. Farther inland, away from the ocean's moderating influence, temperatures are much more variable.
We were there in january and Big Sur was spectacular with dynamic weather and opportunity for wildlife viewing before retiring to a warm fireplace. There was lots of fog - which made our big sur romantic getaway magical but managed also to obstruct the view and make driving a bit difficult.
When to go to see the blue whales:
Blue Whales can be seen in Big Sur June through October, during times of abundant krill.
You can see Blue Whales from the roadside turnouts while in Big Sur. Monterey Bay Whalewatch sponsors boat trips out of Monterey Bay
When to go to see the Gray Whales:
The entire population of Gray Whales migrates past the Big Sur coastline twice a year. Once when going south to the lagoons of Mexico (late fall-early winter) and once again when returning to Alaska (late winter-early spring). Bring your binoculars and enjoy this spectacular site from the many roadside turnouts, restaurants, and cafe's.
Gray whales can be seen from the highway turnouts in Big Sur from December through April. December to early February the California Gray Whales are migrating south. Beginning in February you begin seeing whales migrating back to Alaska with their newborn babies by their sides.
There is sometimes what appears to be an overlap in migration patterns with some whales still heading south while others are moving north. On their northern migration they swim close to shore, with their babies on the shore side. It has been said this is to protect them from attacks from Great White Sharks. This is often when the best viewing can take place because they are moving more slowly because of their young calves and also they are swimming against the current.
Elephant Seal Annual Schedule:
January: Female elephant seals continue to arrive on the shoreline. Peak of births usually are the last half of the month.
February: Elephant seal births continue. The peak of mating is around Valentine's Day. More females leave.
March: Last adult elephant seals leave.
April: Female and juvenile elephant seals return to molt.
May: Female and juvenile elephant seals molt.
June: Sub-adult male elephant seal return to molt.
July: Sub-adult and adult males molt.
August: Last adult elephant seals molt.September
Young-of-the-year and juvenile elephant seals haul out to rest.
October: Young-of-the-year and juvenile elephant seals haul out to rest.
November: Subadult elephant seal males haul out. Mature males begin arriving at the end of the month.
December: Elephant seal bulls continue to return. Females arrive. The first birth is usually mid-month.
*** Monarch Butterflies return to Big Sur in October and migrate north in January. You can see them clustered in the trees early in the morning. During the day you'll see them flying around.
big sur romantic getaway restaurants
We made a stop in the small and isolated historic cliff-side resort Lucia Lodge perched about 400ft above the bay. It's a located in the heart of the Big Sur coast on the ocean side of Highway One midway between the Monterey Bay and Cambria, Lucia Lodge offers a stunning view of the Big Sur coastline and rugged Santa Lucia Mountains. It has a restaurant - lounge with an outdoor deck and romantic sunset views.
Sierra Mar (Post Ranch Inn): Overlooking the Pacific Ocean with a spectacular view of the California coast, the award winning Sierra Mar Restaurant serves world-class cuisine in an awe-inspiring setting. Sierra Mar offers wine selections from one of the most extensive collections in North America.
Destination directions to Big Sur
The northern end of Big Sur is about 120 miles (193 km) south of San Francisco, and the southern end is approximately 245 miles (394 km) north of Los Angeles.
Driving destinations for central coast destinations:
Distance from Big Sur romantic getaway to San Francisco 120 miles (190 km) south
Distance from Big Sur romantic getaway to Los Angeles 245 miles (394 km) north
Distance from Big Sur romantic getaway to Santa Cruz 46.1 miles
Distance from Big Sur romantic getaway to Monterey CA 21.3 miles
Distance from Big Sur romantic getaway to San Luis Obispo , CA 93.5 miles
Distance from Big Sur romantic getaway to Carmel 19.3 miles
Distance from Big Sur romantic getaway to Big Bear Lake 291 mi – about 5 hours 7 mins
Check out Big Sur, California Chamber of Commerce website
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