Known as one of the most scenic drives in the country, the Pacific Coast Highway is the definition of stunning. My hair artist friend, Paige and I just got back from experiencing this epic road trip and we are having total post vacation blues.
It's important to plan out your trip before you head out due to the lack of cell phone service and rugged roads. I also like to warn folks that it takes a LONG time to get to Big Sur. You want to stop, look around and enjoy yourself. So, here is your complete guide on how to drive the PCH to Big Sur and beyond in two days time.
STAY: Reserve your place to stay while in Big Sur. We found Pher via Air BnB and had him set a tent up for us so we wouldn't have to deal with it.
DRIVE: Starting from Los Angeles, drive to Santa Barbara for your first stop. This will cut out some time and some not so perfect views. Hang out on the beach, take some photos or stop for the whole night because SB is a lot of fun.
PISMO BEACH: Next, drive up to Pismo Beach. My favorite stop for affordable food plus great views is Woolys. It's right next to the pier and you can't beat a $12 lunch with sun at your back.
Only one beer here and you are off for a 3 hour drive of a lifetime. Here are a few spots you MUST hit up:
RAGGED POINT: Stop at the Ragged Point Inn and Resort. Walk past the gift shop and down a little path for some insta-worthy picture taking. Pick up some firewood, water, and a few snacks here for your night ahead. There are only a few places that sell items like these on the rest of your drive.
MCWAY FALLS: The next stop on your trip is the most photographed stop along the Big Sur coastline; Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, McWay Falls. Again, stunning. You can not get beach access here however there is a little hiking and picnicking area on the east of this gorgeous view.
NEPENTHE: Now, dinner. Make sure you get to Nepenthe in time to watch the sun set over the Pacific Ocean. This place is iconic Big Sur and will absolutely change your life. If it's warm enough, try and get a spot on the rail outside. I promise you'll feel like you are floating. You may become a dining snob after this, who knows.
SLEEP: After a breathtaking sunset, get to your tent for some good old camping. If you booked the tent with Pher via AirBnb, you are good to go. We got to this tent and were ecstatic when we showed up to Big Sur Campgrounds and Cabins. From a queen sized bed to s'mores waiting for us to cook up, everything was perfection. Hot showers, cute cabins and the great outdoors!
Awesome home swag and cell phone case provided by the one and only Ankit.
We made some breakfast at the campground which consisted of eggs and California Avocado. We were pressed to keep heading North to the Monterey Bay area.
CARMEL: On your way to Monterey, make sure to stop in Carmel. This town is home to a ton of great dining options. We were walking along and completely stumbled upon Hogs Breath Inn which was tucked away down an ally. We had some spicy spinach artichoke dip and some refreshing mules.
MONTEREY: Next, we grabbed a quick bite and some epic photos at Shooners right in Monterey. The view was fantastic and we found ourselves hoping we would see an otter cruise by.
All in all, this drive is a trip of a lifetime. Make sure you give yourself time to make the drive and thoroughly enjoy the sights and libations. Let me know if you are about to embark on this trip. I would love to give you more specific advice or my road map itself.
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