Big Sur Road Trip from San Diego – Must Sees and Dos

We’re taking you on a Big Sur road trip from San Diego up the Hwy 1 through the best things to see in Big Sur.

What is Big Sur? A coastal stretch of Hwy 1 in California with iconic rugged edge of the cliff views of the crashing ocean and waterfalls below. It’s a gorgeous place. This road trip is about the must sees along the road and how to take this road trip San Diego or LA to Big Sur if you have a couple days just to see pretty things.

If you want to visit Big Sur, we tell you where to stay in Big Sur, the drive to take, the stop along the route and how long you need to do the whole trip.

If you want to take this same itinerary see our Big Sur Guide to download the exact route and itinerary to enjoy too.

Big Sur Road Trip – Episode Transcript

1 (41s):
Welcome to this week’s episode of the Travel Squad podcast. Today. We’re giving you the highlights of a Big Sur California. We actually try to take this trip way back in 2017, but the week before we went, there was a huge storm and it caused a massive landslides. And so it closed down the freeway and we couldn’t go. And so we’ve been looking to go back ever since, and we finally had the chance to go new year’s weekend in January, 2022.

3 (1m 25s):
We have mentioned Big Sur, so many times on this podcast talking about the scenic California highway one, up along the coast, the mountainous terrain, the redwoods, everything we always say it’s iconic and we’re not just repping our own home state to say it. It absolutely is. Now those stretch of Big Sur goes from the Northern city area of Monterey all the way down to San Simeon, which if you don’t know where San Simeon is, it’s approximately kind of where Hearst castle is where William Randolph Hearst. At one point in the richest man in the world, he built his luxury castle up on the hill overlooking, and that is the start and end point or vice versa, San Simeon to Monterrey.

2 (2m 8s):
Would you say that central California?

3 (2m 10s):
You know, I, and again, I’d like to consider myself a geography expert. I would even say Big Sur stretches a little bit further south. And I would say starts at Pismo beach area quite honestly, but I may be in the minority in that opinion, but I would call it Southern California. Yes.

2 (2m 28s):
Okay. Okay. So I have been on parts of this trip. We alluded to the trip we attempted to take back in 2017. We actually did an episode on that way back in episode 11, we called it the not Big Sur Road Trip because right before that trip, we’re just so excited. Hit this iconic highway one road trip and weather had other plans for us, but we were able to see parts of it and the parts that I did get to see on that initial trip, gorgeous, absolutely stunning. Every picture you see is exactly what you see on this trip and you just don’t want to miss it. I mean, I think people come from all around the world to see it. It’s that iconic. It’s an absolute must do.

2 (3m 9s):
If you’re not in California, it’d be a great trip to come out to see.

1 (3m 12s):
So you hear the term Big Sur and you might be like, what is that? Exactly? And Big Sur is the longest and most scenic stretch of undeveloped coastline in the contiguous United States. And it runs about 90 miles long. So for that whole 90 miles, you get to see the beautiful views of the coastline in no matter which direction you’re driving, whether you’re driving north or you’re driving south, you’re getting great views along the way.

3 (3m 37s):
And it’s not just flat on driving along the coast and here’s the ocean and here’s the beach. I mean, these are dramatic sea cliff, so nice and lush and uncertain areas. You go through forest had Redwood areas. So you just get these dramatic sea views with different inland views of the mountains, the redwoods, et cetera. So, so iconic, so beautiful. And there’s amazing sites and iconic photo spots along the way.

2 (4m 1s):
All right, so we love the tip. So let’s start this episode off with some tips for visiting Big Sur.

1 (4m 7s):
Well, you know, my number one tip is going to be to download offline maps. And that is because you may lose service in some parts of this area because it’s undeveloped. And so you may not have good cell service. So it’s really nice to have the maps downloaded for you. So you can continue your route and not lose your way.

2 (4m 25s):
My number one tip goes along with that one, and that is to check the weather one, because the weather could impact your cell service. But two, because this area is notorious for road closures in the winter due to landslides, we experienced one of the worst ones they’d seen in years, but I think they happen pretty much every year and mean to go along with that, just like to inspire you even more to come come now, because at some point This road could close indefinitely because it is right on the edge of the cliff and it landslides every year.

3 (4m 57s):
Yeah. And so when we talk about road closures, the landslide can take it out for just a day. And then Caltrans, which is our highway maintenance system here in California. They can clean in a day, one time, the time that we tried to go, it was a crazy winter and it was literally closed for months or a certain section of it. Right? And so, like I said, it’s mountainous terrain that you only have so far that you can go before. It would dead end and you’d have to turn around so many miles to go back inland and then around if you wanted to do it. So do check and make sure and see if there are road closures. That would definitely be a good tip. Also, we already mentioned this uninhabited stretch of coastline. So if it’s uninhabited, there’s not really any place for you to stop and get snacks.

3 (5m 40s):
So pack a cooler and have your snacks for this road trip.

2 (5m 44s):
We will link our favorite collapsible cooler in our Amazon storefront. So you guys can get that one, but it has come in clutch on this trip. And so many others.

3 (5m 52s):
Yes. And I guess keeping with that same theme of limited service, there’s going to be limited gas service. So when Brittany and I did the full stretch, I mean, we’ve driven on parts of highway one, many times, but I think this was our first time really doing the full stretch. We went in January of 20, 22 here to start the new year. And you know, gas in California was already expensive, but it wasn’t like it was recently, you know, crazy, crazy expensive. So on average was what about like 4 25 a gallon? Yeah. We found a gas station on here in the middle of nowhere, right along the sea cliff. And they were already charging like seven $58 and that’s before.

3 (6m 33s):
So now if in California gas, average is five $56. What do you think that one location is? So be sure to fill up and have a full tank before you start that stretch.

2 (6m 43s):
Even pack yourself a little to go gallon. Yeah.

3 (6m 46s):
Put your little a five gallon tank in your trunk and just rock it with you just in case.

2 (6m 51s):
So a lot of people will take this trip as a road trip from LA to Big Sur. There’s a ton of people who will fly into LA and Brittany, you were starting to say this earlier about airports. If you’re coming to do this road trip from out of state, lax is a great airport to fly into and take this trip from south to north. But if you’re coming from north to south, what airport would you recommend?

1 (7m 14s):
San Jose? I think that’s the closest one that we can get to, to do the stretch. Other than that there’s San Francisco or Oakland, but San Jose is going to be the closest airport to start this road trip. So being that Big Sur is in California. Anytime is almost a good time to visit. Like Kim said, you do want to check the weather, make sure that there’s no landslides going on, but pretty much you can go any time. Peak season is April through October. So just be aware of that because that’s going to be the busiest time to go. And then after November, the crowds are going to reduce dramatically. We decided to visit in January because we researched this and it stated that in the winter months, there’s actually no Hayes above the ocean.

1 (7m 57s):
And so you’re going to get those more crisp, clear ocean views. And so that’s why we decided to take the trip in January. And we actually had really lovely weather.

3 (8m 7s):
I would definitely agree with Britney on that statement. And the January would be a good time because you don’t want that Hayes. I mean, you want to see the beautiful blue that’s sitting right out there for you on the ocean. However, if you go during the busier times, keep in mind. I mean, this is a windy narrow mountain sea cliff road. If it’s busy season and there’s a lot of traffic, you could be going even slower. So it could take a really, really long time to get through on that.

2 (8m 33s):
So you can go two ways on this trip. You can start from the north and head down south, or a lot of people more go from the south to north. So taking this road trip from LA to Big Sur is very popular. We were obviously coming from San Diego to Big Sur on this road trip, but they’re fairly close. So let’s just take our listeners, everyone listening to us now on this road trip from LA to Big Sur, where do we start?

1 (8m 59s):
So we started in San Simeon and this is really the star of Big Sur. And what was really awesome about this is we just randomly saw a sign for an elephant seal viewing area up ahead. And we’re like, well, you know, we’re on the stretch. So why don’t we go ahead and look at the viewing area. And while we were driving there, we actually saw five vultures sitting on a fence. And so we stopped to get a better look at them and they were eating a huge animal carcass. It was so cool Kim, like if you’re into nature and all of that, it was so cool to see. And then they kept showing their wingspan and they were like taking turns, eating it. It was really cool.

1 (9m 39s):
And then we looked down the cliff and we could see some elephant seals lying on the beach. And then we saw that sign for the elephant seal viewing area up ahead. And we’re like, yeah, we’re definitely going to have to go and make the stop, which wasn’t one of our original stuffs that we had intended even.

3 (9m 54s):
Yeah. And we happen to actually be there during their nesting and little pup season. I mean, they had just given birth. So we saw babies and we’re not talking just like seals, sea lions that you see like very common we’re talking elephant seals. They have their big hanging, almost trunk of a nose on a sea creature. And it’s actually really, really cool to see the way that they would actually move and roll around on the beach and seeing the little babies. It was really cool. But yes, you will also see seals and sea lions on the beach also. But we happened to be there during the nesting season when they just had the little baby pups.

1 (10m 30s):
Yeah. And so the free viewing area, there’s a big parking lot. And then there is a built-out boardwalk. So you can walk along the beach in a sense, you’re walking above it on this boardwalk, looking down at all of the elephant seals and seals and sea lions and everything beneath you. And they are huge. Like they can reach 16 feet in length. They weigh up to like 5,000 pounds. They can be very aggressive during mating season and they fight for mates. And so that can be super entertaining to watch. We saw them like almost like bark at each other and then start to get aggressive. So that was really cool to see

2 (11m 5s):
From the viewing point that you were at, how many feet of distance would you say it is?

3 (11m 10s):
Not very far. I would say 10 tops because like, literally you’re on this elevated deck and then right below it is the beach. So some were just like right up on the sand of where the sand ends and it’s really just kind of the land and rocks that are up until the boardwalk, but very, very close. I mean really, really close if you were feeling adventurous and I don’t recommend doing this cause it’s illegal. You could probably jump down and touch it and jump right back onto the deck if you want to do so. That’s how close

1 (11m 39s):
I would be afraid to do that. I mean, cause they’re so huge. And then you can see the elephant seals all year round, but in January, April and October, there were up to 17,000 animals present on the beach. Oh my

2 (11m 51s):

1 (11m 52s):
Yeah. It’s

2 (11m 52s):
That as their beach,

1 (11m 53s):
Their beach can’t swim. You can’t get on the beach. It’s there’s for sure.

3 (11m 57s):
And this area is right next to Hearst castle. So I talked about this a little bit earlier, if you haven’t ever heard of Hearst castle, just Google. It it’s like the largest home ever built at one point in time. So many different rooms opulence. The richest man in the world owned this at one point in time. And the Hearst family is still very famous and rich to this day. Not as much as in the early 19 hundreds, no doubt, but at the same time, this is a very iconic spot to go in and visit Brittany. And I did not do that because it was still closed due to COVID at this time. Yeah,

1 (12m 33s):
They are reopening it. And by the time this airs it’ll probably already have been reopened for tours. So the next stop on our road trip coming from LA was Julia Pfeiffer, burns state park. And this state park is four square miles of gorgeous views of waterfalls, Redwood Grove. And of course the coastal views,

2 (12m 53s):
This is the exact point on our first attempt to do this road trip that was closed down. This is where the landslide happened.

1 (12m 60s):
And the iconic thing to do in Julia Pfeiffer burns state park is to see, make way falls, make way falls is an iconic waterfall that flows directly into the ocean, especially at high tide, during low tide, it flows onto the sand, which is super cool to see, but when it’s high tide, it dumps directly into the ocean.

3 (13m 21s):
You’ve asked this trivia question many a times, Brittany. So I know, you know the answer I’m going to ask you Kim real quick. Do you know what it is called? When a waterfall flows directly into the ocean

2 (13m 32s):
Tide falls?

3 (13m 33s):
Are you seeing it in the show notes or did you just remember bringing

2 (13m 36s):
On a million times?

3 (13m 38s):
No, I know. Well good. I’m glad you remember that.

2 (13m 40s):
So this is a very, very iconic picture. If you look up McQuay falls or Big Sur, this will probably be one of the pictures that shows up. Is this something you just pull over and see, or is this something you have to hike to see?

1 (13m 53s):
So you can pull over and see it from the road. And I would recommend doing that. There is a parking lot that can take you on a trail, but I’ve read that the views aren’t much better. It doesn’t get you that much closer and then you also have to pay for parking.

2 (14m 6s):
Okay. So did you take an easy day and do the hike anyway?

1 (14m 10s):
No, we did not. We literally pulled to the side of the road, took some photos and videos, enjoyed the view and I feel like the views that we got, cause we could see to the north and the south from where we were parked at. I don’t know if he would’ve gotten that on the trail. So I feel like we really enjoyed the views that we had.

3 (14m 31s):
I really enjoyed it. I mean, this falls is 80 feet high, drop it into the ocean. I mean, have you ever seen a waterfall, literally go from the coast into the ocean directly and it’s amazing. And you know, I can’t even believe Brittany didn’t want to actually do the hike, but when we pulled over to the side of the road and saw it and then she put together like, yeah, with all my, they say you don’t get closer. And the view isn’t really any better. And actually, you know, from what I’ve seen of photos, people have taken from the hike. I think the view from the road is actually better. So I wouldn’t even recommend doing it unless you want to get in a few steps.

2 (15m 5s):
And I know we’re going to go through your whole road trip here and talk about all the iconic spots, but just from what I’ve experienced of this stretch of Big Sur, the iconic spots were off the road. Did you feel like that throughout the whole trip?

1 (15m 18s):
Yeah, I really did. So it

2 (15m 19s):
Really is just a road trip was stops along it. Perfect. So it’s good for all ages then it is.

1 (15m 26s):
It’s very good for anyone really. You can just stop and then get out, look and get back in for the most part.

3 (15m 32s):
And if you are feeling adventurous and want to do that trail, it’s a 0.6 mile round trip. So approximately half a mile round trip

2 (15m 39s):
Getting real crazy out there. Oh

3 (15m 40s):

1 (15m 41s):
And for everyone that’s tempted to go down to the beach. It’s actually closed. You can’t get down there. There is no trail to get down to the beach. So you can only see it from the trail or the road.

2 (15m 51s):
And is this like Hawaii where they say it’s closed, but you can just do it anyway.

1 (15m 56s):
Now it’s really close. Like no one’s down there.

2 (15m 58s):

1 (15m 59s):
I don’t know. I think it’s just protected and preserved.

3 (16m 2s):
And the sea cliffs are just too dramatic. I mean, there’s no way you can really shuffle yourself down there. Like we did in coy.

1 (16m 7s):
They would have to like build a huge ladder or staircase that goes down to there. Okay. But also the pictures don’t really do it justice like you have

2 (16m 16s):
Never do

1 (16m 17s):
In person

2 (16m 18s):
Do the videos.

1 (16m 19s):
No, no. I mean, unless you highly edited, but really what you see with your natural eye is what you’re going to see the bat. Like that’s the best view.

2 (16m 29s):
All right. Elon Musk, you need to invent a camera that captures what the eye can see

3 (16m 33s):
As long as listening. I hope he does it.

1 (16m 35s):
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2 (17m 49s):
Then after McQuay falls, what was your next stop and how far along after that was it?

1 (17m 54s):
So our next stop along the way was literally just three minutes away from McQuay falls, only two miles. And we went and did a little hike called the Partington Cove trail. And we, again, just park on the roadside. And this is a very short trail. It’s only one mile round trip and you go downhill. And then there is going to be like a fork in the road. And there’s three different ways to go because the trail so shore, and it includes all three, you might as well do all three. So if you go to the very, very left, it splits and you see this really nice Creek and it’s a shaded area and just very scenic, you almost look like you’re in a forest and then you go back towards the fork and you go down the middle trail and that will cross the Parrington Creek.

1 (18m 41s):
You’ll go through a tunnel and then it’ll lead you to Parrington point, which has really amazing ocean views.

3 (18m 47s):
Yeah. And then the path to the extreme right. Goes to a beach of boulders. So I mean, when we think of beaches, obviously want to see nice Sandy beaches, but here along the rugged California coast, we do have them, but there are far few. And in between, most of it is those big beach boulders, but this was actually a really, really cool spot. I loved it a lot because that little Creek that Brittany was talking about that runs through, comes down to this beach of Boulder. So you can actually see, I don’t want to call it like a little mini waterfall or anything, but you can actually see the water flowing from inland out to the ocean here, along this Boulder beach. And it was really cool. Where

2 (19m 23s):
Are you able to like step on the boulders and walk on them?

1 (19m 26s):
Yeah. You can literally walk on all of them until you get into the water.

2 (19m 31s):
Ooh. Did you touch the water? I did. How was the temperature?

1 (19m 34s):
Very chilly. Especially in January. I feel like California water’s cold anyways, but in January, it’s just like

3 (19m 41s):
Even here in Southern California. So you go up north along the coast and then just, I mean, we know this as

2 (19m 45s):

3 (19m 46s):
Is it’s cold. Yeah. For the non Californians. Yeah. Cold water out here.

2 (19m 50s):
It’s funny because I’ve talked to people who come from the east coast, like new England and they’re like, this is fantastic. This water isn’t cold.

3 (19m 58s):
Oh yeah. Well in comparison to new England, I’m sure of it. I’m sure of it, but you know, that’s very true. But if we’re talking Bahamas and tropical it’s cold.

1 (20m 7s):
So that was really nice to get out, stretch your legs a little bit more. Get in that, getting it, get in a few more steps. And then from there we drove north about 25 minutes to Pfeiffer beach and Pfeiffer beach. You have to go down this a very, very long narrow one lane road and eventually you’ll just hit a pay station. So you do have to pay to park at the time that we went, it was about $12.

3 (20m 31s):
Bye for beach is part of the state park, correct Britain?

1 (20m 34s):
No, I think it’s part of the Los Padres national,

3 (20m 38s):
The national force. Okay. Because I remember it was something. And now that you say that that rings a bell because we had our national park pass and usually with national forests, if they do charge an admission, you can use that to get in. So heads up, if you have your national park pass, you can’t use it here. Even though it is a national forest because where they charge you to park and pay that $12 is because it’s on private land in that area. So the owners of that land, they have the parking lot and then you can actually get to the beach. And this section of the beach and coast is actually Sandy. But what is really, really cool about here is that they have this one famous spot that’s called keyhole arch.

3 (21m 20s):
And these are these rocks that are just right out into the surf, barely like real close to the beach. You can even in low tide walk to it, high tide, swim to it. Not very far, but during the right time of year, you can actually watch the sunset right through that little key hole and opening. So it’s a very big thing to do during the right time of year to see that.

2 (21m 40s):
Did you happen to see the sunset?

3 (21m 42s):
We did not nor were we there during the right time of year? I think we missed it by what? A couple of weeks or something that,

1 (21m 48s):
Especially there, I think during the right time of year, we just weren’t there at sunset.

3 (21m 52s):
Okay. I thought when we were having our conversations, like we missed it by like a couple of weeks, but I could be mistaken.

1 (21m 57s):
It was super beautiful, nonetheless, but photographers flock here for keyhole arch during the winter months to see the sunset, because it will go right through that keyhole and then just aluminate through. So I’ve seen the pictures super beautiful if you’re a photographer and you’re looking for a good scenic spot, that is definitely one. And then also we just kind of spent time walking along the beach and I was looking down at the sand and I was like, there’s purple sand. Like where did this purple sand come from? And why is it purple? And it’s actually because there are manganese, Garnett deposits running down the Hills and because of those deposits and the rain, it washes that color onto the sand and the shore.

2 (22m 38s):
Okay. Are we talking lavender deep?

1 (22m 40s):
Purple? I would say like a medium purple almost

2 (22m 43s):
Medium purple like Barney. No,

1 (22m 48s):
No, I wouldn’t say Barney colors, but enough. So you get a hue, but it’s not like super bright.

3 (22m 55s):
So you definitely do have to stop here at Pfeiffer beach. I mean, I know what’s unfortunate paint for parking. I hate to do it. No doubt, but this is a really, really cool spot. And one of the very few spots along the stretch of Big Sur where you will actually have Sandy beaches

2 (23m 10s):
Question, if you were to be living on the edge and not to pay for parking, is that even possible? And what are your chances of getting ticketed?

3 (23m 18s):
I don’t think it’s very possible at all Kim, because one, it is a narrow road down there. And because of the fact that it’s a narrow road, you can’t really park on it. Otherwise you’re blocking the traffic and you probably will be towed. Secondly, the stretch of the main highway, one offshoot that you have to go to get to that windy road is so far and you’re at the top of the hill. And then now you’re at the bottom line. You can’t even walk.

2 (23m 41s):
So for the paid area though, do you have to like pay to get into it or you pay after you park,

3 (23m 46s):
You paid a park is like you pay and then you park it,

2 (23m 49s):
Then you get an, okay, not saying I’m going to do it. Just want to give the listeners the info.

1 (23m 54s):
I mean, the only other way is if you literally found the private property, that’s on that stretch and rented like an Airbnb there and then parked your car on that private property.

2 (24m 4s):
That would be nice for someone that likes little slower travel is seeing a few days.

1 (24m 7s):
Yeah. Cause we did see people do live on that road. It’s a very narrow road. So if any of those are up on Airbnb, I mean, there’s definitely not hotels. You could stay there and then walk down and see,

2 (24m 20s):
I know there is camping along this stretch as well. So what are the chances of camping somewhere and hiking to these spots?

1 (24m 27s):
You know, I, I did have a friend recently that was doing some camping in the area, but it seemed to be more in Lynn, like in the red road groves, not so coastal. So I feel like it might be a bit tough

2 (24m 40s):
Unless you’re like an avid backpacker real crazy out there.

3 (24m 43s):
You get real wild out there if you want it to, I guess, but for the everyday person, probably not,

1 (24m 48s):
She did stay in the redwoods. I don’t know if there’s any coastal campgrounds cause that’d be really cool. And then you might be able to hike to these sub areas.

3 (24m 54s):
And last thing, before we move on from Pfeiffer beach, I think this is a really cool spot. And this is what we did to take out that portable cooler that we were talking about and actually have lunch out here on the beach, Brittany and I did it. We saw tons of families and people visiting that were doing the same exact thing. So this is a good spot.

2 (25m 11s):
Can you take me through the spread,

3 (25m 13s):
Take you through the spread Kim? Oh man. We always love to take through the spread. It’s been so long. I really don’t remember, but I know we actually had some apples and peanut butter. I think we had some Southwest snack mix still available to us. And what else did we have? Brittany? I think we had like a sandwich or something that we picked up before. I don’t really recall. Kim. You threw me with that one.

2 (25m 36s):
I’m just going to throw this out there as a tick talker. Oh. And by the way, we now have a TikTok at Travel Squad Podcast hit us up. We are moving and grooving. We have choreographed dances,

3 (25m 47s):
Five of us on the talk.

2 (25m 48s):
Jamal’s really excited about them,

3 (25m 51s):

2 (25m 52s):
There is a grinder sandwich that’s really trending on TikTok right now that I think would make the perfect sandwich to pack for something like this.

1 (26m 0s):
Hmm. I can’t wait to see what it is. I’m going to have to follow that trend and look that up,

2 (26m 4s):
Hit us up on our TikTok and we will make it and we’ll take it on a hike with us.

1 (26m 8s):
So from a Pfeiffer beach, we then went up the road just about 15 minutes to Pfeiffer falls. And this is actually located in Pfeiffer, Big Sur state park. And so this is different than Pfeiffer beach area. So you also have to pay for parking here.

2 (26m 24s):
And this is where they’re really fucking heart to parking fees within 10 minutes of each other.

3 (26m 29s):
Yeah. Well, I mean again at Fiverr beach, it’s private land. So the people who own the land are charging for you to even come onto their beach. I guess at then at that point and Pfeiffer falls, there’s a trail out here, but this is part of the state parks. So because it’s the park, your $10 is your entrance fee into the park.

1 (26m 46s):
He did say that once we paid that fee, we would have access to any other of the state parks for the rest of the day. But we didn’t go into any other ones cause we hit so many other things.

2 (26m 56s):
No, I feel like state parks really don’t get the love they deserve.

3 (26m 59s):
There are a lot of hidden gyms that are state parks that really don’t get the recognition. And especially here in California, I’m just going to rep California and say, I’m not even going to lie, but absolutely. I agree with you on that one come, everyone always talks about the national parks and we are one of those peoples.

2 (27m 14s):
Yeah. We need to give some love to our state parks, not just California, Texas, Nevada. We try to attempt to go to that one in Texas, the diamond digging one.

3 (27m 23s):
That one is in Arkansas,

2 (27m 25s):
Arkansas. Yeah. We need to do some state park love around here.

3 (27m 28s):
If somebody just found a three carat diamond in that state park in Arkansas, by the way. So next time we go out to hot Springs from Dallas area or fly straight into Arkansas. We should really go out there. There’s this state park in Arkansas. So since we’re on the side, tangent, I’m just going to continue on with it for a little bit. You can actually dig for diamonds. If you’ve ever seen an Arkansas state license plate, you’ll notice there’s a diamond on it, probably because there’s a lot of natural diamonds around there and you know what? You go there, you pay your fee. Maybe you’ll find a diamond and the government is not taking it from you. And somebody just found a nice three carrot out there.

2 (28m 2s):
I was just going to wonder, does the government tax you’re finding

3 (28m 6s):
That’s a good question, probably so, but do they take it from you? I don’t think so. I mean the government taxes, people who in gold and silver and bronze metals. Really? Yeah. You got to pay to bring that back to the U S

1 (28m 17s):
That’s crazy. Yep. So back to Pfeiffer falls, we did a trail. It was not very long. It was like 1.3 miles. And it was a shore lollipop shaped hike around the redwoods and we went clockwise. And so we ended up going up to the valley view trail first, got a very nice overlook of the valley and then proceeded to the waterfall. And the waterfall is about 60 feet tall, just cascading down, which was really nice to see.

3 (28m 45s):
Yeah. And you know, this year, California actually had an abnormally dry winter. I mean, that’s been the theme as of late, but even if it was a good rainy winter, the waterfall itself, I’m not going to lie. You know, it leads you to one. You’re not going to be impressed by it. I’m just going to be completely honest with you, but yeah, 60 feet, but you know, I, it’s still not very impressive, but I would say that this is a trail still worth doing because it takes you through the redwoods. The scenery around is cool, but the payoff of the waterfall, like, yeah, it’s cool, but it’s like, don’t let yourself think that’s going to be the highlight. The highlight is hiking through the redwoods.

2 (29m 24s):
I love forests. I think that’s my favorite of all the beach mountain blah-blah-blah forests are amazing. I’m just envisioning what the force would smell like there

3 (29m 33s):
Smell great. It’s not

1 (29m 34s):
Really nice

3 (29m 35s):
Smell great. I love the smell of a forest to Kim.

1 (29m 38s):
And because we did this lolly pop loop, we actually went back a different way. And so you have to go down the 70 foot pedestrian expansion bridge over the canyon. And that was really beautiful. I felt like that was the highlight of this hike because you’re in the middle of the redwoods being able to see and enjoy all of that scenery. And that was my favorite part of this hike specifically.

3 (29m 60s):
So moving on from the state park and Pfeiffer falls, we went to maybe, and I shouldn’t even say maybe it is the most iconic spot on the Big Sur stretch of highway one. And that is going to be the Bigsby Creek bridge. If you’ve never heard the name, I promise you you’ve seen a photo of it before or seen it even in a movie that takes place in this area of California. It is that iconic and I guarantee you’ve seen it. So just Google it to confirm and get the visual of what it is that we’re talking about. Now,

2 (30m 32s):
We were able to see this one on our initial attempt back in 2017. And so we learned, and I think you guys probably follow this tip when you’re first arriving from south to north, you’ll see a ton of people pulled over taking pictures, but that’s not the most ideal spot to stop and take your picture, want to go a little bit farther, so you really can get the bridge and then the background of the mountains and the ocean behind you.

1 (30m 56s):
Yes, absolutely. And so coming from south to north, it’s kind of the first area that you see. And we actually knew coming up that we were getting close to Bixby Creek bridge because that’s where traffic started to hit. We didn’t have traffic the entire way, but once we started to get close to Bixby Creek bridge, it did start to slow down because people are trying to pull to the side to find parking. And that’s where it was. The,

3 (31m 21s):
And parking is very limited. So traffic may back up of people just sitting there, parked, waiting for somebody to leave, whether it be from they’re coming from the north to south direction, or they’re leaving from south going north. So this area just do no can be very, very, very backed up and take a lot of time to get through, but it is absolutely worth it to get out, take those photos. I agree. I think the photos of the bridge from the north side looking south are great. And there’s even a little pull off where you can actually get behind the bridge itself and take the photos out into the ocean. And that is even really cool too.

2 (31m 59s):
Would you say then that Bigsby Creek bridges, the end of Big Sur

3 (32m 3s):
Technically it is because you’re not actually too far off from Monterey, which is the official ending. And I would say if you’re driving Big Sur, you definitely have to spend a day in Monterrey or at least, you know, part of the afternoon or evening or whatever time you arrive, because Monterrey is a great city, lots of great food, lots of things to do. They have the world famous aquarium there, cannery row. And let me just tell you something, Kim, I know you’re not a seafood person, but Brittany and I had the best kalimari we’ve ever had in our lives. When we were in Monterrey, we didn’t go to cannery row, which is one of the famous spots to go. We actually went to one of their little peers that they have, and we were debating like, oh, where are we going to eat?

3 (32m 45s):
You know, we were looking at all the really good restaurants. And then we saw a sign that said best calamari and Monterey voted 10 years in a row. And we’re like, is this one of those things where people say it, is it real? Is it not? So we’re like, all right, they sold us. What do we have better to do? We can’t decide this decided for us. And it was prime time, really the best calendar I’ve ever had in my life. Not going to lie to

2 (33m 7s):
Take your word for that.

3 (33m 8s):
I think you’d like it, Kim, you’re not even going to lie,

1 (33m 11s):
But from Bixby Creek bridge to Monterrey, it’s only a 30 minute drive. And so it’s definitely worth having dinner there spending the night we spent the night there and when we checked into our hotel, we were hungry. And so we asked, where should we eat? And we were told anywhere on the pier and that’s definitely true. Well, while we were walking the pier, we saw a ton of different restaurants. Everything looked good on the menus, everything smelled good. And so when we saw the calamari, that’s what sold us, but everything we ate there that wasn’t seafood was also really good. We had a pizza that had prosciutto on top. That was delicious. And so

3 (33m 47s):
We split a bottle of wine. Can you believe that Kim, we were like, Ooh, let’s get some wine. And we bottle

2 (33m 52s):
A little more thirsty.

3 (33m 54s):
Well, you know, I’ve, I’ve always had it. You know, I think Brittany has more, I don’t want to say developed a taste for alcohol, cause that’s a bad thing, but you know, I guess it’s one of those things when you get older in life and the stresses of work and life, you learn to enjoy the drink. And I think Brittany’s at that a level right now, so good for her. But yeah, we had a nice white wine and we keep talking about the calamari. I, or I am at least, but we had it at the Avalon Nettie bar and grill. So if you go somewhere on the pier, that is the place to do it. And I would highly recommend

2 (34m 24s):
It. I imagine. Good view since it was on the pier too,

3 (34m 26s):
We actually ate inside. They had an outdoor section. Yes. But I mean their pier area, you know, it was kind of more in a little bay. It’s not like a pier in San Francisco and you’re looking at like a much larger bay or maybe like out to the ocean or anything like that. So it was nice, but not the type of use that you would think necessarily.

1 (34m 45s):
We were getting there, like close to sunset and it was January. So being close to the water on the water, it got pretty chilly and we didn’t want to sit outside.

2 (34m 53s):
Okay. When you first took off from San Simeon, what time was it?

1 (34m 57s):
Oh, that’s a really good question. I would probably say eight.

3 (35m 3s):
I would think so. I mean, you know, us, can we like to move a little bit early? I wouldn’t say we’d left any later than eight and if we left any earlier, it would be between the seven and eight hour. So even though it is 90 miles again, we didn’t start in San Simeon. We started a little bit further south kind of like somewhere between Pismo beach in Santa Barbara, Morro bay, Morro bay area. Yeah. And we did have the stops along the way. Did those couple hikes stopped to see the views? So by the time we got to Monterey and showered at, from our hotel to go out to dinner, it was just barely starting to be sunsets.

2 (35m 39s):
I would say then that puts you at like an eight hour day from San Simeon to dinner on the pier.

3 (35m 45s):
Correct? Cause in January, I mean sunsets around like, yeah, I absolutely,

2 (35m 50s):
That’s actually not that long. If you are coming from LA, you really could do this mum. Not a day trip, but definitely just a one over-nighter

1 (35m 58s):
Yeah. It’s a Saturday. Sunday. We can trip you leave Saturday from LA even, and just spend the whole day going up the coast. Oh, that’s nice. And then spending the night and Monterey having a nice dinner and then enjoying your ride back the following day,

3 (36m 12s):
Kim, obviously you’ve been to Monterey because it’s not too far from our hometown. Have you ever been to the aquarium out there? I

2 (36m 18s):
Have not.

3 (36m 19s):
I’ve gone to the aquarium in Monterey and like the San Diego zoo is world famous for a zoo. The aquarium of Monterey is world famous for being an aquarium. And if you’re there, you should go check it out. I’ve only gone once when I was a child, but I really, really want to go back. Just, we didn’t have the time when we were there. And by the time we were there, it was already closed for the day, but definitely worth doing.

1 (36m 43s):
And that is near cannery row. And so we did walk cannery row. Can we wanted to go see if the restaurant we went to last time was still open and if your number was still on the board,

3 (36m 55s):
It was closed.

2 (36m 56s):
Oh, that’s,

3 (36m 56s):
It’s closed down. I liked that restaurant along. It was a nice restaurant. So that was sad to see. And we previously talked more about Monterrey in that episode, the not Big Sur Big Sur Road Trip, which was way back in episode 11. So if you want to hear more about that adventure that we all took as a squad, go check that out.

1 (37m 14s):
So on our way back down, thous, we decided not to drive the coast. We decided to drive inland because we wanted to stop specifically at pinnacles national park, which was a national park that we discovered on our last road trip because we couldn’t do all of Big Sur. So we wanted to stop there and do some hiking. And that was really awesome. But we’re going to talk about pinnacles in a different episode upcoming. So make sure you subscribe to our podcast so that you can always catch our newest episode.

3 (37m 42s):
All right, Kim, I think it is your favorite time of the week,

2 (37m 48s):
The week And we actually have quite a few, Brittany did a very nice job posting that we were going to be recording this episode today. And so we got some questions coming in from Instagram. The first one that we got came from Ryan from Billy what’s up Ryan, and Ryan’s asking, what airport would you fly into to do this road trip?

1 (38m 15s):
So if you are coming from the south and you’re going to do this road trip south to north, then lax is going to be the airport you’re gonna want to fly into. And you can start in LA and drive all the way up. If you are starting on the north end and you’re driving south, then the closest airport you’re gonna fly into is the San Jose airport.

2 (38m 34s):
I kind of think you should go south to north because I love the idea of driving the day and then spending the night in Monterrey. I think if you did it the other way and spent the night in San Simeon, it’d be a little more underwhelming.

1 (38m 49s):
That’s one way to look at it. However, I’ve also read from doing research. Is that going from north to south, you’re always going to be on the right hand side. So you’re always going to be closest to the ocean and the cliff use. That’s true. And all of the stops, if you’re going to stop, you could just pull to that side of the road instead of having to cross

3 (39m 8s):
To your point though, Kim, like, yes, you’re right about send Simeon. I, like I said, think that Big Sur stretch could be a little bit longer, but that’s the official designation of what it is. But moral bay, where we had stayed the night before we started is a little bit inland and actually not along the coast, you can stay and go further south along the coast and end in Santa Barbara, actually. So if you were to actually end in Santa Barbara and just continue that little stretch right there, that would be a less underwhelming place to stay and in a pretty cool spot.

2 (39m 40s):
It’s true. That’s very true. And then our second question coming from Roger is asking, are there any good vantage points to take pictures from? And is there a day or a time that you’d recommend doing these?

1 (39m 52s):
So we kind of mentioned it earlier, but keyhole arch at sunset during the winter months, that’s going to be a really good place to take pictures from. And of course the time of day is sunset, but pretty much while you’re on this stretch, as long as you have sunlight, you’re going to have really, really beautiful views.

2 (40m 10s):
That being said, though, I think a common misconception for people that are not California natives are that when it starts to warm up like may, June, every where else in the country is getting warmed for spring and summer, the coastal parts of California get very cloudy, gloomy, foggy. So may and June, I would probably avoid those.

3 (40m 32s):
We have may gray and June gloom. That is for sure. It’s actually one of my favorite times of the year here in San Diego when it’s kind of overcast like that. And I got my little last stretch of a winter season going, but yeah, not conducive for a road trip along Big Sur. That is for sure, but kind of touching again a little bit more on the vantage points and you know, good spots, just like we were saying about Mick way falls. I don’t think the trail is necessarily needed to be done. The good vantage point is from the road. And we touched upon this about Bixby bridge. Don’t take the photos from the south, be on the north side, looking south on it. And there is an area where you can be on the backside of the bridge and take photos too. That’s very unique that not a lot of people do.

3 (41m 12s):
So those are some of the best vantage points

2 (41m 15s):
Squatty. Thank you so, so much for tuning into our episode this week, keep the adventures going with us by following us on all social media, TikTok, YouTube, Instagram at Travel Squad Podcast, and send us in your questions of the week.

3 (41m 29s):
If you found the information in this episode to be useful, or if you thought we were just playing funny, please be sure to share it with a friend that would enjoy it too. And as always, please subscribe, rate and review our podcasts and tune in every Travel Tuesday for new episodes,

1 (41m 43s):
Stay tuned for next week’s episode, we have some more amazing adventures and tips in store for you by Squatty.

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