Road Tripping to Big Sur

There is so much to explore in California and a weekend road trip is an ideal way to escape. With the reopening of highway 1 in July, Big Sur is once again accessible, serving up a blend of beauty, nature, and rustic luxury for those living in Los Altos, Palo Alto, Saratoga and other Silicon Valley towns looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the Bay Area.

At 11am on July 20th, California’s scenic Highway 1 reopened, allowing access once again to Big Sur and beyond. Big Sur has been unreachable via highway after a massive landslide in May 2017 buried a quarter-mile stretch of the road under 6 million cubic yards of stone, soil, and debris, including 50-acres of displaced land. The new section of the highway was constructed across the top of the landslide using buttresses and numerous stabilization methods to protect and secure both the new and existing portions of the highway.

With autumn being one of the best times to travel down highway 1, it is time to take the ultimate road trip down the coast to Big Sur. Before you head out, be sure to pack your camera, as the astoundingly picturesque views, landscapes, and vistas will beckon to be photographed.

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After passing through Monterey, and Carmel, stunning ocean vistas, craggy cliffs, pristine beaches, and gleaming hillsides greet you around every twist and turn. A famous landmark is the historic Bixby Bridge, the gateway to Big Sur. Constructed in 1932, Bixby Bridge is one of the most photographed bridges on the West Coast thanks to its aesthetic architectural design. The bridge is also one of the tallest single span concrete bridges in the world.

Trip Advisor offers a laundry list of things to do and see in and around Big Sur. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, named after an influential female pioneer in Big Sur county, the park has awe-inspiring redwood groves, an 80 foot waterfall that plunges over granite cliffs to the ocean below, and panoramic views that will leave you breathless. There are multiple hiking trails as well as campsites if you truly want to be one with nature.

The serenely beautiful Pfeiffer Beach is set in the heart of Big Sur and its crashing waves, keyhole rock formations and purple sand beach showcase Mother Nature’s artistic talents. Embrace the outdoors as you explore tide pools bursting with marine life, and kick off your shoes to walk barefoot in the wet sand.

Nineteen miles south of Carmel is Point Sur State Historic Park, famous for the lighthouse that has been perched atop an offshore volcanic outcropping since 1889. The lightstation, a California landmark that’s also on the National Register of Historic Places, can be visited year-round by taking a guided tour.

Ventana Big Sur offers a myriad of ways to extend your stay. Their resort boasts “sophisticated, rustic luxury” and depending upon the experience that best speaks to you, you can stay in a guestroom, the adults-only Big Sur Villa, the Cottage House or, for large groups, the Coast House. If you prefer to stay closer to nature, Ventana also offers “the pleasures of outdoor living with world-class amenities” at its beautiful glamping sites. Ventana’s expansive deck is perfect for enjoying a glass of wine, a cocktail from SurStream or your morning coffee while you take in the ocean and canyon views. Ventana also has a variety of dining options including The Sur House restaurant as well as an on-site spa.

When you need a weekend away to unwind, get in your car and drive down highway 1 to Big Sur. Soak in the sites of the California coast, walk along its beautiful beaches, and hike among its redwood forests. Enjoy unparalleled panoramas and landscapes, sip a glass of fine wine, and sleep under the stars in luxury at Ventana or for serious nature buff, rough it at Julia Pfeiffer State Park.

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Dawn Thomas

Dawn Thomas


Silicon Valley Real Estate expert, Dawn Thomas, holds a certificate from the program on negotiation at Harvard Law School


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