It was quite embarrassing that the hubby and I live in beautiful Southern California and haven't once driven up the coast together. We've definitely had our share of family trips up the coast more specifically in those all-inclusive Chinese tour buses! For our one year anniversary we decided to head up to Big Sur based on being told for years that it's possibly one of the most magical and beautiful places in California. After a 6 hour drive and short pit stop in Solvang, we arrived to paradise.
The California coastline absolutely takes my BREATH away. The entire drive up I couldn't help but think I am so incredibly lucky to live within a tank of gas of all this. Not only is it the most beautiful drive we've done together, but can we talk about all the amazing food up in Big Sur? Holy cow. Every meal was mind-blowing. We visited the week of Thanksgiving so the weather was perfectly chilly and sunny. (Aside from the day we drove up which was a little cloudy/rainy.)
I'm so thankful for all the amazing recommendations from friends below because we had the best time ever. If you have the opportunity, please make time for this drive and at the least head to the Big Sur Bakery for some delicious eats. You won't regret it! As for us, we've told ourselves we want to go back every year. I can't wait. :)
We found a really good deal at the Ventana Inn and that provided a very preems/luxury getaway for the two of us. Love their comfy cabin-esq vibe and beautiful grounds. This place will cost you a pretty penny so a great option if you're going to treat yo-self.
Big Sur Bakery - By far my FAVORITE place and an absolute must for breakfast AND dinner. Check the hours/days of operations and make sure to make a reservation in advance for dinner. You'll experience a deliciously rustic meal with all the right comfort foods. The pizza is to die for and since it was Thanksgiving, we went with the Pumpkin pie. I was licking the plate clean it was so friggin' good. Breakfast was just as delicious but if you're going for pastries, make sure to arrive early as they sell out of the good stuff FAST.
Deetjens - Feels as if you are having an intimate candlelit dinner in someone comfortable cabin home. We went for dinner but they also offer brunch/breakfast. Food was fantastic.
Sierra Mar at the Post Ranch Inn - Very upscale dining for Big Sur. Feels much "fancier" if you're looking for that but the food again is so so good. We went for lunch. You need to get the prefix course meal if you want a good table with a view. Burger was sooo yummy.
The Restaurant at Ventana Inn - Fine option. We wanted something easy so stayed at the hotel for dinner one night. Can order a la carte just ask them for that option since the menu looks like prefix only. Enjoyed our meal but wouldn't go back.
SEE / DO:
You can seriously just drive North or South on CA-1 Highway and stop at dozens of viewpoints. There is no shortage of vistas so keep your camera ready.
McWay Falls in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park - This is a SUPER simple walk that will take about 30 minutes to see a beautiful beach/waterfall. Look for parking on the street so you don't have to pay $10 at the gate. Really pretty views throughout the walk.
Monterey Bay Aquarium - Drive North on the CA-1 for an hour and can spend a day in Monterey at Fisherman's Wharf or at the Aquarium! We went specifically to see the Sea Otters because they are the cutest little guys, EVER! Had fun seeing all the Finding Dory inspiration there, too!