This rugged edge of California’s coast is a preserved piece of pioneer fantasy, where nature rules over man…
Big Sur is the 90-mile stretch of Pacific shore swooping between Carmel and San Simeon. Craggy cliffs peer out to sea with towering green mountains behind them and giant redwoods grow alongside cacti. The hair-raising Highway One will have you winding along the rocky ridges of the cliff’s edge, stopping to take in the natural epic around you. This final frontier has been hard to tame and remains isolated – electricity didn’t arrive in Big Sur until 1950 and the population still dawdles at 1,500. The awesome coast is lined with ancient forest and magical mountains, and its special-scale beauty means it’s considered sacred by Native Americans. Big Sur can also count Henry Miller as a fan – in his eyes, this is ‘the face of the earth as the creator intended it to look.’
In summer, it can be foggy in the morning, though this usually clears by afternoon. Beware of tailback traffic, which might spoil your ocean drive, between Memorial Day (last Monday in May) and Labor Day (first Monday in September). For the clearest views, opt for spring or autumn. Remember, the elevated coastal position means it can get quite cold, even for California.