Big Sur Coast Highway – Route 1
- DesignationAll-American Road (1996)
- Intrinsic QualitiesHistoric, Scenic
- Length90 miles
This byway hugs the California coast with access to windswept cypress trees, fog-shrouded cliffs and the crashing surf of the Pacific Ocean. Views include rugged canyons, redwoods, sea lions, and other marine life.
Story of the Byway
This roughly 90-mile expanse of redwood and fog-trimmed waterfront lets you experience the Pacific coastline with its rugged cliffs and turquoise water. Follow Route 1 as it twists along the coastline. Look up to see California condors or down to see swells of migrating whales or sea otters floating among dense beds of kelp. One favorite photo op is in Julia Pfeffer Burns State Park at McWay Falls with its cascade falling some 70 feet from the cliffs to the sandy, remote beach. Wildflowers abound on this route as well. You will see pristine landscapes as well as urban areas. Monterey, Carmel-by-the-Sea, and the entire Big Sur area offers a variety of food and lodging opportunities including luxury rooms, or cabins, camping, and glamping options.
The byway follows Route 1 (Cabrillo Highway) along the California Pacific coast from Monterey southward to San Louis Obispo, where the route continues under a different name.
Points of Interest
Andrew Molera State Park
Great place to hike and for beachcombing
Great view of the Pacific coastline
Julia Piffer Burns State Park
McWay Waterfall descends to the sandy beach with turquoise water, rock outcroppings. Great place for a picnic.
Kirk Creek Campground
Great views of the Pacific coastline.
Sand Dollar Picnic Area and Beach
Wild flowers line the stairs leading to the beach.
Limekiln State Park
Contains the 100-foot split-stream Limekiln Falls
Home to over 100 art galleries, cultural foods, and wine-tasting rooms. Scuba entry point at the Carmel River State Beach
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
Sea animals and whaling museum.
Pacific Coastline, Redwoods, Waterfalls, Beaches, and More
Start at the San Louis Obispo County Line, north of Ragged Point Vista, on Highway 1 (also known as the Cabrillo Highway). Pack a breakfast and lunch and take it with you to stop at any of the state parks along the way. The drive will hug the Pacific coastline. First stop is the Sand Dollar Picnic Area for your breakfast on the beach. Up the road, stop in the Kirk Creek Campground for breathtaking views of the Pacific coastline and at Limekin State Park to see the 100-foot Limekin Falls. A stop at the Julia Piffer Burns State Park is a great place for a mid-morning snack while you enjoy the waterfall, beach, and picnic area.
Drive through the towering redwoods to the Andrew Molera State Park. Stretch your legs on the hiking trail or go beachcombing. Stop at Hurricane Point to see more Pacific Coast views. Just south of Carmel-by-the-Sea is Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, home to a whaling museum. Continue to Carmel-by-the-Sea where the Byway officially ends at Ocean Avenue. Take Ocean Avenue going west to walk and enjoy the white sand beach. Scuba diving and surfing are also popular here.
Carmel-by-the Sea is known for its art galleries, food, and wine, so enjoy your evening in this iconic beach town.
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