4 Must-See Destinations in Big Sur

Yes – Big Sur lives up to the hype.

Even the most liked photo of Bixby Bridge can’t portray that feeling of standing on the edge of world that happens in Big Sur. It’s only a few hours from LA or SF, so we urge you to explore this bucket-list destination. If – no – WHEN you go, here are the 4 spots you have to hit.

Bixby Bridge

It’s easy to see why Bixby Bridge is one of the most photographed bridges on the Pacific Coast. The arch bridge gently curves to connect the steep valley walls where Bixby Creek empties into the Pacific Ocean. Going south is the best direction to stop and admire as you can park on either side to get the full view.

Tanbark Trail

Epic vistas aside, Big Sur is home to coastal redwoods. The best trail in this area to see them is the Tanbark Trail & Tin House. Park along Highway 1 at Partington Creek (also where the Partington Cove trailhead starts) and head up the trail into the forest. The winds over small creeks and through groves of redwoods as you steadily gain 1,600 feet in elevation. At the summit, you exit the trail at an abandoned, rusted out house that, as you’ll see, has sweeping views of the Big Sur coast. From here, head down the fire road for more glimpses of the coastline.

Pfieffer Beach

Two wonders, one beach. Pfeiffer Beach is hard to find, but worth the trip. Turn onto Sycamore Canyon Road, one of the only paved, but ungated roads in the area and drive to the end of the winding road to reach the beach. Notice first, Keyhole Arch, a naturally wave-carved sea cave in the beach’s most prominent rock formation. If you’re lucky enough to visit around the winter solstice, stop by to see the light show when the sunset glows through the arch. Next look down to see the beach’s famous purple sand, formed from manganese garnet that eroded away in the surrounding mountains.

McWay Falls

What’s there to say about McWay Falls? Here are the facts: it’s an 80-ft waterfall that gracefully empties onto a white sand beach in a turquoise-colored ocean cove. There’s a reason all the big photographers stop here and you should too.

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