California -Big Sur Drive

California -Big Sur Drive

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Some time ago, I went on a trip to California. I went to San Fransico and the surrounding area ‎, I also drove down Highway 1 through Big Sur to LA.  One of my main reasons to go to California was to experience the highway 1 drive.

I have wrote some other postings about California, but was saving the best posting for last! Also the experience was so incredible I didn’t know how to capture it in words!

You can find some of my other postings here :

  1. San Francisco – Palace of Fine Arts , Victorian Homes, Stanford University and Alcatraz Cruise 
  2. San Francisco – Golden Gate Park
  3. San Francisco – Twin Peaks
  4. San Francisco – Pier 39 & Fisherman’s Wharf
  5.  San Francisco – Golden Gate Bridge
  6.  San Francisco – Tour of Sillicon Valley
  7. Parking in San Francisco FRANCISCO
  8. California – Monterey Bay

I started my drive in San Jose.  ‎The stretch of drive between San Jose to town of Monterey itself is beautiful. Full of beautiful mountain sides, and the drive gets a bit curvy as you get near to the town of Monterey!  I was doing this on my own and loved just driving down these highways surrounded by stunning scenery, and  listening to random radio stations.  The town of Monterey is beautiful!  ‎I been to the town Monterey before on this trip. So I took a break there and grabbed a latte at Starbucks, took a stroll and watched the waves  before starting out again.

The next stop was Caramel-by-the-sea.  This is another famous sea side town in California. Clint Eastwood was previously a mayor of this town !  ‎A lot of rich people and stars own vacation homes here ( so I have read) . This town is charming and located beside  beautiful beaches! I was here in December so it rained on and off and the water was cold but nevertheless that could not take away from the stunning beauty of this place!  I can understand why this town is so famous!

After Caramel-by-the-sea, I went on to visit the 17th mile drive. You have to pay 10 US to drive through this ‎ area which includes the world famous Pebble Beach golf course.   As per the name this drive includes 17 various stops. I would recommend this drive even if you plan to do the Big Sur drive.  There are many breath taking points along this drive,  the unique looking Cypress trees at the edge of cliffs, beautiful boardwalks with interesting vegetation on both sides, a place where waves crashed together in interesting ways and just breath taking scenery! See photos below. This drive also has some tempting restaurants, however I didn’t have time for a sit down meal. At this point  I  still had to drive through Big Sur leaving time for stops and to get to LA before night fall.

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17th Mile Drive

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17th Mile Drive

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Lone Cypress Tree – 17th Mile Drive

As I started my drive to get to Big Sur I realized I was a bit hungry. There was a charming store at the start of the drive. I stopped there to pick up some snacks and drinks. Just 2 minutes  after the stop I pulled over, the view was just to stunning! What I didn’t realize at that time was that the view will be similar for the next 200 miles!!!

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Small store at the start of the Big Sur Drive
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Big Sur

As I drove, the view just kept getting better and better! Violent waves crashing against rocks to one side  and majestic green mountains on the other side!  ‎This was December so it was slightly cold ( needed a light spring jacket , not cold at all by Canadian standards) , and drizzled from time to time. Which made the drive almost empty except for a few cars here and there.  ‎I loved how empty it was! As you can tell I am not much of a people person! I don’t think I would have enjoyed this drive as much in the summer. I can imagine this drive being crowded in the summer.

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Big Sur
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Big Sur
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Big Sur
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Big Sur
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Big Sur

The drive includes mountains on both sides, forests, bridges, waterfall, very hilly curvy roads ( not hard to drive at all) ,miles and miles of coast line ( the most I have driven along a coast line)  ‎. You don’t have to worry about missing the view!

Here are a few places of highlight :

Bixby Bridge :

As you drive up to this bridge there are stunning mountains. It reminded me of the fjords of Norway ( I have only seen that in photos and videos. ) . The bridge is also unique.  Definitely worth it to pull over and take some photos and enjoy the view !
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Bixby Bridge
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Bixby Bridge
McWay Falls:
There is ‎a cool water falls on this drive. It is called McWay Falls. It spills on to the beach. You can hike down to the fall itself or walk down to the look out point to see the falls. Since I was there in December I made it to the look out point to see the falls, and didn’t hike down to the base of the fall.
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McWay Falls
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McWay Falls
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McWay Falls
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McWay Falls
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McWay Falls
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McWay Falls
Elephant Seals
About two hours from LA the landscape flattens out ‎. The town near it  is called San Simon.  Near this town toward the sea coast side you will see many elephant seals just sun bathing and playing. Some are even sleeping by the road. There are points where you can pull over and watch the elephant seals. Interesting creatures.  Every year they spend a few months on the coast breeding and mating.
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Big Sur
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Big Sur
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Big Sur
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Elephant Seals
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Elephant Seals
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Elephant Seals
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Elephant Seals
By the time I had passed the elephant seals. I drove for another hour and half before checking into a hotel for the night. The next day was for LA!   The Big Sur drive was magical and very much worth my ‎trip to California!  I been fortunate enough to have driven some beautiful routes such as the drive to Hana in Maui, Cabot trail in Nova Scotia, the drive from Banff to Jasper, and a portion of the ring road in Iceland in winter time.  This drive was just as stunning or even more so!

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