Travel

Weekend Getaway to Big Sur

Weekend Getaway to Big Sur
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Nestled along Highway 1 in a narrow sliver between the Pacific’s rocky cliffs and the soaring redwoods of the Santa Lucia Mountains, Big Sur has long attracted creative types looking to lose themselves in one way or another. Jack Kerouac came to dry out. Hunter S. Thompson came to be a caretaker. You’ll want to come and see why hippies and hipsters alike flock to this California town for its magical, mythical vibe. We love it for its breathtaking views, quirky lodging, and chill scene—and it’s just a short drive from San Francisco.

Clockwise from top left: A treetop room at Post Ranch; an ocean-view campsite with tent at Treebones; the inside of a Treebones yurt; welcome to Deetjen’s; some rooms at Deetjen’s have wood-burning stoves.

Clockwise from top left: A treetop room at Post Ranch; an ocean-view campsite with tent at Treebones; the inside of a Treebones yurt; welcome to Deetjen’s; some rooms at Deetjen’s have wood-burning stoves.

Hotels

Drop your bags…

… at a landmark string of cabins with names like Grandpa’s Room and Top Antique. Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn is the perfect mix of rustic and romantic. We found it rather hard not to lift some of the amazing vintage pieces in each room. The restaurant is great too.

… smack dab in the earthy-chic oasis that is Post Ranch Inn. We think of it as a tree house if built for George Soros. With luxe rooms set atop cliffs on the ocean, a sumptuous spa, and a glassed-in restaurant, there’s a reason this place is tops in Big Sur.

… on the grounds of a family-friendly glamping destination. Choose one of Treebones’ 16 yurts, or pitch your own camp at this unique resort, which boasts a heated pool, a hot tub, an outdoor sushi bar, and an organic garde

 

Shop the Look

Clockwise from top left: Good eats at the Big Sur Roadhouse (photo by James Hall Photography); hit the Big Sur Bakery early to avoid the morning rush; a look inside the Big Sur Roadhouse (photo by James Hall Photography); Sierra Mar restaurant, on high; pillows for lounging as you wait for a table at Nepenthe.

Clockwise from top left: Good eats at the Big Sur Roadhouse (photo by James Hall Photography); hit the Big Sur Bakery early to avoid the morning rush; a look inside the Big Sur Roadhouse (photo by James Hall Photography); Sierra Mar restaurant, on high; pillows for lounging as you wait for a table at Nepenthe.

Eateries

Where to head for…

… just-got-here cocktails? Stretch your driving legs by making the climb up to Nepenthe’s open-air dining room with killer views. If there’s a wait, grab a pint and stretch out on its massive built-in steps propped with bright pillows. Just don’t forget the sunglasses.

…breakfast? Big Sur Bakery often has two long lines outside its cozy cabin doors. One is for a table to enjoy its wood-fired breakfast pizza. The other? To pick up dreamy baked goods like lemon-rosemary scones for a prehike carb load.

… a chill midday meal? Big Sur Roadhouse is a rarity in the town in that it hasn’t been around for decades. But the newcomer is a standout and not just for its modern dining room. The chef puts a California spin on his native New Orleans dishes.

… dinner above the clouds? A table at the glass-walled Sierra Mar (part of Post Ranch Inn) gets you more than the four-course prix fixe meal. If you arrive before sunset, you’ll be treated to one spectacular show as the light sinks into the Pacific.

Clockwise from top left: Partington Cove, reached by a short, steep hike; spend a day or two exploring the local state park; seaside soaks at Esalen (photo by Brown W. Cannon III); must-reads at the Henry Miller Memorial Library; a redwood grove lies within the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

Clockwise from top left: Partington Cove, reached by a short, steep hike; spend a day or two exploring the local state park; seaside soaks at Esalen (photo by Brown W. Cannon III); must-reads at the Henry Miller Memorial Library; a redwood grove lies within the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

Activities

Don’t miss…

… a massage and hot mineral baths at Esalen Institute. Whether you try its clothing-optional policy or not, a visit is an experience you’ll never forget. Feeling adventurous? The baths are open from 1 a.m to 3 a.m. Sunday through Thursdays. Reservations and lack of inhibitions required.

… an impromptu concert, screening, or reading at the Henry Miller Memorial Library. Tucked into a scrap of woods just off Highway 1, this cultural hot spot, dedicated to the influential author and one-time local, has a full calendar of events plus a tiny store to pick up your copy of Tropic of Cancer.

… the nearly impossible to find Partington Cove. It’s about 5.4 miles south of Deetjen’s, just past a row of bright-colored mailboxes. Park at the turnout, and wind your way down a path, over a footbridge, and through a tunnel to find an amazing blue lagoon (bench included).

… Bixby Creek Bridge, north of town on Highway 1. This concrete open-spandrel arch bridge seems to float over Bixby Creek. If there is one must-have pull-over photo op moment along the winding stretch of the Pacific Highway, this is it.

 

Shop the Look

Bixby Creek Bridge in all its glory (photo by Brown W. Cannon III).

Bixby Creek Bridge in all its glory (photo by Brown W. Cannon III).

Getting There Is All the Fun
Yes, you can take a faster route via the 101 to Big Sur and arrive from San Francisco in a little more than two hours. But we suggest you take the advice that we did: Build in some extra time and take the long and winding Highway 1. You’ll never find a more scenic and unspoiled drive. Take the 17-mile drive through Pebble Beach for an extra treat.

 

Shop the Look

Related: This Bucket-List Trip Could Change Your Life >

Join the Discussion

Join the Discussion

15 Responses to “Weekend Getaway to Big Sur”

  1. CFI_Guy says:

    Deetjen’s serves the best eggs benedict in the world. I keep sampling eggs benedict in different restaurants and cafes. Few have even come close.

    • Barry Weavers says:

      Try them at Linda’s Seabreeze Cafe in Seabright, Santa Cruz on the weekend. Hollandiase sauce that Tex makes is authentic and absolutely wonderful

  2. RAINSTORY says:

    “Call someplace paradise and kiss it goodbye” Eagles said it best..
    Big Sur is now an overcrowded nightmare due to articles like this..STAY AWAY-KEEP BIG SUR BEAUTIFUL

  3. Lisa Crosby Clark says:

    Highly recommend the Hyatt Carmel Highlands, or what used to be called the Highlands Inn. Everything magical about the area in one stay, every season of the year.

    • Diane Standley says:

      But that’s not Big Sur!

      • Lisa Crosby Clark says:

        Here’s what a visitor to the hotel commented on TripAdvisor under their headline: “’Big Sur Scenic Luxury': This is the perfect place to stay when visiting Big Sur, centrally located for day driving/hiking trips along the coast ….”

        • goAWAYgirl says:

          but it is not Big Sur

          • Sun Jones says:

            Right. Carmel is about 20 miles away from Big Sur. The whole California coastline is beautiful though. Big Sur is magic, but very expensive.

          • Keri Kennelly says:

            The whole area is very expensive, unfortunately! Back in 1991 we paid about $400 to stay at the Highlands Inn on our wedding night (granted, it was a big room :) ). I can only imagine what the rates are Now! O.o

    • Keri Kennelly says:

      That’s where we spent our wedding night, 24 years ago and I agree that it’s beautiful!! :) …If you’re in Carmel, or perhaps Monterey. Or even Pacific Grove. But Big Sur is quite a distance from there. I guess that if you’re looking for a 5 star hotel it Might be the nearest one to there, I’m not sure. But if I’m in Big Sur and not camping (which is what I’ve done in the past), then I’d rather stay at one of their more eclectic local options for the full, fun experience! :)

  4. lexilexi says:

    I love Ventana .. no mention?

  5. goAWAYgirl says:

    please stay away.

  6. sandydeb says:

    Limekiln State Park. You can camp under that bridge, next to the ocean or in the trees.

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