Big Sur is one of my favorite destinations and road trips in California, and one of my favorite spots in the world. There is something magical hanging in the air. The coastline is so unique in the way the giant redwoods and lush mountains meet the rugged coastline and vibrant aqua sea.
It is a hiker’s dream, a photographer’s paradise, and there are some great meals to be had for us foodies too. Being that I love to be outdoors and hike, as much as I love the ocean and the beach, this is a place for me to unplug, relax and reconnect with nature and myself. It also helps that there is little to no cell service in the area. There is wifi at certain hotels and restaurants, but it’s spotty. So don’t travel here when you have business to attend to or need to be reachable.
It’s very casual, so don’t pack any heels or shoes that you don’t want to get dirty, except for dinner. And, it’s often chilly with the fog rolling in, so bring your cashmere, beanie and down coat, and of course, a suit for the hot tub (the ocean is freezing!)
I’ve been to Big Sur a handful of times now, talked to the locals, and here is my guide to doing 2 nights in Big Sur, 3 ways:
YOUR STAY SERVED THREE WAYS X BUDGET, CHIC OR LUXURY
WHERE TO STAY
- On a Budget? Stay at Deetjan’s Big Sur Inn. Rustic and sweet. Clean and simple, this is a great option that doesn’t break the bank.
- Looking for a chic option? Stay at Glen Oaks – book a cabin if available, they are private with a nice path down to river in the redwood grove, but for the price, the roadhouse rooms are super modern and chic with a great fireplace. I loved staying here and the Roadhouse diner across the street had a great breakfast and lovely view of the river.
- Want to go all out in Luxury + Style? Stay at Post Ranch Inn. It doesn’t get much better. If you are looking for luxury, tranquility, and all the modern amenities, this is the place for you. This property is romantic and cozy with all the perks of a luxury hotel. The property is stunning, and the dinner was simply delightful…I loved that it was a four course meal, with lots of options for vegetarians, meat and seafood lovers. Lots of amazing local fare from squash soup and oysters to abalone and what a tremendous wine list as well. Post Ranch Inn has my heart as the most romantic weekend getaway.
WHERE TO EAT
Big Sur Bakery
A local’s favorite and mine too.
Wonderful pastries, coffee and a couple of local specials to each such as avocado toast with herb scrambled eggs.
Go here for the view and stand on the outdoor deck for a glass of wine. Fun atmosphere and kid friendly. Food is good, but the atmosphere is really fun. Architecture is very Big Sur – the whole redwood 60s beatnik vibe. There is a ping pong table, and some other outdoor games, a nice bar, and a good burger. If you want some excitement, this is about as exciting as this sleepy town gets. The roasted garlic and cheese appetizer was yummy, as was the beet salad…but the banana creme pie was my favorite. Go figure.
Post Ranch Inn
Hands down one of the loveliest dinners I’ve had anywhere in the world. Each dish was so carefully prepared and presented, the service and staff were so warm and attentive, the wine list is superb, and the ambiance is chic, rustic, cozy, and very romantic.
I had a lovely meal here. They have a great wine list and delightful food. Not as intimate as the Post Ranch, and no set courses, but this is a more chic option if you don’t want to spend $600 on dinner for 2, and they have a great staff and it’s very cozy on a cold night.
WHAT TO DO
Explore! Go for a hike!
Drive down the beautiful coastline with your windows rolled down and the music ON.
Walk down to Pfeiffer Beach (not to be confused with Pheiffer Park below)
Pay a $10 day fee and take a walk down this beach to check out unique rocks sitting just off the coast. Try to go at sunset and you may catch the sun peeking through the holes in the rocks.
Walk down the path for a view of the waterfall on the beach at Julie Pheiffer Burns State Park. There is also a great trail across the highway from here. It takes you up the mountain to stunning views down the coast.
Read a book down by the river or fireside in your room, and explore the many hiking trails all over the area. Hit PAUSE and just relax.