Location: From Carmel to San Simeon on California’s coastal Highway no. 1
Attraction Type: Coastal region
Significance: Associated with celebrities
Best Time to Visit: Throughout the year
How to Reach: By flights to Monterey, Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose; alternatively by road from any part of USA
Nearest International Airports: San Jose International Airport, San Francisco International Airport
Big Sur region represents an 89-mile stretch between Carmel in the north to San Simeon in the south along California Highway 1. This road extent, along with the western slopes of San Lucia Mountains, makes up the Big Sur. Big Sur in United States is significant not only because of its panoramic beauty but also of a number of interesting incidents associated with it. The history of California Big Sur dates back to 1872 when a wagon path was built connecting Bixby Creek and Monterey. Filmmaker and actor Orson Welles and his film star wife Rita Hayworth bought a log hut to escape from the hustle and bustle of Hollywood in 1944. Presently it houses Nepenthe Restaurant. Writer and artist Henry Miller set foot in Big Sur in 1944 and later in 1957 published his book ‘Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch’ based on his life in this region. In the same year, Hearst Castle was donated by Hearst Corporation to California State.
In 1962 Esalen Institute was established to look after the Cliffside hot springs and promotion of human transpersonal therapy. Will Schutz, Abraham Maslow, and Fritz Perls were all associated with this institute. Jack Kerouac’s novel ‘Big Sur’ based on this territory and a fictional Raton Canyon was published in 1962. In 1965 the movie ‘The Sandpiper’ portraying the story of an unwed mother, his son, and an Episcopalian priest was released. Following this film starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, hippies in large numbers started arriving in Big Sur.
Big Sur Activities
The hiking and cycling trails of Big Sur are breathtaking. A horseback ride to Salmon Creek, Pfieffer Big Sur State Park, and Limekiln State Park are some of the enthralling adventures. The Big Sur area has three hot spring locations renowned for their medicinal properties. A dip in the springs of Tassajara Zen Mountain and Ventana Wilderness are certain of alleviating many ailments. In the seas alongside Big Sur coastline scuba diving, surfing, swimming and fishing are the popular activities.
Accommodation and Dining in Big Sur
Throughout the Big Sur region there are hotels, inns, cabins, and campgrounds for your accommodation. Cabins and campgrounds are available for staying along Big Sur River. In Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, you could lodge in log cabins. Other places of accommodation include Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn, Big Sur River Inn, Fernwood Resort, Esalen Institute, Gorda Springs Resort, Post Ranch Inn, Ventana Inn and Spa, and Treebones Resort.
From plush restaurants to pubs and inns, Big Sur offers a wide variety of eating facilities. Big Sur Roadhouse serves delicious Latin American and local recipes. Ragged Point Inn offers romantic views of Los Padres National Forest and the Pacific Ocean. Redwood Grill at Fernwood Resort is famous for salmon, buffalo burgers, hamburgers, & sandwiches. San Simeon Beach Bar & Grill overlooking Pacific Ocean specializes in lobster items, steaks, and burgers.