A Guide to Big Sur, California

big sur guide by sugarcane

MY FAMILY-FRIENDLY GUIDE TO BIG SUR

This summer my family went on a trip to Big Sur. It was stunning and I ended up with tons of amazing photos, including the one above, thanks to my snap-happy sister. I am already dreaming of going back next summer. I decided to put together this family-friendly guide to Big Sur because I could not find one that was simple, edited and kid-focused. I was inspired by the beautifully designed and shot Palm Springs Guide by the Fresh Exchange and used that as my template. I would love to hear what you recommend to see and do in Big Sur.

DRIVE
from san francisco

big sur guide by sugarcane

The drive from San Francisco to Big Sur along Highway 1 takes only two and a half hours, so it is an easy drive even with little kids. It is the most scenic drive I have ever done and highly recommend it. Fall in love with the California coast driving past one stunning beaches after another. 

Once in Monterey stop for a photo of the historic Bixby Bridge, a genuine California landmark.

Tip: There is no cell reception in Big Sur so plan accordingly. I did not know this ahead of time and had difficulty pulling up my accommodation reservations and reaching the other car with which we were caravanning.

SLEEP
treebones resort

 photo: Treebones Resort

photo: Treebones Resort

Accommodations may be few but they range from simple campsites to world class luxury resorts. Treebones Resort is my pick for a family adventure. The round yurts are fun and comfortable and have breathtaking ocean views. They have the wilderness factor without having to pitch a tent and sleep in a bag. Just be sure to book a year ahead for the summer months. They are usually booked solid from May to August. For true nature lovers, Treebones also offers the world's only Human Nest

 photo: See Monterey

photo: See Monterey

 photo: See Monterey

photo: See Monterey

VISIT
mcway falls

big sur guide by sugarcane

Located in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, McWay Falls is a short, easy hike from the road. The waterfall viewing deck is the site of the former McWay Waterfall House. Its elevated platform affords clear ocean views, crisp air and even whale sightings! Standing on the ruins of the house made me wonder how its heiress lived there in the 1920's. 

big sur guide by sugarcane
big sur guide by sugarcane
big sur guide by sugarcane

EAT
deetjen's

big sur guide by sugarcane

Rustic and charming, Deetjen's Big Sur Inn is the perfect place to for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Several dining rooms with chandeliers and fireplaces make up the cozy and homey restaurant. The decor is eclectic and kitschy. The food was great. I recommend the eggs benedict with crab by the way. For parties of six or more people, request the private room with the large table and church pew seating. After breakfast we walked around the lush property. It has private houses, cabins and rooms. I would love to stay here but its rambling, romantic setting is more suited for honeymoons than family holidays.

big sur guide by sugarcane
big sur guide by sugarcane
big sur guide by sugarcane
big sur guide by sugarcane
big sur guide by sugarcane

VISIT
pfeiffer beach

big sur guide by sugarcane

Pack a picnic and spend the day on the purple sands of Pfeiffer Beach. Its rock formation has a keyhole that looks amazing when waves crash through and when the sunset light floods through. With buckets and shovels the littles can play in the sand or jump the waves.

big sur guide by sugarcane
big sur guide by sugarcane