Driving Big Sur, California

Big Sur, California

Big Sur is famous. I don’t like writing about famous places as much as the little known spots, because I’m not contributing much that isn’t already on the Internet. So what can I say about the American National Scenic Byway that nearly every leading travel publication considers one of the world’s best drives?


I can say that I hate being stuck behind a slow car during this drive.

There isn’t much of a way to get around them. If you’re lucky they might pull into a turnout and you can zip by, and if you’re luckier you might only come across the slow drivers at the rare times when you hit a straightaway and the almighty yellow lines allow you to pass  – but mostly, you should know that you will be stuck behind a slow driver at one point or another.


And now, the facts: Big Sur is a 90-mile stretch of coastline through Central California, 245 miles north of Los Angeles and 120 miles south of San Francisco. It is famous for resembling the exotically rugged Mediterranean coastline, a result of the Santa Lucia Mountains that  create the stunning ocean-mountain views along the entire route.


Must of Big Sur feels remote, other then the slow drivers (and watch out for annoying numbers of visitors during holiday weekends). Along the road are few places to stop and do anything other than look at the unspoiled view. If this is your cup of tea, then by all means, drink. I drank.

For those looking to really get lost, veer off into no man’s land aka Nacimiento-Fergusson Road, the only east-west road to traverse the Santa Lucia Mountains. This route climbs up into Big Sur’s high country and is considered a motorcyclist’s dream for its 24.5 miles of ocean and forest views, though they’re paired with constantly winding road and dangerous dropoffs.



Big Sur is a route I have driven both north and south, and plan to drive again several times throughout my life. To learn more, including camping options, visit the official website here.


4 thoughts on “Driving Big Sur, California

  1. Pingback: Destination: Carmel-by-the-Sea, California | Colette Kay

  2. Big Sur is amazing. I did a lot of partying and free climbing. The River Inn was a great place for the musicians and writers to gather. Thank you for the amazing photos. It is good to show the beautiful places near you.

      • I was trying to be a writer when I was station at Fort Ord. I befriended the surfers and the musicians. At the poetry readings and open mic. We who loved the word and music had something in common. I met a coastline singer name Alisa Fineman at the River inn. She help me forget war and bad places. I agree. The remote places are safe haven for musicians, writers and artist.

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