Charming Travels: What to do with One Day in Big Sur!

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Big Sur is a magical, rugged stretch of stunning beaches, hikes, and cliffs in northern California. We took one day to explore it when we were visiting Carmel and this is what we did…

Blue beach with white sand and cliffs

It’s about a 20-minute scenic drive to Big Sur from Carmel. First, we stopped at Big Sur bakery for the most delicious coffee and pastries. The bakery was built in 1936 and it’s a must-visit when you’re in Big Sur! It has a very cozy atmosphere and sits nestled in the Redwoods.

You can also see 10 reasons to visit Carmel and 4 Days in Napa.

Two lattes on a wooden table
Market lights in a tree at Big Sur Cafe.
A sandy pathway on a cliff

We went to Big Sur to see the sites and the peaceful trails this California  gem is known for. McWay Falls in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park was beyond amazing.

It’s a short walk to the most stunning waterfall which spits its water out directly on the sand! It looked like a post card! This scenic view alone is on several top lists for most beautiful places to see.

Stunning beach view with a waterfall
A beautiful vast ocean view
wooden beach sign that sign china beach, gibson beach and bird beach

My favorite hike and hands-down the most pretty beach was China Cove Beach at Point Lobos State Reserve. We were walking along the trail and turned a corner to see a stunning, white sand beach and turquoise water. The last time a beach took my breath away was in Tulum and I was 16 years old! It was such a treat to see such a serene beach in our own state.

beautiful white sand beach

If you keep walking the trail in Point Lobos you get to Gibson Beach, where there are steps down to the white sand. Gorgeous houses sit on the cliffside and it’s the perfect spot to sit and just take in the beauty. It’s incredibly peaceful.

Rocky ocean and cliffs
white sand beach with blue water

After our long walks we were in desperate need of a good lunch and a glass of wine! We went to California Market at Pacific’s Edge in the Hytatt. There is a vast view of the ocean and the food was really great. We wanted to have dinner at Nepenthe that evening, but it was a little foggy so we decided to make our way back to Carmel.

wine and cheese and a lobster roll

Even though it was a little rainy the day we were there, we still had a lovely afternoon in Big Sur and I look forward to going back! I discovered the newly remodeled Ventana which we really want to stay at next time! You’ll swoon when you see the pictures on their site.

Bridge and green mountains

Hope you’re inspired to check out Big Sur for yourself one day! You won’t be disappointed. Stay charming!

This post is in partnership with See Monterey

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