Carmel by the Sea & Big Sur

Month: June  |  Weather: Cool days and chilly nights, high 70’s to mid 80’s during the day and low 40’s plus wind chill at night.

Where we stayed: AirB&B in Carmel

Top Things to do: Monastery Beach, Garrapata State ParkPoint Lobos State Natural Reserve, China Cove, Bixby Bridge, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Pfeiffer BeachMcway Falls, Canyon Falls, Jade Cove, Sand Dollar Beach

Distance: From San Francisco to Carmel = about 120 miles or 2.5 hours | Carmel to McWay Falls = about 39 miles | Carmel to Jade Cove = about 102 miles or 2.4 hours

After our trip to San Francisco we made our way down Highway 17 eventually onto ‘The 1’ skirting the Californian coastline down to Monterrey and landed in beautiful Carmel.

Our AirB&B was perfect, a two-story home tucked away in a quiet, well established neighborhood just north of Big Sur in the adorable town of Carmel. The property was well equip with everything we needed and even had a little rope swing out back. Every morning we woke early, had breakfast and made our way down the windey road of Highway 1, taking in the breathtakingly beautiful coastline of Northern California.

We were so lucky to experience Big Sur before the wildfires and broken bridge that has inhibited the locals as well as travelers from experiencing such a beautiful part of the country. We are heartbroken for the people living in the area and hope they can recover quickly.

There is so much to do in the Big Sur area! The scenic overlooks alone are so peaceful. We spent an evening walking around Garrapata State Park and Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. Both have simple walking trails and off path rock climbing, tide pools and beautiful coast that overlooks the big blue. Don’t forget to bring layers and a rain jacket for any unexpected weather. (We stopped at REI in SF before heading out to gather any necessities prior to the trip. Thanks to Marmot and Patagonia for our amazing jackets!)

The next day our friends and us spent the whole day away from Carmel, driving down Highway 1, crossed Bixby Bridge and down to Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park (Hiking to Canyon Falls and Mcway Falls) and ended at Pfeiffer Beach. Everything is relativley close in distance. Highway 1 takes you on a roller coaster of twists and turns but the views are incredible!



Mcway Falls is an easy hike from the parking lot, in fact I wouldn’t even call it a hike it’s so close to the road it’s really just an overlook. Canyon Falls is on the inland side of the park and a quick short hike up. We brought a pack lunch and enjoyed our picnic at the tables up the first path surrounded by towering Redwoods.

At the end of the day we made our way down the long narrow road to Pfeiffer Beach. (Parking was expensive for the short time we spend there, $10). We could have stayed longer and actually enjoyed the beach if the wind was not so insanely strong!! You could almost lean sideways and  couldn’t walk forward without getting sand pounded in our face, the waves were choppy and there were plenty of people out for a visit, all with the same crazy ‘wind swept hair in the face’ problem. The wind reminded me of the Pali lookout in Hawaii, strong and beautiful. 


Check out my blog on Jade Cove for a look into that very special hike. On our last day in Big Sur,  we stopped was Sand Dollar Beach off Highway 1. Just a short walk from the parking lot opens up to a beautiful moon stone covered beach and treasure hunters wont be disappointed. We didn’d find a full sand dollar but we came really close!


Overall BigSur exceeded our exceptions and left an impression on us forever. The wildfires have done some true damage to the area but we are so thankful to have been able to see as much as we did in a short period of time. After Big Sur we headed to Laguna Beach, where the fun did not stop!… but thats for another post.

Thanks for reading and Adventure On Y’all!




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