The California coast is by far one of my favorite places on Earth. We travel to Big Sur Valley and the charming city of Carmel-by-the-Sea every year to experience nature in all forms —stunning beach and mountain hikes— and to eat and drink some of the best food and wine in the world. The most popular time to visit Big Sur is between April to October, when the weather is nicest. We particularly like to go in May right before the summer tourists take over. For the same reasons, September, is also a great month to visit. The area is breathtaking regardless of when you visit, but we highly recommend peak season since all the businesses will be open. Give yourself at least a long weekend to enjoy the beautiful mash-up of quaint coastal town in California, foodie delights, wine country neighbors and views galore. Safe travels!
TRAVEL TIMEIf you’re traveling from Miami you can do it one of two ways: 1. Direct flight from Miami to San Francisco followed by a scenic two-hour drive to Carmel-by-the-Sea. 2. Direct flight from Miami to Los Angeles followed by a 1 hour connecting flight from LAX to Monterey Peninsula Airport, and a 20 minute drive to Carmel-by-the-Sea.
We recommend starting in San Francisco and working your way down, which will take you past iconic Northern California beach towns and plenty of spots to pull over and explore the coastline.
WHERE TO STAY
In Big Sur: Post Ranch Inn & Ventana Big Sur. In Carmel: The Carmel Valley Ranch, Bernardus Lodge & Spa, and The Hyatt Residence Club Carmel. A cheaper way? Plenty of breathtaking areas for camping and glamping. WHAT TO EXPECTCarmel and Big Sur Valley area is renown for its coastal climate, sandy loamy soil, and for its wines. While the town of Carmel-by-the-Sea is easily explored by foot, you’ll need a car to get to the rest of the valley and coast. If you or your significant other is a golfer, this area is golfer’s paradise.
WHERE TO EATIn Big Sur: Sierra Mar, the restaurant at the Post Ranch Inn ensures you’ll have the best possible views over the course of your meal. The Sur House at Ventana, even if you’re not staying here its worth coming for breakfast in the morning but more for the breathtaking view. In Carmel-by-the-Sea: La Bicyclette, a rustic village bistro with some of the best wood-fired pizzas and homemade pastas. Citronelle, the restaurant at Carmel Valley Ranch for an amazing brunch. Cassanova, a romantic French & Italian restaurant with a beautiful outdoor patio.
Point Lobos State Reserve: This national reserve has enough hiking trails that could easily take up an entire day. There are plenty of seabirds to be seen, wildflowers to be explored, and in the spring it’s common to find baby sea lions and their mothers swimming and sunning on the beach.
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park: Get there early as this park can be a bit touristy. If you happen to be there in the winter in a great place to see whales migrating south.
Sunset and drinks at Nepenthe in Big Sur, and bonfire dance parties under the starts at Pebble Beach.
with love always,