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How to drive Big Sur

August is one of the most popular times of the year to drive California’s iconic Route 1. Before you set off on your journey, here are 5 things you should know to help you plan the road trip of a lifetime…

  1. North to South. Whichever direction to take you’ll be driving through 85 miles of stunning coastline, forest and mountains. However it’s generally accepted that north to south provides the better vistas and it’s always easier to pull over for the much-needed pitstops and photo opportunities.
  2. Take it slow. The Big Sur isn’t to be rushed. Plan to take your time, explore, and don’t rush. Channel your inner Californian hippy, chill out and take your foot off that pedal.
  3. Plan your overnights. Big Sur isn’t densely populated with buildings, which makes it beautiful and unspoiled, but also vital that you know where you’re staying. Whether it’s camping in one of the many sites along the route, a classic lodge in Pfeiffer State Park or a room for the night somewhere quaint like Lucia Lodge – plan ahead.
  4. Don’t miss the tourist traps. Yes, they will be busy but you really will regret not joining the crowds and taking in Pfeiffer Beach and McWay Falls. Iconic and overcrowded, but they are popular for a reason.
  5. Get off the beaten track too. There are tons of less busy places to explore along the route. Palo Colorado Road takes you through a redwood forest, the cute beach town of Cayucos at the gateway of Big Sur is worth a visit too, for authentic Cali vibes.
  6. Eat well. Food is expensive along Route 1 but there are plenty of great eats to be had. Try charming Deetjen’s, or the beautiful Big Sur Bakery for lunch. For some authentic buttermilk chicken Americana, let’s not forget the Big Sur Roadhouse.
  7. Drive safe. The popular road is always busy in high season and with many drivers paying more attention to the view than the road, it’s known to have a higher rate of accidents than other routes. So just be safe, take it slow, and make allowances for others doing the same.
  8. Take a Big Sur travel candle with you! Sure, not essential, but a perfect way to scent your dwelling with our spirit of Big Sur - bergamot, sage, lemon and sea salt. 



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