Hey Hey! If you live in Northern California or have frequented the area then I am sure you have heard of Big Sur and the surrounding areas. With breathtaking views of the California Coastline and located so close to beautiful Carmel, you cannot go wrong with a weekend getaway trip to Big Sur. It’s a great place for spa retreats and getaways, camping, glamping, and much more. My friends and I chose to do a little camping turned glamping for a weekend with a little added hiking and friendly bonding in our ultra cute cabin!
Note* Due to the “craziest winter we’ve had in over 20 years” many of the roads were washed out including Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge which is permanently closed. They are in the process of constructing a new bridge, so make sure you call in advance to find out the road conditions for that area of Big Sur you are going to.
We stayed in Big Sur for 3 days and 2 nights (Friday-Sunday) and decided for sure to get a cabin since it was 6 of us and most of us, for the most part, are city slickers that love the outdoors and nature, just with boundaries (you get me…). So we decided to stay at Riverside Cabins and Campgrounds located right off of Highway 1 and one of the first few campsites you will see as the camping area begins. Another perk to this campground is that the river cuts right through the campground so you can put some chair out, grab a floatie, and relax alongside or in the river.
We stayed in Cabin 3 and let me tell you guys it was PERFECT!! We two queen size beds and a pull-out queen size couch. Note* You can also get two twin beds in stead of the pull-out couch if you prefer. Not only did it come with the perfect bedding accommodations for all of us (we were 6 adults) but it had a BATHROOM AND SHOWER!! That is basically hitting the lotto at a campground, and it gets even better! They just remodeled the cabin over the off-season so it was newly renovated inside when we went! Freaking SCORE!
Since the purpose of our Big Sur camping trip was to be camping we opted for a short half-day hike at Andrew Molera State Park , about a 7-10 min drive from our campground. There are plenty of trail options for all levels. We chose a fun and short 2-mile hike on the Andrew Molera Beach Trail that connects the state park to the beach. It’s super flat and straight forward, and the trail is really well marked and heavily trafficked so there shouldn’t be any getting lost. There a couple of pictures below from our hike, you get to see some beautiful coastal bluff views and cross a fun bridge (hopefully its there) crossing the river!
Note* Remember that this is a NORTHERN CALIFORNIA BEACH. Meaning, if you come here in a bikini expecting it to be 80+F and warm water, you’re completely mistaken and completely fooling yourself. It is cold, windy, and a chilling 55F on a warm summer day, and did I mention the water is freezing…
Once you’ve reached the beach you can choose to head back to the parking lot area or you can continue your hike and head back inland for additional loops. Check it out here if you’re looking for a longer day hike or “off the beaten trail” type of activity. If natural hot springs are more your route and you don’t mind doing a 20-mile hike (roundtrip), then I would recommend checking out Sykes Hot Springs.
Note* As of August 2017, the trail has been closed due to the storms earlier this year, but I imagine it will be open very soon. If you’re interested in checking out the hot springs but don’t want to do the hike, there are several other options. I’m actually planning a retreat up there before Summer 2018, so keep an eye out for a blog post about that!
Some other fun options in the area are Sand Dollar Beach, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park (pictured above), and Limekiln State Park just to name a few nearby state parks. Many of these parks have their own hidden gems such as waterfalls, some that even go right onto the beach (McWay Falls at Julia Pfeiffer). Just make sure to check their respective State Park website for the most recent conditions before your visit.
As you drive down Highway 1, you’ll notice a lot of concrete bridges that connect the Monterrey coastline. Many of these bridges were constructed in the 1930’s (you can tell by the dates on the bridge that they were constructed from the north heading south). The most famous of these bridges is the Bixby Creek Bridge, photo above, the views of this bridge and the views of the coast from the viewpoint, is definitely worth pulling over for. Absolutely Breathtaking!
If you’re looking for a fun weekend getaway in Big Sur without the camping accommodations, I would recommend staying and exploring Carmel and its surrounding areas. I won’t go to into detail on this blog post because I imagine I will have a blog post dedicated strictly for Carmel and the Monterrey area in the near future.
Thank you guys for reading, and can’t wait to share more Northern California Weekend Getaways with you all! <3