Last weekend, my parents and sister Hope were visiting California and we decided to break up their visit by spending some time in San Francisco and the rest down in Monterey County! This area of California is one of my very favorites; I have very fond, happy memories (including getting engaged!) visiting places like Monterey, Carmel and Big Sur with both Eric and my parents in the past, and also it’s arguably one of the most beautiful drives along Highway 1 in California. I was SO excited for this trip! It’s been wayyy too long since my last visit (November 2014 for engagement) and I was due for an adventure down there. We stayed in Monterey and had a chance to explore there and Carmel, but we carved out a full day on Mother’s Day to explore Big Sur.
I wanted to share a few photos from our trip and explain some of the places we visited! I love living so close (less than 2.5 hour drive from SF!) to this beautiful stretch of coast, and being in Monterey and Big Sur over the weekend reminded me that I need to plan more weekend trips down here soon. Enjoy!
Exploring Monterrey: the town is so cute and we happened to be there on a pretty sleepy, not-super-touristy weekend (yay!). We spent our first afternoon/evening just wandering around Cannery Row and along the ocean on the way to Lover’s Point and had a delicious dinner at Cannery Row Brewing Company. My mom spent a half hour just sitting on the rocks observing the pretty view – it was the cutest! We stayed at THE cutest Airbnb in Monterey – pictured below, but you can find more lodging options on the Monterey County website. Isn’t that fireplace so dreamy?
BIG SUR // Bixby Bridge & Highway 1 : On Sunday, we woke up early and drove down Highway 1, heading to Big Sur! The best part about road tripping through Monterey County is stopping whenever you want to catch the stunning views. We stopped A LOT! I always make sure to stop at Bixby Bridge, which is kind of like the entrance to Big Sur and a super iconic (and beautiful) view.
BIG SUR // Partington Cove Trail Hiking: One of our stops during our Big Sur trip was at this trail, where we went down a bridge and also through a tunnel to get to the ocean! It was gorgeous (and worth that uphill hike back to the car!)
BIG SUR // McWay Falls: This place is literally magical. McWay Falls is the most amazing waterfall in Big Sur that falls into the sand, right along the ocean. The views are truly breathtaking and the walk to see the views is really accessible (good for parents who aren’t used to our California hills!). The view in the top photo is also from McWay Falls.
BIG SUR // Pfeiffer Beach: This place is super special to me. The first time I visited this beach was at sunset with my mom about four years ago and it was a really memorable weekend together. This is also the spot, at sunset, where Eric proposed to me, so I obviously get all the feels being here. We spent a few hours here just lounging on the beach – mom and dad napped, while E, Hope and I played cards and just soaked up the Big Sur sunshine!
If you haven’t been to Monterey or Big Sur, I HIGHLY recommend visiting! Here’s some suggestions:
Places to eat/drink (we went to all of these spots this weekend!): Big Sur Bakery for pastries and coffee, weekend brunch or dinner, Nepenthe in Big Sur for a drink overlooking the ocean, Big Sur Taphouse for local beer, Cannery Row Brewing Company in Monterey for dinner/drinks
Fun things to do outdoors / pretty views: wander around Lover’s Point in Monterey, hike in Big Sur, stop at beautiful spots like McWay Falls, Partington Cove Trail, Bixby Bridge and Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur, do the legendary 17-Mile Drive through Carmel.
Here’s the full list of Monterey County regions, including Big Sur, Monterey, Carmel, Salinas and more, with additional suggestions! #GrabYourMoment and plan a trip ASAP!