One of my very favorite things about living in San Francisco is how easy it is to get to some incredible places, like Yosemite, Wine Country, and Lake Tahoe, in just a short drive. Another super easy (and beautiful) drive is taking Highway 1 south to the Monterey County area. I’ve been down there several times and have stayed in different areas, from camping in Big Sur to different Airbnbs in small towns like Pacific Grove, Carmel and Seaside. I’ve even stayed at arguably the *best* Best Western along Highway 1 in Monterey County (LOL)!
As I’ve mentioned before, I have a lot of happy memories adventuring down to this part of California – from my first time down there ever with my mom, to getting engaged at Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur, to a recent visit to Monterey with my parents, E and my sister. I prefer to drive down Highway 1 if we have time, because the views are so stunning. I swear, every five minutes, I’m like PULL OVER! GOTTA TAKE A PIC!
Now let’s talk food. When we’ve camped or stayed right in Big Sur, an absolute must has been going to Big Sur Bakery for ANY meal, or at the very least, pastries. Nepenthe is another great spot for sunset #magichour views and snacks. Here’s some other good food and drink recommendations for this area! One place on my list to try out is Big Sur Taphouse – I’ve heard amazing things from friends. When near the town of Monterey, I like to walk down the boardwalk (even though it’s soooo touristy) and try clam chowder. 😉
If you’re looking for the perfect Instagram photo or to leisurely (or not-so-leisurely depending on how far you go) enjoy the views of the ocean or the Monterey Country area, here’s my favorite spots:McWay Falls, Partington Cove Trail, Bixby Bridge and Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur, and the legendary 17-Mile Drive through Carmel. You can also check out this list of outdoor activities if that’s your thing!
Another fun thing to do in Monterey County (or anywhere, IMO) is shopping! I think Carmel is the cutest town to wander and shop and they have tons of good stores. Downtown Monterey tends to be more tourist-y type shopping if you’re looking for that kind of thing.
Let me know if you have any Monterey area favorites so I can check them out next time I make the drive down! Also, #SeeMonterey is giving away a trip package, including 2 nights at Monterey Tides, 2 tickets to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and a wine blending at Joullian Vineyards. To enter, just comment below sharing what activity you would like to do in Monterey County and a winner will be selected randomly. Good luck!