Big Sur Travel Information and Travel Tips Header Photo for Best Big Sur Restaurants Page featuring a Pacific coast sunset and of Sierra Mar Restaurant at Post Ranch Inn; click for a larger file of this beautiful scenic picture taken in Big Sur California. is your Go To First Website to visit for planning your travel vacation to the scenic Big Sur Coast. A condensed Big Sur Travel Guide with visitor information, tricks, and tips to enhance your vacation and save you money at California’s famous Big Sur. Don Smith Webmaster/Travel Guide.

Thinking of traveling or vacationing around California's Big Sur this Fall? You've come to the right you will find loads of timely information, tips, and tricks to help make your trip a memorable and affordable one.

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attention icon for important wildfire messageTHE SOBEURANES FIRE HAS DAMAGED MUCH OF THE BIG SUR BACK COUNTRY (132,127 acres). attention icon for important wildfire message Here's a brief rundown on some of what's happening in Big Sur right NOW...10/10/16...Soberanes is Fire 99% CONTAINED:) The Soberanes Fire is no longer affecting California Highway 1, the local highway 1 is back opened. All evacuation orders have been lifted for the fire as of October 9, 2016 but The Monterey Ranger District remains closed.
Andrew Molera State Park: is open for limited day use on the west side of Highway 1. Basically everything south of the campground road/trail to beach. The trails east of Highway 1 remain closed.
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park: is open for limited day use and camping. All trails west of Highway 1 are open. Trails east of Highway 1 remain closed for trail maintenance. Anticipated opening of the eastern trails at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is sometime next week.
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park: Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park remains closed. This is a necessary closure for public safety. State Parks is currently reviewing the situation and will help develop a plan for fall and winter operations.
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is open.
Garrapata State Park: Open west of highway 1 including Garrapata Beach; Garrapata Beach Trails, Buzzards' Roost Trails also OPEN. CLOSED: All park lands east of Highway 1 closed to public entry.
LOCAL BUSINESSES, RESTAURANTS, AND GALLERIES ARE OPEN: All highway-side businesses are open their usual off season schedules.

Know before you go...
Weather and Road Conditions:

Check Current Big Sur Weather click to check current Big Sur California weather contitions.

Check Highway Conditions click to check current California Higheay contitions.
**Check with Mobile
or call 1-800.427.7623
Big Sur California and the Tourism Business Changes Through the Seasons:
HOT TIPS: don't postpone because of California's drought or wild fires... Summer has ended but the heat goes on…in fact this fall 2016 has even gotten hot at times along the coast. The seasons here don’t turn on a dime, the changes often slow and subtle and this year like is often the case it’s looking more like Indian summer than fall. Another problem is that although a few businesses start off-season rates in October (like the Big Sur Lodge) most will continue to gouge tourists for every dime they can get fearing that visitation will soon end and it will, and it has been an extreemly slow summer because of the fire…It is ironic how eventually the skies get crystal clear as the marine layer of clouds and fog gets pushed far away. More about the changing seasons at Big Sur ...
Indian Summer / Fall Autumn Big Sur Vacation Travel Tips Logo
The wildfire season is in full swing for the west US...
DO BE CAREFUL! Also note level III fire restrictions are still in effect because of the drought and resulting high wild-fire danger ...
Notice of May 19, 2014 Level III Fire Restrictions; outside designated Campfire Use Sites: no campfires, no charcoal fires, portable stoves and lanterns require fire permit to name a few; click for the complete anouncement August 8, 2012 until end of fire season. click for current regulations
if the current El Niño brings like 1997 it will rain for 2 or 3 days straight every week during the rain season...but this will provide some amazing vacation opportunities not to mention the benefits of much needed drought relief. So don't be afraid to hit the coast highway in between storms but make sure it is open and it is always a good idea to check weather and highway 1 road conditions.
Photo vendors table coverd with beautiful local jate at the Big Sur Jade Festival.
Big Sur Wild
Chanterelle Mushroom

DON'T MISS OUT ON THIS...Tickets are on sale right now for the popular celebration Friday January 13th through Sunday 15th, 2017... a fungus and wild food fun celebration & learning benefit for the Big Sur Health Center known as the "Big Sur Foragers Festival"; this year it is an all weekend-long event filled celebration featuring special dining on an amazing array of wild foods, special drinking of world-class wine and beer, entertainment, expert-led foraging hikes and a friendly chef competition with celebrity judges, local cooks prepare unique fare ranging from rustic to elegant. Festival partners include the Restaurant at Ventana (831-667-4210) and Post Ranch Inn Toll Free (800-527-2200). These popular events sell out early, if you want to go GET YOUR TICKETS NOW... for more Information contact 831-667-2580...purchase festival event tickets online.the annual fungus and wild food festival and cook-off known as the "Big Sur Foragers Festival"

... Post-Tourist Season Shortened Days & Hours and Special Winter Offerings and Off-Season Opportunities...

In September the tourist season in Big Sur starts to wind down. It is a gradual process but before you know it there is less traffic on the highway weekdays and during inclement weather; eventually even some weekends get quiet. There is less to do as business cut extra hours and refrain from extra offerings like live music and service may suffer as seasonal staff gets laid off. But some magical things begin to happen as some animals begin their migrations and the wonderful relaxing stillness of the wilderness returns and lodgings begin offering "winter specials".
Autumn is my favorite time to travel the Big Sur… continue about Fall in Big Sur ...

6 Things You Need To Know Before You Go To Big Sur via PCH 1:

Pacific Coast Highway Traveler Big Sur Vacation Travel Tips Logo
#1 -- It is Best to Plan Ahead: Cell phone service and internet access is spotty so do your research and make your plans before you go. A well researched good plan will help keep you from getting taken to the cleaners; dedicate a minimum of at least one full vacation day to Big Sur and many more if you can. If you are planning a stay you may want to make a reservation to be sure you get exactly what you want especially if it is a weekend; although if money is a major concern now is the time you can still show up at the motel registration desk after sunset and dicker for a cut rate.
The wildfire season lasts until there have been several substantial rain events...
The Soberanse fire was started by an illegal campfire !!! DO BE CAREFUL! !! follow the rules, regulations and also note level IV (the highest level) fire restrictions were implemented August 23, 2016 because of extremely dry vegetation and an increasing fire danger ...
Notice of June 14, 2016 Level III Fire Restrictions; outside designated Campfire Use Sites: no campfires, no charcoal fires, portable stoves and lanterns require fire permit to name a few; click for the complete anouncement June 14, 2016 until end of fire season. click for current fire restrictions
... it is always a good idea to check weather and highway 1 road conditions. This year the lack of rain, ongoing drought and recent wildfires will bring it's own unique problems involving water restrictions and burned-out back country and it is still fire season.
#2 -- With the damaged back country the Scenic Big Sur Pacific Coast Highway 1 is a god bet, It’s about the PCH 1 Picturesque Drive:
Go Slow, Be Conscientious, Careful and Considerate: It’s hard not to look at the scenic views but keep your mind on driving, traffic and the road (even if you are copilot or back seat) and pull over to let faster traffic pass; drivers can often get impatient and drive stupid. Even on what seems like a slow day you may think the highway is all yours don’t be surprised by a bicyclist, big rock or distracted driver in your lane when you come around a blind curve. The vista points provide a safe place to pull off and offer the best pictures.
Slow Your Pace and Consider Your Start Time: Early is usually better but later starts can avoid the any heavy traffic too. Leave extra time for sightseeing and to take pictures. If the highway is going to get busy in the morning leave early or later; have breakfast were you stayed or stop along the way to avoid the bumper to bumper Pacific Coast Highway morning rush. Traffic is more of a concern during the tourist season but is still a consideration during most weekends.
#3 -- You Should Enjoy Some Fine Big Sur Food & Dining: Nice Weather Dining Tip: The weather can get quite nice during the fall, if that should be the case look for places which offer some dining outdoors; you can enjoy Big Sur beauty and nature, the forest, a river, ocean view and take your well behaved pet along too. The flavors even seem enhanced and it becomes more of an "experience", not just a meal. Two of my favorite places to dine outdoors are Ragged Point, 805-927-5708, Nepenthe
831-667-2394 and the California Market 831- 622-5450.
You can picnic or fine dine but enjoying some good local Big Sur type grub is mandatory for a great Big Sur area vacation. Picnicking allows you to mix with the environment and save some $$$ but out in the Big Sur boondocks there are actually some world class cutting edge gourmet dining to be had at several restaurants. Big Sur has always had a great attraction for artistic genius and a great chef falls into this category. READ MORE: information about restaurants near Big Sur California -- READ MORE: information about PICNICS near Big Sur
# 4 -- Staying Overnight in Big Sur Proper is NOT Crucial but if You Stay do your Research and be Motel Smart and Well Informed (Big Sur thrives on suckers): You can save lots of money and be much closer to services and entertainment if you stay on one end or the other of the Big Sur…I usually like to stay in Carmel just north of Big Sur at the Carmel River Inn or at the southern end and get a room at the Best Western Cavalier Oceanfront Resort right on the beach to appreciate the great Pacific; either one will save you big $$$$ compared to the normal Big Sur gouging. If you have some money to burn on your vacation and want to get a little taste of the Big Sur Coast ocean view experience you might consider Ragged Point down in the southern portion of the Big Sur only 15 miles north of Hearst Castle and less pricey than many. If you have a LOT of money to burn kick out the stops and go for the paramount of all Big Sur Lodgings Post Ranch Inn.
Myself if I want to stay in Big Sur I quite enjoy the majestic Redwood Forest and Big Sur River from the historic Big Sur Lodge located in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park; the Ragged Point Inn like the Lodge carries a medium high cost. During the off-season you can show up at the motel lobby desk after sundown and dicker for a discount price. READ MORE: information about staying near Big Sur
# 5-- Big Sur Is Isolated, Spread Out, Extremely Popular and a Real Tourist Trap, Which Can Be Quite Expensive: Because of their locations the tourist businesses have a captive audience, a steady stream of new customers coming down PCH 1. They charge high prices and they have underpaid, and at times overworked amateurish service people and this goes for the luxury resorts as well as the more rustic businesses. Sure it’s all highway robbery but be patient and prepared; go for the options you find most important and you will get taken for as little or as much as you are comfortable. Looking to save $$$, pack a picnic lunch, be sure to gas up outside of Big Sur, enjoy some attractions and lodgings to the north or south of Big Sur. You can actually vacation Big Sur on a shoestring or lavishly like a king it’s your choice.
# 6 -- The Rainy Season Can Start October: A storm can increase road hazards, falling rocks, rocks on the highway, slips and slides can even cause highway closures. Cal Trans takes great care of the highway but it is a never ending challange...still don't let a little rain spoil your vacation plans. Check Highway 1 Road Conditions.
The upside is rain provides much needed drought relief and pumps up the beautiful Big Sur waterfalls. READ MORE about Big Sur waterfalls...(waterfalls mobile)
More Information Travel Tips and Vacation Tricks by Clicking button: Hiking trails and sightseeing the beautiful natural waterfalls of Big Sur California.
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Home Page: click for home page Pacific Coast Highway 1 Big Sur Photo Tour: click for Big Sur California Pacific Coast Highway Photo Tour Best Big Sur California Hotels, Resorts, Motels: click for best hotels motels resorts in Big Sur California page Campgrounds: click to learn about the best campgrounds near Big Sur California and get some great Big Sur camping tips and tricks. Restaurants: click to find out about the best places to eat near Big Sur California. Activities: click to find the most fun things to do and see while on vacation traveling near Big Sur California January to June Big Sur Event Calendar: click to find out the events taking place near Big Sur California January through June. Links and Website Map: click for a page of important relevant Big Sur tourist information links and a map hotlinked to the pages of this website. July to December Big Sur Event Calendar: click to find out the events taking place near Big Sur California July through December.