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., a new website aimed at becoming your Go To First Website to visit for planning your travel vacation to the scenic Big Sur Coast. You will find in a condensed form all the 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 summer? You've come to the right website, here you will find loads of timely information, tips, and tricks to help make your trip a memorable and affordable one.

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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:

attention icon for important wildfire messageTHE SOBERANES FIRE IS CURRENTLY THREATENING THE NORTHERN, CENTRAL & EVEN SOUTHERN BIG SUR AREA. attention icon for important wildfire message Here's a brief rundown on some of what's happening in Big Sur right NOW...7/21/16...The direction and extent of the Soberanes Fire is uncertain at this time, as are closures of Highway 1 between Carmel and Big Sur. Visitors are advised to use an alternate route to allow fire crews and equipment to move along Highway 1.

Garrapata State Park is closed until further notice.
Point Lobos State Reserve is closed
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is closed until further notice. This includes day use, camping, the Big Sur Lodge and all trails leading out of the park.
Andrew Molera State Park is closed until further notice.
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is closed until further notice.
Pt. Sur Lighthouse State Historic Park is closed until further notice.
Pine Ridge Trail to Sykes Hot Springs is closed until further notice.
Bottchers Gap Campground must also be closed
Mount Manuel Trail is Closed until further notice.
Henry Miller Memorial Library (831-667-2574) is Open but schedule of events has been changed due to the fire;
Most parks and businesses on the South Big Sur Coast are open but check before you go;
Some Closed Parks and Businesses are starting to reopen (8/23/16):
Point Sur Lightstation State Historic Park (831-625-4419 begins normal tours August 26. The East side of Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park reopens to the public so McWay Falls viewing is again available. Most parks and businesses on the South Big Sur Coast are open but check before you go;
The following sites are open (8/23/16):
Pfeiffer Beach Day Use (805-434-1996), Mill Creek Day Use (805-434-1996), Willow Creek Day Use (805-434-1996), Sand Dollar Day Use (805-434-1996), Limekiln Calif State Park Campground (805-434-1996), Nacimiento Campground (805-434-1996), Kirk Creek Campground (805-434-1996), Ponderosa Campground (805-434-1996) and Plaskett Creek Campground (805-434-1996).
Please see the latest information on the Soberanes Fire at the Cal Fire website at or call Garrapata State Park at 831-667-2315 and press #3 on the phone tree to hear updated fire information.

HOT TIPS: don't postpone because of fire or California's drought... vacation gas prices, dry weather and crowds of people driven away by fires has attracted some vacationers, why not join them? You too could enjoy the tranquility of Big Sur at this time! The drought isn't yet a big problem, there is enough water for everyone but do try to conserve. Although some businesses and State Parks have closed at the Monterey end businesses to the south long for your business.
You may want to consider checking your favorite often unavailable spots for reservations because some spaces have opened up because of cancellations. The Pacific Coast Highway One is being used by fire equipment and emergency vehicles, we have to share it, be nice and yield to the firefighters!

Summer Big Sur Vacation Travel Tips Logo
Summer is Big Sur’s busiest tourist season but it is still a wonderful time to vacation there. You just need to make adjustments like slowing down, getting more patience and scheduling your day in harmony with the flow of all the other visitors and weather.
I love the fogs and mists that develop on the coast when it gets hot inland it gives the place another-worldly mystical look and feel and becomes a good place to "beat the heat" inland. The summer weather can bring in a thick marine layer of clouds and in the mornings and evenings a dense fog can often envelope the coast and block the scenic views and can greatly disappoint visitors who would like to sightsee breathtaking ocean views. When you plan your vacation you should include a foggy coast plan B. The work-around options are all good…wait it out , relax and have a coffee at one of the Sur’s many espresso bars, the fog often lifts by midday…get away from it, go inland on a wine tasting side trip across highway 46, maybe take the family on a California history adventure across Nacimiento-Ferguson Road to visit Mission San Antonio de Padua and stay at the old Hearst Ranch Headquarters or get above it, the Big Sur backcountry and Valley are usually above the fog and out of it…inner tube down the Big Sur River or bask in the shade of the redwood forests or someplace else cool.

More about the changing seasons...
Because of the lack of rain this last season some places still have water restriction measures in force and it looks like fire restrictions and additional water rationing measures will be taking affect early this year because of the drought too.

Big Sur travel hazzard warning alert icon. BIG SUR HAZERDOUS TRAVEL WARNING: Watch for and yield to all fire fighting and emergency vehicles... Watch for other traffic too... recent dryer than expected weather, cheap gas, and a recovering economy have been bringing record numbers of tourists to the Big Sur Coast...much to the aversion of some local residents. “Someone opened up the doors to the asylum, gave them all cars, and pointed them toward Big Sur.” says Big Sur Kate. It also appears that the usual summer weather patterns (foggy coastal eves and mornings) have started, So keep those observances in mind when planning and executing your trip.

California State Parks logo to highlight seasonal organized activities at area state parks.

THESE ARE CLOSED BECAUSE OF THE FIRE BUT ENJOY IN THE FUTURE... the Cal State Parks like Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park & Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park (831) 667-2315 offer organized activities such as campfire lectures, whale watching, guided hikes, just for the kids there's Junior Rangers, and Ranger Cubs programs through Labor Day Weekend... There are also state park activity offerings just south of the Big Sur like at Hearst San Simeon State State Park (805) 927-2020.
For more summer vacation activities check our Big Sur Events Calendar.

New Tourist Season Extended Hours and Special Offerings...

Tourist season extended business hours and special offerings like the State Park campground campfire meetings for all, Ranger led nature lectures, Junior Rangers for the kids and live music for the adults, teens and families, and special evening Hearst Castle and Sunset or Moonlight Point Sur Lighthouse and Piedras Blancas tours and more are happening this summer.

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 good plan will help 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 reservations to be sure you get exactly what you want especially if it is a weekend.
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
...this the early morning costal fog season.. check conditions and adjust accordingly... it is always a good idea to check weather and highway 1 road conditions. This year the lack of rain and ongoing drought will bring it's own unique problems involving water restrictions and the fire department has already announced beginning of fire season.
#2 -- The Scenic Big Sur Pacific Coast Highway 1, It’s about the PCH 1 Picturesque Drive:
Go Slow, Be Conscious, 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. Even on a slow day in the off-season and you think the highway is all yours don’t be surprised by a big rock or distracted driver in your lane when you come around a blind curve. (see the HAZERDOUS TRAVEL WARNING top right corner)
Slow Your Pace and Consider Your Start Time: If there is no fog on the highway early is usually better. Leave extra travel time for sightseeing and to take pictures. If the highway is going to get busy leave early or later; have breakfast were you stay or stop along the way to avoid the bumper to bumper Pacific Coast Highway morning rush.
#3 -- You Should Enjoy Some Fine Big Sur Food & Dining: Nice Weather Dining Tip: if the weather is pleasant 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. A few of my favorite places to dine outdoors are Nepenthe
831-667-2394, the California Market 831- 622-5450 and the Ragged Point Restaurant 805-927-5708.
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 $$$ but out in the Big Sur boondocks there are actually some world class cutting edge gourmet dining to be had at several restaurants. Big Sur has always had a great attraction for artistic genius and a great chef falls into this category. READ MORE: information about restaurants near Big Sur California -- READ MORE: information about PICNICS near Big Sur
# 4 -- Staying Overnight in Big Sur Proper is NOT Crucial but if You Stay Be Smart and Informed (Big Sur thrives on suckers): You can save lots of money and be much closer to services and entertainment if you stay on one end or the other of the Big Sur…I usually like to stay in Carmel just north of Big Sur at the Carmel River Inn or at the southern end and get a room at the Best Western Cavalier Oceanfront Resort right on the beach to appreciate the great Pacific; either one will save you big $$$$ compared to the normal Big Sur gougings. 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. 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. 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 often 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. You can actually vacation on a shoestring or lavishly like a king it’s your choice.
# 6 -- Getting Off the Pacific Coast Highway is Highly Recommended: You don’t need a Hummer there are many PCH side trips which can be enjoyed in a 2X car of most any kind and if you take a little time getting off the beaten path you will enhance your vacation many fold. The Old Coast Road is a nice little country side trip, before the highway it was the only way to get from Big Sur to Carmel. The trip starts at the Bixby Bridge and ends across the highway from Andrew Molera State Park. Another favorite off PCH diversion is Nacimiento Fergusson Road which cuts across the mountains from the PCH 1 coast through Fort Hunter Liggett to the inland 101. READ MORE off-highway Road Side Trips:
More Information Travek Tips and Vacation Tricks by Clicking button: Sightseeing, off-highway Big Sur travel side-trips information, Big Sur Photography
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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.