The scenery in Big Sur, California cannot be done justice by film or secondhand account. An eclectic populace and cosmic vibe flows through the area and permeates Big Sur hotels, motels, shops and restaurants. A table with a view isn’t hard to come by in Big Sur. Neither is a sense of well-being. Cliffs, rocks, redwoods and effervescent surf create an epic backdrop for recreation, romance and relaxed exploration.
Originally inhabited by the Esselen, Salinan and Ohlone Native Americans, Big Sur was first settled by the Spanish in the 1830s, but developed its first large settlements due to the Gold Rush. The lumber industry thrived in the late 1800s in Big Sur, despite the difficulty of reaching the area; the population of Big Sur was greater at that time than it is today. The three-day, dangerous overland journey to Monterey meant most supplies were brought in and goods shipped out by ocean, rather than by road.
The construction of Highway One in the 1930s transformed Big Sur, making its beauty accessible to all rather than just the most intrepid. Residents fought to protect Big Sur against development, preserving its charms and its remote feel. Get a feel for Big Sur's history by visiting Andrew Molera State Park, home to Big Sur's oldest building, and that famous Big Sur lighthouse, Point Sur Lighthouse.
Big Sur has provided inspiration to photographers, painters, writers and musicians. Henry Miller and Jack Kerouac chronicled the area in books, and Ansel Adams and Edward Weston captured Big Sur's rugged beauty on film. Robinson Jeffers described Big Sur in epic verse, which later became the inspiration for the Beach Boys' album Holland.
Today Big Sur remains a favorite place for local and international artists of every stripe. Galleries located along Highway One exhibit stunning visual art, while venues such as the Henry Miller Library and Fernwood Resort host both cutting-edge acts and big names. For more information on the Big Sur arts scene, see our Big Sur Arts and Culture page.
Click on the links for high-resolution maps of Monterey County communities, suitable for printing: Monterey, Carmel and Carmel Valley, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach, Salinas, Seaside, Marina, Sand City and Moss Landing.
Fly direct from these five airports:
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
McCarran International Airport (LAS)
Phoenix Skyharbor International Airport (PHX)
San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
San Diego International Airport (SAN)
Monterey County's scenic drives range from the legendary to the little-known, from Highway One to...more
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is consistently ranked #1 in the United States for its innovative...more
This is a great place to take in the sights, sounds and smells of Monterey....more
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is an 11-turn, 2.238-mile road course best known for The Corkscrew and...more
The Basilica of San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission (Carmel Mission) was founded in 1770, making...more
Cannery Row houses an eclectic blend of specialty shops, local artists' galleries, more than 25...more
Home to museums, galleries and performing arts venues, Monterey County is a hub for artistic...more
The antique restored adobes make Monterey the most historic city in California....more
Monterey County's shopping scene is full of great deals and extraordinary surprises, from fine art...more
Jeff Campbell performs tonight at the Fernwood Tavern. Music begins at 10pm....more
Join us at Cannery Row Brewing Co every Friday for LIVE Reggae Music at Monterey's only Reggae...more
Oliver! The Musical Sep 17 - Oct 18, 2015 Golden Bough Theatre This Tony Award-winning musical...more
CYPRESS STRING QUARTETpresented by Chamber Music Monterey BayCONCERT PROGRAMGlazunov – Five...more
McHugh & Devine perform tonight at the Fernwood Tavern. Music begins at 10pm....more