Big Sur

Big Sur is a majestic stretch of land located off the famous Pacific Coast Highway. Bordered by the Santa Lucia Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Big Sur offers unmatched scenic beauty and an eclectic vibe you can't find anywhere else. Looking for things to do in Big Sur, California? The area is famous for its breathtaking coastline, towering redwoods and epic hiking trails, as well as its world-class hotels, inns, boutique shops, restaurants, and parks.

Help us preserve the beauty of Big Sur for all to see and enjoy. Please follow all posted signage, stay on designated trails and leave no trace behind. Visit the Community Association of Big Sur website for more travel tips.

How to Travel Responsibly in Big Sur

Wondering what you can do to be a mindful steward of Big Sur? Follow all safety precautions, as outlined by health care officials: 

  • LEAVE NO TRACE BEHIND: Pack in, pack out. Properly dispose of all trash and plastics.
  • CAMP ONLY IN DESIGNATED AREAS: In an effort to preserve the integrity of Big Sur’s coastline and protect against wildfires, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors increased the fine for illegal camping in the area to $1,000. The prohibition includes camping along the scenic stretch of Highway 1 that passes through Big Sur.
    • Remember that campfires, barbeques, and open fires are not allowed except in developed campgrounds.
  • VISIT RESPONSIBLY: Follow CDC guidance for safe travel, outlined on our Travel Alerts page.

Big Sur History

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 during 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 construction of Highway One in the 1930s transformed Big Sur, making its beauty accessible to all rather than just the most intrepid. Since then, 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.

Big Sur Map


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