The exact location of Big Sur CA has been a matter of speculation and controversy since the first settlers came by wagon and boat. While there is a zip code designation covering the Big Sur Valley, El Sur Grande has long been referred to as the approximately 90 mile coastline, south of the Carmel River. Locals (depending on their locale) adjust those boundries with increasing specificity. Suffice it to say, you’ll know it when you’re here! Heading south from Palo Colorado Road, you’ll witness a continuation of the scenes you saw on the drive down from Carmel. You’ll cross the Rocky Creek Bridge then the iconic Bixby Creek Bridge which may have the erstwhile distinction of being in more car ads than any other geographic location in the world.
The Old Coast Road begins at Bixby Bridge, winding into the back country to ford Bixby Creek, and the Little Sur River. This was the only access to the south before the 1930’s when the WPA built the bridges along the coast. Not recommended in winter, but other times it is a spectacular drive. It ends only 11 miles further south but it seems like much further. Returning to Highway One at Molera State Park, where you can take a flat 1 mile walk out to the mouth of the Big Sur River.
You’ll come next to Big Sur River Inn a great place to take the kids to the swimming pool. You can also grab a beer or a glass of wine and sit on willow furniture right in the Big Sur river… Totally Cool!
Heading south you pass Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park with great walks back to the waterfalls and swimming holes. Next is Big Sur Bakery, one of my two favorite restaurants in Big Sur. Their weekend brunch is not to be missed, especially the breakfast pizza. My other favorite is Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn… I was first here in 1967 where as a wild eyed hippie I and my former wife had just come out of the back country after a week camping trip. I had $13 in my checking account and the manager actually accepted my check for dinner. I don’t know which is more amazing: that dinner cost less than $13 or that he took my check… Anyway, it’s left a particularly warm spot in my heart…