7 things to do in Big Sur now that Highway 1 is open

It’s been more than a year since San Luis Obispo County residents could make a detour-free trip north along Highway 1 to Big Sur.

The iconic stretch of coastal highway — out of commission for 14 months after the Mud Creek Slide hit in May 2017 — officially reopened July 18, two months ahead of schedule.

Central Coast residents can again enjoy a road trip up one of the longest and most scenic stretches on undeveloped coastline in the country.

Plus, the long wait could make visiting popular sites such as the Bixby Bridge, McWay Falls and Pfeiffer Beach even more spectacular.

Here are seven things to do on your next trip up the coast:

Big Sur
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in Big Sur, California, overlooks the Pacific Ocean. LiPo Ching Bay Area News Group

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Named after a well-respected resident and rancher in the region during the early 20th century, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park stretches from the Big Sur coastline into nearby 3,000-foot ridges.

Located 37 miles south of Carmel, the park is home to 300-foot redwoods that are more than 2,500 years old, as well as the 80-foot McWay Falls that drop from granite cliffs into the ocean from the Overlook Trail.

Camping reservations are required and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at ReserveCalifornia.com. Camping costs $30 per night.

For more information, call 1-800-444-7275.

Nepenthe in Big Sur, California, is known for is known today for its incandescent views, family hospitality and legendary guests. Marcio Jose Sanchez Associated Press


You’d be hard-pressed to find better views anywhere in California.

Built by Bill and Lolly Fassett and first opened in 1949, Nepenthe is perched 800 feet above the coast on the edge of the continent.

Nepenthe is known today for its incandescent views, family hospitality, legendary guests and the famous Ambrosiaburger.

Lunch is served daily from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; dinner is served from 5 to 10 p.m.

Reservations for parties of five or more can be made by calling 831-667-2345.

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At Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur, California, it's worth the $10 entrance fee to enjoy the beach and marvel at the tunnel the waves have eroded through Keyhole Rock. Adam Blauert Sun-Star Correspondent

Pfeiffer Beach

Pfeiffer Beach is located at the heart of Big Sur and is perhaps best known for its offshore rock formations — none more popular than Keyhole Rock.

The beach is exceptionally popular and is only accessible via a narrow two-mile road. A parking lot near the beach accommodates 60 vehicles, meaning it is often full on summer and holiday weekends.

Additionally, Pfeiffer Beach is a day-use area with no overnight camping. It is accessible for a $10 entrance fee from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m., seven days per week.

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Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, California, sits 1,200 feet above the Pacific Ocean. Post Ranch Inn photo

Post Ranch Inn

The Post Ranch Inn, named after one of Big Sur’s first pioneer families, defines a luxurious escape.

Nestled 1,200 feet above the Pacific Ocean, the Post Ranch Inn’s 39 rooms blend rustic elegance, comfort and privacy with panoramic ocean and mountain views.

You can take in breathtaking views in a stainless steel tub on the balcony, and keep warm by a wood-burning fireplace.

To make reservations, call 831-667-2200.

Construction of the Bixby Creek Bridge on Highway 1 in Big Sur, California, was completed in October 1932. Fresno Bee photo

Bixby Creek Bridge

Big Sur’s version of the Golden Gate — known simply as Bixby Bridge — is 714 feet long, 24 feet wide, and soars 260 feet above the bottom of a steep canyon carved by Bixby Creek.

One of the tallest single-span concrete bridges in the world is also one of the most photographed sites in the region.

In 1996, this stretch of road became one of the first designated by the federal government as an All American Road.

Guests at Treebones Resort, at the southern end of Big Sur and a scenic drive north from Hearst Castle, enjoy the sunset over the Pacific Ocean from the comfort of their yurt. Treebones Resort photo

Treebones Resort

Treebones Resort blends the natural experience of outdoor camping with more glamorous amenities.

With pool and hot tub access, massages, yoga, hiking and seasonal whale watching, this secluded getaway destination offers something for everybody.

The Wild Coast Restaurant serves up garden-to-table food in a relaxed setting, while The Sushi Bar offers an elaborate, paced out tasting menu in a romantic and intimate ocean view setting.

For more information, visit www.treebonesresort.com.

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The Henry Miller Memorial Library in Big Sur houses a cultural resource center and an outdoor performance space. The late American writer was a Big Sur resident from 1944 to 1962. Solvej Schou Associated Press

Henry Miller Memorial Library

Run by a nonprofit organization named after late American author Henry Miller, this scenic spot is a social center for the Big Sur community.

The Henry Miller Memorial Library hosts events throughout the year — particularly May through October — including concerts, art shows, lectures and book signings.

One popular event is the annual Big Sur International Short Film Screening Series, an outdoor film festival. Watch movies under the towering redwoods on Thursday nights from June through August.

Want to learn more? Take a look at the summer schedule and sign up for the Henry Miller Memorial Library newsletter.

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