Road Trip to Big Sur + Stops Along the Way

Over Labor Day weekend, Angel and I took a road trip up to Big Sur.  The goal of the trip was to enjoy the drive, the views along Pacific Coast Highway, and stop at a few spots along the way.

From home, the drive to Big Sur takes about 7+ hrs. We decided to split up the drive into 2 days, stopping in Santa Barbara the 1st night.

Our first stop was in LA at the Getty Villa. The Villa is an art museum and gardens.  Admission is free, but you have to get a timed-entry ticket before you visit.  So try and time your visit accordingly. (Parking is $20; $15 after 3 pm.) The Villa is gorgeous!  Highly recommend.  They also have an indoor/outdoor cafe that serves Mediterranean inspired food that is delicious.

After lunch and exploring the Getty Villa we headed straight to Santa Barbara.  We stopped at State Street to stretch our legs, do some shopping, and find a spot for cocktails.  We changed quickly in the car and popped into a nearby hotel to freshen up in their restroom.

While walking up and down State Street we discovered the coolest cocktail garden/lounge called Glass House.  The ambience and decor is SO GOOD.  Imagine antique furniture, outdoor seating with greenery ceilings, lounge seating, and signature delicious cocktails. Highly recommend!

Day 2 was all about enjoying the scenery during the drive to Big Sur and stopping at some of the towns and landmarks on the way.

Breakfast was at the cutest cafe about an hour north of Santa Barbara called South Side Coffee Co.  Yummy food and coffee in the quaint little town of Lompoc.

After breakfast we hopped on Pacific Coast Highway and headed to Big Sur.  The drive itself is crazy beautiful.  Driving along the ocean and through the mountains, I couldn't believe we were still in California.  One thing we didn't know before the trip that we wish we did is, for about 3 hours you will have no phone signal.  Make sure you have names of the places where you want to stop, PC Highway is pretty good with having signs along the way.  I would also recommend downloading off-line maps so you still have GPS.  You can do that on Google Maps.

A few stops we made that I would recommend are Morro Rock at Morro Bay, McWay Falls, and Bixby Bridge.  As well as stopping at any of the vista/view points.

Morro Rock

McWay Falls

Bixby Bridge

We finally made it to Big Sur right before sunset.  There are a ton of lodging and restaurants along PC Highway in Big Sur, but like I said, no service.  Make sure to do your research beforehand.  Everything is nestled in between giant trees and winding roads and really beautiful to drive through.

The mission was to find the perfect secluded spot to set up some camping chairs, watch the sunset, and make some ramen on the Jet Boil.  We found it at the Garrapata State Park.

Before driving back home on the last day, we had lunch at Nepenthe.  So many people recommended that we eat here and I now know why, the views are amazing!  (Be prepared to wait a little if you don't have reservations.)

We loved Big Sur so much, we already started planning another trip to go glamping at Ventana.  

I hope you enjoyed this post and find it helpful if you ever decide to make the trip!

Talk soon!

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