The mystical California coastline between Santa Barbara and Carmel-by-the-Sea is a blend of dreamy mountains, jagged clliffs, stunning vistas and zero cell phone service. Connected by Route 1, this is the road-trip of a lifetime.
Big Sur is book-ended by Santa Barbara and Carmel-by-the-Sea, both worth stopovers on their own. Santa Barbara has incredible wine bars and Carmel-by-the Sea is an adorable storybook town.
Brass Bear Brewing and Bistro Craft beers at a casual eatery in downtown Santa Barbara.
Nepenthe Enjoy dramatic views over lunch.
Area 5.1 Cool winery in Santa Barbara.
Bixby Bridge The emblem of Big Sur.
Elephant Seal Vista Point Just outside San Simeon, park and get out at this view point to observe elephant seals sleeping on the beach.
Esalen Institute Hot Springs This healing center offers public bathing in its hot springs between 1am and 3am every night. Reservations must be made day-of, and are released each morning on their website at 9am.
Hearst Castle Located in San Simeon, book a tour or admire from afar.
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park Home to redwood trees and good for hiking.
Pismo Beach Spend a morning here and admire the beautiful, monarch butterflies.
Point Lobos State National Reserve Spend a morning or afternoon at this wild reserve.
McWay Falls An 80-foot-tall waterfall flowing year-round into the Pacific Ocean.
Solveng This Danish-style town is a delightful stop along the way from Santa Barbara to Pismo Beach. Visit any local pastry shop.