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Big Sur

Big Sur, Pfeiffer Beach, Jason douglas Lewis, Dr. Jennifer Lewis


Jennifer and I drove up to Big Sur in June of 2016, and it was a visually spectacular trip.  This was a nature vacation where the ocean crashes into mountain sides along a rugged section of California’s Central Coast.  The scenery is beautiful and majestic.  

We drove up Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), which is an amazing trip within itself.  The winding road is pretty much on a cliff, and it’s a long way down to the ocean.  While I was thoroughly enjoying the drive, with mountains on one side and the ocean on the other, Jennifer was freaking out.  She thought that I was going to drive us over the cliff and straight into the ocean.  This was a pretty long drive.  About six hours.

We decided to stay in Monterey, which is about 40 miles north of Big Sur.  The lodges in Big Sur are very expensive, but Monterey and Carmel-By-The-Sea is pretty reasonable.  We stayed at Monterey Tides, which is a boutique hotel right on the beach.  Our room faced the ocean, and we could hear the waves crashing at all times, which was really cool.  You hear it as you go to bed, and it’s the first thing you hear when you wake up in the morning.  

Monterey State Beach, Jason Douglas Lewis, Dr. Jennifer Williams Lewis

Sunset at Monterey State Beach, which Monterey Tides Hotel is adjacent to. 


This was a three day trip, so we only had one day to spend exploring Big Sur.  That’s really not enough time, so we’ll be going back. 

We had three stops that we wanted to make on our full day, all along PCH.  Our first stop was at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, which had a number of wilderness walking trails that led to the rocky coastal line.  

The rocky shoreline at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve.


Our next stop was Pfeiffer Beach, which one of the must-see locations in the region.  The road from PCH to the beach was an adventure, as it’s a one lane (for both directions), bumpy dirt road that goes through the woods.  Passing cars that are coming in the opposite direction is pretty difficult.  After parking, there is a bit of a hike to get to the beach, but when you finally get there it was well worth the journey.  As we approached the beach we saw this massive rock formation along the shore.  It was literally sticking out of the water.  

Dr. Jennifer Williams Lewis, Pfeiffer Beach

Pfeiffer Beach (this is also the location of the lead photo)


Our last stop was at McWay Falls.  We walked along the overlook, which was above the beach where the waterfall is.  It’s a pretty scenic view.  


We ended the day at the restaurant Nepenthe, which is perched on a cliff.  It seemed like most of the things we did were along a cliff.  We ate on the patio, and we had a fantastic view of the Pacific Ocean.  

We headed back to Monterey and enjoyed a few drinks at the hotel.  The next morning we headed back to Los Angeles, this time taking the 101 freeway, which cuts through the center of the state.  This route is a lot quicker and pretty much flat, and it is really boring. The middle of the state is not nearly as scenic as the coast line.  But at least Jennifer wasn’t yelling in my ear about driving off a cliff.

We plan on going back to Big Sur, because there was a lot more to see. 


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