Should You Visit Big Sur?

Is Big Sur worth visiting?

Yes, Big Sur is worth visiting for a number of reasons. This is a natural area that everyone should explore, and we loved our time here. We first visited Big Sur in many times when we lived in San Francisco. During our time here, we fell in love with its unique beauty and stunning views at Pfeiffer Beach.

Whether you're a traveling as a family, a couple, or a backpacker, this natural area has a lot to offer. Any local will tell you what makes it special is the fantastic beaches and spectacular hiking.

Big Sur is a beautiful stretch of coastline that runs between Carmel and San Simeon. Visitors drive along a 2 lane road that weaves its way past beautiful cliffs and through impressive Redwood forests. The route is filled with stunning hikes and breathtaking beaches.

Big Sur, California Big Sur, California

3 Reasons to Visit Big Sur

1. Beaches

The coastline and beaches are dramatic and beautiful, particularly Pfeiffer Beach, which has a dramatic waterfall. The water is filled with rip tides and strong currents, so swimming isn't advisable in most places.

2. Hiking

The dramatic hikes take you along the coastline, to beautiful beaches and through Redwood forests. There are a number of state parks along the route and some of the best hikes include Salmon Creek Trail, Pacific Valley Bluff Trail, and Ragged Point Cliffside Trail.

3. Food

Most of the restaurants offer a breathtaking view. Many use locally-sourced ingredients and they range in style from fine dining to casual eateries.




Is Big Sur worth visiting in the Summer?

Summer is the high season for travel in Big Sur, so expect more visitors and higher prices. This destination is quite touristy, so in the high season it's busier than usual. You'll see larger crowds and longer lines, as well as higher prices. On the other hand, there's plenty to see and do at this time of year because everything is open.

You'll find the weather to be very nice here during summer with average temperatures around 17°C (63°F).

With the warmer weather, the beach is very popular this time of year. Spend time enjoying the waves and sand during your visit. The gorgeous scenery this time of year is the main attraction. This is the perfect time to hike around the area and take in the amazing scenery. You'll find plenty to do during summer, as you'll be able to lounge on the beach and take a hike.


Summer Weather in Big Sur
Avg Temp
(°C/°F)
Avg Rain
(mm/inches)
July 17°C (63°F) 1 mm (0 in)
August 18°C (64°F) 2 mm (0.1 in)
September 18°C (64°F) 6 mm (0.2 in)

Is Big Sur worth visiting in the Autumn?

This is the shoulder season for travel in Big Sur. This destination is quite touristy, so in the shoulder season you'll still come across plenty of touriss. However, the prices tend to be a little cheaper.

You'll find the weather to be very nice here during autumn with average temperatures around 17°C (62°F).

During this season it's fun to experience the gorgeous scenery and the hiking.


Autumn Weather in Big Sur
Avg Temp
(°C/°F)
Avg Rain
(mm/inches)
October 17°C (62°F) 14 mm (0.6 in)
November 13°C (56°F) 45 mm (1.8 in)
December 10°C (51°F) 51 mm (2 in)

Is Big Sur worth visiting in the Winter?

You'll find the weather to be very nice here during winter with average temperatures around 11°C (51°F).

The low season for travel in Big Sur is during the winter. This destination is quite touristy, but in the low season you'll see fewer crowds and much better prices.

This is a great time of year to taste delicious cuisine.


Winter Weather in Big Sur
Avg Temp
(°C/°F)
Avg Rain
(mm/inches)
January 11°C (51°F) 58 mm (2.3 in)
February 12°C (53°F) 47 mm (1.8 in)
March 12°C (54°F) 55 mm (2.1 in)

Is Big Sur worth visiting in the Spring?

Spring is the shoulder season for travel in Big Sur. This destination is quite touristy, so in the shoulder season you'll still come across plenty of touriss. However, the prices tend to be a little cheaper.

You'll find the weather to be very nice here during spring with average temperatures around 13°C (56°F).

A visit this time of year should definitely be on your list, as the natural scenery is just breathtaking. Get out into the wilderness to take in the views, admire nature up close, and enjoy the fresh air. You'll find plenty to do during spring, as you'll be able to take in the beautiful scenery.


Spring Weather in Big Sur
Avg Temp
(°C/°F)
Avg Rain
(mm/inches)
April 13°C (56°F) 29 mm (1.1 in)
May 15°C (59°F) 4 mm (0.2 in)
June 16°C (62°F) 2 mm (0.1 in)

Things to Consider Before Visiting Big Sur

Museums
Big Sur isn't a place that's filled with a huge number of sights and attractions. Nature is what brings visitors to the area, so most people don't prioritize museums or manmade landmarks.

Nightlife
Most people don't associate Big Sur with a lively nightlife scene. There's a taphouse and lounge, but the area is mostly undeveloped with no real nightlife.

Shopping
Big Sur isn't exactly a shopper's destination. There are some galleries and gift shops, but most visitors aren't in the area to go shopping.

Getting Around
The area is not very walkable, and public transit is not great here, so it might be difficult to get around without arranging your own transportation.

The Cost
Depending on your budget, schedule, and travel style, Big Sur might be an expensive destination for you. You can find out the travel costs for Big Sur here or see if Big Sur is expensive here.

Related

What is Big Sur most famous for?

Big Sur is most famous for its beautiful state parks, dramatic coastal cliffs, and world class views. People visit this impressive natural area for its great beaches and hiking. Also, it's known for food. It is often described as breathtaking, scenic, and remote.


What is the most famous sight in Big Sur?

The most popular sight in Big Sur is Bixby Bridge. You can see prices and costs for this and other sights in Big Sur on our travel costs page.

Or, see tickets, activities, and tours for Bixby Bridge and other attractions here.

How touristy is Big Sur? Is it a popular natural area to visit?

Big Sur is a popular natural area for tourists and travelers. Here are some of the most popular activities and tours. (Prices in US Dollars)

How long should I spend in Big Sur?

The ideal length of time for a trip to Big Sur is one to three days. Since Big Sur has activities such as beaches and hiking, many visit for up to three days.

If you have a specific amount of time for your trip, see our advice about how much time to spend here: Should I spend 1, 2, or 3 days in Big Sur?, Should I spend 3, 4, or 5 days in Big Sur?, and Should I spend 1 or 2 weeks in Big Sur?.