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Big Sur is one of California's most unique coastal landscapes. Its dramatic cliff sides offer incredible Pacific Ocean views, spanning as far as the eye can see. In addition, its lodgings range from rustic and cozy to chic and luxe, offering something for every type of traveler. These, alone, are not what makes Big Sur such a special destination that lands on everyone's bucket lists, though.

Its location and the nature which surrounds it feed into the magic that many people experience when visiting this coastal region for the first time. Big Sur is a must for those visiting California's coast, and here's why it's so special.


Why Should You Visit Big Sur, In The First Place?

With its rugged terrain and often pricey vacation cost, many people might be wondering why Big Sur is so popular, in the first place. It might not be that obvious, but the answer is one that travelers must experience in order to understand. This stretch of coastline sits just between Monterey Bay and San Simeon, not far from Carmel-by-the-Sea. The main focus for those taking a drive through it is the Pacific Coast Highway, which is the most scenic in all of California. As if this wasn't enough, many hotels, resorts, and restaurants throughout Big Sur offer breathtaking views of the Pacific, with rugged mountain terrain to their backs.

However, what brings many people to visit Big Sur isn't necessarily its scenery, but the sense of calm they achieve upon arrival. Its location allows it to be remote without feeling off-the-grid, while the culture surrounding such a place is laid-back and peaceful. Travelers can enjoy a meal while watching the sunset from the deck of a restaurant, or take in the beauty of a misty Pacific Coast morning from their hotel balcony. For beach lovers, and those seeking a tranquil vacation away from the hustle and bustle of California's most populous cities, Big Sur is the destination.

Related: Big Sur: Hike To One Of The West's Most Photographed Waterfalls

When Is The Best Time To Visit Big Sur?

Just like any coastal destination, Big Sur is prone to seasons with good weather and seasons with bad weather. Travelers who are interested in visiting Big Sur have multiple options since the destination does bring the added perk of more than 300 days of sunshine throughout the year, according to US News. Therefore, visitors can opt to visit during Big Sur's peak season or wait for the crowds to lessen during its off-peak - but still pleasant - season.

Visiting Big Sur During The Peak Season

The good news about the peak season in Big Sur is that it's extraordinarily long compared to most. Visitors will experience pleasant, sunny weather between the months of April through October, with the summer months in between being the most popular. This is when most people take advantage of warmer waters at the beach, longer days, and hotter temperatures. It's also when travelers will notice the prices for hotels and resorts going up, as is common during a destination's peak season. This usually lasts until the end of August, when fall starts and summer is truly at an end.

  • Recap: Visiting Big Sur during the peak season means booking a vacation between April and October.

Visiting Big Sur During The Off-Peak Season

Some visitors might find that going to Big Sur during the off-season is the most affordable and comfortable option for them. This does often mean slightly lower prices and decent weather, without the high temperatures that the summer brings in coastal California. Additionally, not dealing with crowds on the beaches or fighting for dinner reservations might be an alluring option to some. From September to November, travelers can appreciate similar benefits as the peak season with lower costs and fewer people. Additionally, December is a month known for great deals on accommodations in Big Sur.

  • Recap: Visiting Big Sur during the off-peak season means waiting until summer is over, and booking a vacation between September and November, with the best month for deals being December.

Tips For Planning Your First Big Sur Vacation

Planning a vacation to Big Sur is not a complicated process, but there are some tips that travelers should know to help in the booking process. From looking for deals to knowing insider tips beforehand, here are some ways to further solidify why Big Sur is such a special place for those seeking out California as a destination:

  • Beaches are remote. Rather than finding a beach that's directly behind a resort, visitors are more likely to hike down a trail in order to find the secluded beach they're looking for - but it's worth it.
  • Know the local flora and be prepared for the wind. It probably goes without saying that a coastal destination is prone to being incredibly windy, but this is something visitors should be aware of. Additionally, poison oak is a common plant to find along many trails, so those visiting beaches or hiking should also know what to look for.
  • Saving money is easier than one might think. When it comes to transportation, especially, travelers can save money in Big Sur by opting for the bus. Additionally, staying in Monterey is a great way to stay local while saving money, and still being within a 45-minute trip of Big Sur.

Regardless of the reason a traveler might have their sights set on Big Sur, one thing is for sure: This special destination is bucket-list worth for a reason. From its beaches to its natural beauty, it provides a vacation experience like no other in California.