Family Vacations in California

Family Vacations in California: Big Sur Coastline

You’ll find rustic campsites as well as luxury hotels as you drive along Big Sur coastline. The scenery is fantastic -- its dramatic, rocky beaches are quite a departure from those found in southern California.

The scenic stretch of Big Sur coastline has a breathtaking beauty that invites many stops for family pictures. One minute you're standing atop a high cliff looking down at a crashing sapphire sea, and the next you're hiking through a misty redwood forest. The Big Sur coastline begins just south of Monterey, where Point Lobos Reserve encompasses a group of headlands, coves, and rolling meadows. Hiking trails follow the shoreline, where you'll probably catch a glimpse of sea otters floating on their backs and snacking on abalone. Between the months of December and May, migrating gray whales are a common sight.

On your drive you'll come to Garrapata State Park, which features two miles of beaches, dense redwood groves, and a fun hike up to a beautiful view of the Pacific. Another must-see is Jade Cove, accessible by a rugged, rocky pathway to the beach. Here pieces of jade litter the pebbly shoreline, and visitors are allowed to take home what they can carry. Be sure to stop in at Nepenthe, a legendary restaurant perched on high cliffs whose outdoor seating area looks out across the vast Pacific and down the Big Sur coastline.

Big Sur Coastline Information

Address: Big Sur Coastline at Route 1, Big Sur, CA

Telephone: 831/667-2100

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To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Los Angeles City Guide: Explore the City of Angels -- Los Angeles is brimming with restaurants, shops, attractions, and the occasional celebrity hotspot.
  • California State Guide: From north to south, California encompasses mountains, deserts, beaches, and vineyards. Learn about it all in our guide to California.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.