A Guide To Monterey and Big Sur, California

I genuinely love the state of California. Just thinking about the beautiful trips I’ve taken there, are enough to make me start humming the opening bars to the theme song for the O.C., and start watching reruns of KUWTK. We recently embarked on an iconic road trip up Highway 1, stopping at different cities along the way for a few days, and feeling as Kerouac as we could. One of our favorite stops along we way, was the time we spent in the small, bordering cities of Monterey and Big Sur. They’re about an hour apart from each other, and can easily be seen on the same trip.


The 17 Mile Drive
The 17 Mile Drive is exactly what it sounds like – it’s a 17 mile drive, through Monterey and Pebble Beach, with different stops along the way. It’s famous for being one of the most beautiful drives in America (and for good reason).20161123-LJP_580320161123-LJP_578720161123-LJP_5838

McWay Falls
Seeing McWay Falls was on the top of my list for this trip to California. Not only is it one of the most Instagrammed spots in the world (PRIORITIES, PEOPLE), it’s a short hike (which for the non-exercise inclined is important), to a waterfall that looks like it’s been dropped from a tropical paradise.20161123-LJP_586920161123-LJP_5891Bixby Bridge
Bixby Bridge is one of the most stopped at places on Highway 1, and one of the most photographed bridges in the world. It’s also the place that my engineer husband, had a total geeking out moment over the marvel of an engineering feet it was.20161124-LJP_6013

John Pfeiffer beach
John Pfeiffer beach was my favorite place we visited in Big Sur. I’m not sure what causes it – probably some scientific gobbly-gook, but it makes the sand PURPLE. Its one of the most beautiful place we’ve ever visited, and we cannot recommend it enough. 20161123-LJP_595520161123-LJP_594920161123-LJP_594620161123-LJP_5944

Monterey Bay Pier
The Monterey Bay Pier reminds us a lot of what the Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco could be like, if it wasn’t as junky. If you love exceptional seafood, beautiful views of boats and a marina, and sea lions – this place is for you. 20161123-LJP_571220161123-LJP_572520161123-LJP_572220161123-LJP_571520161123-LJP_5772


The Old Fishermans Grotto
I visited this restaurant with my family when I was 16, and now, with David ten years later, because I’m old. I have very fond memories of visiting the Old Fishermans Grotto as a teenager, and I loved getting to eat there with David. We took our clam chowder and oysters down to the pier, and watched the boats and water while we ate. 20161123-LJP_574420161123-LJP_574520161123-LJP_5750

Big Sur Bakery
This place is the best coffee we found in either Monterey and Big Sur (and we’re snobs about our caffeine). They also have a fantastic assortment of baked goods, and great atmosphere. This charming bakery is the kind of place you want to spend hours at, reading a good book, or talking to an old friend.20161123-LJP_584920161123-LJP_586020161123-LJP_5851

The Maiden Publick House
I think if I lived in Big Sur, I would spend most of my time in this bar. It’s mostly a bar, but also a restaurant. It has a homey, cozy atmosphere – we ate by a fireplace, while enjoying some of the most incredible burgers we’ve ever had.20161123-LJP_5981

Most places in Big Sur and Monterey are either REALLY expensive, or really sketchy – we chose an Airbnb, and had a great experience.20161123-LJP_5768

We cannot say enough good things about our time in Big Sur and Monterey. It’s one of our favorite places in California (and the world, really), and we know you’ll love it.