Our experience from our time in Big Sur, including Carmel and Monterey. Check out our must visit, favourite experience and our give it a miss. We took the opportunity to make this part of our trip our honeymoon and we spent more time relaxing on this portion of our holiday.
Our visit was in October and we were super lucky with lots of blue skies and sunshine, we were even wearing shorts and t-shirts, which made us very happy coming from a Melbourne winter.
We stayed at Tickle Pink Inn in Carmel Highlands. This was definitely a splurge for us! It was located about a 7-10 minutes drive from downtown Carmel. The Inn wasn’t in a great location as you couldn’t walk into town or to any shops, and it would not be easily accessible by public transport.
It was located behind the Hyatt Carmel Highlands and there was some difficulty negotiating parking, as spots were limited. The best thing about this accommodation was the view.
The view from our balcony was amazing and we spent one afternoon sitting out there admiring the sun setting. Overall, we would not recommend this accommodation due to the cost and the location.
We drove from Yosemite to Carmel and were glad we still had the rental car as it would be very difficult to get around, especially where we stayed, using public transport. Taxis, Uber or renting a bike seem to be the best options. My advice would be to rent a car.
We found parking to be difficult in Carmel when we were in the downtown area on a Saturday afternoon, but we did still find a spot on the street. We also visited Monterey and we needed to use a paid parking area that was convenient for us.
McWay Falls. This is located within Julie Pfieffer Burns State Park. You are able to park on the road and walk to the lookout. The waterfall falling into the sand is pretty spectacular. It is worth noting that you cannot get down onto the beach and can only view the falls from the look out.
Nepenthe – We went here to grab a coffee whilst heading towards McWay Falls. The view from the Café Kevah patio was outstanding and well worth the stop. When we were there, around 10 am on a Sunday the line was massive and we didn’t want to wait, but the food and drinks others had looked amazing. The menu at Nepenthe also had a few keto-friendly options for dinner.
Order pizza delivered to the hotel. Some may think this is an ordinary every day thing to do, I will just say this, I hadn’t eaten real pizza in over a year and it is my favourite food. We also have never ordered delivery to a hotel room in the US before, so it was all about the experience for us.
Driving around Big Sur. We stopped at a lot of the vantage points along the way from Carmel to McWay Falls. Unfortunately, we couldn’t go much further than that due to the landslide. Luckily for us Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge had just reopened and we were easily able to access McWay Falls, which was a big highlight.
Wish We Had
Monterey Bay Aquarium – After watching the movie Blackfish we made a conscious decision to no longer visit animals in captivity. Having said this, we have seen the jellyfish exhibit on TV and it does look spectacular and it seems to be one of the more popular things to do in Monterey.
Give it is a Miss
Fishermans Wharf Monterey
Both of these places are extremely touristy and seemed full of souvenir shops. On Fisherman’s Wharf every restaurant had a person out the front giving samples of their clam chowder to entice you in. Cannery Row is much of the same stuff. If you are looking for something different to do, this is not it.
Let us know in the comments about your Big Sur experience. Did you find some hidden gems that must not be missed?
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