A Travellers Guide to The Big Sur, including Yosemite and Napa Valley
As part of a three week trip in California, we rented a car (yes a convertible... duh?) and drove down The Big Sur, the famous coastal drive connecting San Fransisco in the North to LA in the South.
With plenty of beautiful sights along the way, this isn't a journey to rush. Make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to add extra stop offs, extra visits and of course plenty of photo stops.
San Fransisco > Napa Valley > Monterey / Carmel-By-The-Sea
Saying goodbye to San Fransisco, and before heading south I personally travelled North, via Redwood Forests to Napa Valley and across to Yosemite before heading south along the coast.
This allowed me to visit the stunning Beltane Ranch and the wineries within the valley. This ranch, is out of this world and I'd get married there if I could pick it up and put it in the UK. I highly recommend staying here, its PERFECT.
Yosemite > Monterey and Carmel-By -The-Sea
Driving back towards the coast head south towards your first stop - Monterey and Carmel-By-The-Sea. Monterey is a hub for whale watching and boat rides, along with its Aquarium and quaint coastal town feel.
Carmel, was a personal favourite of mine; with its white sandy beaches and pine trees. Visit Carmel's beaches and main high street to experience fairytale cottages, gorgeous shops and restaurants, oozing with historic charm.
Carmel-By-The-Sea > Yosemite
Then I headed inland towards Yosemite, stopping via Mariposa for a quick rest break. Yosemite is ridiculously beautiful and I was grateful to experience it with gorgeous weather. You could probably spend a whole week in the national park, exploring all the different hiking trails but because we had a whole trip planned, we only came for one night. We toured around the valley and visited a few of the main 'to-do's' - such as the falls and the half dome - but Yosemite has so much to offer, especially for the nature enthusiasts!
Yosemite > The Big Sur
Head back to the coast and continue your journey, where you'll find the famous Big Sur - Brixby Bridge, one of the main highlights of the 101 route.
San Simeon > Santa Barbara
Make sure to stop at the famous Pheiffer Beach and San Simeon, where you can visit the unbelievable Hearst Castle. Rich in history and an amazing site to visit, with plenty of character and story.
Further down the coast you'll find Morro Bay - lovely for a quick coffee or a lunch break - and finally Santa Barbara, which tends to be the last stop before reaching LA.
Santa Barbara, a world famous Californian affluent coastal town - well known for filming locations, due to its wide clean streets, white buildings, rust coloured tiles and lilac trees lining the streets. Santa Barbara is stunning and perfect for getting photographs, as every streets looks like a film set!