A July 2005 trip
to Big Sur by jimransier
Quote: With only 2 days to explore, the memories that stick involved slowing down, relaxing, and kicking back in the California sun.
As luck would have it, we stumbled upon Ventana only after being turned away from the state park campgrounds that were sold out long before we pulled in. While slightly more expensive than your average campsite, Ventana is the place to stay while camping in Big Sur. The state parks nearby are tempting, but Ventana's pure scenic beauty will knock your socks off within the first minute of entering the compound.
Thanks to the canyon slopes, the terraced sites have a good sense of privacy while still close to neighboring campsites. Trash cans, water, and three bathhouses are conveniently located and easy to reach. We had no doubt that Ventana's shower facilities were significantly cleaner and well maintained than their state park counterparts. Security also patrolled the grounds to make sure visitors honored the quiet hours as well as the campfire restrictions (unattended fires are strictly prohibited).
While not always necessary, it best to make reservations in advance due to the minimal number of campsites located in the entire Big Sur region. Due to the mild climate, campgrounds are in demand year-round, however spring to fall is the peak season.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 12, 2005
Big Sur, California
Roughly 3 miles off Highway 1, Pfeiffer Beach is located at the end of a paved single-lane road that travels down a heavily forested canyon. Several private homes branch off from the road, and that may be part of the reason why this beach remains elusive to many passerby. A parking lot (a $5/car day use fee is required) with restroom facilities resides at the termination of the paved road.
A short walk past the parking lot the beach opens up with gorgeous views of the ocean. The beach is actually twice as long as it appears, with a headland to the north giving the illusion the beach ends there. Walk past the headland and a larger section of the beach opens up. Several rock formations near the shore provide for dramatic wave action and plenty of tidal pools.
On the first evening we were at the beach there was a strong wind that kicked up the sand to the point of being uncomfortable. The only reprieve was finding nooks in the cliffs to sit down in, which did add a little privacy to an already private beach. The second evening was much less windy and the sunset couldn't have been better.
To get to the unmarked road, head a fourth mile south of Big Sur Visitor Center on Highway 1. On the right side, a sign warning about a narrow road is your only clue that you've found the right road (see the picture of the sign below). Travel slowly down the road for roughly 3 miles to the developed parking lot.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 12, 2005
Sycamore Canyon Rd.
Big Sur, California
San Diego, California