Big Sur: From Sequoia National Park, on the way to San Francisco, one of the most ruggedly beautiful stretches of coastal road on the planet.
Getting up early, as we knew we had a long day ahead of us, we left San Luis Obispo by 8am and took Highway One heading north. At San Simeone we stopped for a huge breakfast at an excellent restaurant, which I think was called the Cavalier - it was certainly the coastal side of the road at any rate.
Next was our first major appointment at Hearst Castle. This was a wonderful experience and is covered in full under my must-see activities. Just a bit further along is the Elephant Seal colony at Piedras Blancas, where you can watch and find out about these magnificent creatures.
Distractions aside, we headed further into Big Sur and marvelled at the spectacular views on either side of the road, stopping briefly at the many vantage points and attractions along the road as detailed in my tips.
It was somewhat unfortunate that we only had one day to experience this wonderful untamed coast, as we were a bit rushed towards the end as it grew dark and we knew that the beauty of Big Sur was being shrouded from our sight by the advancing night.
About this point we were rudely awakened by the fact that our need for petrol meant our potentially becoming victims of the most expensive petrol station in the USA! On principle, I drove on even though we were running on empty, and it was a nerve-wracking drive to Carmel. We found a decent B&B almost immediately and settled for the night.
The next day we took a tour of the world-famous Monarch Butterfly groves in Pacific Grove that gives the town its name before taking a tour round the foreshore of Carmel and Monterey and Cannery Row, before heading off to San Francisco…
Fondest Memories: Highlights had to be the amazingly opulent Hearst Castle - a must see if you're in this area!
The sheer beauty of Big Sur is difficult to quantify, except to say that it definitely compares favourably with the 'Great Ocean Road' in Australia as one of the most impressive coastal roads in the world - this might have been because during early spring there wasn't much traffic, and you definitely felt a world away in an untamed wilderness.
Other places I would really recommend visiting are Nepenthe Restaurant, which was a fabulous experience as the sun set, and the art gallery across the road.
If you're looking for a stand-out place to stay, try Deetjen's, as its cabins really capture the essence of Big Sur.
All of these places are covered in my tips - enjoy!