Drive. Dine. Walk. Gawk. Find joy. Explore 735 gorgeous miles of the iconic road with these essential stops along the way. (Editor's note: The Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge, connecting north and south Big Sur, is currently closed due to storm damage. For more information on how to enjoy Big Sur this season, check out our planning guide.)
After the untamed drama of Big Sur, Highway 1 makes a calmer approach to the sweep of Monterey Bay. The pleasures here are civilized: Pebble Beach’s fairways, Carmel’s galleries, and Pacific Grove’s narrow streets of tiny Victorian cottages. But along the Santa Cruz waterfront, the refined gives way to the endless summer pursuits of roller-coaster rides at the beachfront boardwalk and surfing the perfect waves at Steamer Lane. It can get big at Steamer but nothing like at Half Moon Bay, 50 miles north, where the Mavericks Invitational doesn’t even take place unless the wave faces reach 20 feet or more. So much for civilized pleasures.
Miles: 96 | Number of U.S. Opens held at Pebble Beach: 5 | Year people first surfed at Santa Cruz: 1885 | Top speed of Giant Dipper roller coaster: 46 mph