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.)
When William Randolph Hearst called the hilltop site of his castle “the loveliest spot in the world,” he could just as easily have been describing the Central Coast that spreads out along Highway 1. It’s a big country of giant sea stacks, massive elephant seals, and in the case of Hearst Castle itself, 165 rooms and 90,000 square feet. But SUV-size seals and legendary moguls seem dwarfed by Big Sur, the separate realm to the north. Here Highway 1 earns its status as one of the world’s great drives. Mountains plunge straight into the Pacific. Veils of fog drift into redwood canyons, then retreat offshore, blurring the boundaries between continent, ocean, and sky.
Miles: 110 | Weight of male elephant seal: 5,000 lbs. | Length of Bixby Creek Bridge: 714 ft. | Years of construction at Hearst Castle: 28 (1919–47)