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.)
Of course you want to see Hearst Castle—no trip up Highway 1 would be complete without a tour of William Randolph’s fabled hilltop estate. If you’ve visited before, we suggest getting a more intimate glimpse of the press baron on the Upstairs Suites Tour. Afterward, head down the hill to San Simeon, the tiny port that gave the castle its official name. Sebastian’s Store serves superior burgers (made from Hearst Ranch beef); across the street, San Simeon Pier and W.R. Hearst Memorial State Beach are both fine places to soak up a little sun with your views of the Pacific. Castle: From $25; hearstcastle.org. Sebastian’s Store: $; 442 SLO San Simeon Rd.; (805) 927-3307.