BIG SUR — As you cruise down Highway One from the Monterey Peninsula, you can't help but feel the excitement building up inside you. Those photos you have seen of the magnificent beauty of Big Sur are suddenly coming to life, appearing even better in person.
The dramatic Santa Lucia Mountains to the left are sprinkled with yellow, white and magenta wildflowers. To the right, powerful waves crash onto the rocky coastline as cows graze with their calves in the lush green pasture. It truly is what poet Robinson Jeffers has described as the "greatest meeting of land and water in the world."
"From hiking along the breathtaking coast and wildflowers at Garrapata State Park to driving across the iconic Bixby Bridge to staying in a cabin amongst the giant redwood trees, Big Sur is such a special place where visitors can unplug, relax and enjoy nature's magnificent handiwork," says Tammy Blount, resident and CEO of the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau (MCCVB).
Despite a challenging winter that has temporarily taken a Highway 1 bridge out of service, the Big Sur experience is still available and as incredible as ever. Visitors are able to access Big Sur and the coastline all the way down Highway 1 to Big Sur Ranger Station.
Iconic attractions, hotels, restaurants and shops north of the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge closure including Big Sur Village are open.
"The community is delighted to welcome people back and share the place we love and call home," says Rick Aldinger, General Manager of the Big Sur River Inn & Restaurant. "Our doors are open, and we invite visitors to travel down the 26 miles of beautiful coastline from the Monterey Peninsula and experience Big Sur."
Visitors are invited to come and walk amongst the giant calla lilies at Garrapata, dip their toes in the Big Sur River while enjoying a cold beverage and sleep under the stars in an adventure tent. To help travelers plan their Big Sur escape, the MCCVB offers ideas on places to visit and stay in beautiful Big Sur:
*Bixby Bridge : Bixby Bridge is one of the most iconic spots on Highway 1. The bridge has made appearances on television shows such as the most recent HBO series "Big Little Lies" as well as on the big screen. Visitors can park in the pullout area and snap photos of the world famous Bixby Bridge and awe-inspiring landscape.
* Garrapata State Park: From spring through early summer, the picturesque coastline of Garrapata State Park comes alive with colorful blooms of wildflowers. Explore the western coastal trail that can be accessed at gates 18 or 19 off of Highway One to Doud Creek where you will find yourself immersed in a canyon of calla lilies.
* Point Sur Lightstation: The Point Sur Lightstation is a California State Historic Park on the National Register of Historic Places. The lighthouse sits on a volcanic rock 361 feet above the Pacific Ocean, and the light has stayed in continuous operation since it opened 1889.
Walking tours are available on Wednesdays and weekends.
*Glen Oaks Big Sur : Rustic and elegant, Glen Oaks Big Sur offers guests a cozy and comfortable retreat in the redwoods and along the Big Sur River. Visitors can stay in a Fireside Lodge, the Oak Tree Cottage or a cabin in the Redwood Grove. The dreamy Big Sur Cabin has two fire pits plus a pair of outdoor clawfoot soaking tubs.
*Big Sur River Inn & Restaurant: The historic Big Sur River Inn & Restaurant has been a staple in the heart of Big Sur Village since 1932. Surrounded by the towering redwoods and along the Big Sur River, the inn provides the perfect escape and opportunity to unwind along the river while listening to the peaceful sounds of nature.
*Big Sur Lodge: Nestled deep in the redwood forest of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Big Sur Lodge has long been a haven for writers, artists, seekers of beauty and travelers in search of the peace and majesty that the ancient redwoods bestow on the body and soul. Guests can enjoy a cozy stay here in one of the 62 cottage-style rooms.
*Fernwood Resort: From the forest and meadow view cabins to camping near the Big Sur River, Fernwood Resort is a privately owned facility and campground located in Big Sur Village. For those who want to be close to nature while still sleeping in a warm bed, the property also offers glamping in the Adventure Tents.
*Ripplewood Resort: One of Big Sur's oldest resorts and a favorite among families, Ripplewood Resort features 17 rustic cabins, a general store and café. Some of the cabins have private decks that are perched over the Big Sur River, so you can be lulled to sleep by the tranquil sounds of the flowing water.
*The Village Shops: For many artists, Big Sur is not only a haven, but also a source of inspiration. Next door to the Big Sur River Inn is The Village Shops where visitors can purchase locally made art and gifts at Local Color, visit Dale Diesel's Darn Glad to be Here Gallery and grab a drink and bite at the Maiden Publick House. There is also Studio One, which serves as a painting studio, gallery and workshop center.
There are additional tent and RV camping sites as well as cottage and cabin options along the river at Big Sur Campground & Cabins and Riverside Campground & Cabins. The winter rains have also affected a temporary closing of some state parks in Big Sur, but they are currently being repaired and are expected to open in the coming weeks.
This spring, the MCCVB invites travelers to experience firsthand what Jeffers and other literary figures and artists have captured — the magic and beauty of Big Sur. For more information, please visit SeeMonterey.com.