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America's Most Beautiful Coastal Views

Big Sur Coast, California

Mark Conlin / Alamy

Julia PfeifferBurns State Park, Big Sur, CA

Some of the earth’s tallest and oldest trees, coastal redwoods can soar nearly 400 feet into the air and live more than 3,500 years. Our favorite place to sit and contemplate among this impressive species—native to certain areas of California and southwest Oregon—is Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. It’s smaller than other protected areas in central California’s Big Sur region and undeservedly (but blessedly) overlooked.

Insider Tip: The best view in the whole place is of McWay Falls, a rare coastal waterfall. Climb 10 minutes from the Julia Pfeiffer Burns parking lot (following the signs for the upper trail) to see its torrent plunge 80 feet from a vertiginous mountainside straight into the turquoise Pacific.

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