Big Sur + Monterey Bay

Big Sur + Monterey Bay Travel Guide

Deep within Los Padres National Forest, Pfeiffer Beach is a surreal mix of purple sand, giant redwoods, sycamores, and oaks. Offshore, a smattering of sea stacks are scattered like biscuit crumbs across the ocean.

Deep within Los Padres National Forest, Pfeiffer Beach is a surreal mix of purple sand, giant redwoods, sycamores, and oaks. Offshore, a smattering of sea stacks are scattered like biscuit crumbs across the ocean.

Stop by this university laboratory to watch jellyfish, hold starfish, and see the 87-foot-long blue whale skeleton.

Although the 12-mile trail takes about six hours, moderate hikers can easily handle it (pick up a map at the ranger station before starting out).

A hip clothing boutique stocked with Johnny Was tees and Shu Lami dresses.

Splurge on a romantic balloon ride over the vineyards.

Stop here for the best carne asada around.

Don’t miss this out-of-the-way (and out-of-the-ordinary) vineyard, which specializes in Rhône Valley varietals (think Grenache and Mourvèdre) and stocks wacky hats and wigs to wear while you taste.

Tour the 17-Mile Drive—preferably in a convertible—around the legendary Pebble Beach Golf Links, ogling fantasy mansions with ocean views.