The Most Beautiful Things To See In Big Sur

Coastal view of Big Sur with mountains and deep blue ocean crashing against the cliffs

Your RV is following loyally behind you on the winding Highway 1, with each turn revealing amazing views, and you take in the ocean waves crashing onto the shore below you. That’s only the beginning though, there are so many beautiful things do in Big Sur, CA.

Big Sur, California, is what iconic RV dreams, and many car commercials, are based on. Located on California’s central coast between Monterey and San Simeon, Big Sur has many great RV destinations.

Pfeiffer Beach

Pfeiffer Beach is accessed down a narrow road (sorry, your RV can’t come with you for this portion). When it comes to things to do in Big Sur, this is an iconic location that is often professionally photographed, due to the focal point of Keyhole Rock.

This rock is where an amazing natural arch catches the last rays of the sunset if you’re there at the right time. Don’t miss the north end of the beach, which has unique purple sand due to the manganese garnet rocks.

Keyhole Rock at Pfeiffer Beach, one of the best things to see in Big Sur.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

State Parks often have the best-unspoiled nature. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, named after a well-respected pioneer woman from the Big Sur country is no exception.

The park features coastline to ridges, and forests with redwood, chaparral, oak, and other trees, an 80-foot waterfall that drops into the ocean from Overlook Trail, and unrivaled nature experiences in every direction. Exceptionally gorgeous panoramic views are available from trails east of Hwy 1.

Note: Dogs are not allowed past the day-use area in this park, and only on paved areas.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, a waterfall flowing into the ocean, one of the best things to see in Big Sur.
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McWay Cove

Inside Pfeiffer Burns State Park is McWay Cove. It can be accessed by an overlook trail that is a very easy out and back round trip of 0.6 miles, with only a 50-foot elevation change. This is a must-see stop on the scenic Hwy 1 drive.

The waterfall drops 80 feet onto a beach in a hidden cove, which is kept natural due to not allowing visitors at the base of the falls. The trail can be accessed from the highway, or from the state park. This quick stop is worth the time.

Bixby Creek Bridge

Bixby Creek Bridge is one of the most photographed bridges in California due to the arch bridge construction and gorgeous surroundings. Because of it’s popularity, this one of the must see things to do in Big Sur.

With a length of 714’ and a 260’ below clearance, it is quite spectacular. It is also one of the highest bridges of its kind in the world.

Completed in 1932 before modern machinery could assist, the engineering feat is as staggering as the views. The bridge makes a great backdrop for selfies!

Bixby Creek Bridge with the ocean on one side and mountains on the other. Cars crossing the bridge.

Point Sur Lightstation

While waiting for evening to add to your collection of ocean sunset pics, use your daylight time to stop at the Point Sur State Historic Park.

Featuring the Point Sur Lightstation, there are views and history to appreciate at this National Register of Historic Places location. First lit in 1889, the lighthouse has remained in continuous operation, manned by families until 1974, and then automated.

This lighthouse is the only one open to the public in California. This location was also part of the Point Sur Naval Facility. It was once part of the worldwide war defense network tracking Soviet submarines via sound surveillance.

Informative walking tours are offered on weekends and occasionally during the week, check the schedules, and be sure to partake of the interesting history on the California coast.

PCH between Ragged Point to San Simeon

Don’t put your camera away just yet! The span of highway between San Simeon and Ragged Point is one of the highlights of this area. There are awe-inspiring views around each turn.

The road follows the Santa Lucia Mountains where they butt up against the ocean. This is the place where you feel like you’re in a car commercial, be sure to put your windows down and enjoy the ocean breeze!

In this section of your scenic adventure, you are in the vicinity of the Piedras Blancas Light Station, Salmon Creek Falls, and numerous hiking trails. As far as things to do in Big Sur, this should be at the top of your list.

Big Sur, California is one of the most iconic American road trip vistas. With winding roads, crashing ocean waves, waterfalls, cliffs, amazing sunsets, forests, and historic learning opportunities, there is something for everyone in the RV family to experience. 

Looking for other California road trips? Check out our guide to 7 California Nationals Park in one Road Trip post.

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