Big Sur is a popular travel destination for adventurous road trippers and vacationers alike. For those who’ve never been, Big Sur is simply the coast south of Carmel-By-the-Sea, and north of San Simeon, and sequestered by the Santa Lucia Mountains. The area is best known for hiking, camping, beaches, and all sorts of opportunities for adventure. Tourism in this area is essential for the modest community of families and small businesses who call Big Sur their home. But, even with blue skies and cleared roads, the drive can easily become treacherous for unprepared travelers. In order to facilitate the happy travel of as many consumers, customers, and commuters as possible, we have a few resources we’d like to share to help ensure you have a safe trip!
Regardless of where your starting point is, you’ll have to take Highway 1 to get into Big Sur (unless you’re a fan of mountain climbing, of course!). Unfortunately, due to the recent extreme weather conditions, many of the routes in and out are either set as controlled 1-way traffic or closed altogether. So for your travel in, be sure to consider the extra time, traffic, and safety precautions you’ll need. Here are a couple tips to remember:
- There are no gas stops in Big Sur. Make sure you fill up in Carmel or Cambria.
- The view is indeed beautiful- that’s what the stops are for. If you’re looking to enjoy the view, then it is far better to stop for a moment and take it in rather than slow traffic by cruising along too far below the speed limit.
- Read up on the traffic conditions before you head out (here or here).
- Cell phone and GPS service is incredibly spotty in this area, so print out your directions or bring a real map for the most reliable directions.
- As always, wear your seatbelt, drive defensively, and keep your eyes on the road ahead.
Finally, we have to mention that Big Sur has a beautiful, fragile environment. It’s a beautiful place, no doubt. It takes work from everyone to keep it that way. Especially when you consider the recent wildfires, downed bridges, and floods- this area desperately needs a little TLC from both the locals and conscientious tourists. To sustain the environment here, make sure to invest time and caution by cleaning up after yourself and staying safe. Be respectful to future tourists and locals by leaving Big Sur just a little bit more beautiful than it was when you arrived.