Pacific Coast Highway – Big Sur to Santa Barbara

Pacific Coast Highway – Big Sur to Santa Barbara

After leaving Point Lobos National Reserve we started making our way further along the Pacific Coast Highway towards our final destination – Santa Barbara. The first stop was the iconic Bixby Bridge – the most Instagrammed spot along the Pacific Coast Highway.

Bixby Bridge, Pacific Coast Highway, California

Bixby Bridge, Pacific Coast Highway, CaliforniaCompleted in 1932, it is one of the highest bridges in the world and sits 260 feet above a steep canyon. It also sits above a beautiful beach and the most traditional angle for photographing Bixby Bridge is from the opposite side to my photograph. It was so busy we just couldn’t get a parking space so we had to cross the bridge and take a photograph from the other side. I still think it was pretty impressive.

Big Sur, Pacific Coast Highway, California

Big Sur, Pacific Coast Highway, California

After viewing Bixby Bridge we stopped at the cutest little cabin resort called Ripplewood Resort and had a coffee in their little tearooms. We sat in the courtyard and it was really peaceful and a nice break from the driving.

We were also killing some time as we wanted to have lunch at Nepenthe which doesn’t open until 12pm. It was definitely worth the wait.

Nepenthe, Big Sur, Pacific Coast Highway, California

Sitting high above the Pacific, the terrace at Nepenthe is an idyllic place to have lunch overlooking the ocean. When we first arrived it was really foggy and we wondered if we should just push on with our drive as we couldn’t see anything but the staff assured us that within half an hour the sun would burn off the fog and they were right.

Nepenthe, Big Sur, Pacific Coast Highway, California

Nepenthe, Big Sur, Pacific Coast Highway, California

With pink lemonades all round we all ordered the Nepenthe burger and it was probably the best food we had of our entire trip.

Nepenthe, Big Sur, Pacific Coast Highway, California

Nepenthe, Big Sur, Pacific Coast Highway, California

As you can from the two photos below, it was very foggy when we first arrived but it cleared up beautifully and we were so glad we stayed.

Nepenthe, Big Sur, Pacific Coast Highway, California

Nepenthe, Big Sur, Pacific Coast Highway, California

I couldn’t recommend this place enough for a lunch stop along the Pacific Coast Highway.

Nepenthe, Big Sur, Pacific Coast Highway, California

Nepenthe, Big Sur, Pacific Coast Highway, California

Nepenthe, Big Sur, Pacific Coast Highway, California

After lunch we headed to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park to see McWay Falls. Named after a well respected pioneer woman, the park is home to McWay Falls which is a 24 metre waterfall that falls directly into the ocean.

McWay Falls, Big Sur, Pacific Coast Highway, California

We decided to do the McWay Waterfall Trail which offers an impressive vantage point in which to view the falls.

McWay Falls, Big Sur, Pacific Coast Highway, California

McWay Falls, Big Sur, Pacific Coast Highway, California

I would recommend Bixby Bridge and McWay Falls as must stops if you are driving the Pacific Coast Highway. Also lunch at Nepenthe is so worth the stop – not only are the views magnificent the food is really good too.

We got back on the road and headed towards our next stop for the night – Santa Barbara.

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