Things to do in Big Sur

THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Big Sur

Things to Do in Big Sur

Check out must-see sights and activities:
Bixby Bridge, McWay Falls, Hiking Trails, State Parks.

Book these experiences for a close-up look at Big Sur.


Top Attractions in Big Sur

These rankings are informed by Tripadvisor data—we consider traveller reviews, ratings, number of page views, and user location.

Iconic coastal bridge featuring breathtaking ocean views and engineering marvel. Scenic drive with photo pullouts; caution advised for winding roads and high traffic.
This attraction description was created by AI, using information and phrases commonly found in reviews users submitted to Tripadvisor. Tripadvisor did not create and is not responsible for this description. Please read full traveller reviews for more details and information. If you believe something in this AI-generated description is inaccurate, please share your feedback.

Scenic coastal spot with a short, easy walk leading to picturesque waterfall views. Ideal for a quick photo stop and nature appreciation along the Pacific Coast Highway.
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Coastal state park featuring Pacific Ocean vistas, unique rock formations, and a picturesque waterfall. Includes scenic viewpoints and diverse plant life.
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Scenic coastal drive leading to a secluded beach with distinctive purple sand and striking rock formations. Enjoy the serene atmosphere and the dramatic coastal views.
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Enchanting state park with redwood groves, cascading waterfalls, and a picturesque river. Features serene swimming holes, scenic trails, and the iconic keyhole arch for outdoor enthusiasts.
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*Likely to sell out: Based on Viator’s booking data and information from the provider from the past 30 days, it seems likely this experience will sell out through Viator, a Tripadvisor company.

What travellers are saying

  • @TraveLover
    Chennai (Madras), India275 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    It's a treat to watch the Bixby bridge which was constructed during 1932

    Marvelous engineering and an example for harnessed civil engineering skills

    The pillars and arch shaped support which was holding the entire bridge is an awesome engineering execution

    Great piece of master mind
    Written July 14, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • DesertRose
    476 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    This is extremely lovely and my husband and I really were glad to have had the chance to see it but there was a $10 entry fee and you can't actually go to the falls, only view it from above.
    There used to be a extended walking trail of some sort along the ridge but it was closed just past the viewing point when we were there.
    Written June 11, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Michael B
    Sydney, Australia17 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    This is a beautiful park - well worth the extra time to travel down from Big Sur (if you're coming in from Carmel direction). The McWay falls are beautiful and there are a number of great walks.
    Written March 8, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Roary
    Vancouver, Canada3,712 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    I had a half day to visit Big Sur driving down from San Francisco. I wasn’t sure where to stop but while browsing the web i saw a recommended to go to Pfeiffer Beach at sunset to take pictures of the keyhole arch. So that’s what I did.

    The first thing to mention is the road going in is narrow, so you need to often use pullouts for cars to pass each on the road. I wish I had a smaller rental car. Once I paid the entrance fee, I was quickly able to find parking. I spent an hour walking along the beach taking various pictures of the purple sand, the ocean waves and the rock formations. There was already a small group pf photographers ready to take photos of the sunset through the arch. Once it got to sunset I took a spot among a dozen other people taking the same shot. I’ll admit it turned out pretty well. I can sew why this spot is popular among amateur photographer.
    Written December 22, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Michael B
    Sydney, Australia17 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A beautiful state park that really captures the California Coast. Many great walks and a good place to have a picnic. If you're travelling in this part of California -a must see.
    Written March 11, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Southwest_Gaucho
    Lake Havasu City, AZ1,232 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Stopped in here on our way back down the PCH (highway closed about 25 miles north). Great views and a good place to stop and stretch your legs, use the restroom, get a bite to eat, or just visit. We were short on time so we didn't hike the trail of 1,000 steps down to the beach. Would definitely do so in the future. Staff at the gift shop were polite and friendly. Only complaint was that the bathrooms were a little rough.
    Written May 16, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Robbert L
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands2,221 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Awesome. Every time. Toured the route for the 5th or 6th time and everytime: wow! One of my favourite routes in the world.
    Written August 22, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Lisa P
    2 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Well worth the time. Very good tour guides who were knowledgable and funny! They are only open for tours 1-2 times per week and only allow 40 people in per tour. Get there early. There was a line!
    Written October 4, 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Paul H
    35 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    The art in this gallery was stunning, and I have never said that about any gallery. It is far from a typical gallery in a touristy area: it is an art show for a small number of artists (many from one family). Yes, the pieces are all pretty pricey, but they are really impressive.
    Written August 12, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Nature Lover
    2 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    What a beautiful campground. Dawnette and her husband the camp host were extremely helpful and was able to score us a spot since we didn't have a reservation. The second night we moved to the most beautiful and best spot #29. We watched a deer and her fawn eat nearby. The soothing sound of the creek the trees plus on the other side of the campground was a beautiful beach. They have 3 hiking trails we took which were easy. Loved the waterfall hike. My husband and I were celebrating our 30th anniversary since our Hawaii trip was scrapped due to Covid-19. I feel we had a much better time seeing Big Sur and the California coastline than going to Hawaii and the best part was camping at Limekiln Campground.
    Written August 22, 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Sunshine243024
    Louisville, CO7 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    We took the beautiful scenic drive down Hwy 1 south from Pebble Beach to reach Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. It's very curvy in places so if you're prone to car sickness, sit in the front seat. Entrance to the park is a $10/car fee that's also good for entry in to any other state park on the same day. Although we went mid-week (3/26/2024) there were plenty of people in the park and yet we had no problem parking for day use. We hiked the Buzzards Roost loop (~4 miles RT) . It's a lush trail in the shade (from the redwoods) until you get to the top of the viewpoint. Gradual uphill grade most of the way up amongst the mountain iris, flowers, redwoods, and poison oak (be careful, it's on both sides of the trails). Plan on 2-3 hours if you plan on a hike. We didn't go on the trail to see the falls... that's for next time.

    I was ready to submit this when I saw the news that the heavy rains on 3/30/2024 took out part of Hwy 1 so you can't reach any of the Big Sur Parks!
    Written April 9, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Stellan D
    Bromma, Sweden564 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Nice small park along Hwy 1 south of Carmel. If you want to go to the beach there is a meadow trail which near the parking area crosses the creek. Normally there is a bridge here but at this time of the year it has been removed for the season and you need to wade in knee deep water to cross. If you take the camping trail (disregard the closed sign as it is for the camping facility only) you walk along the creek and probably encounter deers and other wildlife. On the right hand side there is an old 3 room cabin from the 18-hundreds. There you can read on the information board to the left of the very interesting life of Monarch butterflies who migrate quite long distances including several generations. In this place there is a eucalyptus grove where they stay for the winter. earlier there where many thousands of them here but nowadays there are much fewer. They have a habit to feeding on poisonous things to avoid beeing eaten by e.g. birds. Along this trail you end up at a wide part of the creek but do not reach the beach.
    If you prefer to hike up the hills on the other side of the highway there is a hill tril as well.
    Written November 19, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
The above attraction descriptions were created by AI, using information and phrases commonly found in reviews users submitted to Tripadvisor. Tripadvisor did not create and is not responsible for any of the above hotel descriptions. Please read full traveller reviews for more details and information. If you believe something in one of these AI-generated descriptions is inaccurate, please share your feedback.
Reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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