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Big Sur: How long does it take

Vicenza, Italy
Level Contributor
41 posts
61 reviews
Big Sur: How long does it take


I'm planning my trip in California and I have too many things to see and too little time...

How does it take from Monterey to Santa Barbara through Big Sur and stopping at main must see places: 17mile, McWay Falls and Pfeiffer Beach?

Am I missing something more interesting?


4 replies to this topic
Dublin, California
Level Contributor
23,924 posts
47 reviews
1. Re: Big Sur: How long does it take

It can take all day if you want to enjoy the drive.

San Francisco...
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
Level Contributor
59,454 posts
149 reviews
2. Re: Big Sur: How long does it take

Average driving times?

Big Sur for Travelers with Disabilities

Mjneenan's Big Sur Photo Blog

Scenic and Iconic Sights of Big Sur

Big Sur Trip Report from a California DE

The top questions cover this in detail. Please go to forum website NOT app and read

The CA forum top questions have sample itineraries and a Highway 1 primer from SF to LA


17 mile drive is a waste of time if you are planning to do this entire drive. Most would suggest if you leave LA to stay in Pismo or Cambria for a night and then drive the Big Sur to Monterey and spend a night there

Edited: 17 July 2018, 11:52
San Jose, California
Destination Expert
for California
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18,214 posts
122 reviews
3. Re: Big Sur: How long does it take

The drive itself - not counting stops - takes 5-6 hours. There are tons of places to stop along the way.

Plan on 30 minutes for McWay Falls.

For Pfeiffer Beach, plan at least an hour - it's a 10-15 minute detour off Hwy 1 and then you'll want time to vist the beach.

One must see on your list is Point Lobos - it is about 3 miles south of Carmel and is absolutely beautiful. Plan on spending an hour or so there.

Other good stops if you have time:

Garrapata Beach

Pfeiffer Big Sur state park

Limekiln State Park

Sand Dollar Beach

Piedras Blancas for elephant seals

(there are more good places to stop - but time is short, so I just listed my favorites)

Regarding 17 Mile Drive - since your time is short, I would skip it unless you are a big fan of golf.

Level Contributor
7,024 posts
57 reviews
4. Re: Big Sur: How long does it take

Also, please research in advance and plan ahead for your restroom breaks. Many tourists fail to do this and end up relieving themselves next to the highway. There has been some news coverage recently over how that is becoming a major problem. You are visiting a rural area with very few public restrooms which are not well marked and where cell service is notoriously spotty.

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