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Things to do in

Big Sur

Our most recommended things to do in Big Sur

From Monterey: Big Sur Guided Half-Day Tour

1. From Monterey: Big Sur Guided Half-Day Tour

The natural beauty of Big Sur is something that must be seen firsthand. This section of the coast, where the Santa Lucia Mountains rise abruptly from the Pacific Ocean, is only a short drive from Monterey and is perfect for a half-day scenic tour. Enjoy several stops for sightseeing along the Big Sur Coast (Bixby Creek Bridge, Hurricane Point, Nepenthe, and Big Sur Lodge) and admire the beautiful scenery and marine wildlife. Immerse yourself in nature during a guided walk in the Redwood Forest. Learn more about the region as you hear about wine, agriculture, and the rich history of Big Sur and the Monterey Bay region from your guide.

California Highlights Express: 3-Day Tour from Los Angeles

2. California Highlights Express: 3-Day Tour from Los Angeles

Discover the most iconic highlights of California, as well as some lesser-known gems, on this 3-day tour from Los Angeles. Drive the renowned 17 Mile Drive, explore Santa Barbara, and visit Yosemite Valley National Park or Hearst Castle. Enjoy 2 nights of accommodation and a bay cruise in San Fransisco included. Day 1: Los Angeles – Santa Barbara – 17 Mile Drive – Carmel Summer RouteDepart north up the spectacular California Coast to the first stop in Santa Barbara. Visit a Spanish Mission and learn how these religious outposts were key in the development of the entire region. Continue to Solvang, a quaint Danish community to browse in the local shops. See the spectacular California coastline up close (small vehicles will travel the southern portion of route 1 while full-size coaches will travel the 17-mile drive exclusively). Visit the town of Carmel, home to the actor Clint Eastwood. Enjoy some free time to stroll in town before departing to reach your hotel at the SpringHill Suites by Marriott Oakland Airport. Winter RouteDepart north up the spectacular California Coast to the first stop in Santa Barbara. Stop at the heart of downtown at the “state street promenade” and stroll through the exclusive shops and restaurants. Continue to Santa Barbara beaches and Stearns wharf to “walk on the water” and enjoy the beautiful view of the ocean. Finish your visit at the Spanish Mission Santa Barbara and continue to Solvang, “the Danish capital of America” a quaint Danish community at the heart of California. After your lunch break, head north through Silicon Valley before departing to reach your hotel at the SpringHill Suites by Marriott Oakland Airport. Day 2: San Fransisco – Bay Cruise – Golden Gate Bridge – ChinatownSummer RouteStart your tour at the Fisherman’s Wharf with a cruise in the world-famous bay. Enjoy great views of both the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. Next, return to Pier 39 for a leisurely lunch before an afternoon tour that takes in all the city’s famous landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Union square, Chinatown, and Nob Hill. Stay overnight in Modesto. Winter RouteStart your tour at the Fisherman’s Wharf with a cruise in the world-famous bay. Enjoy great views of both the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz island. Then return to Pier 39 for a leisurely lunch before an afternoon tour that takes in all the city’s famous landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Union square, Chinatown, and Nob Hill. Stay overnight at the Springhill Suites Oakland Airport. Day 3: San Fransisco – Yosemite – Los Angeles Summer RouteHead east through the farmlands of the Joaquin Valley to Yosemite National Park. Stop at El Capitan, Bridal-Veil Falls, and Half Dome. See the highest waterfalls in North America, Yosemite Falls. Then head back to Los Angeles in the evening. Winter RouteStart the day with a visit to Monterey including the wharf and Cannery Row. Continue your tour of the beautiful California Coast with a visit to the town of Carmel-by-the-sea. Then head south to the world-famous Route #1 where you'll see the spectacular California coastline up close (small vehicles will travel the southern portion of route 1 while full-size coaches will travel the 17-mile drive exclusively). Then drive back to return to Los Angeles.

San Fran: Carmel, Monterey & Big Sur Full-Day Private Tour

3. San Fran: Carmel, Monterey & Big Sur Full-Day Private Tour

Explore the Big Sur and Monterey areas of California at your own pace, and avoid the hassle of organized bus tours. Traveling by private car, enjoy the comfort of seeing the places you want to see without worrying about your departure or arrival time. Learn more about the famous landmarks with a reliable service, offering maximum security and, most of all, the best level of hospitality in the industry. Following a pick-up from your accommodation in San Francisco (pick-ups in other cities in the Bay Area are available on arrangement), get recommendations on the best places to stop to take pictures or explore further; you decide where you want to go. Take a scenic drive from San Francisco to Carmel and Big Sur via State Route 1, the north-south highway that runs along most of the Pacific coastline of California. Travel the forested road of 17-Mile Drive. Discover the Mission District and Monterey Bay Aquarium. See all the sights of Fisherman's Wharf. Drive down to the Big Sur Bixby Creek Bridge, and marvel at the flora and fauna of Poit Lobos State Reserve south of Carmel before your return to San Francisco.

Big Sur California: Pacific Coast Highway Self-Drive Tour

4. Big Sur California: Pacific Coast Highway Self-Drive Tour

Set off on an adventure along the California coastline, between Monterey and Pismo Beach. Explore at your own pace, with this self-guided experience. Simply download the app and begin your road trip. Stop to discover monuments and towns along the route, spending as much time as you like at each location. The app tracks your route and the audio guide plays automatically. Listen to stories and advice at every point of interest. Admire the landscapes of Garrapata State Park, Pfeiffer Canyon, McWay Falls, and Ragged Point. Drive over the famous Bixby Bridge and spot seals at San Simeon. Enjoy the freedom to skip ahead, take it slow, and snap as many photos as you like.

From San Francisco: Highway 1 Self-Drive Audio Tour

5. From San Francisco: Highway 1 Self-Drive Audio Tour

Hop in your car and enjoy this self-guided audio tour along the Pacific Coast Highway. Start in San Francisco or LA, and simply follow the GPS guide to explore one of the most beautiful stretches of coastal road in the world. Take your time driving through Monterey Bay, artsy Carmel and more. Your virtual audio guide will share interesting facts and insights as you drive. Admire views of rocky headlands, jewel-like coves, waterfalls and the famous bridges of Big Sur as you explore California’s coastal highlights. Your downloaded guide will give you plenty of opportunities to pull off the road and explore local beaches, wildlife and towns on foot. Wander through San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay, Santa Barbara, Ventura & Malibu before wrapping up the tour in Los Angeles. You will receive an email with the audio tour app link and a unique password from the local supplier within 1 hour of booking. Once the app is downloaded, take the tour whenever you would like. Just head to stop number 1 and begin exploring.

Pacific Coast Highway: Self-Guided Audio Driving Tour

6. Pacific Coast Highway: Self-Guided Audio Driving Tour

Drive along the iconic Pacific Coast Highway and experience the beauty of the California coast. Take advantage of the flexibility to set your own pace between stops during the self-guided app-based audio tour. See Monterey, the famous beach town known for its prestigious aquarium, and the popular golf courses of Pebble Beach. Stop off at picturesque Carmel-by-the-Sea, an artsy enclave where Clint Eastwood was once mayor. Hear the sound of barking sea lions at Point Lobos State Park, whose rocky headlands are interspersed with jewel-like coves. Big Sur is one of the not-to-be-missed highlights along the scenic road, where you can enjoy gorgeous views, waterfalls, and bridges. Near San Simeon, the home of Hearst Castle, pull off at Piedras Blancas Beach, where enormous elephant seals can be spotted in the winter months. Before cutting inland to San Luis Obispo, stop to admire Morro Bay Rock and hunt for anemones in the tidal pools. Explore Santa Barbara’s quintessential downtown and then continue down to Ventura and Malibu. If you started the drive in San Francisco, end your tour in Los Angeles at the famous Santa Monica Pier. The audio tour is curated by local guides and creative writers and is narrated by professional voice artists.

California: Self-Guided Driving Tours Bundle

7. California: Self-Guided Driving Tours Bundle

Traverse California with this bundle of self-driving audio guides. Learn about local history and see fascinating sights as you drive to destinations throughout the state. Start by downloading the Action Tour Guide app that will function as your personal guide, audio tour, and map all in one. Visit La Jolla in sun-kissed San Diego, and the star-studded mansion of Los Angeles. Encounter the arid landscape of the Joshua Tree National Park, and the high-tech center of Silicon Valley. See San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge, and marvel at the picturesque Lake Tahoe. Traverse the Pacific Coast Highway to iconic destinations like Malibu and San Luis Obispo. Immerse yourself in the Californian way of life at Big Sur, Monterey, and 17-Mile Drive. Enjoy an experience that never expires, allowing you to take these tours whenever you choose. Make it one big road trip or spread it out over months or years: the choice is yours. The bundle includes the following tours:• Big Sur Tour• Silicon Valley Tour• Pacific Coast Highway Tour• La Jolla Tour• San Francisco City Tour• Lake Tahoe Tour• LA Filming Locations Tour• Hollywood Homes Tour• Joshua Tree National Park Tour• 17 Mile Drive Tour• Sequoia and Kings Canyon Park Tour

Monterey: 24-Hour or 48-hour Motorcycle Rental

8. Monterey: 24-Hour or 48-hour Motorcycle Rental

Rent a motorcycle to explore California’s Big Sur in an unforgettable way. Begin your adventure in the Monterey area after your motorcycle delivery to your local hotel.  Head out on your adventure to explore Cali’s diverse landscapes, whether you choose 24-hour or 48-hour hire. Ride a 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 400abs, selected for its ease of operation by novices and more experienced riders alike. Appreciate the Pacific Coast as you hit the road, or head inland to explore the canyons and mountainous terrain. Enjoy the freedom to choose what you see. Even meet fellow motorcyclists on the way.

Gettysburg: 50 Self-Guided Tours across the USA

9. Gettysburg: 50 Self-Guided Tours across the USA

Create your own cross-country trail, following recommended routes between 50 of the best attractions the United States has to offer. Enjoy audio and visual guides that are curated by local experts, creative writers, and professional voice artists, conveniently packed into the Action Tour Guide App. Start your adventure at Gettysburg Heritage Center, and explore the Civil War's most important battlegrounds. See the roots of the revolution in Boston and Philadelphia. Visit Lexington and Concord to imagine the famous “shot heard ‘round the world”. Drive out to Cape Cod or Cape Ann for the unique shoreline and quaint New England towns. Turn back time at the Gilded Age mansions in Newport. Roll down your windows on the Pacific Coast Highway, and take in the majesty of Big Sur. Head west to Utah’s “Mighty Five” national parks, and admire each breath-taking landscape. Swing north to Yellowstone, home to volcanic springs and the Old Faithful geyser. Take your time completing each tour and choosing your ideal route after browsing all 50 options. Stay entertained along the way with texts and visuals that accompany each audio guide. The hardest part is deciding where to start.

Other Sightseeing Options in Big Sur

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What people are saying about Big Sur

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 44 reviews

Fred was an amazing guide!!!

Our entire day was exceptional. From being picked up right on time to the flexible, friendly and accommodating nature of our guide (Fred), we couldn’t have asked for anything more. We loved that he showed us special neighborhoods, non-touristy spots for views, and even a bakery that was off the beaten path. He also helped us plan the rest of our trip with recommendations for what to see when, how to get there and where to eat. The PCH was beautiful and we felt very safe and cared for the entire way! We had some extra time, and we’re surprised with a quick visit to Cupertino! Thanks for making it a great day, Fred!

Excellent service, the most iconic sites are visited, the staff is very friendly especially Brenda, our guide.

Luca the tourguide is hammmmmmmmmmmer. Our driver of the Armin also took care of us

Jacob was very helpful as a tour guide and the hotel was excellent

It was a really good tour with a little bit of everything