Beautiful Big Sur Scenic Coast Highway 1 is OPEN!!! Here's a brief rundown on what's happening right NOW...
Nice dry weather and cheap gas at some recent times brought travelers out in droves and heavy traffic has actually caused some traffic jams even in this "off-season"; be prepared for anything and be patient! The Pacific Coast Highway 1 is the only road in and out we all have to share it.
So NOW IS A FINE TIME TO VISIT BIG SUR CALIFORNIA!!!
If you want to use online resources to plan a Big Sur Vacation and skip the internet clutter try www.BigSur.tips; Big Sur Travel Tips: New Big Sur Travel Information Website; hot tips and cleaver tricks aimed at increasing your vacation enjoyment in Big Sur California. #1 Go-To-First Website to visit while you are planning your Pacific Coast Highway 1 road trip or travel vacation to the scenic Big Sur Coast. Website chalk full of great travel and vacation information in condensed form, the top suggestions and very best advice to improve your visit to California’s famous Big Sur.
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Did you enjoy the Big Sur annual gala Big Sur Foragers Festival ? Delicious luncheons, dinners, a fungus faceoff, wild foods educational endeavors like a professionally guided fungus hunt a wild foods cooking class...silent auctions and more...the main events were scattered around various Big Sur establishments including the Big Sur Roadhouse (831-667-2264 for the Friday kickoff event) and the Big Sur Lodge (831-667-3100 or free 1-800-424-4787 for a Master Class in Cooking Foraged Foods at Home and a Sunday Brunch) and the Big Sur Bakery (831-667-0520); popular and available only for a limited amount of persons there was an educational and informative expert who led wild mushroom gathering walk “FUNgus Hunt” through Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park , identifying many species of local wild edible mushrooms, followed by a panel discussion, in the afternoon a Chanterelle cooking competition, the Fungus Faceoff, featuring the talents of many notable local chefs and wine tasting sponsored by 10 local wineries on the patio of the Ventana Inn & Spa (800-628-6500 or 831-667-2331 ); there was a local wild mushroom exhibit and Silent Auction and more…www.bigsurforagersfestival.org…100% of the proceeds from the events go to benefit the Big Sur Health Center, a non-profit community health center. (Monterey Herald -- 2015 Big Sur Foragers Festival Report)
Always pre-check highway conditions and your chosen venues before leaving, you may face drought/storm damage and seasonal business offering changes.
If you want to plan a Big Sur Vacation and skip the internet clutter try www.BigSur.tips; Big Sur Travel Tips: New Big Sur Travel Information Website; hot tips and cleaver tricks aimed at increasing your vacation enjoyment in Big Sur California. #1 Go-To-First Website to visit while you are planning your Pacific Coast Highway 1 road trip or travel vacation to the scenic Big Sur Coast. Website chalk full of great travel and vacation information in condensed form, the top suggestions and very best advice to improve your visit to California’s famous Big Sur.
During early spring you can still enjoy camping and a little live music on some weekends at Fernwood Resort (831-667-2422); check the calendars at places like the Big Sur River Inn, the Henry Miller Library, the social center of Big Sur, the Fernwood Resort and Tavern and check the
January through June 2015 calendar of Big Sur things to see & do .
The campgrounds may have some restrictions because of storm/drought damage but the beautiful natural Big Sur Waterfall Trails ( waterfalls guide mobile) provide nice short hikes through the forests and are all pumped up by early spring rains.
Visiting the southern end of scenic Big Sur is attractive now also, the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse (805) 927-7361 is offering tours of their grounds and facilities Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Ragged Point is always a must stop to at least stretch legs and check the coastal views anyway. In the tiny village of San Simeon visit now under new McPhee management Sebastian’s General Store and Café who although the general store has been closed :( operate a snack bar that still features Hearst Ranch natural free range grass fed beef at the cafe which is getting a reputation for their great food with both tourists and locals alike and their latest addition a tasting room for Hearst Ranch Wines so they now have wine tasting there too! Do some exploring and have some adventures along with getting pampered at one of the fine resorts on the scenic Big Sur Coast Highway 1!
Visiting the very southern end of scenic Big Sur is attractive now, the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse (805) 927-7361 is offering tours of their grounds and facilities Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Ragged Point is always a must stop at least stretch legs and check the coastal views anyway not to ever EVER be passed by...grab an espresso, stretch your legs and enjoy the scenic views they are breathtaking and there are flowers blooming in their ornamental gardens year round; some humming birds are always there and till almost March enjoy the monarch butterflies.
VISIT HEARST CASTLE... I like the “Designing the Dream Tour”, an extended tour that focuses on history and explores the design and construction evolution of the magnificent estate, from the earliest work in the 1920s, through the last in the mid-1940...before you go on tour from your armchair you can take the Classic Hearst Photo Tour: - Hearst Castle Pictures .
WHERE TO CAMP ... Check the 2015 Spring Campground Report
Camping is one of the best ways to get close to the nature of Big Sur; Plasket Creek Campground still has plenty of spaces on weekdays in the early spring but my first choice of campgrounds is the ocean view Kirk Creek Campground or also very nice but expensive is the campground at Limekiln Creek California State Park running water and hot showers but both of which you should get reservations for at least on weekends if you want the best camp sites, you can reserve online: Kirk Creek Campground reservations online or Limekiln State Park campsites online and it is also a good time to visit Garrapata State Park , and Morro Strand State Beach (camp on the beach) California State beaches now.
SOMETHING TO DO JUST NORTH OF BIG SUR...The Point Sur Lighthouse has the regular off-season tours Saturday at 10AM, Wednesday at 1PM; LOOKING FOR LIVE MUSIC OR ENTERTAINMENT?; check the calendars at places like the Henry Miller Library (831-667-2574), Fernwood Resort (831-667-2129), Treebones Yurt Camp (877-424-4787) does "Sounds in the Round" Mondays, but sorry most the live the music is over till spring at places like the Big Sur River Inn (831-667-2700 or Toll Free: 1-800-548-3610), but check the Maiden Publick House (831-667-2355); and the www.big-sur-lodging.com calendar of Big Sur things to see & do.
Enjoy paradise unspoiled; many service people are not busy and anxious to provide you with a memorable Big Sur vacationer experience!
VISIT MONTEREY ... At the northern end of the highway, there is always something going on in Carmel/Monterey and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, see some unique barrel jellies and scores of octopuses, squids and cuttlefishes also are some of the latest additions making up the interesting and ultra beautiful Tentacles Exhibit, there is a baby sea turtle in the open sea exhibit and now they have a Giant Pacific Octopus too. . Take the virtual Big Sur road trip for more ideas along the highway.!
VISIT HEARST CASTLE & CAMBRIA ... Visiting the southern end of scenic Big Sur is good now also; try Morro Bay/Cayucos/Cambria. At Hearst Castle try the “Designing the Dream Tour”, an extended tour that focuses on history and explores the design and construction evolution of the magnificent estate, from the earliest work in the 1920s, through the last in the mid-1940s...and in the fall my favorite tour, the wonderful Hearst Castle Evening Tours is available after Friday October 3rd. Also you can tour the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse (805) 927-7361 which is offering tours of their grounds and facilities through June 14 on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 10 a.m. leaving the Piedras Blancas Motel at 10AM. Piedras Blancas elephant seals are always up to something; this years young show up September and newborns come in December, see the SEALS ACTIVITIES MONTH by MONTH CALENDAR for the seals routines and look at the new Elephant Seal Webcam to see what they are up to right this second. Ragged Point has the closest restrooms you must stop there to at least check the coastal views anyway.
DON'T MISS ... Just a reminder of some of my coastal favorites: Ragged Point
is always a must stop on anytime you are in the neighborhood...at the very least stretch your legs and check the California coastal views...In the tiny village of San Simeon at the south end of the Big Sur Coast try McPhee's new menu at Sebastian’s Snack Bar who still feature Hearst Ranch natural free range grass fed beef and try the tasting room of Hearst Ranch Wines! Do some exploring and have some adventures along with getting pampered at one of the fine resorts on the scenic Big Sur Coast Highway 1!
WHAT TO WEAR... HOW TO DRESS WHEN YOU GO TO BIG SUR CALIFORNIA: The Big Sur area has a large variety of microclimates; weather is generally mild on the coast but it changes quickly and often so it is best to come prepared with extreme heavy warm clothing and light cloths too...layering is the best way to dress for Big Sur any season; peal clothes off when it warms, pile them on when it starts to get cool or damp.
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click for USFS regulations
Wood and charcoal fires are prohibited in all areas of Los Padres National Forest except for designated Campfire Use sites; however persons with a valid California Campfire Permit are allowed to use portable stoves and lanterns using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel outside of designated Campfire Use Sites.
INFORMATION ON TRAILS, CAMPGROUNDS AND LOCAL STATE PARKS: Check the 2015 Spring Campground Report
PRE-CHECK YOUR VENUE! many services are limited because of intense storms following the prolonged drought, for instance Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is only partially open; GOOD NEWS !!!: Damage from most past Big Sur forest fires have been repaired and most most affected trails and campgrounds were reopened the exception is Ventana Campground, coming back for fall 2015 I am told; Limekiln Creek California State Park's maybe open but the trail to Sykes Hot Springs has been repaired and reopened.
Before you start any adventure you may want phone ahead and to check online and double check by telephone that your desired trails and camping destinations are open and passable. Ventana Wilderness Alliance website is a great resource for all Big Sur area trails (V.W.A. Website) and can check for current conditions and closures via telephone or in person at the Big Sur Ranger Station (831) 667-2315. Personnel are available during normal business hours 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM (PST) and have information about hiking, camping, road conditions and more. While in Big Sur you can pick up trail maps, books, posters, and lots of other information. They also have public restrooms. At the more southern end of the Scenic Big Sur Highway you can get help and information via telephone or in person from the Pacific Valley Ranger Station (805)927-4211.
It's always a good idea to check Highway conditions; Pacific Coast Highway One, PCH 1, has recently been describe by Cal-Trans as geologically unstable and there is highway construction, delays and closures:
PCH 1, Pacific Coast Highway 1 -It is never really safe to travel the scenic Big Sur Pacific Coast Highway 1 during or soon after a rain storm and it is especially dangerous when there has been a lot of rain and the ground is saturated. Although rock slides can happen at any time the more saturated the ground and if there is currently or in the near future a rain storm, especially if it is heavy then the more likely flash flooding and severe rock slides are imminent. It only takes one small falling rock to ruin your day and a one large boulder can end your life! The Pacific Coast Highway 1 remains open unless it is closed by the California Department of Transportation; for current California Highway conditions call 1-800.427.7623, or on the internet you can check California Highway Conditions:
PCH 1 and all California Highway Conditions at the California Department of Transportation website Mobile.