Big Sur

Big Sur is one of the most stunning locations on the West Coast.

Welcome to Big Sur

A stunning jewel along the Central Coast of California

Located in the rugged mountains along California’s Central Coast, Big Sur is one of the most stunning locations on the West Coast. Visitors are drawn to the area for its majestic coastline, and locals love living here for the privacy and tranquility.

Originally, this area was named el pais grande del sur, meaning “the big country of the south.” The name was shortened to simply “Big Sur” in 1915 by English settlers, although the area remained largely rural and undeveloped at that time. Since then, Big Sur has become well-known for its stunning, dramatic scenery and attracts thousands of visitors each year.

In keeping with the local scenery, Big Sur’s architectural styles tend toward the dramatic. Many homes are built around the natural wonders, from stunning mountains to sweeping ocean views. Mansions tend to be unique, built by architects and designers with distinct visions. Some are more modern in design, while others resemble large wooded cabins.

What to Love

  • Breathtaking mountain and ocean views
  • Winding roads
  • Plentiful camping and hiking opportunities
  • Artistic culture

People & Lifestyle

Aside from a small town center, Big Sur is a largely undeveloped area, offering peace and tranquility to residents who crave privacy. Homes tend to be secluded—a perfect getaway from the rest of the world.

Like many other Monterey-area cities and towns, Big Sur has a vibrant art scene and attracts many creative types. With its stunning natural beauty, it’s the perfect place to draw inspiration for a painting or novel. People with an admiration for nature and a passion for adventure love living in Big Sur, where they can camp, hike, and spend time on the beach.

Dining, Entertainment & Shopping

The Big Sur area offers many opportunities for fine dining, typically incorporated seamlessly into the local natural beauty. There are also several places to shop and visit, including small general stores and groceries.

Visitors love staying at Big Sur’s Highlands Inn, also referred to as the Hyatt Carmel Highlands. An upscale waterfront hotel, the Highlands Inn offers luxury amenities and fine dining. Shops can be found in Big Sur Village, namely a small cluster of boutiques.

Nepenthe Restaurant is one of the area’s best restaurants, tucked away on a cliffside with breathtaking views and offering delicious California cuisine. There’s also nearby Rocky Point Restaurant, an oceanfront eatery serving seafood and American fare, and Sierra Mar at Post Ranch, a cliffside Californian restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows.

Things to Do

Big Sur is known for its nature, and there are plenty of opportunities to get outside and enjoy a hike or a night of camping with friends and family.

One of the area’s most unique events is the Big Sur Foragers Festival, which spans four days and showcases delicious meals by renowned chefs who have collected wild, locally-foraged ingredients. The event includes raffles, auctions, and a cooking competition.

Photographers love the Bixby Creek Bridge, an open-spandrel arch bridge made from reinforced concrete; it’s known as one of the most photographed bridges in California. The nearby Hearst Castle is also worth a visit. Previously owned by William Randolph Hearst, the stunning estate is designated as a National Historic Landmark.


Big Sur is zoned in the Big Sur Unified School District, which consists of one school.

  • Pacific Valley School,  K-12, public school

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