Big Sur in a Day

I've been wanting to visit Big Sur for a while now, and while I don't recommend only spending a day in this gorgeous place, that's all I could squeeze in.

My sister and I decided to have a quick getaway, and since she's a photographer, I knew I could enjoy myself without having to worry about getting a lot of good pictures.  We loaded into the car Friday night and headed out for an adventure!  We spent the night in Carmel, a cute little town by the sea.  We got in so late we headed straight for the hotel, but got up first thing in the morning to explore before heading south to the main attraction.

Downtown Carmel

Downtown Carmel

Photo credit Katherine Sawyer

Photo credit Katherine Sawyer

We walked along Ocean Avenue down to, you guessed it, the ocean!  I would love to live in a place with tons of shopping and a beach only five minutes away.  With so many mission style buildings, cute shops, and little alleyways to even more restaurants and shops, I could have easily spent the whole day here!

Photo credit Katherine Sawyer

Photo credit Katherine Sawyer

When we got to the beach we were enjoying the waves and surfers (and coffee I got along the way) when we saw two dolphins just off shore!  They were a little farther out than the surfers, and it was incredible to watch.  It's a little hard to see them in the picture (my sister didn't have her telephoto lens with her) but they were there, I swear!

Photo credit Katherine Sawyer

Photo credit Katherine Sawyer

After enough lollygagging around Carmel we hit the road head to Big Sur!  We had to stop at the famous and history Bixby Bridge to take a few pictures.

Photo credit Katherine Sawyer

Photo credit Katherine Sawyer

Because we had such limited time, I found a few of shorter but beautiful hikes we could tackle in one day.  I used Hiking in Big Sur and love their reviews and detailed information on why each of these hikes are great, and I cannot recommend it enough for anyone looking for things to do in Big Sur.

Stop one was McWay Falls, a waterfall on the beach right off Highway 1.  There was a pathway down closer to the beach, though you can't go all the way down.  Because the trail was so busy already and we wanted to hit more that day, we walked along the cliff to get a few good shots and moved on.

Mc Way Falls. Photo credit Katherine Sawyer

Mc Way Falls. Photo credit Katherine Sawyer

Mc Way Falls.  Photo credit Katherine Sawyer

Mc Way Falls.  Photo credit Katherine Sawyer

Next was Limekiln State Park, a great find I can't wait to go back to!  The highway runs over the path to the beach, which is less than a 10 minute walk from the campgrounds nestled in the redwoods.  There are a few quick but beautiful hikes along a creek, to a 100 foot waterfall, and to historic lime kilns used to make bricks when San Francisco was first being built.

Photo credit Katherine Sawyer

Photo credit Katherine Sawyer

The best part of having a photographer for a sister...

The best part of having a photographer for a sister...

...she gets all the great photos!  Photo credit Katherine Sawyer

...she gets all the great photos!  Photo credit Katherine Sawyer

Photo credit Katherine Sawyer

Photo credit Katherine Sawyer

I'm a tree hugger, I can't help it!  Photo credit Katherine Sawyer

I'm a tree hugger, I can't help it!  Photo credit Katherine Sawyer

Next we headed to Jade Cove to hike down to the beach where you can sometimes find jade pieces.  It's an easy hike out to a peninsula, but when we got there it was a really steep climb down with a questionable rope to guide and the tide was coming in.  We decided not to head down at the time so we could get to our next destination for the sunset, but I definitely want to go back!

For sunset we headed to Pheifer Beach where photographers congregate to catch the sun setting through a hole in a rock in the water.

The group almost doubled by the time the sun set. Photo credit Katherine Sawyer

The group almost doubled by the time the sun set. Photo credit Katherine Sawyer

We decided we didn't want to fight the crowd, and found out own spot down the beach.  We were hoping for a great sunset because of some low clouds out over the ocean, but it didn't turn out quite as we had hoped.  My sister still got some great shots, though!

Photo credit Katherine Sawyer

Photo credit Katherine Sawyer

Photo credit Katherine Sawyer

Photo credit Katherine Sawyer

Photo credit Katherine Sawyer

Photo credit Katherine Sawyer

Overall it was a fantastic trip!  I definitely need to go back when I have more time to get some more hiking done and do some nice lounging on the beach.