Big Sur

Hello! Hope you’re having a awesome day, today Scott and I wanted to share a really awesome road trip we went on back in November…probably my favorite one from 2016. As you can probably guess from the title, it was a trip to BIG SUR, California! Traveling up the California coast all the way up to Monterey Bay in the middle of fall is simply breathtaking. The photographs and video from that trip make me so happy because I remember how much fun Scott and I had on that trip. Overall, the planning of this adventure was semi-spontaneous, we both had an itch to get away and we decided that since Scott had a break from teaching during Thanksgiving, we would leave late on Thanksgiving Day. We left Thursday night at 1am, not having a super defined game plan on where we wanted to stop, we were just gonna drive and pullover whenever we wanted to check something out. The first place we stopped was in Cambria, it was still super dark out but we wanted to get out of the car and look at the ocean. The waves were glowing in the darkness and it looked really cool, we wanted to try to capture what we were seeing but our cameras couldn’t really pick up on it because it was too dark and foggy. After watching the ocean for a while, we drove a little further to a motel near San Simeon where I had stayed a year earlier with my best friend. I was somewhat familiar with that area and knew there was a way to get to the ocean, so we parked the car and hiked through a field that lead to a little beach area. The sun was getting closer and closer to rising, so we stayed down on the beach to film the sunrise. Scott took one of my favorite photos of his at that exact spot, and after the sun had risen, we carried on with our journey and drove further North up the coast. As we were driving, I remembered a cove where a bunch of elephant seals have a habitat and you can view it on a bridge type thing. I LOVE seals and so does Scott, so seeing these cute elephant seals was a highlight on the trip. We got A LOT of footage of them and loved every second we spent there haha. Leaving was hard, there was connections made, but we had to carry on with our travels. Back in the car, we drove up into the mountains for the first time on the winding road that overlooks the coastline. It can be a little scary sometimes, but it really is breathtaking driving up a mountain and looking down at the ocean below. We stopped next at Ragged Point to take a peak at the view and walk around the area. We needed some gas so we filled up there and it was expensive! Be warned getting gas in the Big Sur area will cost you big bucks! At this point we were ready for some lunch and I knew just the place to get it, Nepenthe is a really popular yummy restaurant that has a great view of the coast. I had been there before and was excited to share this cool spot with Scott. After our lunch date we continued the drive into the heart of Big Sur. We had planned on stopping at Pfeiffer Beach and spending the remainder of the day there, but after being told the parking lot was full and waiting for 30 minutes to even drive down the road to the beach, we decided to carry on up the coast and try to find another spot for the sunset. After driving a little ways we stumbled upon Garrapata State Park, which had an assortment of trails that lead you through the dense green plants that covered the hillside. I wanted to go down to the beach and lay in the sand with Scott so I grabbed a blanket from the car and found a trail that lead us down to the soft sand. The beach area that we set up at was absolutely perfect, and completely isolated from other people, it was just us two. The waves coming in from the distance were huge and as the sun began to set, it created the perfect scenery for filming. Scott captured me walking along the beach with the golden sun and massive waves crashing down behind me. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget, like something that you couldn’t even recreate if you wanted to, it was just perfect. After our sunset session, we were ready to head to Monterey Bay for dinner and to check into our motel. We stayed at a Motel 6 and it was actually pretty nice, it was super clean and didn’t scare me at all haha. We got into bed and fell asleep while watching Top Gun, it was a perfect ending to our fun filled day.
We woke up semi-early, and decided to check out the 17 Mile Drive near Monterey. Neither of us had ever done it so we thought it would be a cool place to check out. There was a fee to get in, but from what I remember it wasn’t that bad. The drive itself was very scenic and offered plenty of viewpoints for people looking for photo opportunities. Personally, we felt a little limited on where we could go and what we could see, where as we typically enjoy the freedom to wander and experience a place in our own unique way. That being said I would still recommend the 17 mile drive to anyone visiting the area. Next, we drove back into Big Sur with the hopes of getting into Pfeiffer Beach again. Thankfully, this time we got in! We drove down the entrance road until we hit the parking lot. We made our way from the car to the beach and set up a spot to sit, at this point it was cloudy and looked like it might rain. Pfeiffer Beach is known for being a popular photo spot, for when the time is right, the sunlight during sunset shines perfectly through an arch in one of the giant rocks on the beach. The sun wasn’t so powerful while we were there, in fact it started to rain on us, but we were determined on getting the shot so we stayed until we got it. And while Scott will tell you it didn’t turn out as good as he had hoped because of the clouds, I still think he got some awesome shots. Eventually, the rain stopped and we explored the beach a little more before heading back to the car. Once in the car it was time for us to make our final drive back home. We got to experience the beautiful, scenic drive all over again as the sun’s light faded into night. We had spend a total of 48 road tripping the California coast, and we can’t wait to make another trip up the coast, and spend more time in beautiful Big Sur!
P.S. About 2 months after our trip up the coast the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge collapsed due to a landslide, if we had chosen to make the trip later in the year, we wouldn’t have been able to go all the way to Monterey like we did, crazy how we got so lucky!
Check out the pictures from our trip below and also check out the full video we made from the trip here.
A faint trail leads the way across this field near San Simeon, California
Bridge View
A wide view of the coastline and a bridge in the distance
Babe Sunset Beach
This sunset at Garappata State Park was absolutely breathtaking
Babes Feet
Courtney’s feet dangling above the coastline below
Bird Beach
The large rocks on the shore of the beach create layers that go into the distance for what seems like forever
Bridge View 2
One of the many bridges that you cross as you drive up the coast towards Big Sur
The famous Bixby Bridge that you can’t miss on a trip to Big Sur
Coast Line Different
The northern part of the coast begins to open up more to large cow pastures and rocky coastlines for as far as the eye can see
Babe Silhoutte
Courtney’s silhoutte as
Open Road
The roads of Big Sur’s coastline create some amazing compositions with the contrast between rolling green hills to towering mountains
Pfeiffer Arch Full 2
The famous arch rock at Pfeifer Beach, Courtney says it looks like a doorway to the sea
Sun Fence Ocean
The sun rising on the first day of our trip
Sunrise Beach
The beach were we spent the sunrise and Courtney’s favorite picture from the trip
White Tails 2
The Big Sur coastline provides amazing scenes with great foreground and background subjects
White Tails 3
These plants cover the hillsides and cliffs of the coast, and look beautiful blowing in the wind
White Tails
Another shot of the wavy, white plants with the seemingly endless coastline in the background
Babe on Beach
Courtney standing on the beach at Garappata State Park

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