Big Sur is a part of the central coastal region of California. It’s known for it’s praise-worthy views, which are caused by the abrupt rise of the Santa Lucia Mountains from the Pacific Ocean.
This area has been called a “national treasure”, and “the longest and most scenic stretch of undeveloped coastline in the contiguous United States”.
Big Sur is quite the global tourist attraction, warranted by it’s stunning views and unique recreational opportunities.
Highway sightseeing is, by far, one of the most popular activities to do in this area. The wildflowers seem to always bloom, the birds are gliding above you, and the sea otters are bobbing in and out of the waves. The views are breath-taking, and the experience is definitely worth the drive.
Big Sur stretches along an area of 71 miles, is relatively isolated, and very sparsely populated with a beautiful, coastal view of the Pacific Ocean, as you wind through the area. It includes the entire Santa Lucia Mountain range, and has the tallest coastal mountain peak in the country, Big Sur’s Cone Peak.
Big Sur offers several parks that are worthy of a visit. Stop by the Point Sur Lightstation for a tour of the nineteenth-century lighthouse. The lighthouse and supporting buildings stand atop a dramatic volcanic rock, just off the shoreline.
Also in the area is Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. This state park is home to 2,500-year-old redwoods that are 300 feet tall, as well as a gorgeous waterfall named McWay Falls, which drops over a cliff of 80 feet, right into the Pacific Ocean.
Kayaking And Paddleboarding Recreational Areas
The Pacific Coast offers amazing opportunities for water recreation. It’s well-known in the surfing community for its iconic breaks and insane waves. While maybe not for the beginner, this coastline can be very engaging for the more experienced paddleboarders or kayakers.
It offers exciting landforms, beaches, archways, and cliffs. However, private property and land protection can make accessibility difficult, but Big Sur still has several great spots for access to the water to kayak or paddle board.
Andrew Molera State Park, near mile marker 51.2 on Highway 1, is located about 21 miles south of Carmel. The Big Sur River enters the ocean here. There are rocky outcroppings to keep an eye out for, but this area is usually protected by the wind, because of the cove.
The Mill Creek Day Use Area offers two miles of beach, with an impressive cove that’s perfect for kayaking or paddle boarding. There is a vehicle fee to utilize this recreation area. If you’re in the game to pick up the best kayak, we’ve got your back. If you’re looking for something convenient, read about what the Oru Company has in store for you.
Pfeiffer Beach Day Use Area offers access to the water for recreation. There is a small entrance fee for this area as well. Located off Sycamore Canyon Road, there’s pristine, beautiful sand and a unique rock arch to enjoy on your way to the water.
Sand Dollar Beach might be the most scenic beach on the Big Sur coast, and it’s also the longest. This beach is popular for recreational activities such as fishing, surfing, kayaking, and paddle boarding. There is a small entrance fee, but it is well worth it.
Willow Creek is rocky, therefore it is favored by the anglers and surfers. Kayakers and paddle board riders will find enjoyment in this area as well, but mostly on the calmer days. This site does not charge a fee.
List of Activities by Categories
Kayaking: Launch your kayak from Carmel Bay, Molera Beach, and Whalers Cove in Point Lobos State Reserve.
Diving: Point Lobos State Preserve has two dive spots you can choose from-Whalers Cove and Bluefish Cove.
Windsurfing and Kiteboarding: Opt for the San Simeon Coast as it is one of California’s best spots for these activities!
The Big Sur coastline is beautiful and has much to offer the paddling enthusiast. Always check surf reports and weather updates. The tide, the current surf conditions, and the wind direction change often in this area, and will determine how successfully you will be able to maneuver in some of these coves, inlets, and other areas.
If you are just beginning, try the flat waters near Monterey first, before moving on up the coastline to Big Sur.