Big Sur, California

   
   
 

 

  "Big Sur" refers to an area along the Pacific Coast and California Route 1 between Monterrey to the north and San Simeon to the south... where the Santa Lucia Mountains border the Pacific Ocean. Much of the highway is perched high above the sea cliffs, affording spectacular views of the rocky coast below. The scenery is similar, but unlike the Oregon Coast, the Big Sur region has no community large enough to be home to a fast food joint or even a traffic signal. Despite its location between San Francisco Bay and Los Angeles, this 100-mile stretch of hills and curves remains relatively untouched by corporate development and unscathed by man-made eyesores. The highway has plenty of pullovers and overlooks to take in the scenery or snap a few photos.

One of the area's most popular tourist attractions is Hearst Castle, near San Simeon on Big Sur's southern end. Hearst Castle is an opulent mansion of ineffable splendor, built by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. They offer four different tours. The "Experience Tour" is recommended for first time visitors. Hearst Castle is operated by California's state park system. Their website sternly states that photographs taken on-site may not "be published in any medium or format without prior written permission from the State of California"... including this humble little site... so you'll have to use your imagination.

Oh, and as for the elephant seals... they were one of those beautiful, unplanned and unexpected moments. We just pulled over to stretch our legs and there they were... literally tons of them. They can be seen an many Big Sur beaches, but the most convenient location is the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Viewpoint, just north of San Simeon.

   
  BIG SUR PHOTOS - JULY, 2006
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  BIG SUR SCENERY   BIG SUR SCENERY   ELEPHANT SEALS   ELEPHANT SEALS   ELEPHANT SEALS
                   
         
  ELEPHANT SEALS   BIG SUR SCENERY   BIG SUR SCENERY   BIG SUR SCENERY   BIG SUR SCENERY
                   
         
  BIG SUR SCENERY   BIG SUR SCENERY   BIG SUR SCENERY   SQUIRREL   HEARST CASTLE - VISITOR CENTER ENTRANCE
                   
             
  HEARST CASTLE VISITOR CENTER   HEARST CASTLE - SAN SIMEON   HEARST CASTLE