Big Sur Family Vacation Ideas

Big Sur family vacation ideas on this page include but are not limited to ways for the family to find a true connection to each other, nature and their creative core. Big Sur has been the home of family adventures for more than a century but for much of that time only a few elite artists and extreme adventurists had access. The home of the human potential movement and popular with the haunt of artists and poets tranquility great place to get in touch with your soul. We will guide you through some of the activities that will fill your days during one of the most peaceful, serine, and inspiring family vacations you may ever have.

[weather]  [camping map]  [ Bixby Bridge] McWay Falls ]  [Big Sur State Parks] [Point Sur Lighthouse]

morning after by jurvetson flickr cc

Big Sur Accommadation, vacation rentals and reviews on TripAdvisor

Big Sur refers to the “big south” area south of the Monterrey Peninsula in Central California and was named by the original Spanish inhabitants. The area doesn't really have a formal border and our definition as the area from San Simeon to Carmel and including Ventana Wilderness area is only one of many variations. Either way, Big Sur is a haven to enjoy the coastline with your family through horseback riding, coast tours or hiking and can extend as far to the north, south or east as your family desires. 

VIDEO: Big Sur ROAD TRIP | The Mongolian Family

Not since the road fringing the Santa Lucia Mountains and the Blue Pacific was opened in 1937 has the are been populated by more vacationers. Even today the area is barely populated with only a few of the original landowners allowed to maintain their original homes among the mountains. Some of the peaks are among the tallest on the coastline like Cone Peak which rises up  over 1500 meters  This remoteness has meant the area has remained largely unspoiled and retains much of it's original natural attractions which are great for hiking, fishing or simply exploring the beaches. [top]

Big Sur State Parks 

The state parks are a great way to enjoy Big Sur.  Parks in Big Sur offer lots of activities including swimming in the cool rivers, hiking, viewing wildlife or partaking in a ranger program. Some of the parks which are on the Journey include: Information on the parks is available using our search.

  • Carmel River State Beach in the north
  • Point Lobos State Natural Reserve 
  • Point Lobos State Reserve (tel. 831/624-4909), by Carmel is a top location to view marine life including Sea lions, seals, and otters. 
  • Garrapata State Park
  • Point Sur State Historic Park
  • Andrew Molera State Park
  • Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
  • Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
  • John Little State Natural Reserve is the first park you will pass traveling from the south
  • For camping locations and information check out the map below. [top] [ more information]

VIDEO: California State Parks: Russ Christoff visits Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

McWay Falls 


Five minutes drive to the south of Big Sur Village is one of the most visited attractions in Big Sur where their is an easy trail down to a viewing platform to see the falls dropping 80 feet onto the beach or or sand below.

Watch the video to see images and listen to the commentary of the falls trail. [more information]

Bixby Bridge 

Only about 5 minutes drive north of Big Sur Village you can catch a glimpse of this wonderful 1930s bridge. We taken a different angle in the video below. [top] [more information]

Point Sur Lighthouse

Take the tour led by a volunteer to the Point Sur lighthouse.  Only 5 miles north of Big Sur Village. Bote ghost tours and daytime tours are available.  Visit their website for more information about the schedules and times. [more information]

Andrew Molera State Park in Big Sur, California

Next attraction is also the biggest park in Big Sur is the less crowded Andrew Molera State Park which also has some good camp sites. Molera Big Sur Trail Rides. Trail rides are available daily except when it gets to wintry from about December to Spring. While the rides don't get the most sizzling reviews by families the service does provide an alternate way to experience the trails and beaches. [more information]

Big Sur Weather 

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park in mid  winter will get  average maximum of 60.0 °F (15.6 °C) and an average minimum of 43.2 °F (6.2 °C). Meanwhile in summer  temperatures ranging from 77.3 °F (25.2 °C) down to  50.2 °F (10.1 °C) prevail. Occasionally mud slides can cause road closures in the wetter winter months. [top] [more information]

Big Sur Coastal Road Map - With Camp Sites

The map follows Highway 1 through Big Sur. The Camgrounds offer a great way for families to enjoy the wilderness. [top] [more information]

View Big Sur Campgrounds in a larger map

Return to the top of Big Sur Family Vacation Ideas