Photograph by Bill Edwards
Lots of folks go to Big Sur to do nothing. We understand: It’s easy to slip into a catatonic state after driving Highway 1. But if you’re up for a little adventure and are on a budget, try the Big Sur Lodge. Set amid giant oaks and redwoods in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, the cabins are no-frills; the scenery, however, is not. Step onto your porch to watch California condors roost in the trees, or walk along the trail to the 60-foot cascade of Pfeiffer Falls. There are only a couple spots to access Big Sur’s coastline. For the most unforgettable, follow the paved road (easy to miss) to the craggy, windswept shore of Pfeiffer Beach, where the surf crashes through rock arches. Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn serves hearty breakfasts, and the Big Sur Bakery & Restaurant, next to a Shell station, offers wood-fired pizzas topped with eggplant and goat cheese, and bread pudding with vanilla-caramel apples. You’re on vacation.