There is no where in the world quite like Big Sur. And truth be told you need no guide. Just put your keys in the ignition and drive. Once there, with the forest on one side and the ocean on the other, there’s nothing better to do than just take a deep breath and take it all in. There are other areas of the world with woods that creep right up onto the coast, but there is something alchemic about the way it all comes together in Big Sur. Hike Pfeiffer State Park, drive the winding roads, cross the Bixby Creek Bridge, and enjoy one of the most breathtaking spots on the West Coast.

Once you tire of all the awe-inspiring scenery – or at least get hungry – check out our short list of top spots in Big Sur and the nearby Carmel Valley…

Where to visit: Earthbound Organics Original Farm | Earthbound Organics is the company responsible for the giant prewashed tubs of greens permanently on residence in our refrigerators. Their original farm is in Carmel Valley – a charming mix of farm land, flower fields and a general store. If you’re hardcore about clean eating, this little shop will keep you sane while in town – think juice bar, kombucha and a full stock of fresh, healthy lunches. Don’t miss the herb garden out back complete with a maze and hand-painted teepee! 

Where to eat: Big Sur Bakery | The Big Sur Bakery is Big Sur personified – charming, natural, homemade and a little quirky. It’s an edible obsession for both locals and travelers alike. Stop by in the morning for incredible coffees and peruse the strange grounds around the restaurant/cabin. Return for lunch, dinner or both and enjoy wilted greens, risottos, and their own incredible homemade breads in every imaginable form.

Where to shop: Carmel-By-The-Sea | Downtown Carmel-By-The-Sea is touristy for sure, but so incredibly charming, it’s worth a solid afternoon’s time. Just a short walk up from the beach, the narrow streets are bordered with independent shops and bistros. Hunt for the perfumery shop with a cult following down one of the town’s quaint alleys, Anje Perfumery will blend you a custom scent from their walls of natural extracts. Magical! 

Where to stay: Post Ranch Inn | We don’t know of any property quite like the Post Ranch Inn. It’s one of those bucket list-worthy stays. Huddled on the coastal cliffs in the woods of Big Sur, the Inn is hauntingly beautiful. Several freestanding suites line the coast – including a tree house suite, each structure different from the last and designed right in to the landscape. 

The restaurant on property pulls veggies straight from it’s own picturesque garden and features floor to ceilings windows overlooking the ocean – a truly unique experience. 

Where to wine: Folktale Winery | The new Folktale Winery in Carmel is already a local favorite. The French-inspired wines and French-inspired architecture are both enchanting. Walk the sustainable, organic vineyard, taste wines in their gorgeous, glassed-in tasting room, and stay the evening for live music. From to time to time, the winemakers host films, concerts and private events inside the gigantic barrel room – an epic experience. Several small private residences are available for rent, including a small A-frame house along the river. 

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