Who doesn't long for a sunny day on the coast? The wind from a fresh cool breeze blowing through your hair. The beautiful views and sunsets over the water. The calm serenity that being on and near a beach brings.
Jillian and I had the chance to travel out to the coast a week ago and it was wonderful. I had always wanted to visit Big Sur. I think I had been there as a child, but have few memories of it now. On the drive down from the Monterey area, the landscapes were spectacular. All of highway 1, from Washington to California is amazing, but this section is especially so.
One of the first major landmarks of the Big Sur area is Bixby Bridge. The bridge was built in 1932 and has remained largely unchanged, although it underwent a seismic retrofit in 1996. Bixby Bridge is one of the most photographed bridges on the entire Pacific coast of the United States.
We had lunch at an American style restaurant named Nepenthe within Big Sur. This was the view that kept us company while we ate. It was absolutely incredible. The weather was gorgeous, and our burgers were quite delicious. We would definitely recommend this place if the weather is nice and you can sit outside.
Another spot you absolutely must visit is Pfeiffer beach, although it can be quite hard to find. It is an easy to miss turn off on highway 1 down a single lane road, with no signs or designations of any sort until you are already on it. This is likely done to help limit traffic to this beautiful beach. The road down to Pfeiffer beach is between milepost 45 and 46. The cost of entrance to Pfeiffer beach is 5 dollars. Make sure to bring cash as they will not accept cards or any other payment method. Once you are in the parking area, it is a short jaunt to the beach, which extends to the north and south of the parking area.
The beach is often colored by the manganese garnet in the hills above the beach. This gives the beach a purple or magenta color which is most often seen after rain storms. Sometimes it can appear in intricate patterns due to how water flows down from the hills and cliffs above.
The most photographed locations are almost straight ahead of the trail that leads to the beach, located in the large rock formations between the sand and ocean. There is a large arch formed in the rock just to the right, as well as a smaller one on the left rock. Near sunset the light dances beautifully through and will illuminate sea spray or fog that is in the arch. It can be a beautiful effect and I hope to go back to capture that one day. Jillian and I arrived a little too late in the day to see this phenomena, but it was still absolutely breathtaking.
I cannot wait to go back and spend some more time in this beautiful area. I also hope to capture some shots of the glowing archways before sunset. It really is an incredible feeling being able to relax and enjoy such a wonderful landscape. If you are ever in the Central California area, absolutely check out the coast along highway 1 in Big Sur.