The drive from Los Angeles to Carmel, passing through Big Sur on the Pacific Coast Highway is the stuff of legends. And it is just as spectacular as you would imagine – dramatic cliffs going into the ocean, a ragged and rugged coastline up north, and a softer, sandy coastline through Santa Barbara. We drove up the 101 to Carmel, stayed at the Park Hyatt Carmel in a one bedroom suite. It was nice to have a small kitchen and downstairs living area with wood burning fireplace and a balcony with views, but the hotel is a bit dated and the rooms are not huge. Not really worth the $1100 price tag per night. Luckily, we paid nowhere near that. I had stayed in the regular hotel rooms on a previous trip, and although the views were amazing, the rooms were super-tiny with a cabin feel. And those are about $550 a night. At least the upstairs bedroom and full bath in our suite were roomy on this trip.
We did a day hike about 15 minutes south of the resort, at Garrapata State Park and we thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful yellow and lavender flowers and beautiful views. There was a lot of poison oak near the trails so be careful to stay on the trails but you will be rewarded with breathtaking scenery:
On the way back to LA, we drove PCH and were so glad we did. This drive should be done driving south because all the vista points are on the right and therefore easy to drive into only if you are driving south. We actually saw a car that had overturned trying to get from the northbound lane into a viewing area. We pulled over so many times because the views were so stunning and different all along the drive, and we saw tiny little squirrels who would come up to us looking for food, elephant seals, black sand beaches and waterfalls.
We also stopped for breakfast at an iconic Big Sur restaurant, Cafe Keveh, and enjoyed more awesome views with our meal. This shot is from the restaurant upstairs, which was closed in the morning – Nepenthe:
Another fun little get-a-way!