Make a Pilgrimage to Big Sur
- Photo Ops
- Romantic Connections
- Special Occasions
Discover for yourself why writers like Henry Miller and Jack Kerouac considered Big Sur a sacred and spiritual place. You can follow in their footsteps and unleash your inner bohemian.
Before the tourists and long before Instagram, Jack Kerouac set his novel in Bixby Canyon near the now-famous Bixby Bridge. It’s still a breathtaking scene worth visiting, but you have to share it with many people nowadays. If the parking area just north of the bridge is full, consider coming back at a less busy time. Or visit Rocky Creek Bridge, which is similar enough to Bixby that the 2013 movie based on the novel shot its scenes there.
Before Kerouac wrote his novel in 1961, Henry Miller had already fallen in love with Big Sur. The Henry Miller Library seeks to keep the writer’s freewheeling spirit alive with an arts center, bookstore, and event space. Catch a show, meet fascinating people, and tap into Big Sur’s cultural vibe.
For the adventurous bohemian, visiting Sykes Hot Springs and its clothing-optional springs is a bucket list trip. It’s a strenuous hike, and don’t expect the same scene as its 1960’s era counter-cultural heyday, but the natural beauty along the way makes it worth it. For more accessible hot springs, consider visiting or staying at the peaceful and meditative Esalen Institute.
Combining this trip with a stop in Carmel would be a fantastic way to explore this part of the coast.
If your schedule allows it, visit during the week to avoid the crowds. If the hike to Sykes Hot Springs is on your agenda, set aside a whole day for it. Otherwise, spend the day seeing the sights, visiting the Henry Miller Library, and exploring Big Sur’s unique and diverse restaurant scene.
Things to Do
- Take the Big Sur Pledge before arriving.
- Snap a beautiful photo of the Bixby Bridge, Rocky Creek Bridge, and McWay Falls.
- Hang out at the Henry Miller Library.
- Take a dip into some hot springs.
When to Go
Big Sur’s peak season coincides with the dry season from May through October. The weather in the fall is especially lovely and free from fog.
It’s free to snap a photo of the bridges. Parking at Big Sur state parks costs $10 per vehicle. Tickets to a show at the Henry Miller Library vary per event.