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Santa Cruz to Big Sur

Illinois City...
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Santa Cruz to Big Sur

Hello we have 1 day to visit this are in July. We were thinking we would head out from Santa Cruz at about 9am and head right to Point Lobos to spend 3-4 hours there. From this point we wanted to head towards Big Sur stopping and spending some time in Garrapata SP and making Pfeiffer Beach our final stop before turning around and heading back to Santa Cruz. I don't want to try and fit too much in, but would also really like to have some time to explore all three of these areas. Any suggestions?

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1. Re: Santa Cruz to Big Sur

There is a lot to see and do in the area so the earlier you leave the more time you have to explore.

Here is a previous trip report with photos from TA member mjneenan that would be worth a 1000 words

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g32737-i159-k45887…

His photos capture the essence of what one can see from north of Santa Cruz to the Big Sur area and you can then decide where to stop

https://picasaweb.google.com/Mjneenan/Califo…

Edited: 23 January 2012, 21:45
San Jose, California
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2. Re: Santa Cruz to Big Sur

Big Sur is an easy day trip from SC. Of course, the earlier you start your day, the better, but 9 am is not a bad starting time. It will be July, so you'll have plenty of daylight. I'd take a picnic lunch and then stop in the Monterey area for dinner on the way back to Santa Cruz.

Point Lobos is great, although I'd probably only plan 2-3 hours there rather than 3-4. As belomiser says, there are a lot of great places to see.

Grover Beach...
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3. Re: Santa Cruz to Big Sur

I suggest driving as far south as Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park for McWay Falls (Famous ribbon waterfall that drops on to a beach). It's approx. 25 minutes south from the turn for Pfeiffer Beach.

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4. Re: Santa Cruz to Big Sur

Would you happen to know how long it would take then to go back from Julia Pfeiffer Burns SP back to Santa Cruz? We are traveling with 3 kids, ages 14, 12 and 9, and just don't want to add too much to our day. But, that waterfall would be amazing to see-

San Jose, California
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5. Re: Santa Cruz to Big Sur

About an hour and a half, maybe a bit more.

Grover Beach...
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6. Re: Santa Cruz to Big Sur

McWay Falls back to Santa Cruz would be close to a 2 1/2 hour drive. Keep in mind that it won't get dark in July until close to 9:00 pm, so you have plenty of time to enjoy Big Sur before it gets dark. You can always opt for dinner in Carmel or Monterey before heading back to Santa Cruz.

Edited: 24 January 2012, 00:53
Illinois City...
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7. Re: Santa Cruz to Big Sur

Thank you for all the help. We are looking forward to seeing this beautiful area soon-

Fishers, Indiana
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8. Re: Santa Cruz to Big Sur

My 16 year-old son and I did a similar trip the first week of August last year. We left Santa Cruz around 9 a.m. visited Point Lobos for about two hours, stopped at Bixby Bridge for about 20 minutes and made a few other stops before getting to Nepenthe for lunch around 2. We then went to see McVay Falls and spent about an hour there before heading to Pfeiffer Beach for about an hour. We then hit the general store for junk food and snacks and started our drive back to a SFO airport hotel. Darkness fell around Santa Cruz after a meal at a Burger King on the way back.

I wouldn't be afraid to drive the Monterey to Santa Cruz stretch after dark - we just knew we had to get back as we had a 7 a.m. flight the next morning.

Particulars and some advice on the trip are buried in this long (I mean really long) trip report.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g240329-i513-k4732…

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9. Re: Santa Cruz to Big Sur

Thanks ysuindy. I actually read that trip report just a few days ago. It is very helpful with establishing a time guideline. I want to see as much as we can, but.......with three kids in tow, I also want them to be able to relax and just enjoy the coast. Too many stops can be overwhelming for my youngest!!

10. Re: Santa Cruz to Big Sur

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