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Big Sur - Best Base for Northern Parts of Big Sur With Baby

Larchmont, New York
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Big Sur - Best Base for Northern Parts of Big Sur With Baby

This fall I received very helpful responses on this forum re: planning a trip to Big Sur with my wife and then to be 1 year old daughter for July 2014. We're now finalizing our plans and I have a follow-up question: can we use Monterey or Carmel as a base to explore the northern half of Big Sur? We're interested in the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the mission in Carmel, Point Lobos, the 17 Mile Drive, Bixby Bridge, and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, and we'd ideally love to not have to change hotels with our young daughter.

If so, would Carmel make a better base than Monterey because it is slightly further south? Or is Monterey better for a family with a baby in terms of lodging and dining options? Any help would be much appreciated - thanks so much in advance!

Brian

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1. Re: Big Sur - Best Base for Northern Parts of Big Sur With Baby

I personally feel Monterey would give you more options with a baby than Carmel as you point out. Carmel has some nice B&Bs and some very good hotels that may not be good with a baby but do look at Monterey and yes it is a great spot to stay to see both Big Sur village as well as go North to Santa Cruz as well.

No need to change hotels You may want to fly from White Plains (too many trips into that airport than I care to remember) to SJC if possible to make it a shorter trip with your baby

Monterey Plaza hotel, the Intercontinental, Marriott , Hyatt and the Pacific among others

Larchmont, New York
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2. Re: Big Sur - Best Base for Northern Parts of Big Sur With Baby

Thanks! We're actually flying from San Diego to Monterey if we do the itinerary this way, so no opportunity to fly directly from White Plains.

I guess the main question I have is whether we can comfortably see the Big Sur attractions I noted above (between Monterey town and Julia Pfeiffer Burns state park) all while spending our 3 nights in Monterey. I realize it involves some circling south and back north, but I'm hoping this is doable for a couple with a baby. Thanks again.

Dublin, California
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3. Re: Big Sur - Best Base for Northern Parts of Big Sur With Baby

I'd also suggest Monterey. You should look into flying to San Jose. You'll have to rent a car anyway. More flight and car rental options at SJC.

Larchmont, New York
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4. Re: Big Sur - Best Base for Northern Parts of Big Sur With Baby

Thanks. Any other thoughts re: Carmel vs. Monterey for a family with a baby would be much appreciated.

San Jose, California
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5. Re: Big Sur - Best Base for Northern Parts of Big Sur With Baby

Monterey and Carmel are only a few miles apart so both are fine for seeing Big Sur. As others have mentioned, Carmel is a more upscale and romantic place, whereas Monterey is more diverse, which generally makes Monterey a better choice with small children.

Grover Beach...
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6. Re: Big Sur - Best Base for Northern Parts of Big Sur With Baby

As november_moon pointed out, Monterey and Carmel are right next door to each other. Mere minutes apart. Monterey is more baby friendly, IMO. Carmel is where couples go looking for a romantic getaway sans kids.

If you're concerned with being closer to Big Sur , then you might want to consider staying at the Carmel Mission Inn, which sits right at the intersection of Rio Road and Highway 1 where the Big Sur drive begins. It is a busy area, but it would save you a few minutes dealing with the heavy traffic between Monterey and Carmel Valley Road.

Larchmont, New York
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7. Re: Big Sur - Best Base for Northern Parts of Big Sur With Baby

Thanks November Moon and Kibbles, you are so helpful as always! And it's not too much to drive down to Julia Pfeiffer Burns in one day from Monterey, right?

Grover Beach...
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8. Re: Big Sur - Best Base for Northern Parts of Big Sur With Baby

"....it's not too much to drive down to Julia Pfeiffer Burns in one day from Monterey, right?"...

No, not at all. It's approx. a 1 1/2 hour drive down to Julia Pfeiffer Burns SP from Monterey. Without stops, of course.

Larchmont, New York
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9. Re: Big Sur - Best Base for Northern Parts of Big Sur With Baby

Thanks Kibbles. I think this is our plan then.

Grover Beach...
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10. Re: Big Sur - Best Base for Northern Parts of Big Sur With Baby

Hi Brian

Just keep in mind that you'll pass Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park en route to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. Lots of Pfeiffer's in Big Sur to keep straight.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns SP is approx. 8 miles south of Nepenthe and Nepenthe is approx. 4 miles south of Pfeiffer Big Sur SP.