Crushin’ on Big Sur (California Highway 1 pt1)

A coastal highway like no other…

CA Coastal Highway Roadtrip, CA Road trip, PNW, #WildestCAroadtrip

And so began our drive back home to the Pacific Northwest.

We said our goodbyes to the gentle giants of Sequoia National Park and drove into sunset. But making our way toward the coast meant we were now on the last leg of our wildest California road trip.

It was day seven.

CA Coastal Highway Roadtrip, CA Road trip, PNW, #WildestCAroadtrip

Has anyone ever told you that of all the road trips you can take in the USA, California’s scenic Highway 1 should be at the top of your list?

They’re not wrong. Granted, we started somewhere midway, but I told myself one day I’d return to take the entire road trip heading south.

CA Coastal Highway Roadtrip, CA Road trip, PNW, #WildestCAroadtrip

Every turn we made led to a dramatic view…

CA Coastal Highway Roadtrip, CA Road trip, PNW, #WildestCAroadtrip

But the most enchanting view of all? That gorgeous beach on the Big Sur Coast — McWay falls.

California, you showoff.

Can you believe this was someone’s bedroom view once upon a time? Lucky we get to share the view today…

CA Coastal Highway Roadtrip, CA Road trip, PNW, #WildestCAroadtrip

But despite the magical scenery, there was a somber feeling in the wind. Later that day we realized that a wildfire began burning in the area, giving us a very eery glow.

Hows’s that for a natural photo filter?

CA Coastal Highway Roadtrip, Big Sur, CA Road trip, PNW, #WildestCAroadtrip

We continued moving north, stopping at various view points, and eventually arriving to the city of Monterey that evening.

I love coastal towns at night. Everywhere smells like bonfire. Mmmmm…

CA Coastal Highway Roadtrip, CA Road trip, PNW, #WildestCAroadtrip

Eager to get some rest, we decided we would stay the night in Monterey to visit the aquarium the following morning.

The rest is herstory….

CA Coastal Highway Roadtrip, CA Road trip, PNW, #WildestCAroadtrip, Monterey Bay Aquarium

*****

Two weeks later, the Soberanes Fire would have ravaged through Big Sur (and beyond) for the next three months. It would be nearly two years later before access to most of Big Sur reopened again.

We were fortunate to have experienced this stretch of the California coast without getting caught among the fires.

This is also your daily reminder to please be mindful of your actions as you enjoy the outdoors. The Soberanes Fire was the result of an illegal campfire, but it destroyed homes and lives. Was it worth it?

*****

Below are more photos and blurbs as we cruised up the coast and into Monterey. I’ll be posting a part 2 for the second stretch of the coast. Enjoy!

Love & Adventure,

Denise

CA Coastal Highway Roadtrip, CA Road trip, PNW, #WildestCAroadtrip

———————————————–

CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY 1 TO MONTEREY

We were immediately greeted by beach-bummin’ wildlife :)

There were several pretty spots to shop and eat.

CA Coastal Highway Roadtrip, Big Sur, CA Road trip, PNW, #WildestCAroadtrip

Look at these California cuties…

The winding roads were so dramatic. Even more with that marine layer fog. 

CA Coastal Highway Roadtrip, Big Sur, CA Road trip, PNW, #WildestCAroadtrip

Head above the clouds.

CA Coastal Highway Roadtrip, Big Sur, CA Road trip, PNW, #WildestCAroadtrip

Is your favorite color ocean? :)

CA Coastal Highway Roadtrip, Big Sur, CA Road trip, PNW, #WildestCAroadtrip

We pulled over to play oceanside.

CA Coastal Highway Roadtrip, Big Sur, CA Road trip, PNW, #WildestCAroadtrip

Even all that smoke in the distance couldn’t take away from its beauty.

CA Coastal Highway Roadtrip, Big Sur, CA Road trip, PNW, #WildestCAroadtrip

The photogenic Bixby Bridge in the distance?

CA Coastal Highway Roadtrip, Big Sur, CA Road trip, PNW, #WildestCAroadtrip

And right to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, which is home to the picturesque McWay Falls.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, CA Coastal Highway Roadtrip, Big Sur, CA Road trip, PNW, #WildestCAroadtrip

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, CA Coastal Highway Roadtrip, Big Sur, CA Road trip, PNW, #WildestCAroadtrip

How insane is this view?

CA Coastal Highway Roadtrip, Big Sur, CA Road trip, PNW, #WildestCAroadtrip

Drooling!

Bixby Bridge may or may not be known as the Golden Gate of Big Sur :)

Bixby Bridge, CA Coastal Highway Roadtrip, Big Sur, CA Road trip, PNW, #WildestCAroadtrip

It wasn’t until later that we noticed the major plume of smoke behind us. We watched the helicopters for a while.

CA Coastal Highway Roadtrip, Big Sur, CA Road trip, PNW, #WildestCAroadtrip

And into Monterey for the night…

 

Monterey Bay Aquarium

I’m normally no attracted to the typical tourist trap, but I really wanted to see the jelly fish. Haha. 

CA Coastal Highway Roadtrip, CA Road trip, PNW, #WildestCAroadtrip, Monterey Bay Aquarium

It’s been said that this is one of the best aquariums in the USA. And rightfully so…

CA Coastal Highway Roadtrip, CA Road trip, PNW, #WildestCAroadtrip, Monterey Bay Aquarium

The kelp forest exhibit was mesmerizing!

I stole this moment from two random strangers…

CA Coastal Highway Roadtrip, CA Road trip, PNW, #WildestCAroadtrip, Monterey Bay Aquarium

But the real stars of the show were these orange jellies — the Pacific Sea Nettle.

CA Coastal Highway Roadtrip, CA Road trip, PNW, #WildestCAroadtrip, Monterey Bay Aquarium

Turn your screen brightness up, and tell me these photos don’t look 3D to you! I’m so mind-blown.

CA Coastal Highway Roadtrip, CA Road trip, PNW, #WildestCAroadtrip, Monterey Bay Aquarium

Seriously! 3D or nah? *heart eyes*

CA Coastal Highway Roadtrip, CA Road trip, PNW, #WildestCAroadtrip, Monterey Bay Aquarium

Not photographed are the crowds of tourists behind me. Haha.

CA Coastal Highway Roadtrip, CA Road trip, PNW, #WildestCAroadtrip, Monterey Bay Aquarium

Sure got my jelly dose :)

CA Coastal Highway Roadtrip, CA Road trip, PNW, #WildestCAroadtrip, Monterey Bay Aquarium

We left the aquarium and continued north toward San Francisco. Join me on the next post for part 2 of this coastal route.

Thanks for joining me on this virtual trip! Stay home…stay healthy <3

CA Coastal Highway Roadtrip, CA Road trip, PNW, #WildestCAroadtrip, Monterey Bay Aquarium

***

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Stay curious, wild hearts!

***

3 responses to “Crushin’ on Big Sur (California Highway 1 pt1)

  1. Pingback: Itinerary: Wildest California Road Trip | ☽ Of Wildest Heart·

  2. I’ve only been on part of the PCH and remember saying how beautiful it was not realizing it was the PCH until after. 😄

    I love the road trip personal feel of your photos!

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