After author and poet Henry Miller came to Big Sur in 1940, he wrote of his fear that Big Sur’s magic could only fade as more people came to visit this magical, mysterious place where mountains meet sea in a symphony of natural wonder.
In many ways, Miller was right, particularly as the crush of summer tourists clog Big Sur’s two-lane roads and facilities overcrowd. Winter, however, can be the perfect time to experience Big Sur all by yourself without the traffic, boisterous camping grounds, and cliffs crowded with amateur photogs.
Winter, one New York Times critic wrote, is a refuge for Big Sur just as much as it is for travelers. Some days during the season can be perfect; golden sunshine, temperate, and warm enough to bask in the sun on a beach like Pfieffer Beach, Jade Cove, or by McWay Falls at Julia Pfieffer Burns State Park. These days are perfect for a hike on trails at places like Limekiln State Park, Garrapata State Beach, the Partington Cove Trail, or the Ewoldsen Trail. These are but a few of the treks you can take through the Big Sur wilderness when the winter weather calls for you to get out and explore the great outdoors. Check out the mating sea lions at Andrew Molera State Park and Garrapata as well as monarch butterflies in places like the Ventana Wilderness.
While some days beg to be seized here, the weather can turn quickly and winter storms will punish the unprepared. Stake out a homestead in one of Big Sur’s many cozy lodgings, like the Post Ranch Inn, Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn, the Fernwood Resort, and the Ventana Inn & Spa. You’ll be thanking you’re lucky stars as you cozy up to a roaring fire and sip hot cocoa and cocktails as a winter gale passes through the forests and sands you hiked just a short time ago.
Curious what you need to pack to survive a Northern Central Coast winter? Check out this NileGuide post to find out.