Big Little Lies Monterey guide

If you’re a fan of the hit HBO show Big Little Lies, you’re in the right place. If you haven’t seen the show but love Monterey, you’re also in the right place!

Big Little Lies is based on a book set in Australia, and follows a group of mums and the events leading up to a mysterious death.

The show was filmed in Monterey, California, a county that oozes breathtaking views and scenic drives. It’s also one of the most beautiful spots along the California coastline, making it a popular Highway 1 destination.

Check out the following filming locations seen throughout the series to plan your next Monterey getaway and make the most out of local hot-spots.


Jane, Madeline and Celeste at Fisherman’s Wharf, photo: HBO

Monterey Bay Aquarium

You can’t film a show in Monterey without including the iconic Monterey Bay Aquarium. Not new to the spotlight, the aquarium was the real-life inspiration for the Disney film Finding Dory.IMG_0411

Located along Cannery Row, the aquarium is featured on the show’s opening scene and where Jane (Shailene Woodley) took her son Ziggy for a day out. Renata (Laura Dern) also served on the board of the aquarium in the show.

The aquarium is a huge hit with people of all ages and is a must-see when visiting the area. Check out tickets and times here.

Highway 1

Like Monterey Bay Aquarium, Bixby Creek Bridge is also featured in the opening credits and is a popular photo stop along Highway 1. The bridge is featured several times throughout the show as the characters are seen driving along the famous coastline into Monterey. fullsizeoutput_72cThe director of the show, Jean-Marc Vallée, fell in love with the rough and violent Pacific ocean along highway 1 and saw a symbolism that linked to the show’s dramatic plot-line.

Garrapata State Park

Garrapata State Park is another highway 1 hot-spot where locals go for uncrowded hikes, coastal trails and beach picnics.

The scenic coastal park was featured a few times in the show, including where Jane almost runs off a rugged coastal cliff and the beach in the final scene.

If you’re travelling through Big Sur on your California road trip, Garrapata is a great spot for a hike, and you might even see whales, dolphins or sea otters.


Fisherman’s Wharf

Want to find the cafe where the characters had their morning coffee and gossip? It’s actually an Italian restaurant at Fisherman’s Wharf.

The restaurant, Paluca Trattoria, is our favourite lunch and dinner destination at Fisherman’s Wharf. The coffee, wine, food, views and local harbor seals make this a special, yet casual, dining option.

Fisherman’s Wharf also has some great seafood options with happy hour oysters at Grotto Fish Market, king crab at Domenico’s and clam chowder at the Grotto.

You can also go whale watching from the wharf with several tours daily with a guaranteed chance of seeing marine life each trip. Check out a previous post here on what you can expect to see whale watching in Monterey.

Del Monte Beach

This tucked-away local favourite was the sandy shore where the characters were often seen running. It’s also where Jane had several flashback scenes during the series.

Del Monte beach is the same location where Celeste’s (Nicole Kidman) apartment is in the show. Before moving into the apartment, the jaw-dropping house she was living in is located in the Carmel Highlands and is worth more than 6 million dollars.

DSC_0504I live a stones throw from Del Monte beach and know some people that live in the apartments, hence the champagne with that famous view. The left photo is where Celeste’s apartment is based.

I highly recommend heading to the start of Del Monte beach (off of Del Monte avenue) and stroll along the shoreline to Fisherman’s Wharf for a coffee or wine taste at the Wharf Marketplace.

Pacific Grove

When the sun shines in Pacific Grove, Lovers Point is the place to be. It was also the place to be for Jane and Ziggy after they visited Monterey Bay Aquarium.

This scenic hangout was also where Ed and Nathan, Madeline’s (Reese Witherspoon) current and ex-husbands’, had an argument.

Lovers Point is a popular local stomping ground to spot marine life, surf, swim, play volleyball, take wedding photos and picnic.


For more Big Little Lies information, check out HBO here. Or if you’re planning a trip to Monterey check out See Monterey here.


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