This winter California has experienced record-breaking rainstorms and blizzards, with nearly half of the state, including Monterey, no longer considered in drought. Since early October Big Sur has received more rain in the past few months – 43.41 inches – than the area’s entire yearly average rainfall of 41.91 inches.
The region is known for its breathtaking and often misty coastline, winding turns of its highway, seaside cliffs and numerous state parks for hiking and camping.
Once the storms cleared up a few weeks ago we decided to take a drive along Highway 1 and check out Big Sur. The downside, road closures from mudslides just after Bixby Bridge. On the plus side, we were one of the few cars in the area. Last time we travelled to Big Sur we were bumper to bumper with locals and tourists flocking to the area on sunnier days.
The drive to Bixby Bridge is a stunning 24km (15 miles) from Carmel-by-the-Sea along California’s Pacific coastline.
On our way to Big Sur we stopped along Carmel Highlands. We thought we were blessed with clear skies for the rest of our trip along Highway 1, oh how wrong we were.
The further down Highway 1 we drove, the foggier the view became and the rougher the ocean roared. The roads stayed clear however which is always welcomed!
The Pacific coastline was being battered by wild waves. It was incredible to watch the landscape take each hit – you wouldn’t want to be stuck in the ferocious swell on a rainy day.
We stopped along the highway to get some snaps of Rocky Creek Bridge. Admittedly, we thought we’d already reached the famous Bixby Bridge until we saw the Rocky Creek Bridge sign… whoops.
After driving a few minutes down the road, we made it to our final destination, the picturesque Bixby Bridge.
The bridge opened in 1932, connecting Big Sur residents to the rest of Northern California. It remains one of the tallest single-span concrete bridges in the world – and one of the most photographed bridges in California.
If you’re travelling to California, Highway 1 is a bucket-list must! It’s rare to get a sunny, clear day in Big Sur – at least that’s our experience – but that’s the magic of Central California.
With the huge amounts of rainfall in the region, the landscape has come alive with hues of lush green. A stunning contrast to the white rolling fog, rugged cliffsides and striking blue ocean. The coastline is also prone to road closures due to mudslides, check Big Sur Chamber’s Twitter before planning a trip to the area.
If you’re lucky enough to get a clear day, check out one of the area’s top restaurants with a view and soak up the spanning Pacific ocean and Big Sur coastline scenery.
One final tip, dress in layers! It can get cold along the highway – and in California in general – so dress for cool, foggy weather.
Make sure to take your camera and enjoy your unique experience of central California’s ever-alluring Big Sur.