Big Sur Travel Information and Travel Tips Header Photo for Through the Seasons Page featuring a bunch of California Poppies and a couple of purple lupine, a beautiful scenic spring time wildflower picture taken in Big Sur California., a new website aimed at becoming your Go To First Website to visit for planning your travel vacation to the scenic Big Sur Coast. You will find in a condensed form all the information, tricks, and tips to enhance your vacation at California’s famous Big Sur. Don Smith Webmaster/Travel Guide.

Thinking of traveling or vacationing around California's Big Sur? Pick a season, they are all good in there own way, winter, spring, summer, fall, you will love them all. These days although the seasons change the Big Sur Coast stays busy all the time summer time is just worse than others, it can get really crazy...pack your patience.

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Big Sur California and the Tourism Business Changes Through the Seasons:

Autumn Big Sur Vacation Travel Tips Logo
FALL in my opinion is the best time to vacation in Big Sur, the kids have gone back to school, most of the vacationers have gone back to work and the fog has given way to sunny days and blue skies. Although the weekends can still get crazy during the weekdays Big Sur takes on it’s peaceful ambiance.
It is ironic that the Big Sur Coast’s best weather comes after the busy summer season is over and the crowds are gone and the only people there to enjoy the beautiful days are the locals and a few privileged others. Fall began here September 23 and typically during the fall, an area of high pressure builds at the surface over the Great Basin (the area between the Sierra Nevada range to the west and the Rocky Mountains to the east) and begins to dominate Central California coastal weather. These conditions most often produce northeasterly (offshore) winds, especially during the night and morning hours. These winds bring the relatively dry air to our shoreline, pushing the marine layer far out to sea, which produces sparkling, clear visibility along our beaches and the warmest temperatures of the year.
The tourists desert the Big Sur Coast after summer leaving it sometimes eerily peaceful but towards the end of October the colors turning of the deciduous trees in the river and creek valleys and bright red poison oak help brighten things up and the migrating monarch butterflies arrive by the thousands and the Rufas and Allen's Hummingbirds come to dine and joust in amazing aerial battles with the local Anna’s humming birds as it migrates through towards its' winter home in Northern Mexico. If you keep a keen eye to the ocean migrating whales can still be spotted off-shore including the world’s largest animal the blue whale and visit the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery to view the cute youngsters of the colony as they haul-out onto the beach for a rest...Pesky beach creatures: Besides the wonderful big and beautiful wildlife that make seasonal appearance in the fall there is also a pesky little creature, the kelp fly (Coelopa frigida) which at times can be quite annoying in the fall when they can appear in large numbers or swarms; still they are an important part of the California beach ecosystem. You can boo them and shoo them but they don’t spread disease like their house fly and mosquito cousins and kelp flies in their various forms of development are an important part of breaking down dead seaweed on the beach in the wracks and are food for many shore and other bird species. Regretfully skillful flight and brisk sea breezes make it possible for these “beach creatures” to come in mass a mile or more inland to just annoy us:(
There are a few drawbacks to Big Sur fall vacationing like especially right now it can get mighty dry, you will face water restrictions and no campfires are allowed anywhere so you can maybe get that coveted ocean view campsite that is impossible to get during the summer but you can’t build a campfire or have a barbecue (gas cook stoves are usually acceptable but check with a state Ranger or USDF for current restrictions). Also the beautiful Big Sur waterfalls are at their worst, but their trails can still make enjoyable short hikes but the payoff is much degraded when there is little water. Parks and tourist businesses began to cut back hours, change their schedules and drop summertime offerings like weekday events, campfire meetings and Junior Rangers.
Still you won’t have to join a line of cars on the highway or wait a long time to get service, I think all think all things considered I personally would rather enjoy Big Sur during the fall.
I enjoy being able to easily get my preferred campsites or to haggle for a cheap rate at one of the motels. The people you meet and mix with are typically locals even the other tourists are mostly other Californians. Offshore winds push back the marine clouds far out to sea and produces sparkling clear visibility and the warmest temperatures of the year; these conditions also allow for some of the most beautiful photographs. The ambiance is more peaceful but if you are looking for some action in the fall some of the areas best special events like the Jade Festival, Big Sur Food and Wine Festival the Big Sur River Run take place in Autumn and on weekends there is still live music at the usual venues like Fernwood Resort,(831-667-2129) the Henry Miller Library (831-667-2574) and , Treebones Yurt Camp (877-424-4787).

Winter Big Sur Vacation Travel Tips Logo

Winter in Big Sur is a magical time and it is truly a great time to vacation on the scenic California Coast! Winter doesn't officially start until December 21 but after Thanksgiving weekend the tourist business in Big Sur pretty much dies; this is when many business turn to their "winter specials" in an attempt to lure in the off-season tourist dollars. It almost never freezes on the coast, the weather is often mellow and in-between storms the almost deserted highway 1 can be a real pleasure to travel (at least weekdays and during periods of dry weather). Off-season is my favorite time to visit Big Sur, the fog is the worst during the summer and so is the traffic on the Pacific Coast Highway 1 and waiting lines for lunch and dinner. You will find winter specials (Big Sur Lodge -- Ragged Point Motel) and the lowest seasonal prices and Big Sur businesses are hungry and willing to dicker for your tourist dollars; in the winter the best dedicated employees are available and anxious to provide you with a memorable Big Sur vacationer experience! Numerous highway 1 traveler business and tourist attractions get into the Christmas and New Year and Super Bowl holiday spirit for an enhanced visit; Hearst Castle gets all decked out for Christmas with vintage decorations just like when W.R. Hearst did in “the day”, try the seasonal Evening Tour available until the end of the year. After that my wintertime favorite Hearst Castle tour covers the history of the development and over 30 years of construction of the castle in detail; called the “Designing the Dream” tour; it is an extended 1 1/2 tour where you will be guided through a guest house and the main house as the guides talk features the background of the design and construction evolution of William Randolph Hearst’s San Simeon historic palatial manor, then you get to wander the grounds ornamental gardens unguided on your own.
The winter rains turn the hills emerald green and get the creeks all pumped up and the beautiful natural Big Sur Waterfalls are spectacular and provide nice short hikes through the newly greened lush countryside. If you are looking for some entertainment or activities you will still find some live music on weekends, New Year’s celebrations are everywhere and one of the area’s biggest and most popular celebrations the Big Sur Foragers Festival takes place in January.
The whales are migrating south to feed, give birth and breed; view them blowing from the vista points or take a Pacific Ocean excursion from Monterey or Morro Bay. Visiting Monterey and the nonprofit Monterey Bay Aquarium is good in any season and visiting the southern end of scenic Big Sur is attractive now also; Piedras Blancas elephant seal rookery has added to the already extensive bluff-top boardwalks and in the winter the Alpha males arrive to stake out and defend their territories for their harem of pregnant females soon arriving and giving birth to those cute little pups before they again begin breeding, see the SEALS ACTIVITIES MONTH by MONTH CALENDAR for the seals routines. Ragged Point Inn has the closest restrooms you must stop there to at least stretch legs and check the coastal views anyway.
A scenic Pacific Coast Highway 1 highway closed sign and road barricade to highlight the rainy season and possibility of highway one closures. The "Rainy Season" Generally Runs from November - February in Central California plan your road trips and adjust accordingly and check weather and highway 1 road conditions before you leave home. Always drive extra cautiously after storms on Scenic Pacific Coast Highway 1; the highway is NOT safe to drive during storms, it is prone to falling rocks and mud/rock slides.

Spring Big Sur Vacation Travel Tips Logo

Early spring is a great time to get a jump on the tourist season rush and visit the Big Sur Coast. Winter is over and all the seasonal offerings like the campfire meetings, live music, and evening Hearst Castle and Moonlight Point Sur Lighthouse tours are getting started and will be in full swing craziness by Memorial Day weekend.

Big Sur has awakened from its winter slumber to take advantage of spring travelers; some business and attractions increase times of operations and expand their offerings like the Point Sur Lighthouse Moonlight Tours begin in April and the wonderful Hearst Castle Evening Tours have already begun. On the weekends Big Sur is starting to rock with live music and entertainment; check the calendars at places like the Fernwood Resort and Tavern (831-667-2129) and the Big Sur River Inn (831-667-2700), plus the social center of Big Sur the Henry Miller Library (831-667-2574), the and check the calendar of Big Sur things to see & do January/June.
Big Sur businesses are hungry for your tourist dollars in times like these; enjoy paradise unspoiled by fog, heavy traffic or crowds; many service people are available and anxious to provide you with a memorable springtime Big Sur vacation experience!
The winter rains have the creeks all pumped up and the beautiful natural Big Sur Waterfalls are spectacular and provide nice short hikes through the green lush forests and many wildflowers are in bloom now from the coast into the backcountry. Visiting the southern end of scenic Big Sur is attractive now also; Piedras Blancas elephant Piedras Blancas elephant seals are always up to something see the SEALS ACTIVITIES MONTH by MONTH CALENDAR for the seals routines; and the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse(805) 927-7361 is offering tours of their grounds and facilities Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Ragged Point has the closest restrooms you must stop there to at least check the coastal views anyway. Further south visit the tiny historic village of San Simeon and the latest addition a tasting room in Sebastian’s General Store for Hearst Ranch Wines so now have fun tasting great local wine there! Do some exploring and have some adventures along with getting pampered at one of the fine resorts on the scenic Big Sur Coast Highway 1!

Summer Big Sur Vacation Travel Tips Logo
Summer is Big Sur’s busiest tourist season but it is still a wonderful time to vacation there. You just need to make adjustments like slowing down, getting more patients and scheduling your day in harmony with the flow of all the other visitors and weather.
I love the fogs and mists that develop on the coast when it gets hot inland it gives the place another-worldly mystical look and feel. The weather regretfully can bring in a thick marine layer of clouds and in the mornings and evenings a dense fog can often envelope the coast and block the scenic views and can greatly disappoint visitors who would like to sightsee breathtaking ocean views. When you plan your vacation you should include a foggy coast plan B. The work-around options are all good…wait it out, relax and have a coffee at one of the Sur’s many espresso bars, the fog often lifts by midday…get away from it, go inland on a wine tasting side trip across highway 46, maybe take the family on a California history adventure across Nacimiento-Ferguson Road to visit Mission San Antonio de Padua and stay at the old Hearst Ranch Headquarters or get above it, the Big Sur backcountry and Valley are usually above the fog and out of it…inner tube down the Big Sur River or bask in the shade of the redwood forests or something else cool..
Summer brings extended business hours and special offerings like the State Park campground campfire meetings for all, Ranger led nature lectures, Junior Rangers for the kids and live music for older folks and families, and special Ranger guided whale watching and Sunset or Moonlight Point Sur Lighthouse and Piedras Blancas tours are all available for your participation and enjoyment.
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