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Top 5 Things to Do: Road Trip from Los Angeles to Big Sur

Recently my mother persuaded me to join her on a weekend trip to Big Sur, and it did not disappoint. Here is my ultimate guide to the top 5 things you must do while on a road trip to Big Sur, California.


Bart's Books Ojai California

Stop One: Bart's Books in Ojai, California

If you are a book lover like I am, then a stop at Bart's Books is a must. Bart's is an outdoor book store in Ojai, California, with a wide variety of books to choose from. They offer used books as well as newer releases. The first thing to note is the super cute outdoor area which creates the perfect calming space to browse for your new book. Also if the store is closed don't worry! They have a system set up where any of the books on the outside walls of the store are still available to purchase. All you have to do is slip coins through the door.


McWay Falls in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Stop Two: McWay Falls in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

We opted to walk the short overlook trail, which crosses the road opposite the parking lot and takes you through a tunnel to an overview of the waterfall. It is such a beautiful sight you have to see! The beach below is pristine and clean due to no one being able to get down the beach. It honestly makes it that much better of a spot to see. The waterfall is stunning, and the views of the coast are just as great.


Bixby Creek Bridge

Stop Three: Bixby Creek Bridge

This bridge was the reason for the trip. My mom had seen the bridge for years in famous movies, and it had been on her list to see. It is a classic spot as beautiful in person as it appears in Hollywood movies. There is no mistaking it as you round the corner on the Pacific Coast Highway, and it comes into view. (Although I will add embarrassingly enough, there was a much smaller bridge about 20 miles back my mom and me might have mistaken and gotten out to take pictures of ...oops) We were a little worried about parking, but it was not hard to find. You can also see views from in front of and behind the bridge allowing you to choose your perfect photo moment.


Carmel By The Sea

Stop Four: Shop and Dine in Carmel By The Sea

I may have found my new favorite seaside town and potential retirement spot (never too early to start looking I think.) Carmel by the Sea resembles a storybook town brought to life. This little town has lots to offer between whimsical buildings, tasty bakeries, and oceanfront access. We decided to go into Carmel for dinner on our road trip and peek around the little shops. We also made a special stop at the Carmel Bakery to satisfy our sweet tooth, and it did not disappoint. The great thing about Carmel by the Sea is that you can pretty much walk everywhere downtown you need to go.


Pebble Beach Golf Course 17 Mile Drive

Stop Five: Pebble Beach and the 17 Mile Drive

To get on the 17-mile drive, you have to go through an entrance, and the cost is 11.25 per vehicle. After you go through, you can cruise through the drive spotting stunning houses, beautiful ocean views, and the Pebble Beach Golf Course. We decided to stop at the golf course to get out for pictures and souvenirs. The course is stunning and has great shops with two beautiful restaurants overlooking the 18th hole. Even if you are not a big golf fan, I would definitely recommend this stop. The view is still amazing to see!

A Bonus Stop: From Scratch Restaurant

The five-hour drive would be worth doing again just to stop at From Scratch Restaurant. After researching the best spots to eat in Carmel by the Sea, we saw that this place made almost the top of every list. Before leaving to head back to LA on Sunday, we decided to try it, and we are so glad we did. They are open every day except Wednesday from 8 am to 2 pm. They are currently not taking reservations. There will be a wait, but it is worth it. We arrived at the restaurant around noon and had a little over an hour wait. After sitting, we scanned the menus and placed our orders. There were so many items that sounded delicious it was hard to choose, but I will say the side of waffle fries and homemade ranch I ordered were some of my favorites. While waiting, we learned about their feature on the show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. I would highly recommend stopping here on your road trip.


This post contains no sponsored content.


May 19, 2022

One of my favorite places I’ve ever visited. I’ve never seen an outdoor bookstore.


May 19, 2022

Thanks for the restaurant tip in Carmel, I wasn't too happy with my choice on my last visit!


May 19, 2022

Despite living near LA and visiting nearly on an annual basis, I have never driven up to Big Sur. I will need to make a point to try to do this someday, because it looks absolutely stunning. - Aireona


May 18, 2022

Lovely post! I've done Carmel-by-the-Sea and 17 mile drive on a California road trip I did. Next time I do one that goes through that area, I'd love to stop by that bridge, the picture is gorgeous!


Hi, thanks for stopping by!

My name is Caroline Goins. If you have found this site I can only assume you love to travel as much as I do! I am excited to have you join me on my journey as I travel the world and bring you along with me. 

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