Big Sur's Natural Forests Offer Affordable Fun

Posted July 10, 2009 by Amy Westervelt

California-BigSur-BixbyBrid There's no place on Earth quite like Big Sur. The tiny hamlet along California's coastal Highway 1 has a little piece of everything that makes the Golden State beautiful crammed into a five-mile radius: redwoods, beaches, cliffs, hot springs, mountains, wildlife—not to mention award-winning spas and restaurants. Thankfully, you can still find a decent deal here, even if you're not into camping.

Point Sur Lighthouse: The Point Sur State Historic Park & Lighthouse is worth a visit any time of year. Perched on volcanic rock just off the coast, the walkways and lookouts surrounding the lighthouse provide prime Big Sur views even when the area's trademark fog is swirling about. In the summer, however, visitors can take a moonlit tour of the lighthouse. There's no better way to get a sense of the building's original purpose, and on the rare clear summer night, taking in the Big Sur coast by moonlight is an experience not to be missed. Tours cost $10.

Big Sur Roadhouse: Fortunately, some of the best food in the area is also some of the most affordable, particularly at the Big Sur Roadhouse. With an emphasis on California's Latino roots, the menu includes everything from straightforward but delicious enchiladas and burgers to more inventive dishes such as portobello mushroom caps stuffed with leeks, chilies, and Manchego cheese. The decor is also pleasant with a fireplace in the corner, wooden tables, and plenty of big picture windows, plus the staff is friendly and helpful. Entrees range from $14 to $26.

Treebones Resort: Set on a hillside with the Los Padres National Forest behind it and sweeping ocean views in front, the Treebones Resort offers 16 yurts, complete with heating, electricity, wood floors, and big comfy beds to make this the most luxurious camping-like experience you've ever had. The property also has a heated pool and hot tub, and a restaurant in the lodge where guests get a self-serve waffle bar breakfast each morning and can opt for dinner too, if they like. Showers and bathrooms are a short stroll away from each yurt, and are absolutely immaculate. Rates start at $155 per night including breakfast and require a two-night minimum on weekends and all stays April through October.

To search for flights and compare prices to San José, which is home to Big Sur’s nearest major airport, please use our price-comparison tool.

(Photo: Big Sur Chamber of Commerce)

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