Big Sur Attractions

"B IG Sur conjures it all: redwoods, waterfalls, hot tubs, hippies, beatniks, Jack Kerouac and Henry Miller, in no particular order. If ever a place represented the freedom and beauty of California, this is it." - Sunset Magazine

Big Sur is the most heartbreakingly beautiful coast in the world, sometimes known as the American Riviera. Highway One stretches for a hundred cliff-hugging miles above the boundless blue of the Pacific Ocean, winding from San Simeon in the South to Carmel in the North. There is no official "town" of Big Sur. This unincorporated area includes a small post office and a number of parks, restaurants, stores, and shops located along the same six-mile section of Highway 1. An excellent source for in-depth information on Big Sur can be found via our Chamber of Commerce site.

A note to the wise…It is almost always sweater weather on the Big Sur coast. Summer fog alternates with warm sunshine, and winter days are bright with intermittent rainfall. Early mornings as well as evenings can be chilly. Please ask our staff about hiking trails on the Deetjens property: The Bench Trail with 180 degree ocean views, and the more challenging Deer Bed Trail in our canyon. You'll find some of the best California Condor viewing in Big Sur just south of the Inn.

We invite you to explore the splendid beauty of Big Sur. Below we offer some of our favorite spots for reflection, romance and renewal.

Big Sur Sites and Hikes WE ENJOY

CoastlineCoast Gallery

2.3 miles south of the Inn, the Coast Gallery offers a wide range of works by many Big Sur artists, including Henry Miller Lithographs.

Partington Cove

Partington Cove, 5.4 miles south of Deetjens on Highway 1, is beautiful and wild. Walk through the redwoods and waterfalls of the canyon, or down to the rocky cove. Please ask a Deetjens staff member for detailed directions.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

7.25 miles from Deetjens south on Highway 1, you'll find the spectacular McWay Waterfalls, the only waterfall on the California coast that empties directly into the sea. After you enter the park on the east side, walk beneath the highway through the tunnel to reach the overlook for the falls (hiking to the falls is very dangerous and not permitted.) Instead, please try walking the Ewoldsen Trail, a 6-mile loop under the redwoods on the East side of the Highway.

River at MoleraEsalen Institute

10.8 miles south of Deetjens on the west side of Highway 1, the Esalen Institute is famous for its natural sulphur (clothing optional) baths, human potential workshops and massage school. You must be a registered guest of Esalen Institute to enter the grounds. Or for late night bath reservations (1am-3am) please visit Esalen Institute and click the "visit" button.

Henry Miller Library

Henry Miller came to Big Sur in 1944 for a visit and stayed for a decade, writing Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymous Bosch while living here. Artist Emil White donated his home and personal collection of Miller's books to create the Library which has grown to include a substantial archive for the writer's works. Now home to avant-garde poetry, art and music shows, the Library is also available for weddings. Closed Mondays. Located .25 miles north of Deetjens on Highway One.

New Camaldolese HERMITAGE

Since the founding of the Hermitage in 1958, monks of this ancient tradition have offered hospitality to visitors. Attend daily Mass, browse a wonderful bookstore or picnic on the lovely grounds. Located slightly north of Lucia, east of Highway One. Inquiries please call 831 667 2456.


Pronounced "Neh-penth-ee", this delightful family restaurant, designed by architect Rowan Maiden, has graced the Big Sur coast since 1949. Overlooking the ocean, Nepenthe is perfect for a romantic cocktail at sunset, a hearty lunch or when traveling with children (of all ages!)

The Phoenix Shop

Opened in the 1950's by Nepenthe family matriarch Lolly Fassett, The Phoenix Shop is chock-full of treasures from all over the world. The Shop also offers a variety of books about both Big Sur's natural history and colorful past.

Pfeiffer BeachLOCAL COLOR

Central Coast's Local Artisans Gallery, Local Color features art by a variety of Big Sur artists: original paintings and photographs as well as indigenous jade adornments, redwood bowls and colorful clothing. Located in the Village Shops at the mouth of the Big Sur Valley, and open daily from 10am - 5pm.

Coast Ridge Road

Follow the driveway at the entrance of Ventana Inn up the hill to Coast Ridge Road. For the serious hiker only, the Coast Ridge Road goes up to the Coastal Range and has some fantastic views of the Ventana Wilderness Trail maps of the area are available from the U.S. Forest Service' station on the Post Ranch Grade. Please ask a Deetjens staff member for directions to the Ranger Station.

Pfeiffer State ParkPfeiffer Big Sur State Park

Located 4 miles north of the Inn, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park offers 821 awesome acres of redwood forests, miles of trails, impressive rock formations, picnic spots, swimming holes along the Big Sur River, and more. You'll find Big Sur's oldest redwood near the back of the park near the baseball field.

The Big Sur Health Center

A fully staffed clinic serving the local community and visitors, the Big Sur Health Center also provides emergency care. It is located 5.5 miles north of the Inn. (831) 667 2580.

Andrew Molera State Park

8.5 miles north of the Inn, Molera Beach lies at the mouth of the Big Sur River and boast many stunning trails along the bluffs, through meadows and forest. Most trails begin just a 1-mile walk from the parking area. Captain Cooper Cabin is the oldest Big Sur structure and is located among the eucalyptus trees going out toward the beach. You must cross the river to access the beach. There is a footbridge most of the year, Andrew Molera State Parkbut it is removed in winter months. Horseback riding is available and there are great bird-watching opportunities, with Andrew Molera State Park having the most diverse avian population in Big Sur.

Old Coast Road

Old Coast Road is located across the highway of the entrance of Andrew Molera State Park. It was the road used before the Highway 1 was built. A beautiful 13-mile drive on a country dirt road, it ends 8.5 miles north near Bixby Bridge. It is not passable in wet weather.

Point Sur Lighthouse

Located 11 miles north of the Inn, the Point Sur Lighthouse is full of mystery and history. Tours are available. (831) 625-4419.