Details of the Big Sur Drive
Start & End Point of the Drive
Big Sur starts in the Carmel Highlands near Monterey and ends at San Simeon near Cambria.
Driving through Big Sur is free, although admission to state parks has a fee.
Total Drive Time:
2-3 hours one way.
Can You Stop?
You can and should stop at any pullouts that look attractive. You won’t really find any stores or fuel between Carmel and Big Sur town.
Type of Drive:
There and back, or one way if you’re doing it as part of a long road trip.
Time of Year to Head to Big Sur
Big Sur is accessible all year round, but weather can be highly variable on the Central Coast so we always suggest layering up. Here’s our take on what to expect for each season:
Early spring can have intermittently rainy days, late spring tends to be drier. Conditions are often beautiful but can be windy and chilly so layer up. Usually not very crowded.
Early summer tends to be foggy and can be chilly, with temperatures ranging from 60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, sometimes within a 10-minute drive. Late summer tends to be warmer, but is peak season for tourists so popular spots can be packed. Try to do a weekday drive if you can.
Some of the best weather in the central coast happens in the early fall. Conditions tend to be warm and calm, although morning fog is still common. Weekends are still busy but weekdays see few crowds. Chilly weather sets in later in the fall but mid-day conditions are often beautiful, and there are a lot fewer people on the road.
Generally colder temperatures are in the 50s and 60s, but with occasional heat waves in the 70s and 80s. Rain is much more common. Seldom crowded, winter trips can be very beautiful but be sure to bundle up.