The charming storybook town of Carmel and Big Sur along the Pacific Coast Highway are one of my favorite places. If I were to retire with all the money in this world, I would most probably settle here. The seaside town of Carmel in Monterey County in California is lined with fairytale cottages and galleries. You feel like you’ve popped into a Hand Christian Anderson classic. Then you have the Pacific Coast highway where you cruise along stunning bluffs overlooking the ocean. It is the ultimate road trip!
We started our day at the scenic 17-mile drive through Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove on the Monterey Peninsula. I love how the fog looms over in Monterey which is quite common in the summer. The fog actually plays an integral role in sustaining the habitat that makes Monterey Bay area such a beautiful and diverse place. The hills were green and spring flowers in bloom.
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By noon we were in Carmel and the village was bustling with people. It was sunny and warm and we sat by the beach watching the waves crash while dogs were running around. It is the most dog-friendly place I have come across and that is just another reason to love it. I revisited the same old inns and homes on Ocean Avenue. As I check-listed every door, corner, and spot in Carmel, I realized I do this everytime I am here. Looking back I feel there is joy in reliving a place that is special to you.
The highlight of my day, of course, was Pacific Coast Highway. No matter how many times you drive on CA-1, it is guaranteed to bring gasps and huge smiles. Big Sur is the longest and most scenic stretch of undeveloped, rugged coastline in the US. It offers dramatic views with the Santa Lucia Mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean alongside. The scenery in Big Sur is unmatched. For those debating between mountains and beaches, Big Sur gives you both. I am not exaggerating when I say that Big Sur is one of the best drives on Earth. Due to the remoteness of the region, there is limited to no cell service. Besides driving along the coast, Big Sur has a large number of state parks offering hiking and outdoor activities. Due to the ongoing road closures, we could not go all the way but it was nonetheless extraordinary.