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5 Most Instagrammable Places in Big Sur, CA

Hidden Gems of the Coastal Lens: Big Sur's Best Photo Spots

 Natalie Kowalewski
NatalieTravel Guide
5 Most Instagrammable Places in Big Sur, CA

Explore captivating photo spots in Big Sur, California, including an enchanting cove with a delicate waterfall pouring onto a pristine beach, creating an iconic coastal scene. Drive along the picturesque coast, marvel at majestic bridges, and discover a moderately challenging trail with waterfalls and a refreshing swimming hole. Experience ancient redwoods along various trails, including a deck providing an immersive encounter with towering giants, and venture to a hidden arch along a secluded dirt road, offering a tranquil escape.

Tip: While you are adventuring, keep an eye out for California Sea Otters, as they inhabit the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, covering 276 miles of coastline and spanning 5,322 square miles of ocean.

McWay Cove & Falls

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Photo courtesy of California State Parks 

Explore panoramic trails above a cliff-backed beach cove with a delicate, threadlike waterfall pouring into the sand on this easy three-quarter-mile out-and-back trail. The path is flat and wide, with a modest elevation gain of 50 feet. Take in the breathtaking sights, including the iconic 80-foot McWay Waterfall, which gracefully cascades onto a pristine beach below—a captivating image and one of the rare waterfalls in the United States that flows directly into the ocean. Restrooms are available, and please be aware of the parking fee for this enchanting coastal experience.

Tip: Unfortunately, furry friends are not allowed in the park due to ongoing preservation. For more details about dog allowance in California Parks, check out: https://www.parks.ca.gov/dogs

Big Creek & Bixby Bridges

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Photo courtesy of Visit California

  • Distance from Wander Big Sur Point: 5.4 - 27 miles

Experience two iconic bridges along the Big Sur coast, perfect for a photoshoot with the majestic Californian coastal cliffs. On your drive from San Francisco, marvel at the engineering feat of Bixby Bridge, completed in 1932, soaring 260 feet above the picturesque Bixby Creek canyon. Meanwhile, the Big Creek Bridge, a 589-foot concrete deck arch bridge, offers breathtaking views as it spans Big Creek Canyon, just 5 miles south of the house. 

Big Sur River Gorge 

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Photo courtesy of AllTrails

Embark on a moderately challenging 1.1-mile trail near Big Sur, California, usually completed in around 22 minutes, perfect for birding and hiking enthusiasts. Discover waterfalls and a refreshing swimming hole along the trail while experiencing the beauty of Big Sur, California, for a fee of $10 per car, per day. 

Tip: Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed in the park and will need to stay at home during your adventure.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

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Photo courtesy of Max Whittaker Save the Redwoods League

  • Distance from Wander Big Sur Point: 13.7 miles 

  • Hours: 8AM-Sunset 

Experience the ancient redwoods of Big Sur along various trails in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, with the Redwood Deck at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park recommended for an immersive experience among these majestic giants. Nestled in a grove of old-growth redwoods, some over 2,500 years old and reaching heights of over 300 feet, the deck offers visitors the chance to marvel at the beauty of these ancient giants, breathe in the fresh forest air, and listen to the soothing sounds of the forest.

Keyhole Arch at Pfeiffer Beach 

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Photo courtesy of Yusun Chung/@edwoodya


  • Distance from Wander Big Sur Point: 14.6 miles

  • Hours: 8AM-Sunset

Hidden along a narrow, one-lane dirt road in Big Sur, California, a secluded beach with a hidden Keyhole Arch rock formation awaits, shielded by large, steep cliffs. Accessible from Pfeiffer Beach, this natural wonder is a short 10-minute walk from a paved parking area with restrooms, offering a tranquil escape from the nearby Pacific Coast Highway.

Tip: Note the there is a $10 charge for parking per car

Your Instagram feed will thank you after snapping a picture at any (or all if you're up to it) of these wonders of nature. Don't forget to share moments from your trip to Wander Big Sur Point as well and tag us (@wander) so that we can relive those special moments with you.

If you ever need anything else before or during your trip, please reach out to our 24/7 Wander Concierge via the Wander app or send them a text at 737-377-3205 - they're happy to help-. We can't wait to see those snapshots!

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