Big Sur Weather
There isn’t a single month during the year when we haven’t had a great time in Big Sur. Which is not to say that every day has perfect hiking weather, but even December and January can have beautiful days with temperatures in the low 60s.
The central California coastal area is described as having a Mediterranean climate, which is largely tempered by the Pacific Ocean and the presence of the Santa Lucia mountains.
In General, temperatures near the water swing from the 50s to the lower 60s (winter) and 70s (summer) with inland and higher elevations peaking in the 100s during the summer months. Nights can cool down quite bit throughout the year, so it is always a good idea to bring a sweater no matter what season.
Fog can roll in anytime, and will immediately cool down a warm day in a matter of minutes. The wettest months are December through February, with little rain during summer to early fall.
Whenever we hike in Big Sur, we always bring a couple of sweaters in the car.
If you want to see what it looks like in Big Sur right now, check out the live Nepenthe Web Cam for a view south along the coast.
Hiking Books of Interest
For more in-depth information about the area, hikes, or backpacking, four favorite resources for exploring in Big Sur are:
The above links will get you these books from Amazon.com, but if you are planning a visit to the area, consider getting them at the Henry Miller Memorial Library located along Highway 1, just 3 miles south of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.
There is also a great selection of books at the Phoenix Shop located just below the Nepenthe Restaurant, and at the gift shop at the Big Sur Lodge.
Like most folks that visit, we have our favorite places to eat in Big Sur.
The ideal dining itinerary for us is breakfast at Deetjens, lunch at Nepenthe (or at Treebones or Lucia Lodge if further south) and dinner at Cielo. Eat like this and you’ll have to hike all day long just to burn off the calories.
And of course other great food options abound to fit most budgets: Lucia Lodge, Big Sur River Inn, Big Sur Roadhouse, Post Ranch Inn’s Sierra Mar, Big Sur Lodge, Gorda’s Whale Watcher Cafe, and more.
Gas / Bus
Gas is available at several spots along Highway 1, however prices are a bit higher than in Monterey or San Luis Obispo. There are stations at the Ragged Point Inn, Gorda, and a couple in Big Sur itself.
There is bus service down to Big Sur from Monterey and Carmel. Check the Monterery-Salinas Transit site for details and maps.
Options range from basic camping to world class resorts. If you want a nice roof over your head at a reasonable price, we’ve always enjoyed the cabins at the Big Sur Lodge, which locates you right in the middle of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.
However, nothing can beat the rustic charm of Deetjens Inn, the family welcome at the Lucia Lodge or the luxury of the Ventana Inn.
• Big Sur Lodge
• Big Sur River Inn
• Deetjens Inn
• Fernwood Resort
• Glen Oaks Big Sur
• Gorda Springs Resort
• Lucia Lodge
• Post Ranch Inn
• Ragged Point Inn
• Ripplewood Resort
• Riverside Campground and Cabins
• TreeBones Resort
• Ventana Inn & Spa
The Big Sur Chamber of Commerce has comprehensive information about the area including places to stay and eat. The Henry Miller Memorial Library is our favorite place to hang out between hikes.
If you are not sure how to navigate Big Sur, I would recommend exploring some hiking apps.
• Big Sur Chamber of Commerce
• Henry Miller Memorial Library
• Ventana Wilderness Alliance
• Seize The Day Monterey
• The Pelican Network
• The Double Cone Register
• California’s Redwood Hikes (Big Sur)
• Trees of Big Sur
Nature and hiking workshops are available with Steven Harper at Esalen Institute and Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in Big Sur and the Santa Lucia Mountains.
The Monterey Bay Sanctuary Foundation is a non-profit that supports conservation of our coastal resources. In particular they have been working with the state of California to make Californians and visitors aware of thier recent (2013) landmark achievement in setting aside 124 underwater parks along our coastline.