Many tourists drive Highway 1 along the California Central Coast throughout the year. It’s an incredibly scenic route and the highlight is usually the Big Sur Section in northern San Luis Obispo County and southern Monterey County. And while there are plenty of well-known “must see” beaches along the Big Sur Coast, this area offers a lot more if you know where to look.
Starting in the town of Cambria it is just under a three-hour drive to Carmel if you don’t make any stops. But it’s hard not to stop when there are so many parks, beaches, and ocean overlooks that beg you to pull off the highway. Most road trippers still miss some of the most impressive beaches that the state has to offer. We call these beaches “hidden gems” and the Big Sur Region has several fabulous gems.
Some of these little-known beaches are in the area north of San Simeon which is home to nearby Hearst Castle. Others are closer to the small town of Big Sur, a launching point for hiking and backpacking trips along this rugged coast. All of these beaches require a short hike to get from your car to the beach, but it’s worth the effort to visit beautiful, uncrowded, remote beaches.
Below is our list of the best beaches that tourists miss out on along the Big Sur Coast.