We caught up with T.J. from Ottawa, fresh off a Big Sur road trip with his wife. Last year they traveled to Hawaii on their honeymoon and drove the beautiful Road to Hana in Maui, so they wanted to experience another classic drive overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Thanks for sharing your Big Sur road trip, T.J.!

Where are you from, and what inspired you to take a Big Sur road trip?

We are from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. We’ve always wanted to visit California, especially San Francisco and LA. We’ve always heard amazing things and seen beautiful photos of Big Sur and the coast. So we got the idea of flying into San Francisco, renting a car, then driving down the coast to Los Angeles.

What was your favorite stop along the road trip?

It’s really tough to pick just one… so here are a couple. We left San Francisco early on a Sunday morning and took Highway 1 south. We arrived in Monterey, where we had a drink and enjoyed the views from the shore. Nice little coastal town. Then we went to Carmel-by-the-Sea. We LOVED this little town. Loved the little shops and restaurants. We would have liked to stay a bit longer to walk down all the little side streets and explore a bit more. We continued down Highway 1 and made a couple stops at look-out points to see the beautiful coastline. We stopped at Bixby Bridge, which we found very cool and a very memorable moment.

Because the highway was closed beyond Pfeiffer Canyon/Beach, we circled back going north on Highway 1 until we could get onto the 101 south, which we took until Cambria. We stayed in Cambria for a night at a great B&B. We really enjoyed Cambria even though we were only there for a short time. We saw lots of wildlife here, too; hump back whales, dolphins otters and elephant seals, right from the shore! The next day we continued on the Highway 1 south headed to LA. Ultimately, we didn’t get to do the full Big Sur drive, but we really enjoyed driving along the coast of California and the audio guide was great to have with us for the drive.

What tips do you have for fellow Big Sur road trippers?

Our main tip would be to check the road closures before planning a trip. Obviously we would have liked to have been able to do the entire drive through the Big Sur, but we still wanted to go ahead with the trip. We found that going south on Highway 1 was ideal since we were right along the coast the entire drive, offering better views and it was easier to pull off into look-out points.