Leaving Cambria the next morning, we continued Driving Big Sur Pacific Coast Highway to Monterey. Our first stop was Elephant Seal Vista Point in San Simeon about a thirty minute drive.
The parking lot is open to the public and is just a short distance to the beach. As soon as we opened our car doors, we could hear the seals. I could not believe how many were just lying on the beach and playing in the water.
Back in the car as we were traveling from San Simeon to Carmel, we encountered gorgeous scenery. This drive can be done in a couple of hours, but you should allow for a whole day. There is a lot traffic traveling this section of the Pacific Coast Highway. There is limited passing and unless people pull off for pictures you could be behind a long line of cars. If you are in a hurry, take the freeway. This road is meant to enjoy the views.
Forget about using your cell phone as there is very limited service throughout the route. For most of the trip we had no service and was glad we had mapped out our plans before we left. We were constantly stopping and taking pictures of these vistas and the stunning views.
We planned on having lunch at the Nepenthe Restaurant. They serve lunch everyday from 11:30 to 4:30. When we arrived a little after 11:00 there was already a line. We gave our name to the server and went to enjoy the view while we waited.
By the time they called our name, all the outside tables were taken and they sat as inside. We were shown to a table at the very front corner with a view that looked out over the Pacific Ocean.
This was our view.
The view was stunning, but the food was lacking considering how expensive everything was.
By the time we left the restaurant, there were even more people waiting for a table and the parking lot was jammed waiting for people to leave so they could take your spot.
TIP: Arrive really early before the restaurant opens in order to get a good table.
Back on the road the scenery got even better as we make our way north.
Our next stop was the famous Bixby Bridge. This is one of the most photographed bridges along the Pacific Coast Highway due to its design and location. Many car companies have used this bridge to film commercials. It was very busy when we arrived with no available parking. We took the dirt road on the other side of the road and parked our car about 25 to 50 feet in. Minimal traffic passes along this dirt road and there were plenty of open space to park and walk back to the bridge. We got a great shot of the bridge with the Pacific Ocean in the back ground. This is a busy place, so just be careful crossing over the road to take pictures.
After taking our pictures, it was back in the car as we made our way to Carmel.
TIP: Allow plenty of time to drive Pacific Highway. It takes longer to reach a destination due to heavy traffic and not many places to pass on this road. We ran into road construction which also caused delays. We were constantly stopping to take even more pictures as the views kept getting better. If you are in a hurry take another route. This is not a road to be in a hurry.