• Gabriella Viola

9 Amazing Photography Spots along the Big Sur Coastline

Updated: Jul 10

Google "California road trip" and images of Highway 1 and Big Sur will be some of the first you'll see.

The Big Sur coastline is a rugged stretch of coast in Central California that features some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. Seaside cliffs, scenic vistas, beaches, and waterfalls are just some of the natural splendors you'll get to enjoy while road-tripping through this iconic section of Highway 1.

Generally speaking the "Big Sur coastal drive" refers to the 90 miles of coast between San Luis Obispo and Monterey. This post will cover locations between McWay Falls and Monterey. In my opinion, this is the prettiest section of the drive with the most photo opportunities; both iconic and off the beaten path.

The locations are ordered chronologically beginning north in Monterey and heading south towards Big Sur, but the drive is equally stunning no matter which direction you choose to do it from. Here are 9 amazing photo locations along the Big Sur drive.

1. Lover's Point at Pacific Grove

purple carpet of wildflowers at Lovers Point in Pacific Grove Monterey California
Magenta wildflowers along Pacific Grove’s Ocean View Boulevard

Pacific Grove in Monterey is lovely any time of year. However, in late spring, brilliant magenta flowers bloom all along the shoreline in Pacific Grove, specifically around Lover's Point and Perkins Park. The wildflowers have been dubbed the "purple carpet" and the best time to see the carpet in full bloom is mid to late May.

Read here for more information about the purple blooms at Pacific Grove in Monterey, California.

Where: Lover's Point Pacific Grove

2. China Cove at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

China cove Point Lobos
China Cove in Point Lobos

China Cove is a small but beautiful emerald green cove in Point Lobos State Natural Reserve in Monterey, California. To get to China Cove take the Bird Island Trail which loops around China Cove, Gibson Beach, and Pelican Point in Point Lobos. In April and May, you can often spots seals and their pups hanging out on the beach.

Tip: Point Lobos Reserve charges a $10 parking fee.

Where: China Cove Point Lobos

3. Garrapata State Park