Be sure to leave enough daylight to catch Big Sur’s dramatic cliffs, soaring bridges, and rocky outcrops in all of their majesty before you check in for the night. Icons like Post Ranch Inn and the newly renovated Ventana Big Sur are now easily accessible thanks to the reopening of Mud Creek bridge (the last piece of the highway was restored in August), and both offer up breathtaking views of the coast from their plush guest rooms. The hotels also have access to the fantastic hiking trails that trace through the shrubby clifftop tree grass before winding their way down to thin slices of beach. Since Big Sur is a camper’s paradise, cuisine in this area tends to be less refined, so head back to the Ranch or Ventana come dinnertime—the latter hosts nightly sommelier-led tastings from its ocean-view bar.
You’re likely going to want at least two nights in Big Sur—one spent overlooking the coast, and one spent on the other end of the iconic 17-mile drive at one of Pebble Beach’s iconic retreats. All of the resort’s rooms are currently being upgraded in preparation for the 2019 U.S. Open (which coincides with the property’s 100th anniversary), so check into either the new Fairway One at the Lodge or the recently refreshed Casa Palmero. Both will grant you access to a tee time at the exclusive Pebble Beach Golf Links, where you can do your best not to let the coastal views distract you while lining up that hole in one.