The next stop on our California road trip was Big Sur. After spending two beautiful days in Monterey, we continued our drive on the Pacific Coast Highway. And what a gorgeous drive it was!
We planned to enjoy a coastal drive to San Simeon (through Big Sur), with as many stops as we could afford along the way. This particular stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway has a lot of stunning views. Apart from numerous stops to take in these views, we made two major stops. The first was the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve.
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
At 8 am when we pulled up to the entrance, the reserve was just opening up and we were one of the first sets of people in. We paid the entrance fee (of $10 – the charge for entry with a car), got a quick briefing from a member of staff and set out to explore the first trail.
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is a nature lover’s haven! I’ll best describe it as a combination of everything good in nature. When Mark told me we were going to hike the trails here and in the Limekiln State Park, I was a bit worried. He tried to reassure me that the hiking trails were easy but that reassurance, coming from someone who has completed the Appalachian Trail didn’t do much to put my mind at ease. His idea of an easy hike is not the same as mine.
However, the trails at both the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve and the Limekiln State Park were indeed very easy to walk, and they were gorgeous too!
In addition to ocean-side hiking trails, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve also has several coves and small beaches. Some of them were closed off when we visited, but we were able to hang out by some others. My favourites were the Gibbson Beach and the China Cove Beach, where we could observe seals sunbathing from a distance.
Big Sur, California
We continued our trip through Big Sur, making different stops along the way and eventually stopping at Nepenthe for lunch. We had to wait for about 20 minutes to get seated, and within that time, we got comfortable, grabbed a drink and walked around, enjoying the lovely views.
Limekiln State Park
Our next stop after lunch was the Limekiln State Park. This was another gorgeous hiking (and camping) location along Big Sur, with trails through a redwood forest. Although there were a few tricky spots, the trails were quite short and easy for most parts.
We went on two of the three available trails, the Lime Kiln Trail and the Waterfall Trail. The former led up to the location of old lime kilns that were used in the late 1800s, while the latter led up to the base of Limekiln Falls, a 100foot waterfall. After hiking these two trails, we went to the beach. The water was so cold, I refused to get in! While Mark took a dip, I entertained myself with a very friendly squirrel.
San Simeon & Hearst’s Castle…
We left the park after a few hours and drove down to San Simeon, where we spent the rest of the evening. The next day, we made stops in Cambria to have breakfast, then we drove up to see Hearst’s Castle and ended the day in Santa Barbara.
Santa Barbara to Los Angeles…
We spent one full day in Santa Barbara before driving down to Los Angeles, the starting point of our California road trip. In Santa Barbara, we visited the Old Mission Church, County Courthouse, El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Site, a few parks and the Boardwalk.
And back in LA, we returned our Turo rental car and met up with my friend, Tobe at the FIGat7th mall. We went shopping together, while Mark hung out at the mall’s open area. After that, we went to Mark’s cousin’s place. He and his wife were gracious enough to host us for our last two nights in California.
We visited the Santa Monica Pier, Venice Beach and the Comedy Store the next day. The visit to the Comedy Store was almost ruined for me as the security personnel wouldn’t let me in without a valid (physical) ID. He refused to even look at the scanned copy of my international passport. I had to go back to the house to get my passport.
In hindsight, the rides to the house and back weren’t bad at all. I had very interesting conversations with the Uber Drivers and I arrived back at the comedy store in time to catch the last three performances, including that of David Spade. And with that, our California road trip and our three week trip to the US came to an end!
If you missed the other posts in these series, you can catch up on them using the links below;
- The Beginning
- New York – A Taste of the Big Apple
- Travel Costs Breakdown – New York
- Exploring Washington DC and Alexandria
- San Francisco – The Triumph of Cities
- San Francisco to Monterey
Also, if you’re planning to visit the US from Nigeria, here’s a post with details on how to apply for a USA tourist B1/B2 visa.
Let me know what you think by leaving a comment in the comment section below. And, if you have visited any of these places, I’d love to read about your experience.