Searching for the best places to stay in Big Sur? You’ve come to the right place!
With a backdrop made up of the Pacific Ocean and the Saint Lucia Mountains, Big Sur is California’s longest stretch of untouched coastline. This central portion of California’s coast is about 2.5 hours south of San Francisco and is dotted with charming small towns. It’s famous for towering redwood trees, idyllic beaches, exciting hiking, and epic views!
Driving along California’s serpentine Hwy 1 to witness the impressive landscape is by far one of the best ways to experience Big Sur. Other incredible things to do in Big Sur include Keyhole Rock, the gravity-defying Bixby Canyon Bridge, and the McWay Falls overlook in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.
While there’s no denying its natural beauty, choosing where to stay in Big Sur presents no easy task.
Our pick for the best hotel in Big Sur: Ragged Point Inn and Resort which has a luxurious property overlooking the rugged Big Sur shoreline!
Spanning over a 90-mile stretch of coastline, this list pinpoints some of the best places to stay in Big Sur to help you narrow down your options!
Some of the links used in this blog may be affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, I earn a small commission when you book through these links for which I am very thankful!
Best Places To Stay In Big Sur:
1. Best Hotel In Big Sur: Ragged Point Inn & Resort
The Ragged Point Inn & Resort is a beautiful hotel in a rugged section at the center of the Big Sur coastline. This resort sits on 350-foot-tall cliffs and offers stunning ocean-side rooms.
The property has plenty to keep the guests occupied, from manicured gardens and relaxing outdoor areas to a fine-dining restaurant with a terrace. There is also a coffee shop on site, a small convenience store, a deli, and even a gas station.
“Wonderful spacious room with a cozy fireplace, swivel chairs, a private outdoor deck. Truly magnicifent views and a nice walking path through the grounds.” -Review from Expedia
We always stop by the Ragged Point Inn on a Big Sur road trip to stretch our legs, fill up on gas and grab some food. Overnight guests can stay in luxurious rooms that come with private balconies or decks for relaxing.
The hotel is very pet friendly and allows up to two dogs for a small fee. In the morning you can enjoy a nourishing breakfast for an extra charge before heading out on fun outdoor activities. Overall, this is one of the best hotels in Big Sur California!
2. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Lodging: Big Sur Lodge
Wake up in the heart of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park at the Big Sur Lodge. This cottage-style resort boasts comprehensive amenities such as onsite dining, a bar, and a gift store for all-in-one convenience.
This three-star hotel offers professionally maintained units that can accommodate between two and four guests. Each room is furnished with a small seating area, a private balcony, and coffee-making supplies.
“It was charming and rustic, but also very convenient with an on-site general store, restaurant, and gift shop.” -Review from Booking.com
Upgrade options are available and may include a kitchenette or a fireplace. While this hotel is surrounded by a redwood forest and rugged nature, it features tasteful decor and modern amenities such as a seasonal swimming pool.
Beachgoers will appreciate that Pfeiffer Beach is a ten-minute drive away from the lodge.
For a more rustic experience, check out our review of staying at the Pfeiffer Big Sur Campground next to the Big Sur Lodge!
3. Best Cabin Rental: Notleys Landing Cabin
The Notleys Landing cabin is situated just a few miles from Hwy 1. This one-bedroom cabin offers peace and quiet on an expansive wooded property with mountain and canyon views about 20 minutes north of Big Sur.
Relaxation-focused amenities such as a wood-fired sauna and an open-air clawfoot soaking tub make this 600-square-foot cottage ideal for a romantic getaway for two. The interior is equipped with all the comforts of home and filled with quaint interior touches for a comfortable experience.
“This little cabin was the perfect balance for me. In middle of the woods, but only 25 minutes from anything that you would need.” -Review from Amy, VRBO
The home also features an expansive deck surrounded by towering redwoods and views of untouched wilderness.
You can find this Big Sur vacation rental conveniently located between the scenic beauty of the coast and the lively attractions of Monterey and Carmel.
4. Best Pet-Friendly Home: South Coast Big Sur Retreat
This unassuming and eco-friendly Big Sur home is powered by the sun and sits 800 feet above the ocean. Located along a public dirt road, guests can enjoy peaceful solitude at the South Coast Big Sur retreat.
The home is equipped with two bedrooms to comfortably sleep four guests and happily welcomes travelers with pets.
“We highly recommend this home. The views are incredible, with multiple areas within and outside the home to sit down and relax.” -Review from Guillermo, VRBO
The living room’s floor-to-ceiling windows mean a sunny interior filled with spectacular views of the surrounding Pacific Valley. Pretty blooming gardens fill the grassy yard, which features an incredible elevated deck accessible from the living room.
Plaskett Creek Campground and Sand Dollar Beach are a short drive away as well as popular trailheads like Salmon Creek and Soda Springs.
5. Best Luxury Rental: Big Sur Home
This elegant home for six sits on a sweeping five-acre property and boasts unbeatable panoramic views of California’s mountainous coast!
The three-bedroom Big Sur home takes the upscale amenities of a hotel and combines them with the homey touch of privacy you can only expect from a vacation rental. Inspired by the nature of the region, classic decor elements fill the space, such as exposed wooden beams and a stone fireplace.
“We loved every minute of our stay! It’s such a privilege to be able to stay in a private Big Sur home with that amazing view. Everything was perfect!” -Review from Suzanne, VRBO
However, the star of this property is the fantastic outdoor area equipped with an in-ground heated swimming pool, a hot tub, and ample outdoor seating that looks out onto the picture-perfect coast.
Big Sur’s top attractions, including Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park and McWay Falls, are just minutes away by car.
6. Best Remote Vacation Rental: Big Sur Dream Home
This unique one-bedroom is a design dream and features a beautiful outdoor area furnished with a separate yurt, hot tub, and an adobe fireplace.
This Big Sur Dream Home is so beautiful that it’s caught the attention of notable brands such as Urban Outfitters. Graceful wooden arches and tall windows help create eye-catching design lines that pair so well with the surrounding wilderness.
“We loved the unique architecture and seeing all the wildlife and plants around us. It was so peaceful and was a haven away from busy city life.” -Review from Solita, VRBO
On the ground level of this incredible home, you’ll find a small but well-appointed kitchen, living room, and bathroom.
Upstairs, a lofted bedroom features a plush queen bed. In your downtime, sit out and relax on the wooden deck or the stone patio as a fire burns. This remote property is encircled by forest and is situated about 15 minutes from the coast.
7. Best Budget-Friendly Hotel: Fernwood Resort
Fernwood Resort is one of the most popular hotels in Big Sur CA for a budget-friendly stay. This no-frills hotel is located near Pfeiffer Beach and boasts comfortable and cozy rooms at an affordable price.
From the resort, you can easily reach local hiking trails at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park such as Buzzard’s Roost Trail.
“The room was very comfortable. We really enjoyed the fireplace and the hot tub. The food and drinks at the restaurant were awesome.” -Review from Effie, Booking.com
Towering redwood trees and mountain views surround you at this rustic hotel. There is also a convenience store, restaurant, bar, and grill on site so you don’t have to worry about anything after arrival!
There are 12 motel-style rooms at this resort with an option to choose from Queen, Classic Quadruple, or Deluxe Double. Other accommodation options include forest cabins, glamping tents, tent cabins, and a campground for tent or RV camping.
8. Best Oceanfront Cottage: Gallery House
Stunning natural elements inspired by the region’s landscape make the Gallery House a lovely pick for a visit to Big Sur. Stone and wooden walls coupled with an iron wood-burning fireplace create a warm and inviting interior.
This rustic oceanside sanctuary welcomes two guests seeking a quiet escape to the coastal beauty of Big Sur.
“My partner and I felt like we were inside of a dream the whole time we were at gallery house. A slice of heaven on a cliff side right in the heart of Big Sur.” -Review from Ricky, VRBO
The home has numerous areas to enjoy the great outdoors, including a dining table set in front of an expansive window with a direct ocean view.
Outside, relax on the picturesque stone patio with sun loungers or at the wooden dining table. Slates Hot Springs and McWay Falls are just down the road from this property.
9. Best Luxury Hotel: Alila Ventana Big Sur
The Alila Ventana Big Sur is an all-inclusive, adults-only resort perched high above the Pacific Ocean. This beautiful five-star hotel boasts impressive amenities that include swimming and spa facilities situated along California’s breathtaking coast.
Posh rooms, suites, and private villas feature upscale accents like hot tubs, fireplaces, or separate living rooms. Rest and relaxation amongst luxurious decor is the highlight of the Alila Ventana resort.
“Absolutely stunning property. Surrounded by redwoods with incredible views of the coast. Very peaceful.” -Review from Booking.com
During your stay, take advantage of Japanese-inspired baths, treatments, and more at the Ventana Inn & Spa Bathhouse.
The resort also features a fitness center, complimentary yoga classes, and sophisticated onsite dining. Beautiful beaches like Andrew Molera and Pfeiffer Beach are under a 20-minute drive away.
10. Best Big Sur Lodge: Big Sur River Inn
This nature lodge is surrounded by forest and exudes a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere not far from Andrew Molera State Park.
Striking redwoods and the passing Big Sur River make the Big Sur River Inn a haven in nature. Take your pick between standard rooms for two adults or larger suites that can accommodate up to four.
“Amazing location!!! Loved the rustic feel to the property. The river chairs were a highlight.” -Review from Robert, Booking.com
One of the highlights of this hotel is its unique river seating area. Half-immersed wooden chairs and benches stand in the water, allowing guests to relax in the cool passing river.
Other noteworthy amenities include a seasonal swimming pool, sun deck, restaurant, and a general store. All in all, this is one of the best Big Sur hotels if you want to feel immersed in nature away from the busy cities!
11. Most Unique Stay: Big Sur Ocean View Stone House Estate
This iconic stone house sits at the center of Big Sur near Sand Dollar beach, Pacific Valley Bluff Trailhead, and Los Padres National Forest. With no other homes or hotels around, you will feel as if you’re staying in your own hidden little slice of paradise!
The estate offers epic oceanfront views and is surrounded by a beautiful garden. Take advantage of the hammock, lounge chairs, and fire pit that are thoughtfully placed throughout the property for relaxation!
“Unbelievable property…nice set up for multiple couples/people. Amazing location for views, privacy, but also close enough for day trips. We loved every minute of our stay here.” –Review from George, Viator
With 3 spacious bedrooms that can sleep up to 6, the Stone House Estate Rental is an excellent choice for traveling friends or families. This oceanfront vacation rental is a preferred option for special events like anniversaries, weddings, and Holidays.
The house was built with sustainability and privacy in mind. It comes fully equipped with a kitchen, dining space, and laundry room so you can have an enjoyable vacation without worrying about a thing.
If you’re looking for something a bit different, this is one of the most unique places to stay in Big Sur!
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12. Best Hotel In San Simeon: Cavalier Oceanfront Resort
Cavalier Oceanfront Resort is located in the southern part of Big Sur between San Simeon and Cambria. We like to stop in this area for the night before or after heading into Big Sur. A few notable attractions nearby include the Elephant Seal Vista Point and the impressive Hearst Castle.
The Cavalier Oceanfront Resort sits on top of cliffs with easy access to the beach. For accommodations, you have the option to select a room with a fireplace or a balcony overlooking the Pacific Ocean. In the mornings, you can relax on the patio and enjoy the sounds of the waves with a cup of coffee in hand!
“Great location! The ocean was beautiful! Loved the fireplace in our room, and the fire pits on the beach.” -Review from Cindy, Booking.com
The hotel offers excellent amenities including a restaurant, two heated outdoor swimming pools, a hot tub, and a common firepit where you can roast marshmallows.
There are also plenty to keep the kids occupied including life-size games such as chess, checkers, and cornhole. Overall, this is one of the best places to stay near Big Sur for family getaways!
13. Best For Large Groups: Ocean Front Luxury Home
The Ocean Front Luxury Home is a modern and spacious rental tucked away in a secluded forest near Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. The home can sleep up to 12 people within the 3000 square foot space making it an ideal place for larger family gatherings.
The hosts have done a superb job decorating the interior with modern furniture pieces. The tall floor-to-ceiling windows offer spectacular Pacific Ocean views. There is also a spacious, fully stocked kitchen for making family-style meals.
“Just an immaculate property located in Big Sur. The property and views were one in a million. Highly recommend.” -Review from Craig, VRBO
Outside, you can start the morning with yoga on the large outdoor deck or soak in the copper hot tubs overlooking the water. There is also a dry sauna, outdoor shower, and a fireplace area that you can enjoy during your visit.
This is one of the best Big Sur stays in a prime location for a dreamy vacation of a lifetime!
14. Best Hotel In Carmel Valley: Carmel Valley Ranch
The Carmel Valley Ranch is a sophisticated hotel managed by Hyatt. This four-star resort offers a number of diverse room options set on a sprawling 500-acre property within the scenic Carmel Valley.
Guests’ comfort is a top priority at this resort, with rooms featuring upscale touches such as Keurig coffee machines, fireplaces, and private patios. Some suites even feature a kitchenette for at-home cooking.
“Phenomenal grounds and facilities, amazing room and views. Everything was comfortable and luxurious.” -Review from Mariana, Booking.com
The resort also boasts an incredible outdoor complex complete with a fitness center, two swimming pools, hot tubs, and a spa. Not to mention, there are numerous tennis courts and nearby hiking trails for those who wish to stay active during their stay.
With your booking, a highly-rated breakfast is included. While Big Sur is about a 45-minute minute drive away, the attractions of Carmel-By-The-Sea are just 15 minutes by car.
15. Best Hotel In Carmel: Candle Light Inn
For a city experience, consider staying at the Candle Light Inn. This hospitable hotel is in the heart of the city, within walking distance to popular dining and shopping just 35 minutes from the scenic beauty of Big Sur.
Although a bit of a drive from Big Sur, its location in Carmel-By-The-Sea means travelers can enjoy both the beauty of Big Sur and local Carmel attractions like the Point Lobos State Reserve.
“Loved everything about this room! From the comfortable warm feel to the decor. We felt right at home.” -Review from Sandra, Booking.com
At the Candle Light Inn, it’s possible to choose between standard or premium rooms, some of which have a fireplace and a jacuzzi bathtub. The hotel also features a fantastic outdoor terrace with ample seating and an outdoor brick fireplace.
16. Best For Longer Road Trips: San Simeon Lodge
When we’re planning a longer road trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco, we typically book a night at the San Simeon Lodge. This lodge is located in the southern part of the Big Sur drive and offers a comfortable and cheap lodging option near the Big Sur entrance point.
The San Simeon Lodge is situated just a block from the beach and many of the booking options include rooms with ocean views. The property has a heated outdoor swimming pool where you can relax after a long day of driving.
“Great location! Very cute and well-maintained! Very comfortable and super nice staff!” -Review from Booking.com
Each room is equipped with a fridge, coffee machine, and free WiFi for convenience. There are also laundry facilities on site which are very useful if you’re heading on a long road trip.
During your stay, you can dine at the hotel restaurant that serves three meals a day. The hotel also has a mini-mart so you can stock up on road trip essentials before heading into Big Sur.
Staying in a charming lodge, vacation rental or hotel is one of the best ways to relax and unwind after a day full of outdoor adventures on the California Coast. We hope this list has helped you pick the best accommodation to book for your trip to Big Sur!
To make your road trip planning easier, below we answer some frequently asked questions about traveling to Big Sur:
How Many Days Do You Need In Big Sur?
If you’re planning your first trip to Big Sur, we recommend setting aside 2-3 days to see all the best attractions along this rugged California coastline.
While you can do the drive in one day, you’ll want to set aside extra time for sightseeing, hiking, and stopping at various viewpoints along the way. Whenever we rush through Big Sur in one day, we end up spending most of the time in the car and regret not stopping more.
Is Big Sur Worth Staying
If you get the chance to spend a night or two in Big Sur, it is so worth it!
While the lodging options are pretty limited, Big Sur is one of the most beautiful areas in California that is worth the splurge and extra planning.
What Are The Best Hotels Near Pfeiffer Beach?
If you’re looking to book a hotel near Pfeiffer Beach, your best options will be:
- Big Sur Lodge
- Fernwood Resort
- Big Sur River Inn
- Glen Oaks Big Sur
- Alila Ventana Big Sur
Why Is Big Sur Famous?
Big Sur is famous for its rugged, pristine landscapes that don’t compare to anything else in the United States!
This scenic coastline drive features one of the only two beachfront waterfalls in California, protected redwood forests, picturesque bridges, and unparallel natural beauty around every corner!
What Time Of Year Is Best To Visit Big Sur?
Big Sur is a great location to visit all year round! Our favorite time to plan Big Sur road trips is fall through spring when it’s less crowded and it’s easier to book hotels or campsites. However, in the winter season, the weather can present a unique set of challenges.
After heavy rains, the roads are often washed out or closed for repairs. In the spring you might also encounter morning fog which makes it hard to do any sightseeing.
The busiest travel season in Big Sur is summer. From June to August, you can expect many of the hotels or vacation rentals to be booked up on the weekends and deal with big crowds at the attractions and parking lots.
What Are The Best Resorts In Big Sur?
Is It Better To Drive North Or South To Big Sur?
We’ve done the Big Sur drive going both ways and it is gorgeous either way!
In our opinion, the best option is to drive from North to South. The northern section has the most beautiful landscapes and all the top attractions like Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Pfeiffer Beach, and Bixby Creek Bridge.
The southern section of Big Sur is more popular for quick weekend getaways, camping, and hiking activities.
Where To Stay In Big Sur On a Budget
Unique Places To Stay In Big Sur
Best Things To Do In Big Sur
Not sure what attractions to see on your Big Sur road trip? A few of the best things to do in Big Sur include:
- McWay Falls
- Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
- Bixby Creek Bridge
- Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
- Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
- Pfeiffer Beach
- Garrapata State Park
- Limekiln State Park
- Ragged Point
Looking for more California travel inspiration? Be sure to check out some of our popular California travel posts below:
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- Review Of Staying At Kirk Creek Campground In Big Sur
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- The 10 Best VRBO Rentals Near Yosemite National Park
- 20 Helpful Tips For a Successful Road Trip With a Dog