Welcome back to a new week, friends! I hope your weekend was fun and relaxing. We actually got to see Mr. College for a few hours Sunday, and it did me good to hug his neck!
He calls and FaceTimes a lot more frequently now that he’s been away for awhile (as opposed to his freshman year when we rarely heard from him!), and that makes it so much easier. I must be getting better at this, because life feels normal with him gone! Plus, he’s just so dang happy being back on campus and face-to-face with professors!
We’re headed up there next month for family weekend and a football game, and I’m so excited to see him back in his element! But today I’m sharing snapshots of our fun weekend in stunning Big Sur!
Majestic is the truly the best word to describe that part of the country. Big Sur is a rugged stretch of California’s central coast between Carmel and San Simeon, bordered to the east by the Santa Lucia Mountains and the west by the Pacific Ocean.
The two-lane Pacific Coast Highway is the only road leading in or out, and it’s full of winding turns, seaside cliffs, and jaw-dropping views of the often-misty coastline. The sparsely populated region has numerous state parks for hiking and camping, along with a handful of restaurants and hotels.
Mr. Sugarplum and I flew in to San Jose, then drove a few hours down the coast to meet our friends, Val and Suzie, for a few nights camping in Plaskett Creek Campground in Los Padres National Forest. The park has since been closed due to nearby fires, so we feel especially grateful for the chance to experience it together.
You know Backcountry is our go-to spot for all things outdoor, so of course I raided the site for hiking and camping gear before we left. I called one of their knowledgable gearheads, and they directed me to the best gear based on where we were going, our planned activities, and the weather. It’s an unbelievable free service, and it’s so reassuring knowing you’re properly prepared!
My favorite new purchase is hands-down these hiking shoes! I knew we’d be hiking river beds and forests, so I wanted something that works on both water and rocky trails. I’ve worn Adidas Terrex for years, so I knew they’d be comfortable, but I was thrilled with how lightweight and cool they felt. Plus, the tread gave me great grip on all surfaces, and they dried quickly!
Fit Tip: They run large, even for Adidas. I needed to size down a full size. I wore them without socks and had no break-in time, and they felt like shoes I’ve owned for years. The price is great, too.
Val and Suzie brought their friends, and we all instantly clicked! It felt like we’d been lifelong friends. Plus, camping in a group means you get to spread out the tasks, ha!
I think Mr. SP could live full-time completely off the grid, so he was living his best life! (Cell service and internet is spotty in Big Sur, at best.)1 Camping was one of our favorite things to do together when we lived in Nashville, so it was so fun to reconnect in nature again.
Big Sur is chock-full of trails, with something for everyone. We did everything from river beds to forest trails to beach walks. The weather changes dramatically throughout the day, with cool fog and mist rolling in unexpectedly, so layers are essential.
Fortunately our friends drove in from Los Angeles, so they were able to pack their cars with the big gear and fun stuff. We flew with our own tent, sleeping pads, and sleeping bags. Oh, and these little lanterns which were so handy for everything from late-night walks to the bathroom to illuminating the tent.
We may have been roughing it with no showers or hot water, but there was no way Suzie would let me have crazy brows!
A Few Big Sur Must Visit Spots //
- Ventana and Post Ranch Inn are incredible 5-star hotels perched in the cliffs, and as evidenced by their astronomical room rates! At the very least, cruise through to check them out. Ventana offers amazing glamping sites, too, but they book up months in advance.
- The Bixby Creek Bridge is an architectural wonder, and really gorgeous to stop and see on your drive in to Big Sur (from the north).
- Julia Pfeiffer Beach is a stunning little cove that looks straight out of a movie scene, but parking spots are limited, so you may have to wait.
- Big Sur River Inn is a great lunch spot and small grocery. They’ll pack your lunch in a little cooler, perfect for eating on their large patio or in adirondack chairs in the river!
- Nepenthe is famous for its views, and perfect for lunch or a sunset dinner. It’s pricey though, so I’d skip it if it’s a foggy day.
It was a beautiful couple of days with some incredible friends, and we felt so lucky for the time together in such a beautiful place! My heart goes out to the people that live in areas impacted by the wildfires, and the first responders working tirelessly to keep them safe. Once the area opens, I highly recommend a visit to Big Sur…it’s truly one of the most stunning areas in the entire United States!
And of course head to Backcountry for all your gear before heading out for any outdoor adventure this season! And don’t forget, first time Backcountry shoppers can use code SUGARPLUM15 to save 15% off full-priced items on your first purchase (some exclusions apply)! Not only do they have everything you need for your outdoor adventures this season, but the pieces to keep you stylish, too!
So tell me… have you been to Big Sur? Were you lucky enough to stay at Ventana or Big Sur before the rates skyrocketed?! I’d definitely rank Big Sur as Top 2 most gorgeous places in the United States. What place tops your list?
*This post is created in collaboration with Backcountry and ShopStyle, but all product selections, opinions, and dirty French braids are my own. Thank you for supporting Hi Sugarplum sponsors!*