Big Sur

As you drive along Scenic Highway One, if you go about 150 miles south of San Francisco and 300 miles north of Los Angeles, you arrive at a breathtaking sight. Welcome to Big Sur California. For the next 90 miles, Big Sur California will extend dramatically between Carmel and San Simeon. Gradually, you will see the coastal elevation increase to heights that are not seen anywhere else in the lower 48 states.

Big Sur California inherited its name from the area known as El Sur Grande, which was once an unmapped region along the Monterey coast line. Three Native American tribes once inhabited this area: the Ohlone, Esselen, and Salinan. When the Spanish Missions arrived in the 18th centuries, most of the tribe members died due to conditions brought about by forced labor. In 1821, when Mexico gained independence for Spain, Big Sur, California became a Mexican colony. It was not until the Mexican-American War in 1848 that Mexico ceded Big Sur California to the United States. However, it would remain an undeveloped area for many years. Although the creation of Highway 1 in 1937 brought farm land and a few vacation homes to the area, electricity did not arrive in Big Sur until the 1950s. In 1962, Monterey County won the right to ban billboards and anything else on Highway 1 that would distract from the natural beauty of Big Sur California.

By the middle of the 20th Century, Big Sur California became a sanctuary for many members of the artistic community. Henry Miller, Robinson Jeffers, Edward Weston, Richard Brautigan, Jack Kerouac and others were all drawn to Big Sur, and decided to make it their home. In 1962, Esalen Institute, home to the Human Potential Movement, opened in Big Sur California.

Today, a number of wonderful attractions await the Big Sur California visitor. Amongst these are Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Andrew Molera State Park, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and Sand Dollar Beach. Perhaps one of the biggest annual Big Sur attractions is the Big Sur Marathon.

The Big Sur Marathon usually takes place in April. It is the largest rural marathon in the world. As the moderately difficult course winds through the redwood-covered rolling hills, you are treated to fantastic views of the Pacific Ocean. Entertainment is provided throughout the entire course. Because of traffic regulations, if you are entering the Big Sur Marathon, you are required to finish the race in six hours or less.

There are a number of Big Sur lodging possibilities. There are 15 hotels in Big Sur. Additionally; it is possible to find Big Sur Lodging at the monasteries. If you are taking an Esalen Institute Workshop, you can book Big Sur Lodging at the Institute. The more rugged traveler can find Big Sur Lodging at the various Big Sur campsites.

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