Monterey + Carmel + Big sur - Overnight trip to Carmel + Big Sur
from San Francisco take the scenic route thru the Presidio via Lands End, the Cliff House, Ocean Beach along Skyline Blvd to Hwy 1. Follow Hwy south 1 via Pacifica to Half Moon Bay - have a quick stop in Half Moon Bay on Main Street - then continue south towards Santa Cruz. Stop briefly in Capitola. Next stop is Monterey if you have time visit the aquarium in Monterey then continue to Carmel. if you have never been to a Whole Foods Market - check it out in Monterey - it is nirvana for health conscious foodies - as you depart Monterey going south on Hwy 1 start looking for the Pacific Grove exit - then drive along the ocean to Carmel. stop at some of the beach coves along the way. then make sure to take 17 mile drive into Carmel. there is an entrance fee.
Carmel by the Sea - is unique, exquisite + filled with exclusive restaurants, shops and art galleries, but it is the white sandy beach + the architecture of the homes along the beach - that make Carmel so special. Just follow the road along the water and drive from one end to the other. Clint Eastwood used to be the mayor of Carmel (1986-1988) and this town has some unique laws - such as a no heels law, yes - per city ordinance you need a permit to wear high heels above 2 "" - there are no street addresses - and there was time when selling or eating ice cream on public streets was forbidden. There are no fast food or chain restaurants in the City of Carmel - instead you will find many charming eateries and tasting rooms offering a full range of cuisine and wine tasting. take your time in this town and explore on foot and don't forget to take off your shoes for a walk along the beach - get your feet wet!
Big Sur is located just a few miles south on Hwy 1. stop at Nepenthe in Big Sur and enjoy a meal or refreshments outside overlooking the Big Sur coastline. To splurge stay at the Ventana Inn + Spa or better yet Post Ranch. If you love glamping - then Treebones Resort is the place to go. After that you may have turn around due to road closures ... please make sure to check current road conditions before you head south on Hwy 1.