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Picnics

Big Sur abounds in scenic backdrops for a picnic lunch. Many folks just pull over at an overlook and keep a weather eye out for whale spouts as they munch, but these top picnic choices are also appealing.


JULIA PFEIFFER BURNS STATE PARK Picnic in the redwoods by a lovely stream after a stroll down spectacular Waterfall Trail (see Hiking). Day use only.

GARRAPATA STATE PARK Two miles of beachfront, almost three thousand acres of ocean-to-redwood territory highlight this coastal headlands at Soberanes Point. Sea lions, harbor seals, sea otters and whales are frequent visitors. Eighteen miles north of Big Sur. Day use only.

JADE COVE There's no fee for enjoying the famous jade beach here, popular with rock hounds and beachcombers. This is also a designated hang glider landing zone, so beware that large shadow looming overhead--it may be a condor, seagull, eagle, vulture or hang glider looking for a downwind landing spot.

WILLOW CREEK This rocky beach is frequented by surfers, photographers and anglers. No fee picnic area and beach.

MILL CREEK Another rocky beach with no fee picnic areas.

PFEIFFER STATE BEACH Open from 9:00 am -8:00 pm daily, this beach is well worth the $5.00 per vehicle entrance fee. Dramatic sea stacks, arches and caves decorate the most famous beach in the area. Portions of "The Sandpipers" motion picture with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were filmed here. Locals laugh when they see a small boat beached here in the movie--the surf's much too rough! Not a swimming beach, but great for picnics, beachcombing and walking. Be careful on the very narrow winding two-mile road leading down to Pfeiffer State Beach. The turnout is a little tricky--clue: Sycamore Canyon Road is unmarked, but it's the only paved, ungated road west of Highway One between the Big Sur post office and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. You'll see a sign warning off trailer traffic as the road begins.

RAGGED POINT RESORT The welcoming folks at this beauty spot don't mind sharing their glories with mere picnickers, so grab your brown bag and snag a bench with a view anywhere on this lovely point of land. A hot coffee from the espresso stand wouldn't be amiss on cooler days.

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