July/December...What to do and see when you vacation in Big Sur California, month by month description of what is going on in Big Sur plus area tourist activities and nearby visitors points of interest.
Some things to do and see in Big Sur Country:
• Junior Ranger Programs
• Hearst San Simeon State Park
• Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
• Ventana Wildlife Society
• Natural History Discovery Center
• Ranger lead Nature Walks
• Big Sur River Inner-Tube Float
• Campfire Programs
• Andrew Molera State Park
• Natural Science Discovery Camp
• Monarch Butterflies
• Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
• Blue Whales
• Humpback Whales
• California Condors
• Bird Watching
• Partington Cove, Partington Canyon
• Jade Hunting
• Scuba Diving for Jade
• Jade Festival
• Salmon Creek Trail
• Soda Springs Trail
• Backpacking and backcountry
• Christmas at Hearst Castle
• Whale Watching
• The Big Sur Contours
• Other Pacific Coast Wildlife:
sea otter, humpback whale, California Gray Whale, elephant seals, deer, bobcat, hawks, eagles, fox and more...
• The Los Padres National Forest
Click and Go Activities and Points of Interest List:
This page will help you plan your Big Sur visit and should enhance your Big Sur stay; it is not a constantly updated event calendar listing every small band that may have an engagement to play in Big Sur; there are listings and descriptions of all the annual major festivals, events and celebrations and it is a month by month general description what you might expect it to be like in Big Sur and some of things for you to do when you come.
JULY 2016 in Big Sur - In the summertime especially when it gets hot inland layer of thick fog will come cool, and wet the lower elevations of the coast; it can be beautiful to look down on but it can be an annoyance for some especially those who have come to enjoy the beautiful views of the Big Sur Coast. The fogs often lift during the middle of the day or you can venture inland or to higher ground to get out of it. If you happen to be roasting in the highlands or inland you might just want to come to the coast to cool off, many do. Personally I like the fog it’s part of the coastal experience, beautiful if you are above it and sometimes it can create a wonderful mystical kind of ambiance. Esalen Institute: For quite some time Esalen has been the happening place on the Big Sur coast 4th of July weekend, they sponsor special workshops and have the annual performance music & dance gala, the Esalen International Arts Festival (EIAF); now a collaborative celebration with the Big Sur Spirit Garden (www.bigsurspiritgarden.com). Some Year Around Ongoing Venues & Attractions --guided Horseback Rides at 4,800 acre Andrew Molera State Park -- enjoy this coastal paradise from horseback, tours through flower-studded meadows, enduring Redwood groves, translucent streams and every ride includes the beach. Monterey Bay Aquarium -- One of the Newest and Most Awesome Additions: the "Mission to the Deep" and the Giant Pacific Octopus! at the Monterey Bay Aquarium non-profit ocean conservation, and see the aquarium in a new light accompanied by light jazz live music along with a wine/beer bar and some new culinary treats; this summer Saturdays and Sundays have extended hours and a sweetened deal called "Evenings by the Bay" which begins again July 2 and runs until Sept. 4; pretty, wonderful, marvelous, amazing, inspiring, entertaining, educational; also there are more special tours and adventures like family "sleep-overs" available to experience and they are always adding something new at the Monterey Bay Aquarium (new seahorse exhibit added to the Splash Zone!); this attraction is located on Monterey’s famous historic Cannery Row; (831) 648-4800. Monterey Bay's Fisherman's Wharf: sightsee, shop, feast, catch a cruise, have fun & be entertained! 4th of July Independence Day is actually often quiet at most Big Sur spots: No big parades, or giant gala barbecue picnics and if you are a fireworks display aficionado, forget it not Big Sur, plus this year the closest towns are canceling their annual fireworks displays left and right because of the drought and increased fire danger etc., to view a fireworks display to the south you will have to to Cayucos or Pismo Beach to the north would be Scotts Valley or possibly Monterey Bay. Saturday July 4th 2016 & ongoing every first Saturday each month -- Monterey Wharf Walks at Old Fisherman’s Wharf: History Walking Tours With Historian and Author Tim Thomas presented by
The Monterey Old Fisherman’s Wharf Association, available on the first Saturday of every month from 10 AM – 12 Noon. Tours meet at the head of Old Fisherman’s Wharf near the pink “Harbor House” store. Advance reservations are required (831 521-3304) or email firstname.lastname@example.org Saturday ongoing Monterey year round :every Saturday evening, starts from Portola Plaza by the fountain Ghost Tour of Old Monterey: guided trolley tour of some of Monterey's most notoriously haunted buildings. Soon you will be winding in and out of the path of history in the Ghost Trolley of Old Monterey, visiting locations of recent and historical specter sightings. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca -- July 8th Through 10th, 2016FIM Superbike World Championship: the only U.S. appearance for World Superbike, which stops at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the series’ ninth race of a grueling 14 international race schedule; it is a chance to get up close with the riders; buy tickets online or call (800) 327-7322. DANGER ON THE PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY 1: On Laguna Seca Motorcycle Races weekend Big Sur locals try and avoid travel on the Pacific Coast Highway because of the large volume of motorcyclists racing to the races on motorcycles. Saturday July 8th, 2017 --Monterey Beer Festival -- 12:30-5:00PM at the Monterey Fairgrounds - a lineup of great live music and the greatest assortment of Beer ever assembled on the Central Coast. Sample varied styles of Ales, Lagers & Ciders from over 15 breweries with hundreds of beers to taste. Event benefits The Monterey Beer Festival benefits the nonprofit Monterey County Fair Heritage Foundation in funding community agriculture awareness activities, youth scholarships, and capital improvements to Monterey County Fair & Event Center's facilities and grounds. July 16th / 30th, 2016 -- Carmel Bach Festival: World-Class 16-day Classical Music Celebration in the Sunset Center, Carmel-by-the-Sea (831) 624-1521. July 19th &, 20th 2016 Point Sur Lightstation Moonlight Tour meets at Point Sur parking lot 7:30 PM; Tour space is limited and in demand so book early; For reservations call (831) 649-7139 or email email@example.com. No: pets, people or pets left in cars, motorhomes or campers, smoking, strollers or baby carriages. April through July, 2016 - Pacific Grove -- events of the Feast of the Lanterns: This Festival has evolved over its 100-plus year history from the ceremonial end to the Chautauqua Assembly with a lantern parade to the beach and fireworks over the bay to a multi-cultural community event filled with entertainment. (831) 375-8329. Special Tourist Season Offerings: During the summer there are numerous nature study programs and events designed for children and some for parents with their children and some for the adults as well. Both San Simeon State Park and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park have a Junior Ranger Program, guided nature walks and a nightly campfire program with slide shows, singing, and nature discussions. These programs extend through Labor Day. Also the Ventana Wildlife Society has a full schedule of events called Natural Science Discovery Camp for ages 8-11 and 12-17 and some eco-outreach programs for family and adults too. Also Ventana Wildlife Society operates a Natural History / Nature Center with exhibits that are designed to acquaint visitors with Big Sur's plant and animal life. Located in the "Ranch House" next to Andrew Molera State Park and the Ventana Wildlife Society and at this same spot is the new Big Sur Cultural and Natural History Center. The Ventana Wildlife Discovery Center at Andrew Molera State Park is open year round Friday, Saturday & Sunday year round. 9:00 am - 4:00 pm.
AUGUST 2016 in Big Sur - August can get hot, dry and dusty in the Big Sur back country; there can be morning and evening or even all day fogs on the lower coast but often perfect weather can be found in the Big Sur Valley and higher elevations of the coast. Why not have a dinner overlooking the soft white pillow coastal fog at Nepenthe Big Sur Restaurant or take the afternoon to float down the Big Sur River in an inner-tube? August 3rd & every first Saturday each month -- Monterey Wharf Walks at Old Fisherman’s Wharf: two hour History Walking Tours meet 10AM at the head of Old Fisherman’s Wharf near the pink “Harbor House” store. Advance reservations required (831 521-3304) or email firstname.lastname@example.org The Henry Miller Memorial Library is like the social center of Big Sur...H.M. Memorial Library is the venue for many exciting fun summer Big Sur events. Monday August 1st, 2016 - Living History Day at Point Sur Lightstation:10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Last van to the top at 2:00 PM -- celebrate the 127th anniversary of the first lighting of the Point Sur Lighthouse in August 1889: Costumed Lighthouse Keepers and their wives will show you where they lived and how they worked at Point Sur. This family event will include: Transpiration to and from the top of Point Sur Lightstation every 15 minutes; Lighthouse Keepers and their wives in period clothing talking about their lives at Point Sur Lightstation; A visit to the Lighthouse and a chance to climb the tower; Pre-electric-era crafts and games for kids and adults; A scavenger hunt
Story-telling and singing; shipwrecks, children's stories and sea shanties; Flag raising, lowering and folding for the kids led by a Lighthouse Keeper; Visits to the barn, blacksmith shop and Head Keeper's Quarters
picnicking will be allowed (bring your own food etc). August 6 & 7 Saturday/Sunday, 2016 - Monterey Fairgrounds -- The Monterey Scottish Games & Celtic Festival: -- featuring Scottish heavy athletic competitions like Caber Toss; musical entertainment will from Celtic Pipe Bands, Drum Major and Pipe Band competitions, Highland Dancing, Irish Step Dancing, Sheepdog Herding, Historical Re-enactment Groups, plus Clan and Celtic Association Tents. There will be lots of fun special events planned for the wee ones and Celtic dog breed fans, too. Over 50 vendors food offering tasty British, Irish and Scottish food and drink plus vendors selling Scottish and Irish crafts, jewelry and clothing. (831) 682-2022. Wednesday & Thursday August 17th & 18th, 2016: Point Sur Lightstation Moonlight Tours meet at Point Sur parking lot 7:00 PM; Tour space is limited and in demand so book early; For reservations call (831) 649-7139 or email email@example.com. No: pets, people or pets left in cars, motorhomes or campers, smoking, strollers or baby carriages. Monterey celebrates the classic auto all week longConcours d' Elegance August, 15th through 21st 2016: beautiful classic cars and classic auto related events at Laguna Seca Raceway, August 18/21, Pebble Beach, August 21, Carmel Tuesday August 16th, 2016, Pacific Grove, "The Little Car Show" August 17th 2016: and all around the county at other various locations and venues; for those on a budget check out Concours on a Shoestring. August 19th, 2016 --Porsche Werks Reunion: new event in 2014 with the inaugural Porsche Werks Reunion; this premier Porsche event will take place during the world-famous "Monterey Peninsula Car Week" at Monterey-Rancho Canada Golf Course, Carmel Valley, CA. August 31st through September 5th Monday 7th 2016 --Monterey County Fair: The 80th annual Monterey County Fair is always fun for the whole family, with country skills competitions and exhibitions, farm and livestock exhibitions, carnival rides, entertainment, live music, amusement and delicious food!
The California Condors of Big Sur, watching the Big Big Sur Birds and tiny ones too...
Bird Watching on the California Central Pacific Coast
Amazing Photograph of a California Condor Flying Next to the Pacific Coast Highway 1!
Blue Jay Campsite Visitor
California condor in flight
The California Condor: Bird watching in Big Sur is a wonderful thing to do. The area has so many and a great variety of delightful birds to observe. One of my favorites is the little humming bird, they are so tiny and the only bird that can fly backwards, the Europeans aptly call them helicopter-birds. I also like the blue jays, wild turkeys and all the shore birds. My most favorite are the raptors, the seam to fly with such ease, hardly flapping their wings, just gliding on the updrafts. Big Sur has many kinds of hawks and eagles, they have turkey vultures too. But none are as impressive as the breathtaking California condor.
California condor in flight
Big Sur is one of only a handful of locations where the almost extinct birds have been released and are a common sight, there are over 60 of these giant birds on the Big Sur Coast now. They can be a traffic hazard when they fly close to the highway (as they often do) because awestruck tourists will stop their cars halfway off the road and jump out with their cameras. The Highway 1 pullouts starting south of Nepenthe are the best places to watch for these amazing birds; they often cruise up and down the coast line taking advantage of the coastal breezes and searching for marine mammal carcasses to dine on, look for them perched in the tall trees along the coast from the vista point about a mile north of Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park too. They are a common sight all the way down to Plasket Creek.
Interesting California condor facts:
California Condors have the largest wingspan of any North American bird, 2.90 m (9.5 ft) or longer.
Overall length can range from 109–140 cm (43–55 in) with an average weight ranging from 8–9 kg (18–20 lb).
Individual birds have a huge range and often travel up to 250 km (160 mi) in search of carrion.
It is one of the world's longest-living birds, with a life span of up to 50 years.
As of November 2010 there are 381 California condors living, including 192 in the wild.
Condors can be easily identified by the white markings on the underneath of their wings and they have large identity tags with numbers.
October in Big Sur, Monarch Butterflies, Humming Birds, Jade and more things to do in the Autumn...
Video, California Condors In Flight - Big Sur (PCH 1)
SEPTEMBER 2016 in Big Sur - Labor Day Weekend brings the last summer tourist season hurrah to the Big Sur coast. It’s ironic that after this some of the area’s best weather comes just after this time and it’s mostly just the locals there to enjoy it.
On Labor Day Weekend because there are so many celebrations elsewhere the Big Sur Coast is comparatively quiet, don’t get me wrong don’t make a road trip without reservations motels of Big Sur do fill that weekend but down in Cambria it is the historic annual “Pinedorado Days” and Monterey County has their Monterey County Fair.
Late summer is the time of year when you can see the largest animal to have ever lived on earth and they are still commonly spotted from the Big Sur coast, the blue whale, the California coast is one the few places on earth where the blue whale is often sighted; soon they will be replace by the annual appearance of their cousins the Gray Whales.
So if you want to enjoy the area’s best weather and a nice relaxed peaceful Big Sur ambiance without the crowds, Autumn is the best time to vacation on the Scenic Big Sur. The Big Sur beat goes on at many of the usual weekend live music and entertainment venues, they continue weekends through September and some Big Sur business save their best for last and have grand events in October. Another excuse to make a Big Sur Pacific Coast Highway 1 road-trip. August 31st through September 5th Monday 7th 2016 --Monterey County Fair: The 80th annual Monterey County Fair is always fun for the whole family, with country skills competitions and exhibitions, farm and livestock exhibitions, carnival rides, entertainment, live music, amusement and delicious food! September 9th / 11th, 2016: Fiesta Italia, 83rd Annual Santa Rosalia Fisherman's Festival in Monterey's Custom House Plaza: festival honoring the local fishermen of Monterey, past and present. It is a celebrated event with wonderful Italian food and drink and amazing entertainment; folks come out and celebrate the Italian heritage; take part in the sights, sounds, food and culture that make the Italian experience so very special. Admittance is free every day for three days of Italian cuisine, music, dancing, fun and friendship. Check for fun Big Sur events at Big Sur Henry Miller Library. September and October Weekends; check to see what outrageous events are happening at Fernwood Resort... ! TBA, 2016, Rancho Grande Big Sur: Ventana Wildlife Society’s Feathers in Flight event is your chance to see a California condor close up at Rancho Grande in Big Sur; you will meet a young condor from the Los Angeles Zoo. Tickets are $75 per person proceeds to benefit the VWS and ages 12 and under attend free. Guests will be treated to delicious food and 10SPAN wine, a falconry presentation with live birds, live music by the Dave Holodiloff Duo, the opportunity to participate in a silent auction and live auction for a variety of exciting items, and unique gifts... and much more...Call Cathy Hamilton at 831-455-9514 or send her an email at cathyhamilton@ventanawsorg to sign up. All proceeds directly benefit California condor recovery Big Sur. September 3rd & every first Saturday each month -- Monterey Wharf Walks at Old Fisherman’s Wharf: two hour History Walking Tours meet 10AM at the head of Old Fisherman’s Wharf near the pink “Harbor House” store. Advance reservations required (831 521-3304) or email firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday & Friday September 15th & 16th, 2016 Point Sur Lightstation Moonlight Tours meet at Point Sur parking lot 6:15 PM; Tours are limited so book early; For reservations call (831) 649-7139 or email email@example.com. No: pets, people or pets left in cars, motorhomes or campers, smoking, strollers or baby carriages. September the entire month TBA?, 2016 --FREE ADMISSION! La Merienda, by the Museum of Monterey:FREE ADMISSION! -- Go see what’s new and happening, including the reopening of the Allen Knight room, the latest Year of Fishing exhibit on Boat Builders, Etched in Monterey display, the expansion of the Italian/Sicilian heritage wall and of course the always fascinating permanent collection of art and artifacts documenting the history and culture of the Monterey Peninsula. Saturday & Sunday September TBA, 2016 --Harvestfest at Custom House Plaza: Arts and Crafts Fair featuring local entertainment and is a fundraiser for Pacific Repertory Theatre (PACREP) ; at the Custom House Plaza located at Monterey Bay at the foot of Fisherman's Wharf. September 16th/18th, 2016 at Monterey Fairgrounds, Monterey has hosted the awesome annual Monterey Jazz Festivalfor 58 years now! Be there!
Maybe in September you will be lucky enough to spot Humpback Whales or the earths biggest animal on earth the Blue Whale or even more likely to spot the giant California Condor which is equally as impressive if in flight up close. Monday (always September 19th), 2016 --13th Annual International Talk Like A Pirate Day: Avast, me hearties! Don't need ta be in Big Sur, where'air ya Arrr ya talk pirate! Ya be best be talkin pirate this day er ya may get keelhauled! Sunday September TBA, 2016 --SAINT JUNIPERO SERRA PARISH CELEBRATION Festival: 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.;
Special 11:00 a.m. Mass honoring Saint Junipero Serra followed by a celebration in the Carmel Mission Courtyard with fun festive music and BBQ. On the beautiful mission grounds, corner of Rio Road & Lasuen Drive Phone: (831) 624-8322. September 21st/24th, 2017 --Mazda Raceway, Laguna Seca Grand Prix: Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda featuring the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
America’s premier road racing series the fourth round of this international field; racing is non-stop with at least 10 different car manufacturers vying for the title with both professional and pro-am drivers behind the wheels.
OCTOBER 2016 in Big Sur - October often starts with Indian summer days with bright blue skies; the forest comes alive with color, the poison oak turns bright red and leaves of deciduous trees turn shades of bright yellow and amber. Monarch butterflies return to their annual wintering grounds and can be seen by the hundreds at Ragged Point, Andrew Molera State Park, further north at Pacific Grove and scattered throughout Big Sur.
Towards the end of the month often come the first of the seasons light rains.
The 24th Annual Big Sur Jade Festival OCTOBER Friday/Sunday 7th, 8th & 9th, 2016 - The Big Sur Jade Festival is an annual October gala event held at the Pacific Valley School 60 mi south of Monterey, 40 mi north of Cambria and Pacific Coast Highway 1. Jade is one of Big Sur’s biggest natural resources but it goes beyond that, the local population has had a longtime love affair, attraction and admiration of the semi-precious mineral. Anyway they like to share the love and celebrate with the outside world with this event which features jade of every shape and form, plus music, good food and drink. This is a popular festival so be sure and make your, vending, camping and lodging reservations early.(www.bigsurjadefest.com) All October through March -- Big Sur Lodge Special Room Rates: seasonal lowered room rates plus stay two nights and enjoy the third night complimentary, Sunday through Thursday only; not valid for groups, holidays, weekends or block out dates. Call for advance reservations 831-667-3100 or toll free 1-800-424-4787. Saturday October 1st & every first Saturday each month -- Monterey Wharf Walks at Old Fisherman’s Wharf: two hour History Walking Tours meet 10AM at the head of Old Fisherman’s Wharf near the pink “Harbor House” store. Advance reservations required (831 521-3304) or email firstname.lastname@example.org October 1st, 2016 -- Pacific Grove's Annual Butterfly Parade and Bazaar: the 77th Annual Butterfly Parade to welcome the monarchs back to "Butterfly Town USA" for the winter. Like to Run? Join in the Fitness Fun the 35th annual Big Sur River Run at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Saturday October 24th, 2016. ...or...Would you rather drink tequila? Saturday October TBAth, 2016,Monterey Tequila and Mescal Expo 2016 ¡Ándele! ¡Ándele! ¡Arriba! ¡Arriba! ¡Epa¡ ¡Epa! ¡Epa! Yeehaw!...a tribute to celebrate the rich and colorful history of Tequila and Mescal and provide a matchless opportunity to learn more about these traditional spirits and tastings to experience the true essence of different tequilas, mescals, margaritas and other mixed tequila and mescal cocktails firsthand.
October TBA, 2016 -- Fiesta del Mar at Monterey Bay Aquarium (Español) Latin American traditions come alive during this celebration of ocean conservation! With live music, cultural dance, animal feedings presented bilingually and crafts for kids, there’s something for every member of the family to enjoy. Children 12 and under will be admitted free all day. (831-648-4800) October TBA, 2016 -- Big Sur Health Center Health Fair to Celebrate its 36th Anniversary! Noon to 5:00 p.m. at Big Sur Health Center; This year the Big Sur Health Center will be celebrating its 36th Anniversary as part of the health fair with a “healthy barbecue,” and fun activities for all! — The only medical facility between the Monterey Peninsula and Cambria, the Big Sur Health Center is critical to the wellness of its community. Open to the public, this health fair offers the following complimentary activities and: Health screening opportunities ·Flu shots ·Blood sugar and cholesterol screens (provided by CHOMP) ·Blood pressure ·Dental checkups ·Nutrition counseling ·Weight management ·and more. The 2016 health fair will take place at the Big Sur Health Center located at 46896 Highway 1, Big Sur. For more information call (831) 667-2580. Saturdays October TBA, 2016; 5:15PM: 11th Annual Point Sur Lightstation Ghost Tours link TBA meet at Point Sur parking lot mile marker 54.1 on Hwy One, 19 miles south of Rio Road, Carmel.; Tours are limited 40 persons so book early; Saturday tours ghostly fun will begin with a walking tour to the lighthouse in time to watch the sunset, then on to the Barn where a light buffet will be served.
Later, Pt. Sur's professional actor/story-teller, Kevin Hanstick, will recount stories of Pt. Sur's ghostly past.
Julie, our "paranormal investigator," will share the results of her ghost hunts.
If you dare, explore inside one of Pt. Sur's real haunted houses, the un-restored Triplex.
Dessert and hot drinks will be served in the Visitors' Center. Recommended for anyone with a sense of fun but not advised for children under 6. RESERVATIONS REQUIRED: For reservations TBA order online for more information call (831) 649-7139 or email email@example.com. No: pets on tour, no people or pets left in cars, motorhomes or campers in the parking lot, no smoking, strollers or baby carriages. Donations benefit the Central Coast Lighthouse Keepers non profit. Sunday October 23rd, 2016 -- 55th Annual Carmel Sandcastle Contest: Fun amazing sand-sculpture contest held on Carmel Beach south of 10th Avenue! The contest starts at 8:00 am with judging from noon to 2:00pm.(831-620-2020). Sunday October TBA, 2016: 36th annual Big Sur River Run: starting line at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
Race begins at 10AM. Race information: A beautiful loop course along the Big Sur River through towering redwood trees, this 5K walk and certified 10K run is a fun way to experience and support the Big Sur community spirit, a fundraiser for the Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade and Big Sur Health Center. Prizes will be awarded to the top finishers of each category. A 10 minute massage will be offered to 10k finishers and local musicians will play at the Start/Finish line of the race. Registration is still available online at: www.bigsurriverrun.org or in person on the day of the event. Participants requiring day of race registration should arrive no later than 9:00 AM to ensure a prompt start time. The races are limited to the first 1,000 participants. Registration fee includes long sleeve t-shirt with the annual design by local artist, Shell Fisher.For more race information call the Treadmill Carmel- (831) 624-4112. October 4th, 10th, 11th, 18th & more September/November ! Enjoy live music in Big Sur all through October like Brown Shoe, Evil Twin, Billy Martini and the Scary Little Friends playing at Fernwood Resort book a campsite or room and have Big Fun!!! Come to Big Sur for the Evil Twin and stay for Halloween at Nepenthe... Like to Dress up in costume, have big fun, support a good cause? Join in one of the biggest most fun events of the off-season. The Nepenthe Big Sur Restaurant's (831-667-2345) Halloween Bal Masque; October 31st. Elaborate costumes & live music and frivolity are the highlights of this fun annual benefit for the awesome Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade.
October Monarch Butterflies Migrate to the Big Sur Coast:
a thick coat of Monarch butterflies on a tree
Monarch Butterflies on Pride of Madera Flowers
Great numbers of the monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) come to the Big Sur Coast starting in late October and most have left for inland to mate and return to their ancestor’s egg laying areas by January but a few stragglers are seen as late as February. They because of the mild winter weather and enjoy the sweet nectar from many flowers in bloom like the Pride of Madera. They have the amazing habit of gathering in mass on individual eucalyptus and Monterey cypress trees so heavily you can’t see the leaves, only butterflies.
Mating Monarch Butterflies
These tiny creatures weighing in at less than a gram accomplish amazing giant feats like completely covering huge trees and the Monarchs migration can cover three countries, Mexico, the U.S., and Canada and will take three generations to complete the 2 to 3 thousand mile journey. These most amazing creatures can travel 80 miles a day and single insects have been known to travel up to 2,000 miles. Monarch butterflies have also been seen flying up to 4,000 feet high. They can be seen all over the Big Sur Coast and gather anywhere their favorite flowers are found; I have seen theme so thick in the ornamental flower gardens at Ragged Point they fill the sky. Early in the morning and in the late afternoon they gather in mass on specific trees, there is one just north of Ragged Point and in Cooper Eucalyptus Grove of Andrew Molera State Park. Further north the town of Pacific Grove has a docent manned "Pacific Grove Monarch Sanctuary" associated with the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History where you can have your questions answered as well as observe the butterflies gather by the thousands.
Cute Little Humming Birds, Sparks fly when the local Big Sur Anna's Humming Bird defends it's sweet nectar stash from a visitor:
Anna's Humming Bird in the Big Sur Sunset
Anna's Hummingbird on Pride of Madera Flowers
Another fall flower garden visitor which creates a fun event is the Rufus Humming Bird; they pass through migrating back south and like to stop in to Big Sur flower gardens to enjoy the bountiful nectar. This would all be well and good except that Big Sur has a local full time resident, the cute little Anna’s Humming Bird who doesn’t like to share. The Anna’s Humming Bird sits at some high vantage point and watches for the out of town thieves to show and attempt to steal a meal and when they do the amazing aerial acrobatics begin.
NOVEMBER & DECEMBER in Big Sur, watch for the rains, Hearst Castle Christmas Decorations...
NOVEMBER 2016 in Big Sur - Gray Whales begin their migration south to the lagoons of Mexico to feed, birth, and breed. There are two major holidays in November worth celebrating; Thursday the 28th on Thanksgiving Day every Big Sur eatery will be doing something extraordinary like the Big Sur Lodge will be serving a special Thanksgiving buffet surrounded by bountiful land and sea products. This year Veterans Day is Friday November 11th, the preceding weekend November 3rd-5th the Big Sur gala event back for 6th year bigger and better than ever the annual Big Sur Food and Wine Festival: This popular event is an event to raise monies for Big Sur non-profit charities, the Big Sur Food and Wine Festival showcases the exceptional talents of local and a few highly skilled invited chefs, along with a selection of world-class wines and educational panels; featured wine maker dinners, luncheons, culinary arts combined with fine wine pouring at some of the coasts finest venues like Carmel Highlands Hyatt, Post Ranch Inn, Ventana, Big Sur Roadhouse and the Henry Miller Memorial Library plus Hiking With Stemware, Magical Mystery tours! The silent auction is phenomenal, all this and more for good causes. The BSFWF appears to be becoming on of the biggest, best, and most popular Big Sur gala festivals, many scheduled events are sold out and others selling out quickly, for more info contact Toby:( 831) 667-0800, firstname.lastname@example.org. Tuesday November 2nd, TBA 2016 -- Celebrate Dia de Los Muertos Mass and Celebration at Mission San Antonio de Padua: Dance among the souls and celebrate Dia de Los Muertos remembering those souls who are gone but not forgotten. at Mission San Antonio de Padua. Call (831) 385-4478 for more details on this year's free event.( Mission & Hearst Hacienda on Hunter Liggett Army Base, Jolon, CA) --
EVEN BETTER...why not take a spiritual and historical mini-vacation and stay at a historical lodge next door to a California mission museum celebrate an evening of wine, music and good food in the Padres' garden at California’s third oldest and most remote mission, Mission San Antonio de Padua at 1 p.m. Saturday and soak up some Hearst historical flavor by spending the night staying at the Hearst Hacienda and Guest Lodge (reservations 831-386-2262). November 2nd & every first Saturday each month -- Monterey Wharf Walks at Old Fisherman’s Wharf: two hour History Walking Tours meet 10AM at the head of Old Fisherman’s Wharf near the pink “Harbor House” store. Advance reservations required (831 521-3304) or email email@example.com All November -- Big Sur Lodge Special Room Rates: seasonal low prices for rooms plus stay two nights and enjoy the third night complimentary, Sunday through Thursday only; not valid for groups, holidays, weekends or block out dates. Call for advance reservations 831-667-3100 or toll free 1-800-424-4787. Saturday November TBA, 2016 from 4pm to 8pm -- Celebrate with an Evening in the Garden at Mission San Antonio de Padua: an enchanting opportunity to sample local wines from many
outstanding wineries, while munching upon a selection of specially catered
gourmet food delights, all amid the ambiance of our Padres’ Garden. Call (831) 385-4478 ext. 10 for more details on this year's event.( Mission & Hearst Hacienda on Hunter Liggett Army Base, Jolon, CA) --
EVEN BETTER...why not take a spiritual and historical mini-vacation and stay at a historical lodge next door to a California mission museum celebrate an evening of wine, music and good food in the Padres' garden at California’s third oldest and most remote mission, Mission San Antonio de Padua at 1 p.m. Saturday and soak up some Hearst historical flavor by spending the night staying at the Hearst Hacienda and Guest Lodge (reservations 831-386-2262). November 2nd, 2016 Monterey Museum of Art -- often inspires dance among the passed on souls and art to celebrate Dia de Los Muertos -- In times past lively spirits were encouraged to dress up and dance the night away. Indulge in food, drink, and the company of loved ones, past and present. The festivities often conclude with a costume contest and raffle (831.372.3689). November 13th 2016 a benefit for local charities the 14th annual Big Sur Half Marathon; gently rolling fast course that winds through historic downtown Monterey, along Cannery Row, and proceeds along Pacific Grove's coastline with incredible views of the Monterey Bay. November 18th/20th, 2016 --Monterey Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival: at the Monterey County Fairgrounds, the 17th Annual Monterey Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival and Christmas Art & Gear Sale & Show for all ages celebrates Monterey’s contribution to the cowboy heritage.
This year's program will include exciting events like Friday night Happy Hour! Have hors d'oeuvres, wine & beer with the performers. The Saturday night dance features Rich O’Brien’s Monterey Cowboy All-Star Band!.
Find out what's else will be going on from this MCP&M Festival schedule. Saturday and Sunday November TBA, 2016, -- The 33rd annual Big Sur Fall Harvest Crafts Fair is held 10AM to 5PM at the Big Sur Grange Hall, 26 miles south of Carmel's Rio Road, just south of Ripplewood Resort. Get started Christmas shopping buy some beautiful hand made arts & crafts from local artisans for unique gifts.
There are often rains in the middle or towards the end of October but the "Rainy Season" Generally Runs from November - February in Central California plan your road trips and adjust accordingly and check weather and road conditions before you leave home. Always drive extra cautiously on Scenic Pacific Coast Highway 1!
DECEMBER 2016 in Big Sur - This is the month you should consider seriously taking advantage of Big Sur’s off-season rates and getting away from the hustle and bustle of your Christmas holiday routines and treating yourself to a Big Sur winter adventure; Plan a road trip up the Big Sur coast this December, the prices are down and the weather is often very pretty! (check individual business, there are many holiday vacation blackout dates on the seasonal rates and winter specials) Did you know William Randolph Hearst loved to entertain and every December he would deck the castle out lavishly for the season? And did you know that every December they still decorate Hearst Castle for Christmas like he did? You should include a tour of Hearst Castle into your Big Sur Scenic Highway 1 road trip! December 7th & every first Saturday each month -- Monterey Wharf Walks at Old Fisherman’s Wharf: two hour History Walking Tours meet 10AM at the head of Old Fisherman’s Wharf near the pink “Harbor House” store. Advance reservations required (831 521-3304) or email firstname.lastname@example.org Ongoing Live Music & Entertainment – Both Fernwood Resort and Maiden Publick House have musicians scheduled through the winter; at least some kind of entertainment for weekends; call or check their events calendars to see what's going on: Fernwood Resort (831-667-2422) Events Calendar – or – Maiden Publick House (877-667-2355) Event Calendar. -- Treebones Yurt Resort (805-927-2390) has Friday & Saturday December TBA, 2016, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. -- 32nd annual Christmas in the Adobes:Stroll thought the streets of Historic Downtown Monterey for open house of 23 19th Century adobes, enjoy period dance lessons at Custom House, bagpipes and cookies at Robert Louis Stevenson House and more...refreshments, games history and fun await the entire family during Monterey's signature holiday historic event. Wednesday December 25, 2016 –- Christmas Day: Most all of the Big Sur Restaurants are not only open holidays but they also usually have special menus to celebrate the day; why not load up the family in the car and take a scenic PCH 1 road-trip for a fun holiday experience to remember; check individual businesses, Nepenthe closes at 5PM Christmas Day. November 19, 2016 through January 8, 2017 –- Ice Skate by Monterey Bay: at the Custom House Plaza seasonal Ice Skating by the Bay behind Portola Hotel & Spa. OPEN DAILY Monday - Saturday, 11:00am to 10:00pm, Sunday 12:00pm to 8:00pm; HOLIDAY HOURS: Christmas Eve ~ 11:00am-10:00pm; Christmas ~ 12:00am-8:00pm; New Year's Eve ~ 11:00am-11:00pm; New Year's Day ~ 12:00pm-8:00pm. December 31st, 2017First Night Monterey 2017 : 24th annual Monterey fun colorful celebration on Alvarado Street to support the arts. First Night Monterey is the premiere celebration of art, imagination, and creativity in Monterey County. December 31st, evening; HAPPY NEW YEAR!: Many of the Big Sur Lodgings have New Years celebratory events with parties, live music, package deals and such but I can personally speak for the New Year’s Party at the Ragged Point Inn, having myself kicked out many an old year there and tell you true Big Sur is the perfect place to wake up and begin a new year!
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Watching Whales on the Big Sur Coast, California Gray Whales, Giant Blue Whales, Orcas too...
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Whale Watching on the California Central Pacific Coast
The California Gray Whale(Eschrichtius robustus) migration is generally highest on the central Coast from December through April; although you can often see many as early as late October and November and some as late as May. December to February the Gray Whales are heading south. They are best viewed after late February when you will see them heading back north to Alaska. When they are migrating north they stay closer to shore and some females will be even slower moving slower and closer to the shore because they are accompanied by their calves as well as swimming against the current. A mother with her calf seen close-in from a bluff-top can be impressive but the most amazing sight is to see the whales breach like the one in the photo above, the monsters can launch themselves completely out of the water. Almost all the Gray Whales migrate past the Central California Coast twice a year; generally once in late-fall early-winter headed south to warmer waters of the gulf of Mexico to calve, and again in the late-winter early-spring heading back to Alaska to feed in the fertile arctic; their timing is different for individuals and a few sometimes even meet-up headed from opposite directions.
A great way to observe the whales spouting is to cruise the scenic Pacific Coast Highway 1 and stop at the turnouts. Binoculars help but the very, very best way to enjoy and appreciate these amazing giants is up close and for that you need to take a boat excursion. The closest whale watching excursions are offered by Virg's Landing in Morro Bay 805-775-1222 and whale watching excursions are also offered out of Monterey Bay by Monterey Bay Whale Watch 831-375-4658.
Neat Illustration of a California Whale comparing it to a scuba diver!
A few interesting gray whale facts (the British spell it Grey whale): Once ardently hunted for their whale oil they once occupied both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans but whole Atlantic population was hunted to extinction in the 18th century. Unlike most whales the Gray Whale feeds on animals that live on the ocean floor, it feeds by stirring the bottom up then scooping up sediments from the sea floor, the huge creature then uses its baleen, or whalebone to filter out the sediment and capture small sea animals. When it migrates the gray whale averages approximately 120 kilometers (75mi) per day at an average speed of 8 kilometers per hour (5mph). The round trip from Alaska to Mexico is believed to be the longest annual migration of any mammal. Gray Whale Sets New Long Distance Migration Record 2015:
"A gray whale has set a new distance record, swimming alone for 14,000 miles around the Pacific Ocean. The female cetacean traveled from the northwestern corner of the world's largest ocean to the northeastern region, off the Canadian coast. She then traveled south to waters off the coast of Baja, California, where her species meets to mate.
Varvara, as the whale is known, spent 69 days covering the journey of 6,800 miles, the greatest distance ever recorded for a migration by a mammal. The previous record-holder was a humpback whale seen traveling 6,125 miles in a journey studied by researchers in a journal article from 2010. Following the end of her meeting, Varvara returned home via a longer southerly route that carried the animal 14,069 miles, breaking the previous world record for a round-trip migration by a mammal." (Tech Times) MORE Grey Gray Whale Information from Wikipedia...
The Blue Whale, the largest animal to have ever lived on earth. California is one of the few places where the Blue Whale is often spotted from the shore.In the summertime you may spot the blue whale as well as humpbacks and orcas from the Big Sur Coast, in the winter they are replaced by a parade of Grey whales. It is hard sometimes to differentiate whale species at a distance but when surfacing to breathe, the blue whale raises its shoulder and blowhole out of the water to a greater extent than other large whales; Observers can use this trait to separate it from other whale species at sea. When breathing, the whale emits a spectacular vertical single-column spout up to 12 meters (39ft), typically 9 metes (30 ft). MORE Blue Gray Whale Information from Wikipedia...
Amazing illustration of a Blue Whale, the giant is biggest animal to have ever lived on earth!
Traveling the Scenic Pacific Coast Highway 1, places to see and things to do at the end...
Scenic Pacific Coast Highway 1 - One of the most fun activities in the area is to drive the scenic Pacific Coast Highway 1; it’s a beautiful fun and interesting drive every mile from San Luis Obispo to Monterey; Popular Mechanics listed it at the top of it’s picks of the 20 Greatest Driving Roads in the World . It is often picked as the scenic alternative to quicker route inland via the 101 Freeway. For current California Highway conditions call 1-800-427-7623, or on the internet you can check California Highway Conditions:
PCH 1 and all California Highway Conditions at the California Department of Transportation website Mobile.So if you’re just passing through Big Sur on your way to Monterey or San Luis Obispo here are some event calendar links so you can see what’s going on wherever you are going…
Go On an Adventure! Explore North of Big Sur; sightseer links: fun and interesting visitor activities and tourist points of interest! Follow these exciting links and start planning your Pacific Coast vacation today!
Google Search Central California Visitor Information Websites Including www.big-sur-lodging.com for the best Central California Coast tourist information, travel tips & tricks...
I have provided this information on this web page to help you have wonderful vacation or trip. I have made this information current, complete and good to the best of my abilities but everything is subject to change at any time and I have to relieve myself of any responsibility for you, I have no control over how you use the provided camping information and accept no liability for anything that happens to you while you visit and camp on the Big Sur Coast or anywhere else.
Looking to head south to Hearst Castle Country after your Big Sur Coast Trek? Visit Hearst Castle Hotels Website:
A complete directory of lodging accommodations that
lists all resorts, motels, inns and hotels near Hearst Castle,
San Simeon, California. San Simeon Chamber of Commerce information;
visitor information and tourist guide for Hearst Castle,
San Simeon area activities and attractions.
I do my best to keep the Big Sur Camping Information here correct and current if you see anything that needs to be added or have some Big Sur Camping tricks or tips you would like to add please contact me, also for any: