Where Should You Live Near Big Sur?

Big Sur is considered one of the most beautiful areas in California. This incredible stretch of rugged coastline along the central coast of California spans between the picturesque cities of Carmel-by-the-sea and San Simeon. Big Sur is bordered on the East by the Santa Lucia Mountains and on the West by the Pacific Ocean.

Big Sur is very sparsely populated in terms of its permanent population. Except for the vast, luxurious private estates dotted along the rugged cliffs and hills, your best bet for permanent residence would be one of the neighboring towns such as Carmel-by-the-sea, San Simeon, Cambria, Monterey, or Pacific Grove.

Big Sur is a spectacularly beautiful area famous for its winding roads through the incredible landscape, seaside cliffs, and neverending views over the Pacific Ocean. Living in the area is a luxury reserved for a privileged few. The neighboring towns are more accessible and densely populated but still expensive to live in.

Where Should I Live Near Big Sur?

Big Sur is a spectacular stretch of Californian coastline bordered by the Santa Lucia Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. This magnificent stretch of land is famous for its incredible scenery and variety of state parks. The state parks in the area provide various recreational activities such as hiking, camping, and beachcombing.

Throughout the Big Sur area are numerous luxury resorts and restaurants, all boasting unbeatable views across the cliffs and coastline. There is a six-mile-long strip in the Big Sur area filled with numerous luxury hotels, restaurants, and art galleries. On either side of this, there are redwood forests in state parks as far as the eye can see.

Countless private homes are discreetly tucked away from popular tourist routes. These are multimillion-dollar private estates owned by super-wealthy families and individuals seeking the ultimate in serenity and privacy.

Except for the luxury private estates and the resorts in the area, permanent private places of residence are few and far between. Unless you’re currently in the market for a multimillion-dollar mansion on a vast expanse of land, you are more likely to find a home for yourself in one of the nearby towns.

On the Southern side of beautiful Big Sur, you will find the picturesque town of San Simeon, also located close to Hearst Castle – a popular tourist destination. In the North, Carmel-by-the-sea is another lovely city with a significant permanent population. This quaint city is full of artists and creatives, and numerous beautiful houses exist in the area.

Cambria is another town worth considering in the area, with various dining options and an array of art. Monterey and Pacific Grove are also nearby and well worth considering as places of permanent residence.

Luxury Big Sur Estates

Several luxurious homes tucked away from the roads are mostly hidden from view along this stretch of coast. These luxurious private estates are usually second homes for the ultra-rich who seek complete privacy from the outside world.

There is a significant population of artists and other creatives with private homes in the area. They find refuge and inspiration in the area, with many creative works inspired by Big Sur. Several celebrities have owned – and currently own – these expansive private estates tucked away from the rest of the world.

The views from these homes are unparalleled, and the homes themselves are often exceptionally beautiful and extremely well-designed. It’s no wonder the private homes along the Big Sur coastline are some of the most sought after in all of California. These discreet, lavish homes cost millions of dollars, and the sales of these estates are often kept extremely private.

While these homes are extremely desirable, they are accessible only to an elite few who can afford their enormous price tags. Anybody else who hopes to call the Big Sur area home will have to consider one of the nearby towns.


Carmel is well known for being an artist colony. It is also famous for being a refuge for Hollywood stars seeking to avoid the limelight for a while. The growth in the area is slow, ensuring the picturesque town retains its charming village-like character, making it extremely popular.

Carmel boasts many incredible homes, many of which are situated in the downtown area. These charming, quaint homes retain the air of small-town luxury and understated elegance.

Carmel by the sea has several inns, other accommodation options, and a good variety of shopping outlets. The beach area in Carmel-by-the-sea is particularly enjoyable to residents and visitors alike, with great walking areas surrounding it.

Pacific Grove

Pacific Grove is another lovely city near Big Sur. It boasts a stunning variety of homes from the Craftsman and Victorian eras, and some consider it one of the area’s most livable cities. Pacific Grove has a relatively dense suburban feel, and there are many restaurants, bars, parks, and coffee shops in the area.

The downtown area, with its restaurants and other spots, is extremely charming. The Asilomar State Beach is also situated in Pacific Grove, and the views around the area are somewhat breathtaking.


Monterey has a significantly more commercialized feel than Carmel and Pacific Grove. It has a significant heritage that rests in the fishing trade and retains that aspect of its past. Monterey also features a well-known aquarium, and visitors often come there to enjoy whale watching.

Popular activities also center around the old fishing industry and a historic walking area that allows you to experience the region’s history. Monterey is a relatively small city, but it features many activities despite its small size.

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Big Sur is sparsely populated in terms of its permanent residents. With mostly high-end luxury estates and resorts making up the vast percentage of the area’s accommodation options, most people hoping to live in the area will need to look at nearby towns with higher population densities such as Carmel-by-the-sea, Cambria, Monterey, Pacific Grove, and San Simeon.