When traveling north on California’s famous Highway 1, the most filmed scenic roadway in the world, Ragged Point is your gateway to Big Sur. It offers one of the finest ocean vistas in the world, often called the Million Dollar View, where you can witness the majestic, awe-inspiring California coastline and sparkling blue waters of the Pacific Ocean, as well as whales, dolphins, and elephant seals depending on what time of year you visit.
To be honest, we didn’t even have Ragged Point listed as a stop on our Big Sur family vacation itinerary because I thought that it was just another Big Sur ocean-view hotel. But after spending the morning hiking in Limekiln State Park and hiking to Salmon Creek Falls with our close family friend Melanie Mabry, we were starving. Melanie had to get back home, but she knew that going to continue south to the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery, so she recommended stopping at Ragged Point for lunch — and the minute she said ice cream counter, it was a done deal.
OMG! I am so glad we listed to her! When we pulled into the Ragged Point parking lot, I think we were all in awe. It is so much more than a hotel!
Towering high above the rocky Pacific coastline atop 350 foot sheer cliffs, the point boasts an art gallery, a gas station, a wedding facility, hiking trails, small shops, a public plaza with quick dining options, and of course, The Ragged Point Inn.
We had ice cream on the brain, so while Brian fueled up at the gas station, the kids and I sought out the ice cream counter and options for lunch.
Ragged Point Plaza
Ragged Point Plaza is the perfect spot to stretch your legs, enjoy the sun, and take a break from your drive. The large, open-air plaza is lined with food counters and tiny shops, and there are picnic tables and umbrella out in the center. If you visit on a summer weekend, you can enjoy free live music, road-side BBQ, locally made ice cream, and a glass of wine or a cold beer.
We found everything we needed at the Ragged Point Plaza and more.
We did go straight to the ice cream counter, but it was closed. The kids were bummed and Brian was still parking the truck, so we decided to check out the mini market and were thrilled to find an ice cream freezer and a flat penny machine!
Soon my stomach began to growl, reminding me that we needed lunch! We checked out the dining options and grabbed a turkey sandwich, a burger, and a veggie burger, and some french fries, chips, and cold drinks. After lunch, we hit the public restrooms and set out to explore the grounds on a short, flat loop trail through the garden. Lush beds of bold, brightly colored flowers lined the trail, lounge chairs and benches were scattered throughout the garden, and artwork was on display. Walking out tho the cliff rewarded us with views of the coastline and walking back to the plaza gave us views of the Santa Lucia Mountains.
Once back at the plaza, we stopped in the mini market again for some road trip snacks, ice cream bars, flat pennies, and a Christmas ornament for my collection. Then we stopped in the art gallery and bought a necklace for Natalie and before continuing our adventure down Highway 1.
Ragged Point Food and Drinks
At Ragged Point, you won’t go hungry! There is seriously something for everyone — and I should know because we have a very picky eater in the family. The Ragged Point restaurant and dining options include everything from quick sandwiches and snack in the mini market to a gourmet restaurant, so you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
- The Sandwich Stand offers a full selection of classic American fast food, including burgers, hotdogs, sandwiches, fries, and shakes, as well as fresh salads, homemade soups and chili, fried chicken and chips, and fish and chips.
- The Espresso Bar fresh bakery items, steaming hot cappuccinos, and ice-cold craft beers and local California wines.
- The Ice Cream Stand serves delicious SLO Maid ice cream on summer days and on most weekends throughout the year.
- The Mini Market has a variety of prepackaged foods, including beer, wine, cold drinks, and cold snacks, as well as granola bars, chips, candy, crackers, and other snacks. They also have gift items and souvenirs.
- The Ragged Point Inn Gourmet Restaurant fresh, delicious California cuisine that features produce from the gardens, fresh, local seafood, and a wide variety of local California wines and craft beers.
If you packed your own picnic, feel free to bring it with you and enjoy your meal at one of the Ragged Point Plaza tables or out in the garden.
Ragged Point Hiking Trails
While Ragged Point is known for the Inn and the Plaza, there are hiking trails at Ragged Point too! There is the Garden Trail and the Ragged Point Cliffside Trail.
- The Garden Trail is a short, flat, easy trail that takes you on a loop through the Ragged Point gardens, beneath an umbrella of Monterey Cypress trees, out to the cliffs for amazing views of the Pacific Ocean — this is the trail we walked after eating lunch.
- The Ragged Point Cliffside Trail is a .6 mile, strenuous trail that descends down the face of the cliff past the 300 foot Black Swift Falls to a black sand beach.
While anyone can walk the Garden Trail and the kids will love the chance to run and around on the grass and play, the Cliffside Trail is only for experienced hikers who are in good shape and are wearing good hiking shoes.
Know Before You Go
- Ragged Point Inn And Resort Plaza is located at 19019 California 1, Big Sur, CA 93452. It is 4 miles south of Salmon Creek Falls, 9 miles north of the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery, and 15 miles north of Hearst Castle in San Simeon.
- The Ragged Point Inn hotel in Big Sur has 39 guestrooms. The Cliff-Side Rooms and Deluxe Cliff-Top Rooms provide unobstructed views of the magnificent Big Sur Coast, while Garden Rooms have views of either the Pacific Ocean or the Santa Lucia Coastal Mountains.
- There are clean, flush toilet, public restrooms and a gas station — both of which can be hard to find along the Pacific Coast Highway in Big Sur.
- If you visit on a summer weekend, you can enjoy free live music, road-side BBQ, locally made ice cream, and a glass of wine or a cold beer.
Other Nearby Big Sur Attractions
At the southern end of California’s Big Sur region, Ragged Point offers vacationers and road trippers a hotel, restaurant, gas station, shopping plaza, and live music on the weekends. Opposite Ragged Point, on the northern end of Big Sur, is the Big Sur River Inn roadside motel with river view suites and a restaurant overlooking the river, an outdoor pool, gas station, general store, and an amazing burrito bar! There are also lots of family-friendly activities…
When traveling south on Highway 1 from Ragged Point, it is approximately:
- 17 miles to the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery
- 17 miles to Hearst Castle
When traveling north on Highway 1 from Ragged Point, it is approximately:
- 4 miles to the Salmon Creek Falls Trailhead
- 13 miles to the Willow Creek Picnic Ground
- 15 miles to Sand Dollar Beach
- 16 mile to Jade Cove
- 23 miles to Limekiln State Park
- 37 miles to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
- 46 miles to the Pfeiffer Beach turnouff (Sycamore Canyon Road)
- 47 miles to Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
- 50 miles to the Big Sur River Inn
- 52 miles to Andrew Molera State Park
- 56 miles to Point Sur State Historic Park
- 64 miles to Garrapata State Park
- 71 miles to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve