Big Sur is a sparsely populated region of the Central Coast of California where the Santa Lucia Mountains rise abruptly from the Pacific Ocean. The name "Big Sur" is derived from the original Spanish-language "el sur grande", meaning "the big south", or from "el país grande del sur", "the big country of the south". The terrain offers stunning views. Although Big Sur has no specific boundaries, many definitions of the area include the 90 miles (140 km) of coastline from the Carmel River south to the San Carpoforo Creek, and extend about 20 miles (32 km) inland to the eastern foothills of the Santa Lucias. State Route 1 (SR 1), more often called Highway 1, is a state highway that runs along Big Sur in California. It is famous for running along some of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, leading to its designation as an All-American Road. Frequent California landslides and erosion along the coast have caused portions of Highway 1 to either be closed for long periods of time, or be re-routed entirely. The northern end of Big Sur is about 120 miles (190 km) south of San Francisco, and the southern end is approximately 245 miles (394 km) northwest of Los Angeles.
It is hard to generalize about the weather in Big Sur because the jagged topography causes many separate microclimates. This is one of the few places on Earth where redwoods grow within sight of cacti. Still, Big Sur typically enjoys a mild climate year-round, with a sunny, dry summer and fall, and a cool, wet winter.