The Big Sur River Inn sits right alongside the twisting banks of the Big Sur River.
Built in 1934 on what appears to be an estate-like grounds, this was the first place in Big Sur to accommodate quests.
As you approach the Big Sur River Inn, you get the feeling of a pit stop that has seen better days. Many of the rooms face the parking lot and highway, so if you plan on staying here ask for the highly requested rooms that face the river.
The short 25 mile drive from Carmel is scenic and covers some of the most eye-catching coastline anywhere in the world so make it a casual drive as you pass grazing cattle and a lighthouse and begin to separate yourselves from the city life you left behind.
The New York times calls this place a "Rustic Down Home" experience. It is indeed rustic with capital letters. I stopped in at this place while visiting a few months ago and I can see what was at a time ... a really nice place to relax.
Broad grassy lawns face the Big Sur River where guests in wooden lounge chairs can dangle their feet in the water.
There is a huge deck for dining, and on Sundays' a jazz buffet is offered to the public as guests listen to the nostalgic sounds of the blues.
However, unless your are looking for the least expensive place to stay in Big Sur, I would have a back up plan in mind in case this place is not your "Cup of tea."
The inn has a number of rooms that are sorely worn and in need of repair. Most of the "Lodge" rooms face the parking lot and highway, so any thoughts of restful sleep is probably not going to happen.
There is a nice little general store and burrito bar but apparently you can't take you're own drinks to the river. The bartender can bring down a cocktail for you from the bar if you like.
One of the wonderful aspects of the Big Sur River Inn is a tradition that dates back 50 years ago ... the habit of placing rustic Adirondack chairs at the edge of the river and letting your feet soak up the therapeutic benefits.
After a little while, you will have forgotten all about the bills left back home and the grass that needs a trim and the walls that need painting ... that is what happens when you spend some time in Big Sur.
The locals call it "Big Sur Magic"
While I think you should do your own research about a stay here, there are many who understand that Big Sur is expensive and that "rustic" is actually expected in Big Sur.
Many don't mind the vintage and worn nature of accommodations here, and come primarily for the proximity to the river and the convenience of the grocery store and deckside dining.
Just be prepared, do your own homework, and maybe you will think as others do, that this is just what you were looking for as you plan your trip to Big Sur.
The Big Sur River Inn is easy to find as you motor into the Big Sur Village.
Big Sur River Inn
46840 Highway 1
Big Sur, CA 93920