Well, I got over my initial horror last week of the highway along the beaches of Pacific Grove, the most beautiful beaches I'd ever seen. (Yes, yes, those coastal roads have made California's beaches democratic. But they still make me wish we could all apparate instead of drive.)
I was totally overmatched, however, by Big Sur. It is too amazing to be resisted.
There is very little development. The terrain is just too rugged for it–ocean, cliffs, and abrupt hills. There is fantastic hiking. There is a bohemian history–Jack Kerouac and Henry Miller lived here.
There is amazing food, and I had the weird experience of dining out of doors under a full moon in March.
Also, the entire place was abloom, with natives like California poppies and ceanothus; naturalized plants, including the humble forget-me-not, as well as South African exotica like osteospermum, chasmanthe, and iceplant; and then, in civilized spots, an insane perfumy riot of spanish lavender, jasmine, wisteria, you name it. And I haven't even mentioned the coastal redwoods, under whose totem poles the air smells extra sweet. Incredible.