And, as happens on any road trip with world-class views beckoning, you eventually stop at an overlook, in this case the Julia Pfeiffer Burns Vista Point in Monterey County near Big Sur. This is where your already awesome trip suddenly gets better. As you look up to gaze at a giant bird gliding far above, you look down and see a life-size, biologically correct stone mosaic of the iconic California condor at your feet. Suddenly you know you’ve just glimpsed the condor in its natural habitat.
A few steps away, you look down and see another life-size replica of a 50-foot gray whale with her baby, also rendered in subtle shades of natural granite, inlaid into the pavement. And if you’re lucky, as you turn to the sea you’ll spot one of hundreds of gray whales that swim along the shore in this area every year.
It doesn’t end there. As you keep driving down the Pacific Coast Highway between Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara, you will be treated to seven different vista points, each with multiple interpretive displays to inform and inspire you about the wildlife, natural landmarks, and history of the local area.