More often than not, we tend to like a place, a song or a movie by the memories it brings, more than their own attributes. They remind us of a particularly good time, a person we hung out with or simply the “those days” nostalgia. We rate average places great, because of the positive vibes. Or even outright hate a great song or a movie — becomes it reminds us of something terrible.

This particular place sure brings to me lots of trips and nice memories — the people I went with, the great times I had, the “those days” nostalgia; but make no mistake — this place is equally beautiful in its picturesque and makes a great choice for a getaway — whether it is just a 2-day weekend or a longer vacation. This place is my most favorite in all of America and this place is the Big Sur.

In fact, the more accurate definition of my favorite place would be the entire Monterey Bay area starting from Santa Cruz on the northern end, extending to the Big Sur area on the southern end.

Before I get into any details, I can tell you this. You don’t need to have an agenda, you don’t need to be an “activity” person, you don’t need to have a SLR camera — all you have to do is reserve a cabin on one of the coastal parks (or a motel inland, if that’s your thing) for the nights you plan to stay. Be here in the perfect time of the year and drive your own convertible car. This is enough to create memories.

But if you prefer, you can hike in one of the many trails in the Big Sur, take a walk McWay falls in the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, eat a sandwich at the Nepenthe. You can also drive a little bit up north and go to the Monterey Bay area to do ocean activities like sea kayaking or go on fishing/ sailing/ whale watching trips. If you are the more urban types, you can visit vineyards, museums, aquariums etc… In fact, Monterey Bay is also the venue of several music festivals, some of them worth going there exclusively for.

Alright, this last paragraph must have sounded like a crowded commercial, but I can tell you I have done most of these and it’s a lot of fun. It does get chilly in winter, but never too cold (I am writing this from New York, where it is 29 F now).

I love Southern California for many reasons, but if I ever live in Northern California, it will be due to proximity to this and some of the other amazing destinations (like Point Reyes, Petaluma and the whole Sonoma area)