In the early 18th century, Spanish explorers arrived in Big Sur, bringing with them a new culture and way of life. Missionaries established several missions in the region, including Mission San Antonio de Padua, which still stands today as a testament to the area’s colonial past. As the century progressed, the logging industry boomed in Big Sur, driving the local economy and shaping the landscape. The huge Redwoods that were once abundant in the region were cut down to make way for homes, businesses and railroad. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that conservation efforts, led by celebrated environmentalist John Muir, helped to protect the area’s natural beauty.
The artistic community has always played a central role in Big Sur’s cultural landscape. In the 1950s and ’60s, writers, poets, and other artists flocked to the region, inspired by its natural beauty and unique energy. The famed Beat Generation writer Jack Kerouac was among those who spent time in Big Sur, penning his seminal work “Big Sur” after a series of visits. Today, Big Sur remains a cultural and environmental hub, attracting visitors from around the world. The area’s blend of natural beauty and artistic expression continues to inspire and captivate people in equal measure.