The sublime meeting of land and sea known as Pt. Lobos has lent its scenic glories to nearly 40 films, including Evangeline, for which an entire village was built on site—then intentionally burned—in 1929. Follow trails to locations where nature rather than movie-making is now the grandest show, including sheltered China Cove, noisy Sea Lion Point, and Cypress Grove, one of only two naturally growing Monterey Cypress stands in the world.
The rocky Pacific shoreline and rugged hills of the Big Sur coast beckoned filmmakers even before Highway 1 provided an easy inroad to this wild territory. Explore Garrapata, Andrew Molera, and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Parks, isolated Pfeiffer Beach, and other Big Sur sites for glimpses of the terrain that enriched Suspicion, Deep Valley, One-Eyed Jacks, Doctor Dolittle, The Terror, and Zandy’s Bride. Or, take in the hawk’s-eye view and tackle an Ambrosia Burger at Big Sur’s Nepenthe, on the spot where Henry Miller once wrote, Orson Wells and Rita Hayworth once dreamed, and Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor once played out a scene for The Sandpiper.
Home to California State University Monterey Bay, this former Army Base once enrolled film crews that put its barracks and chaparral covered dunes to work. The authentic Army backdrop, still much in evidence, was a key element in films such as The Girl He Left Behind with Tab Hunter and Natalie Wood, and Soldier in the Rain, which starred Jackie Gleason and Steve McQueen in an odd tragi-comic pairing. The Fort’s miles of public hiking trails will put you in territory where local National Guard tanks once masqueraded as German Tiger tanks in Breakthrough.