Carmel-by-the-Sea is the gateway to Big Sur. We had an excellent app called Gypsy Guide that guided us down the highway with entertaining stories, humour, precise directions and it helped us make decisions on whether to stop at a place or not. Even though there was no service on this stretch of highway the app used satellite to keep track of us.
I just want to also mention the fog! I thought I knew fog………. no, I have never seen fog like this before! We could see it roll in like a wave and roll out. It was a force. Thankfully though for most of our drive we could see the water. We walked down to see McWay Falls, but it was completely socked in and we couldn’t see a thing. The twisty drive though was absolutely spectacular! It was epic with so many sea stacks, cliffs, raging ocean, bridges, redwoods, sea creatures, hikes and then changing to the urban landscape of SoCal. If you are thinking of doing this I recommend going North to South to have the ocean on your side of the road and it makes it so easy to pull into all the awesome turn outs to take in the view.