One thing I love about the PCH is how the landscape changes along the drive. It’s hard to pick a favorite part of California, but after my experience in Big Sur, it’s surely one place I’ll never forget.
My friend, Kaelee, told me about a hot springs/mineral bath in Big Sur called Esalan Institute. Esalan is a wellness retreat that encourages individuals to focus on understanding themselves and to embrace spiritual possibilities.
I decided to do a little research and after reading several blogs, I discovered it was also clothing optional. At first I was skeptical but everyone else was doing it so I figured why not go in for the full experience and go nude.
Public Bath Bathing is only open to twenty people from 1 am to 3 am. Tickets are available online at 9 am the day of and sell out quick. I was able to get the last spot while waiting in line for The Price is Right!
After 5 hours of taping the show, I drove hours to campgrounds near Esalan called Kirk Creek. The camp was full so I end up sleeping in my car for an hour on the side of the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). At 1 am, I drove up to the institute and parked on the side of the PCH. A group of couples, girlfriends, and singles of all ages waited atop the hill until an attendant came.
Walking down into the retreat, you start to see the upper and lower level of baths (or springs) on the cliffs. There are changing areas, massage tables, lockers, bathtubs, hot tubs and an epic shower overlooking the ocean.
I was so anxious/uncomfortable… I didn’t even listen to the instructions. Next thing you know, I’m sitting in a tub on the cliffs of California looking out at a million stars. I was naked out there in front of 20 strangers. From time to time, I was even in the same hot tub as them. Some people wore bathing suits but most rocked their birthday suit.
The views, sounds, and the feeling of warm water made me feel at one with Mother Nature. There wasn’t much chit chat. All I could hear were waves crashing against the cliffs. Those two hours were some of the most liberating and incredible moments in my life. Call me a hippie, I left feeling free and at peace.
Big Sur is one of the prettiest coastal parts of California and I want go back (during daylight). I’ve been told Kirk Creek is a must-stay, but make sure you book in advance… don’t want to end up sleeping in your car like me 🙂
Traveling helps you get to know yourself and I recommend each of you embrace spontaneity on your next journey.
—- COMING SOON —–
OREGON BOUND: including my favorite Airbnb from the roadtrip!