One of the most beautiful drives in the country! It's possible to visit Big Sur in a single day from Orange County although it will take the entire day. A better way is to take this route on your way up toMonterey/San Francisco or back home from there. This is something that absolutely has to be done by everyone who enjoys road trips and seeing the outdoors. Please note that there is no cell phone signal anywhere between San Simeon and Monterey.
Up the coast
Gaviota State Park
The town of Morro Bay makes for a great stop right along the route and is great to stretch your legs. Drive to Morro Rock and take a walk to alone the harbor there and keep an eye out for sea otters which are typically seen right around there. This 581 ft tall rock is a volcanic plug, 1 of several in the area, it is home to many nesting birds like gulls, cormorants, and peregrine falcons.