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As season two of Big Little Lies finally graces our screens, scenes of Nicole Kidman gazing into the sunset, Shailene Woodley jogging along the sandy beachfront, and Reese Witherspoon’s dramatic highway drives to that soundtrack tempt us to drop everything and head to America’s West Coast.
1. Del Monte Beach, Monterey
Many of the iconic scenes from Big Little Lies takes place on the Monterey Peninsula, chosen by producers for its “hypnotic beauty”. Del Monte Beach is a long, sandy beach that stretches along the bottom coast of Monterey Bay – fans will recognise it as Jane’s favoured jogging spot. In reality, the beach is a spot favoured by Californians for a picnic and a long walk.
2. Carmel Highlands, Carmel-By-The-Sea
Known for palatial mansions belonging to millionaires and celebrities, glass-fronted beach houses – including the one used as Celeste’s home – the Carmel Highlands sprawl across the shoreline. Wander around for some celeb-spotting or head to the beach, where white sands framed by cypress trees provide the perfect locale for sunbathing or reading in the shade.
3. Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey
Celeste, Jane and Madeline often meet for a coffee and a gossip on Monterey’s picturesque harbour. Their café of choice, called Blue Blues in the show, can be found on the Old Fisherman’s Wharf in downtown Monterey, where, offscreen, it is a popular restaurant called Paluca Trattoria, a family-owned Italian restaurant. The wharf is also home to plenty of cute cafés, lifestyle stores and seafood markets set inside pastel coloured buildings, and views across the bay.
4. Lovers Point Park, Pacific Grove
Located on Ocean View Boulevard, Lovers Point Park provides the backdrop for Jane and Celeste’s heated showdown over the school bully. Not far from Monterey, this nature-rich space has plenty to offer, from a four-acre park and swimming pool, to sandy beaches and rocky cliffs.
5. Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, Carmel-By-The-Sea
Another popular jogging spot among the mums of Monterey, Point Lobos State Reserve is the crown jewel of California’s parks. Go for long walks across the reserve’s vast expanse or head to the limestone cliffs and hidden bays to spot seals, orcas, sea lions and perhaps a spouting whale or two.
6. Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey
Easily recognisable from the series’ trailer, this is one of the world’s best aquariums, and an important set in season two. Found on storied Cannery Row, it’s filled with marine animals including penguins and sharks. Come for a mesmerising day learning about life under the waves and for taking part in immersive exhibitions.
7. Bixby Creek Bridge, Big Sur
Just half an hour’s drive south from Carmel-By-The-Sea along Highway One, you’ll reach the iconic Bixby Creek Bridge. Built in 1932, the bridge is one of the most photographed spots in California, and has featured in many different films and television shows. Make like Madeline and drive along the bridge, stopping off at any of the viewing points on the way for 360° degree views across surrounding landscapes. Alternatively, pack a picnic and pull over at Hurricane Point, just south of the bridge, to watch the sunset over the Pacific.
8. Garrapata State Park, Carmel-By-The-Sea
The rugged coastline of Garrapata State Park features several times in Big Little Lies, whether for dramatic waves crashing on the rocks, pensive stares over the horizon or somber shots of misty shores. An idyllic stop on a drive along California’s Big Sur, it’s the ideal place to hike through groves and picnic on the rocks.
Naturally, many of the Big Little Lies scenes are filmed in sets found elsewhere. Renata’s grand residence and Madeline’s gorgeous home are both located in Malibu. Drive down Broad Beach Road to gawk at huge houses, and stop by Point Dume beach for fishing, surfing, diving and whale-watching.
Called “Old Hollywood” for its frequent use as a set in blockbuster hits, Pasadena and its tree-lined streets are a Californian must-visit. At the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains, you can peruse cute boutiques and local restaurants, or try to find Jane and Ziggy’s bungalow home, which is located here.
Season 2 of Big Little Lies continues Monday 9pm exclusively on Sky Atlantic & NOW TV
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