If driving Big Sur, plan your trip carefully. It's easy to rush the drive in a day if your going straight from, say, Monterey south all the way down to Santa Barbara. You really need at least a day just to drive Big Sur, so ideally you want to stay just North beforehand, and just south after your drive (or vice versa) to allow more time to enjoy the drive in daylight hours. There isn't a huge amount of accommodation on the route either, and what there is is generally very expensive compared to nearby towns. Camping is also an option, with a few campsites scattered around within the state parks.
Time of year is also a factor. The road can be closed during periods of bad weather - especially in Winter. Although it's worth noting in Spring/Summer, your views can often be spoiled by long morning coastal fogs. Plus - the crowds in Summer can potentially spoil the views and make the roads much busier. We visited in November - while a little chilly (although the roof was still down on the convertible) and with short daylight hours, the days were usually filled with clear blue skies and few cars on the road. Plenty of lay-bys mean slow drivers usually let you through nice and regularly.
Every turn of the road reveals a new stunning vista, overlooking the rugged coastline across the Atlantic. Leave time to explore one of the many great state parks too. McWay Falls in Julia Pfeiffer state park is a top tourist pull - one of only a few waterfalls in the world which falls directly onto the beach. The other side of the road, you can lose the tourists and hike up into the mountains on a 3-hour round walk, taking in redwoods, steep trails, open mountain views and cliff-edge vistas looking back down on the road below and across the ocean from 1,000+ feet up.
Food/fuel is also something to consider - most restaurants are fairly overpriced, and make sure you fill up before you start Big Sur - petrol stations are excessive.
Overall Big Sur is definitely a must-do when in California, if you have a car. The drive really is one of the best in the world, plus it's usually on the way for many visitors driving from San Fran - LA or vice versa.