Big Sur is a rugged and mountainous section of the Central Coast of the U.S. state of California between Carmel Highlands and San Simeon, where the Santa Lucia Mountains rise abruptly from the Pacific Ocean. It is frequently praised for its dramatic scenery. Big Sur has been called the "longest and most scenic stretch of undeveloped coastline in the contiguous United States," a "national treasure that demands extraordinary procedures to protect it from development" and "one of the most beautiful coastlines anywhere in the world, an isolated stretch of road, mythic in reputation." The stunning views, redwood forests, hiking, beaches, and other recreational opportunities have made Big Sur a popular destination for tourists from across the world. The region receives about the same number of visitors as Yosemite National Park, which often leads to lengthy traffic back-ups and parking issues, especially during summer vacation periods and holiday weekends. The interior region is mostly uninhabited, while the coast remains relatively isolated and sparsely populated, with about 2,500 and 3,000 year-round residents and relatively few visitor accommodations scattered among four small settlements.