The trail from HW1 to Vicente Flat, south of Big Sur, has some of the most beautiful views along that coast. Once the trail veers inland, you hike through a number of different ecosystems. There is plenty of water, as well.
Sykes Hot Springs is also a nice place to visit in winter, but even then it can be crowded on the weekends.
China Camp to Pine Valley, in the Ventana Wilderness, offers a landscape that is reminiscent of the Sierra.