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Trip Planner:   USA  /  California  /  Big Sur  /  Pfeiffer State Beach

Pfeiffer State Beach, Big Sur

4.5
#2 of 14 in Parks in Big Sur
Beach · Nature / Park
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The unspoiled Pfeiffer State Beach is a hit with locals but lesser known among tourists. Take a narrow road off the highway to reach this rugged oasis. Make sure to drive slowly, watching out for cars coming from the other direction. The beach's tranquil atmosphere and small crowds come at the cost of limited parking. You may have to wait for a spot. Once there, take a stroll, admire the dramatic views of offshore rocks and sea stacks, watch the waves crashing, and look for deposits of the area's unusual purple sand. You might even see a whale in the distance. Bring a sweater; it can get windy here. Use our Big Sur tour itinerary planning website to arrange your visit to Pfeiffer State Beach and other attractions in Big Sur.
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Pfeiffer State Beach reviews

TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
1,377 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • This is a stunning beach, with wild waves at the end of a beautiful steep winding road. We biked to the beach and then sat in the sand in wonder as we watched the waves crash in and around the rocks.....  more
    This is a stunning beach, with wild waves at the end of a beautiful steep winding road. We biked to the beach and then sat in the sand in wonder as we watched the waves crash in and around the rocks.....  more »
  • One of the best stops on our Pacific Coast Highway trip. Beautiful beach with keyholes and yes, purple sand. The two mile drive is one lane and challenging. We got there at 11 am on a Wednesday and... 
    One of the best stops on our Pacific Coast Highway trip. Beautiful beach with keyholes and yes, purple sand. The two mile drive is one lane and challenging. We got there at 11 am on a Wednesday and...  more »
  • The residents of California do not want visitors here. The gatekeepers of the State Park are aggressive, rude, and forbid entry to the park. You will waste hours of your life driving to this state... 
    The residents of California do not want visitors here. The gatekeepers of the State Park are aggressive, rude, and forbid entry to the park. You will waste hours of your life driving to this state...  more »
Google
  • It is perfect place to spend your day. The beach is really beautiful and when we went it was not so crowded. The entrance to this beach is off the main road, the road to the entrance of the beach is really narrow and hence we have to drive very careful and only 1 car can pass so often we have to give way. But I would like to really appreciate this state park staff who are always ready to help and are good with vehicles traffic on this narrow road. More photos please check my insta: fsk_photoz
  • Very very beautiful beach and weather is lovely out here. Entry fee is $12 and there are two parking lots with 35 and 25 cars capacity respectively. The road are narrow and bumpy so keep speed in check. The beach area is awesome with many beautiful caves and formations. Sea is alive and violent in some parts and others are good for kids to play. Hike over the mountain in the evening and you will picture perfect views of sunset.
  • An amazingly beautiful beach that is really huge and has a characteristic purple sand that I have never seen anywhere else in the world! Beware that the road down to the beach (Sycamore Canyon Road) is very narrow, windy, and very rough! In many places it is only one lane and you will find yourself searching for pullouts to avoid oncoming traffic. If you have a large vehicle, or a car with low ground clearance, the drive will be much more difficult. There is a separate fee to enter of $12. They don’t accept ANY park passes for this beach. Parking is fairly plentiful, but they will close access to the beach when the parking is full, so try to arrive early on weekends or holidays. The beach is only a 5 minute walk from the parking area. The beach is expansive and has plenty of room and soft sand. You will notice in places that the sand appears a dark purple color just below the surface or in areas where the waves have washed away the surface sand. It’s the only place in the world that I have seen sand this color, and it brings a lot of visitors down here to explore. The water is very cold, and the waves can get rough, so be prepared if you plan to swim.
  • This is a gorgeous beach and the keyhole cave is so cool! It’s a two mile drive on a rather narrow paved road off Highway 1 and there’s a $12 entrance fee but the scenery is beautiful and worth the entrance fee. This is not a beach for swimming or wading as the tides are treacherous and dangerous, but it is a great place to relax and lots of people bring their dogs.
  • Beautiful beach. Entrance is a little hidden which means it doesn't get crowded. I love the huge rock formations.

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