I literally stumbled upon this state beach during a recent trip up the coast and boy was it awesome. After visiting the McWay Waterfall in Julia Burns State Park I was looking over some pictures of Big Sur I had pulled up on my phone and noticed the rock with a hole, that is a staple of Pfeiffer State Beach. From there I started asking around and found my way here.
- Beach can be hard to find but if heading South it is the second road after Pfeiffer State Park
- $10 to park
- Purple sand is best after rains
- Dog friendly
Having seen no real signs or roads we pulled into Pfeiffer State Park and asked them where the beach was located. It was about a mile and a half back the way we came down a one lane road. The road was less than two miles but wasn’t paved for most of it and it made for a good twenty-minute drive. When we arrived it was 5 dollars for parking but since the lot was so small you had to wait for people to exit before you were able to come in, especially during the summer. We sat for about 20 minutes and we lucky enough to have a couple of cars exit at once so we could head in.
After parking you walk through a densely covered area of trees before arriving at the opening to the beach (the middle area in the above photo. Almost immediately you are greeted with the amazing views and sheer beauty of Pfeiffer State Beach. There were a good amount of people at the beach but it wasn’t crowded like a Southern California, and I’m sure the lack of parking helps with that. Once inside you will see by the aforementioned rock with a hole as well as another huge rock sitting in the cove that you are actually allowed to climb on. I walked around for a while and took a lot of pictures of the sea cave. Here is a beautiful picture of the parking lot and cove / rocks from above ( I didn’t take this) that gives you more of an idea of what I am talking about.
After walking around we decided to scale the big rock that is right in the middle of the park. It was not to difficult but many people were having trouble getting down as they were not in any type of shape for scrambling up the rock. Make sure you at least have shoes if you plan to do this. Once you make it to the top of the rock there are many beautiful views of the coastline and the rest of the beach. Also, there are many different flowers and rock formations.
It was windy when we were up there which is dangerous as you can easily lose your footing, but all in all it is a pretty safe rock to climb. After exploring for a while we headed down and watched the waves through the little sea cave.
This beach is also home to amazing purple sand (washing down from the rocks above). You will not be able to see it every time you go, but if you head South, especially after a rain, there is a good chance you will see the below view.
All in all this beach is one of my favorites in California. It is away from the crowd, has an element of adventure and has the beautiful purple sand, what more could you ask for? If you are driving up from the south on highway 1 make sure to look for the turnout on your left right before Pfeiffer State Park (not the Julia Burns one, there are two). Oh, and feel free to bring your dog too.
Let me know if you have been there before and enjoyed it like I did, you can also checkout the rest of the photos below.