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

Pfeiffer State Beach, Big Sur

4.5
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.
Create an itinerary including Pfeiffer State Beach
map
Pfeiffer State Beach Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
1,129 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • Gorgeous beach with crashing waves and purple sand. The first time we went around 4:30 pm on a Saturday, the parking lot was full so the ranger didn’t allow any more visitors. We attempted the next mo...  more »
  • Allow lots of time to stop and admire the jaw dropping views and scenery. Honestly don't try to rush anywhere or have a tight schedule you'll regret it!  more »
  • Very attractive beach down long steep road labelled NARROW ROAD. Presumably the beach gets enough visitors without advertising its presence. Two natural arches and sandy beach to walk along. You pay f...  more »
Google
  • It's a nice little beach with purple sand. The road to the beach is narrow and winding.Its barely noticeable from the highway 1. The entrance to the beach is around 10$ cash only. The beach itself is not too crowded, has beautiful rock formations and is unusual with it's purple sand.
  • Go check it out, the sands are purple, the trees are gorgeous and the rocks are magnificent! Watching the sunset through the holes in the rocks is great but the beach is beautiful anytime in the day! The place operates privately and the parking costs $10.
  • Absolutely gorgeous spot. The Rock's here and purple sand here are stunning, and at the right time of year when the setting sun shines through the famous Keyhole Arch it is quite a sight to see. It's a beautiful place, though the waves can get pretty violent here so be mindful of the waves and don't turn your back to the Ocean. This is one of the top spots in Big Sur in my opinion, and well worth the $10 entry fee. The drive down to the beach for Sycamore Canyon can get interesting if any other cars are trying to come up, as the road is fairly narrow. That said it's worth the trip.
  • Yes, amazing scenery ! Here is what is bad : 1. Photographers that bully people to move and yell at you for standing at the the keyhole rock. It is literally the same angle, same camera and the same lens with a whole bunch of photographers ganging up on the same picture. So, if anyone yells at you to move - you do not have to :) 2. Parking is limited and one must plan ahead, if you arrive here on a perfect weekend. Apart from that - amazing scenery,. Some marine life viewing a plus.
  • Nice little cove. If you go in the morning it's pretty empty
Places to stay near Pfeiffer State Beach

Plan your trip to Big Sur

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Plans to Pfeiffer State Beach by other users

10 days in Pacifica & San Simeon BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, culture, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: November, culture, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 28 days in West Coast BY A USER FROM ARGENTINA September, culture, outdoors, romantic, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, fast-paced, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: September, culture, outdoors, romantic, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Fast-paced 35 days in United States BY A USER FROM NETHERLANDS September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 23 days in West Coast & Las Vegas BY A USER FROM INDIA August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, wildlife, slow & easy, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 18 days in West Coast BY A USER FROM CHINA September, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, shopping, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: September, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 14 days in West Coast BY A USER FROM AUSTRIA September, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, shopping, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: September, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 13 days in California BY A USER FROM MEXICO August, relaxing, romantic, beaches, shopping, hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, relaxing, romantic, beaches, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 31 days in California BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA October, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, hidden gems PREFERENCES: October, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 16 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, slow & easy, popular PREFERENCES: November, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Slow & easy 14 days in California BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, wildlife, hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 10 days in California BY A USER FROM COSTA RICA October, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, shopping, wildlife, hidden gems PREFERENCES: October, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 13 days in California & Las Vegas BY A USER FROM COSTA RICA October, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, fast-paced, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: October, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Fast-paced
View more plans