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Pfeiffer State Beach, Big Sur

4.6
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
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
1,125 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • The drive down to the beach is long, and it’s easy to miss the turn off when you are coming in from the Carmel area, but you will be richly rewarded for your efforts. Pfeiffer Beach is a magical place...  more »
  • Clayton C summed it up nicely. The beach is definitely nice, the road to get there is bumpy and single lane, there's a $10 parking fee for the day (cash only), and it's not a good beach for swimming. ...  more »
  • You've got to know where you're going to find this hideaway because it isn't marked off of Hwy 1. This is certainly an icon to visit and note that this isn't a state park but a privately managed park ...  more »
Google
  • It is beautiful and iconic! Though I was surprised at how small it is. If you go, it's better to go at sunset because the light shining through the holes in the rocks it breath taking! I got some awesome shots with my new Canon camera. It's like a wind tunnel though, so bring a good jacket.
  • I think the path leading to the beach makes it worth to visit :). It is a one lane road, so be prepared for the traffic from opposite direction. The beach is nice, the wave is a bit strong for going down on the day we visited. But the view is fantastic.
  • Beautiful area with an amazing beach and little trail to get there from the parking lot. The road to the parking lot is a pretty bumpy/rough single lane road so beware. Open from sunrise to sunset with no overnight stay and $10 fee per vehicle. We went there for a photoshoot and it was amazing! Check online for status on whether it is open.
  • Best spot for dogs and family. Sunset during the right month is amazing!
  • This is one of my favorite beaches. The natural setting of this park makes it a must visit!

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Where to stay in Big Sur

Secluded resorts, inns, and lodges are located off Highway 1. Some offer weary drivers a safe resting place, while others are exclusive resorts for long-term getaways. The latter require advance reservations. Camping is another popular alternative, with many campgrounds accessible from the highway.
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