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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
1,129 reviews
Google
4.7
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
  • Absolutely gorgeous and clean beach. There is a narrow one lane road that leads down to the beach with limited parking. However, there is a Ranger Station nearby that charges $10 for parking and $5 per person to shuttle down to the beach. The shuttles run every 20 minutes, last return shuttle is at 6:40. I highly recommend visiting this beach, it wasn't too crowded and very clean! There are bathrooms there too. We saw dolphins playing in the ocean and there is purple sand!
  • Beautiful beach with lots of room to enjoy a great day. The water is cold and the rocks are slippery so watch out for rogue waves washing your kids off the rocks because rescue and ambulances aren't right down the street. Great whites like to hunt the surf line for small children dressed in seal like wet suits. Always adorable when they come screaming out of the water missing a leg or an arm.
  • Wonderful little beach tucked away down a winding road. I would recommend not visiting in windy days unless you like getting sandblasted. Being plenty of sunblock or a canopy to get it if the sun. There's no natural shade here in the afternoon and evening. Parking is $10, and they don't accept credit cards, but they do accept debit cards with a small additional fee of 30¢. The waves and rock formations are really cool, and the beach is fairly long. There are also restrooms next to the parking area. The road down barely fits two small cars side by side, so drive slow, and be prepared to stop at a turn out to allow other cars by.
  • Great place! We have been there for sunset. Awesome! In high season the parking lot may be full and you will not be able to get there. You are not even allowed to drive down to the parking lot. You need to turn around and go back to HWY 1. But you can try again later. It's worth the visit. Fee is $10.
  • Beautiful beach love the way its hidden. Enjoy the sunshine with purple sand between your toes. HEAD OUT EARLY CAN GET OVERCROWDED very limited parking. And there is a small fee of $5 to $ 10. Parking fee. Not a big deal it is worth it.
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Plans to Pfeiffer State Beach by other users

19 days in United States BY A USER FROM BRAZIL October, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: October, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 11 days in California BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, teens, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, teens, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 11 days in California BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, teens, relaxing, museums, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, teens, relaxing, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 29 days in Western US BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA October, kids, beaches, historic sites, shopping, popular sights PREFERENCES: October, kids, beaches, historic sites, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 9 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, culture, outdoors, historic sites, wildlife, popular sights PREFERENCES: November, culture, outdoors, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 17 days in California BY A USER FROM BRAZIL October, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: October, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 9 days in California BY A USER FROM CANADA March, culture, outdoors, romantic, beaches, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: March, culture, outdoors, romantic, beaches, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 15 days in United States BY A USER FROM CANADA November, outdoors, beaches, hidden gems PREFERENCES: November, outdoors, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 4 days in California BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, slow & easy, hidden gems PREFERENCES: October, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 10 days in California BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, outdoors, beaches, shopping, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, outdoors, beaches, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 36 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM October, culture, beaches, historic sites, popular sights PREFERENCES: October, culture, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 35 days in California BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM November, outdoors, romantic, beaches, historic sites, fast-paced, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: November, outdoors, romantic, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Fast-paced
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