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21 votes

Pfeiffer Beach

Sycamore Canyon Rd, Big Sur, California 93920 USA

Free to Visit
Closed Now
Opens Wed 9a
  • Independent
  • Credit Cards not Accepted
  • Pet Friendly
  • Not Wheelchair Accessible
  • Public Restrooms
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“discover unspoiled beauty ”

Pfeiffer Beach is a beautiful, unspoiled beach that's popular with locals, somewhat unknown among tourists and well worth your time. Besides beautiful offshore views of rocks and sea stacks and some nice surfing waves, this beach has unusual purple sand, from manganese garnet particles washing down the hillside. The further north on the beach you go, the more purple it becomes.

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Reviewed by

  • Road Warrior
  • 402 Reviews
  • 190 Helpful
September 29, 2014

What a gorgeous walk this one to Pfeiffer Beach we had, The whole family was satisfied.

The water is crystal clear and then it tends to become a deep blue or even purple, if you get to see further on.

There are people visiting and they sit to admire this scenic background of the beach. This is what we did after walking..

Strongly recommended.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
July 5, 2016

Worth the stop. On this 4th of July holiday weekend it was full and once the parking lot is full there is no going in. If you stop by on any other weekend its fine. Once you find the unmarked entrance off of PCH 1 you'll go down a very narrow and woodsy road. At the end is the parking area. Parking is $10 CASH ONLY. There are bathrooms but its porto-potty style so be ready for the smell. The beach is beautiful and clean. The rock formations are picture perfect with the waves crashing on them. The beach area is about 3/4 of a mile long that you can walk and enjoy. Its just so beautiful.

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Reviewed by

  • 14 Reviews
  • 2 Helpful
June 29, 2016

Really beautiful and picturesque beach- definitely not touristy! My kids loved the purple sand :)

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Reviewed by
Tatiana Danger

  • Road Warrior
  • 1,160 Reviews
  • 609 Helpful
March 27, 2016

Then head to Pfeiffer Beach to see the Sun Portal at Pfeiffer Beach. This sea archway creates an incredible natural sun portal between December and January, when light pours out of the archway.

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Reviewed by

  • 2 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
March 19, 2016

Go left at the parking lot. Really cool waterfall & info about first settlers and the foundation of their house. Very pretty! Saint Lucia Waterfall.

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Reviewed by

  • 2 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
March 19, 2016

really nice view, but super crowded!

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Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
January 27, 2016

If you are in the area during January and February be sure to stick around for sunset to witness the sun portal the becomes visible around 2 hours before sundown. There will be a decent amount of photographers set up to capture the moment but it will not spoil your view. My friends and I spent a entire day here taking in the view and would go back in a heart beat! An easy walk to the beach and there is purple sand! So cool. Highly recommend!

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Reviewed by

  • 8 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
December 29, 2015

This is a true hidden gem! PURPLE sand!!!!!! I'm not kidding! If you go after a rain that's when there's supposed to be the most purple sand. The walk from the parking area is easy and the beach is beautiful.

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Reviewed by

  • 18 Reviews
  • 3 Helpful
March 12, 2015

Beautiful! We made it while the sunset went through the "door". Have to go for yourself to get the feel ❤️❤️

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Reviewed by
Joel Schat

  • Photographer
  • 238 Reviews
  • 370 Helpful
October 1, 2014

Pfeiffer beach itself is a beautiful spot that usually isn't all that crowded as its not the easiest to get to! There is a ton of sea life in the rocks and the beach itself seems to go on forever past the iconic sun portal rock.

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Pfeiffer Beach

Sycamore Canyon Rd
Big Sur, California
93920 USA


Closed Now
  • Sun - Sat: 9:00 am - 8:00 pm

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  • Independent
  • Credit Cards not Accepted
  • Pet Friendly
  • Not Wheelchair Accessible
  • Public Restrooms
  • Outdoor Seating
  • No Wifi
  • Street Parking
  • Private Parking

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