pfeiffer beach, big sur


You know you're head over heels in love when, even in the midst of being there, you're already thinking of coming back. That's exactly how it was for me with Pfeiffer Beach.

One of Big Sur's hidden gems, the road to Pfeiffer Beach is unmarked and easily missed from Highway 1. I knew this when I started driving from Monterey and I had planned on using my navigator to get there. What I didn't realize was that there was no satellite reception in this area so I had to ask some locals to give me with directions and even then I still drove past the yellow sign that says "Narrow Road: No RVs-Trailers".

Needless to say, I did find the unnamed road and drove 2.5 miles down to Pfeiffer Beach. They were not exaggerating when they said that it was narrow and I started to question my sanity while driving along this one-lane path. But it was all worth it as soon as I caught a glimpse of the ocean.

Words and photos won't do it justice and you just have to experience this magical place. I was glad I went there alone because I was able to keep quiet and take it all in - waves crashing against rock formations in the water, such gorgeous light, everything about it is so serene and majestic. Oh, and parts of the beach has purple sand! I've never seen anything like it. My only regret is that I couldn't stay longer to see the sunset but I guess that's one more reason to come back here.

Some things to keep in mind when you visit Pfeiffer Beach:
  • When driving south from San Francisco, the turnoff is less than a mile from Big Sur State Park. There is a yellow sign that says "Narrow Road", make a sharp right here.
  • There is a $5 fee for parking. Day use only.
  • Bring food and water, there are no concession stands inside the beach.
  • Don't forget your coat or a blanket, it can get windy and cold here. 
  • If you have some extra time, drive south from Pfeiffer Beach to Cafe Kevah. They have outdoor dining with panoramic views of the Pacific and very friendly staff.

You can see all of my photos from Pfeiffer Beach here.


  1. I've heard this is a spectacular place, and it's on my travel wish-list. Judging from the photo, it looks quite similar to some of the dramatic beaches we have here in Western Australia.

    1. Oh, Hila it really is spectacular. I hope you can come visit one day.