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Big Sur might be the most beautiful coastline in the entire country. When many people think of the California Coast they have visions of driving down the highway in the Big Sur Region of Monterey County with mountains on one side and a stunning rugged shoreline on the other. Picturesque high bridges such as the Bixby Bridge and Rocky Creek Bridge cross the deep valleys along this route. With such a steep coastline, there are many beaches that can be photographed from afar but are otherwise hard to access. Some of these Big Sur beaches are blocked by private land, are nearly impossible to find, or have steep difficult hikes from the bluff to the sand.

Below is a list of the best Big Sur beaches that you can actually visit and put your toes in the sand. They might require a short day-hike to reach or an entry fee to get into, but they are all worth the effort and the price of admission. This list includes a variety of beaches from small rocky coves to wide-open sandy strands. Some just have day-use areas and picnic facilities while others offer campgrounds for staying overnight in tents or RVs. Just consider getting campground reservations if you are traveling in the summer. There are several hotel options along this shoreline too.

Related: Best Beaches that Tourists Miss in Big Sur!

Mcway Falls, Big Sur, California

To access to the Big Sur region just drive south along the coast from Carmel or head north from San Simeon in San Luis Obispo County. It’s nearly a 100 mile curvy drive along Highway One between these small cities.

Beaches on this map

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    Pfeiffer Beach

    Pfeiffer Beach in the Big Sur area is definitely off the beaten path, but well worth the drive. Just south of Big Sur Station on Highway 1 is unsigned Sycamore […]

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    Sand Dollar Beach

    Sand Dollar Day-Use Picnic Area is along the southern Big Sur coast about half-way between Cambria and Big Sur Station. The picnic area and Sand Dollar Beach are popular in […]

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    Andrew Molera State Park

    Andrew Molera State Park Beach is a long sandy, rocky, and driftwood-covered beach along the base of the Big Sur headlands. This is the largest state park along the Big […]

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    Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

    Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park on the Big Sur Coast is home to iconic McWay Falls. It’s just a short walk out on a trail to an overlook where many […]

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    Partington Cove

    Partington Cove is a remote rocky cove below Partington Point in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. It has a separate access with shoulder parking spaces along Highway 1 north of […]

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    Willow Creek Picnic Area

    Willow Creek Picnic Area has the first public sandy beach in Monterey County when driving north from San Luis Obispo, but the sandy area is hidden from view when you […]

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    Limekiln State Park Beach

    The beach at Limekiln State Park sits in the shadow of a tall bridge on Highway 1 in the southern Big Sur area. While the rock and sand beach in […]

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    Mill Creek Picnic Area Beach

    Mill Creek Picnic Area is a Los Padres National Forest day-use area along the southern Big Sur coastline. Next to the parking lot is a small grassy area with a […]

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    Kirk Creek Campground Beach

    Kirk Creek Campground is a is a blufftop camping spot for RV and tent campers in the southern Big Sur area. The campground has access to a narrow rocky beach […]

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  • Beautiful beach and coastline in central California

    Garrapata State Park – Garrapata Beach

    Garrapata Beach at Garrapata State Park is located along the northern Big Sur coastline about ten miles south of Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA. The waterfront of the park is four miles long, […]

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Other locations on this map

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    Big Sur, CA

    Big Sur has a national forest visitor center, a gas station, restaurants, lodging, campgrounds, and hiking trails.

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