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Restaurants

  • Nepenthe
  • Sierra Mar at Post Ranch Inn
  • Big Sur Bakery
  • Deetjen's Restaurant
  • Big Sur Deli
  • The Restaurant at Ventana
  • Big Sur Lodge
  • Fernwood Bar & Grill
  • Big Sur Roadhouse
  • Ripplewood Resort
  • Restaurant at River Inn Big Sur

Movies/TV

  • From Here to Eternity (movie 1953)
  • One-Eyed Jacks (movie western 1961)

Awards

#3 Best Beach in America List by Saturday Evening Post 2015

Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur, California

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 there is unsigned Sycamore Canyon Road which winds its way down to the shore. The two-mile long road is paved, but it is twisty and narrow so RV’s and trailers are not allowed (look for the yellow “Narrow Road” sign at the turn-off).

From the parking area you have a short walk down to the beach. At this location Sycamore Canyon Creek empties into the Pacific or forms a lagoon during low flow. On the right is a steep sandy dune and on the left there’s a cove partially protected by rocky Pfeiffer Point.

The focal point on your walk to the shore is the massive rock (actually two rocks) in the crashing surf. One rock has a rock arch in it known as the Keyhole Arch. This amazing natural arch allows waves, and even the last rays of daylight, to pass through it. This spot is strikingly beautiful at sunset and is frequently professionally photographed.

The north end of the beach is special too. In this area you can find unique purple sand that comes from manganese garnet rocks in the cliffs. There are also tide pools at the north end during low tides.

Pfeiffer Beach is on land within Los Padres National Forest, but is managed with help from the California Coastal Commission.

Address
9100 Sycamore Canyon Rd
Big Sur, CA 93920
Park Name
Los Padres National Forest, Pfeiffer Beach Day Use Area
Owner
National Forest
Activities
Photography, Walking, Beach Exploration, Tidepooling
Amenities
Rock Arch, Tide Pools, Restrooms, Dunes
Pet Policy
Dogs allowed on leash
Fees
Fee for parking

Book Hotel

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