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Little Pico B BS-DC Mar2015 (15)

Many tourists drive Highway 1 along the California Central Coast throughout the year. It’s an incredibly scenic route and the highlight is usually the Big Sur Section in northern San Luis Obispo County and southern Monterey County. And while there are plenty of well-known “must see” beaches along the Big Sur Coast, this area offers a lot more if you know where to look.

Starting in the town of Cambria it is just under a three-hour drive to Carmel if you don’t make any stops. But it’s hard not to stop when there are so many parks, beaches, and ocean overlooks that beg you to pull off the highway. Most road trippers still miss some of the most impressive beaches that the state has to offer. We call these beaches “hidden gems” and the Big Sur Region has several fabulous gems.

Some of these little-known beaches are in the area north of San Simeon which is home to nearby Hearst Castle. Others are closer to the small town of Big Sur, a launching point for hiking and backpacking trips along this rugged coast. All of these beaches require a short hike to get from your car to the beach, but it’s worth the effort to visit beautiful, uncrowded, remote beaches.

Below is our list of the best beaches that tourists miss out on along the Big Sur Coast.

Beaches on this list

  • San Carpoforo Creek Beach

    The San Carpoforo Creek Beach Access is the northernmost portion of the state-owned properties in Hearst San Simeon State Park. A portion of this beach is also in Los Padres National […]

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  • Point Sierra Nevada Dunes Beach

    Point Sierra Nevada sticks out into the Pacific Ocean north of San Simeon and Point Piedras Blancas. North of the point is a seldom visited sand dunes structure and a […]

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  • Little Pico Creek Beach Access

    Little Pico Creek Beach is part of the expansive Hearst San Simeon State Park along the northern San Luis Obispo County coastline. There are no signs to indicate the beach […]

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  • Arroyo De La Cruz Beach

    The Arroyo De La Cruz Beach Access is another one of the state-owned properties included in Hearst San Simeon State Park. This is a sandy beach at the mouth of […]

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  • Young Creek Beach at Ragged Point Inn

    Young Creek Beach is the official name of the beach below the Ragged Point Inn and Resort on the southern Big Sur Coast. The view from the bluff above the […]

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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 there is a small grassy area with […]

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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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