Pfeiffer Beach. The Purple Sand Beach in Big Sur
Updated: Mar 17
Big Sur is known for it's natural beauty, numerous hiking trails, scenic drive up Highway One and rugged coastline, but if you have heard of Big Sur, you have probably also heard about its purple sand beach.
What rock I have been hiding under, I am not sure, but I had never heard of this famous purple sand beach until this year when I saw someone post about it on instagram. I immediately saw the pictures and knew I had to visit. I knew it would be something that Alexia would enjoy seeing and I was not wrong.
How To Get There
If you have never been to Pfeiffer Beach before it can be hard to locate but definitely worth the effort. Located on Highway One in between the post office located in Big Sur Center and Pfeiffer State Park. It is exactly 0.5 miles after passing the post office to your left. There is no street sign but you will see a paved narrow road to your left hand side in which you will need to make a sharp turn into.
As soon as you make the sharp left you will see this sign below that will let you know you are headed in the right direction.
What To Expect
Now as stated on the signs below there are no pedestrians, RV'S, or trailers allowed on this road. It is a 2 mile one lane road with turnouts and a few potholes. Drive carefully as it is a narrow and winding road, but don't let all this scare you away or fool you. Its a beautiful scenic route nestled in between trees, homes, and a river. Once you almost reach the parking area you even come across 2 horses which we named Princess and Buttercup.
Before reaching the beach parking area you will come to a booth. Every car needs to pay a fee of $10 to get in and they do not permit you to come in and out during the day. If you must leave and come back you will have to pay again.
I do highly recommend you get to the beach fairly early, especially if it's your first time visiting. We were told by the front desk person in the camp site where we stayed at, that they do at times have to turn people away if there are too many people visiting. We did not want to take the risk of that happening so we decided to make that our first stop of the day. Also, it can get very cold so make sure and wear layers and bring a blanket.
We arrived at 9am and it was perfect! There was no wait to get in and there weren't many people. We were able to take pictures without others in the way and the sand was not as disturbed. We were able to appreciate the colors and patters in the sand that were made by the water without having to many shoe prints. We were also able to get close enough to the large arch shaped rock formations just off shore for pictures and able to walk a good couple miles down the beach exploring more of the purple sand, small trail, and the beautiful beach. Because it was very fogy and cold we left at noon for lunch and decided to come back around 5:30 pm to see if the fog had cleared up. By this time the tide was much higher and people were not able to get as close to the rock formations for pictures and exploring like we had in the morning. Most of the beach was now covered with water and we were unable to walk the beach like we had in the morning.
Unfortunately for us the fog had not rolled away and it had only gotten worse, but we were able to notice these differences that I am now able to share with you guys.
Things To Do
If you plan to go with kids like we did, there are many things for kids to do besides getting in the water or playing with the purple sand. It was a cold day so unfortunately we were not able to enjoy the water, but there was so much more to do and explore.
Close to the huge beautiful rock formations, we were able to see many sea creatures like crabs, sea urchins, and anemones.
Also, if you write on the sand in certain areas you will see some deeper hues of purple come out from underneath in what appears to be regular colored sand. That was very entertaining as well.
We also saw lots of seashells and many beautiful shiny colored rocks of all shapes, colors, and sizes.
The whole beach itself was so beautiful and serene that the pictures actually don't do it justice. There is something very magical about this beach from the moment you enter the 2 mile road to get there. I highly recommend if you are ever in the area or passing by, make a stop and visit this beautiful beach. Maybe unlike us you will get lucky and be able to see the sun shine through the beautiful rock formed arches. Although we didn't get to see that, the rock formations and how the water splashes through them is in itself a sight to see.
If you have any questions or thoughts feel free to leave a comment or email me. Now tell me, what year will you be writing in the sand at Pfeiffer beach?
Talk to you later.