Pfeiffer Beach

Beach in Big Sur

Image by Getty Images

This phenomenal crescent-shaped beach is known for its huge double-rock formation, through which waves crash with life-affirming power. Dig down into the wet sand – it’s purple! That’s because manganese garnet washes down from the craggy hillsides above. It’s often windy, and the surf is too dangerous for swimming.

The turnoff is about a half mile south of Big Sur Station on the ocean side of Hwy 1. From here it's 2.3 narrow, twisting miles down to the beach (no RVs or trailers).