Pfeiffer Beach, California 93920, USA
Photo by Lisa Corson, AFAR Media
Pfeiffer BeachIf you blink, you might miss the turnoff for Pfeiffer Beach. There’s no signage except for a yellow “Narrow Road” warning at the top of otherwise unmarked Sycamore Canyon Road, the only paved, ungated road on the west side of Highway 1 between Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park and the Big Sur Post Office. From the path that starts at the parking lot, this flat beach may not seem like much at first, but the view unfolds as you get closer. The focal point from Pfeiffer Beach’s wide, sandy beach is Keyhole Rock, a natural arch where the tide sweeps through as waves break on the rock. During low tide periods, you can find tide pools in this area, but always keep your eye on the ocean, which rises quickly. Walk to the northern end of the beach, where purple sand comes from the manganese garnet in the surrounding rocks (the best places to see it are under running streams of water). Pro tip: Those looking for a golden, romantic moment—and beautiful photos—should head here before sunset, to catch Keyhole Rock as the last rays of daylight pass through.