Pfeiffer Beach

Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur: Address, Phone Number, Pfeiffer Beach Reviews: 4.5/5

Pfeiffer Beach
4.5
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
1,367 reviews
Excellent
1,049
Very good
226
Average
55
Poor
17
Terrible
20

N4246LIlauram
Peoria, AZ12 contributions
Pfeiffer Beach is quintessential Big Sur. It is iconic. It is beautiful. The sand is purple is some spots. It is usually very windy and cold so dress for that and expect that. It is unmarked, but if you travel down Highway 1, it is about 3-5 minutes drive from the Big Sur Lodge. Look for a Yellow diamond road sign..the turn is just after that, and is a sharp turn down a very narrow road. You will drive this road for two miles through a wooded area where you will see deer and other wildlife. The parking area is just past the pay booth. Parking is limited and it is always crowded. Go early or in the off-seasons. Weekends are really crowded. If you are staying at the Big Sur Lodge, you would walk to it if you don't mind a long walk. For photographers, it is best to photograph this area at sunset, that is when light shines through the keyhole/doorway and makes for magical photographs.
Written April 28, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

amaruss
Atlanta, GA5 contributions
Family
If I were rating the service upon entry, I’d rate it a 0. BUT, this is a must do if driving the coast. It’s not part of the state park system so you do have to pay for entry. It’s down a narrow unmarked road off the main road. There’s a beach, beautiful rocks, and some areas with purple sand. The only negative I will say is the guy working the entrance gate when we arrived is the rudest, most miserable person we encountered during the trip. He wasn’t in the gate building when we arrived, so we pulled forward to where he was to ask if we needed to pay. He immediately accused us of trying to get in without paying, yelled at us to back the car up, and refused to talk after that. Any questions we asked, he dramatically pointed to the sign(s) with info. Biggest jerk.
Written July 16, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

PatrickMc1
Durham, NC6 contributions
Just got back from trip to see my daughter who is out in Big Sur working at one of the campgrounds. I won't say which one. We really enjoyed our time in the area and it is beautiful! But, I would have given it a 5 star rating except for a few things. I have no issues with staying in places as long as it is clear what is available when you are staying someplace. Here are some tidbits: for 90 miles of the US 1 Hwy, there are very few places that have cell service. We stayed at Big Sur Lodge and they don't have WiFi but also no land lines in the rooms and very spotty cell service. This was not stated. Our daughter did warn us of the cell service but thought the lodge would have WiFi or something. Nothing. Second expect to pay a premium on gas along that section of the road as well as food. No issues but definitely something to consider. Camping is quite expensive if you can't get a site at the state park. Also consider what you won't get at most of those private sites. The views along the Hwy 1 are gorgeous but there are many areas that are privately owned land that limits your access to the beach even if the beach is not privately owned. Even the Pfeiffer State Park Beach is problematic to get to. You have to drive down. You can't park somewhere else if the parking lot is full. You are not allowed to walk down the road. It is dangerous even if you wanted to. The lot gets full pretty fast so this is probably not the best choice if you have to make sure you are able to get on the beach. I would suggest going to Monterey and going to Lover's Point. It is great and there is a beach that is quite accessible. As someone from NC, I was quite taken with the ocean and mountain views. Just thought I would provide some valuable info for others that want to see those sites.
Written June 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Dean_Amy-2004
Gettysburg, PA5,599 contributions
Family
Different from the east coast beaches we are accustomed to, it is beautiful to see the rocky shore and shaded purple sand. The water was COLD but just had to dip our toes in the Pacific Ocean.
Thanks to other posts with directions we had absolutely no trouble dining it, but you definitely have to know what to look for and where to look or you will miss it- it is NOT marked.
I was a bit concerned we’d have an issue getting in based on other reviews. We went on a Wednesday and arrived before 11 am. We were the 3rd car in the furthest lot but just 30 min later it was almost full. Moral of the review, go early and you should be fine.
Written June 17, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

MGTViajes
Buenos Aires, Argentina21 contributions
Family
After planning this trip for months we arrived at this point and the man at the entrance was the worst experience in the US so far! He was delighted to tell us that we could no enter, not by foot, not dropping, not to everything. When we turn back we saw a car coming out so we returned but he told us that we should have take the highway instead of making a U turn. So he told us that he would not allow to let us in. We explained that we came for very far away and we turned when we saw a car coming out. But he asked us to take the highway and turn there that is really dangerous. We did it, we came back and he told us that he wouldn’t let us in, that we should leave to the highway and keep turning the whole day. In any other place in the world you would form a file if you wanted until a car was going out, or they would let cars dropping people if there was not parking…
Written July 20, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

prashant_newaskar
Dallas, TX554 contributions
Family
The entrance from the highway leading to the beach is without signage of the Pfeiffer beach. One could easily miss it. The two mile connecting road is quite narrow for two way transportation. One has wait for a short while to let the oncoming vehicle pass. The beach is supposed to have purple sands. What you actually see is faint shades of purple. The beach is quite outstanding. There are big rock formations standing in the water. Portions of rocks have been eroded by the constant pounding by the waves. Waves from the ocean gushing in through these holes look mesmerising. The weather was cool and nice. You can spend hours at the beach enjoying the beauty.
Written August 10, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Richard G
San Rafael, CA39 contributions
Couples
This is a beautiful beach and worth the 1 to 2 mile twisty single lane road to get there. It was sunny on the day we went there but in the past has been very windy so I recommend preparing for both. Might also be helpful to brush up on your DMV handbook about who has the right of way on a single lane road (answer: uphill driver). Not that it matters, people were very courteous in both directions I was very impressed.
Written March 13, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

richey76
New Albany, MS70 contributions
Family
It’s a bit hard to find because there are no sign, but it’s definitely worth the trip down the narrow road to visit the beach. My family visited during early March so there was plenty of parking, but I can see how it would fill up fast. The road is narrow but there are plenty of places to pull to the side when meeting oncoming traffic. It appears that the rule is for cars coming back up the hill tend to pull over for those coming down. Right before you get to the small parking area, there is a National Park booth where they collect the $12 parking fee. My family loved the views from the beach. There is a small freshwater stream feeding into the ocean and streaks of purple sand. It was a great place to visit.
Written March 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

L B
Bloomfield Hills, MI22 contributions
You must get here well before noon in order to get a parking space or else you will be turned away. Very limited parking for the amount of people that want to go to this beach (during peak tourist season). Look for the large yellow "Narrow Road" sign on West side of Hwy 1. There are no signs that actually say Pfeiffer Beach before the road. It is well worth the 2 mile drive down the narrow winding road to get there. Amazing rock formations with waves crashing through carved holes in rocks, wide expansive beach with plenty of room, very picturesque. A must see in the Big Sur area!
Written August 23, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Reed
Orlando, FL1,364 contributions
Couples
Reviewing a beach?!? This feels so weird, but trust me, this beach is worth a review. Pfeiffer is a somewhat “hidden” beach in the Big Sur area. The turn off isn’t well marked and it is a bit of a long crazy drive from CA-1. That being said, it is a state park and it’s well appointed with paved lots and camping style hole in the ground toilets when you get there. They limit the attendance based on the amount of parking spaces so while the beach won’t feel crowded you may have a tough time getting in on a busy weekend. There is someone stationed at the top so you can’t even drive down unless there is available parking, but there is also no where to wait if there isn’t. So you might have to circle out to main road and back a few times.

As I’m sure you are aware, the highlight is the purple sand - and it’s legit. It’s not the entire beach, it’s in sections formed by some sort of magic run off from the rocks after it rains. It’s really amazing. Lots of other great photo spots as well, it’s an Instagram friendly beach so you will see many more folks taking photos than enjoying the beach, but it’s really cool, feels somewhat secluded and special even though it’s popular. Worth going out of your way for!
Written July 9, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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