Pfeiffer Beach
Pfeiffer Beach
4.5
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  • TheCollegeInvestor
    San Diego, California23 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Fun family beach with a river that runs into the ocean
    Our family with two young kids had a blast at the beach. We came prepared with beach chairs and an umbrella / it’s windy and sunny. But this let us enjoy the kids playing in the river that runs right along to the beach. So beautiful and fun.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 21 July 2023
  • Waddler
    York, United Kingdom11,505 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Worth visiting
    We had fun here, we had read it was closed midweek but it was open on a Thursday and we parked fine at around 11am just as the summer morning fog was starting to clear. The beach is wild, so no swimming, but plenty of interesting features. There's patches of purple sand, there's a calm, wide stream for kids to splash in. There's the rock formations with an arch the water breaks through, there's dunes to climb and run down, there's views down the coast. Good spot.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 6 September 2023
  • Roary
    Vancouver, Canada3,716 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Sunset photo
    I had a half day to visit Big Sur driving down from San Francisco. I wasn’t sure where to stop but while browsing the web i saw a recommended to go to Pfeiffer Beach at sunset to take pictures of the keyhole arch. So that’s what I did. The first thing to mention is the road going in is narrow, so you need to often use pullouts for cars to pass each on the road. I wish I had a smaller rental car. Once I paid the entrance fee, I was quickly able to find parking. I spent an hour walking along the beach taking various pictures of the purple sand, the ocean waves and the rock formations. There was already a small group pf photographers ready to take photos of the sunset through the arch. Once it got to sunset I took a spot among a dozen other people taking the same shot. I’ll admit it turned out pretty well. I can sew why this spot is popular among amateur photographer.
    Visited December 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 21 December 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles1,385 reviews
Excellent
1,055
Very good
229
Average
58
Poor
18
Terrible
25

Roary
Vancouver, Canada3,716 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2023 • Solo
I had a half day to visit Big Sur driving down from San Francisco. I wasn’t sure where to stop but while browsing the web i saw a recommended to go to Pfeiffer Beach at sunset to take pictures of the keyhole arch. So that’s what I did.

The first thing to mention is the road going in is narrow, so you need to often use pullouts for cars to pass each on the road. I wish I had a smaller rental car. Once I paid the entrance fee, I was quickly able to find parking. I spent an hour walking along the beach taking various pictures of the purple sand, the ocean waves and the rock formations. There was already a small group pf photographers ready to take photos of the sunset through the arch. Once it got to sunset I took a spot among a dozen other people taking the same shot. I’ll admit it turned out pretty well. I can sew why this spot is popular among amateur photographer.
Written 22 December 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Waddler
York, UK11,505 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Family
We had fun here, we had read it was closed midweek but it was open on a Thursday and we parked fine at around 11am just as the summer morning fog was starting to clear.

The beach is wild, so no swimming, but plenty of interesting features. There's patches of purple sand, there's a calm, wide stream for kids to splash in. There's the rock formations with an arch the water breaks through, there's dunes to climb and run down, there's views down the coast. Good spot.
Written 6 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SleeplessInMontreal0
Montreal, Canada27 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Friends
Visited on August 3 at 5:30 pm. A sign near the parking entrance said we couldn’t get our money back for the parking if the beach was too windy. A warning sign before the beach mentioned “life-threatening waves”. This beach is not for the faint of heart. If you manage to walk along this beach in a straight line, survive the sand slapping you across the face and the wind pulling you in different directions - congratulations! It has beautiful views and perhaps it’s no so bad on other days, but they could provide some idea of the weather conditions prior to accessing the beach and paying for parking.
Written 4 August 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Albert C
San Leandro, CA2 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023
This place is just ok. Don't even go there if you are on a tight travel plan. It is only some place on the beach have purple sand, mostly is accumulated around the sand bushes. Don't think you can see the whole beach is purple sand which sometime shown in review app The parking is limited. the restrooms are very dirty and smelly. The entrances fee is expansive ($15 per car) and cannot use any park pass. Without further improvement on the parking and restrooms. This place is just worth one-time visit.
Written 24 July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TheCollegeInvestor
San Diego, CA23 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Family
Our family with two young kids had a blast at the beach. We came prepared with beach chairs and an umbrella / it’s windy and sunny. But this let us enjoy the kids playing in the river that runs right along to the beach. So beautiful and fun.
Written 22 July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kristian M
Copenhagen, Denmark469 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Family
We didn’t get there since this is difficult to access. They have a 60 Seat car park and no possibility to walk. They turn away 4-5000 cars pr Day according to the local ranger. He Said you need to be There between 7 and 7:30 am to get a chance. And you cant go with and RV.
Written 7 July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

llkelly2015
Santa Barbara, CA5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2022
This is a stunning beach, with wild waves at the end of a beautiful steep winding road. We biked to the beach and then sat in the sand in wonder as we watched the waves crash in and around the rocks. Just lovely, secluded spot. Totally worth visiting.
Written 30 September 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MicheleSFL
Fort Myers, FL45 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2022 • Couples
One of the best stops on our Pacific Coast Highway trip. Beautiful beach with keyholes and yes, purple sand. The two mile drive is one lane and challenging. We got there at 11 am on a Wednesday and there was plenty of parking.
Written 24 September 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Zach Y
Anthem, AZ1 contribution
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2022 • Couples
The residents of California do not want visitors here.
The gatekeepers of the State Park are aggressive, rude, and forbid entry to the park. You will waste hours of your life driving to this state park to be informed you must leave. You will not be asked, will not be welcomed; if you are lucky, the gatekeeper will tell you the residents of the road en route to the beach do not want you there.

Stay away. Do not waste your time.
Written 6 September 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Pam
1 contribution
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2022 • Family
We drove 2 1/2 hours to see the beach. We were extremely disappointed to deal with the very much surly attendant. I had been reading the reviews about him and was prepared for his rudeness but this took the cake. The first thing out of his mouth was “turn around and go home”. There is no need to be as rude, dismissive and condescending as he was.

When just trying to ask questions such as “is there a better time to return” or “May we wait here” or “how many cars need to leave before we may enter” all he kept yelling was “don’t tell me how to do my job and why don’t you come stand out here for 8 hours”. Being in a tourism position, it would help him greatly if he got some customer service skills. Or better yet, if he would make an effort to do his job and use his walkie talkie to radio down to the other attendant in the parking lot to see if there were any open parking spots, which he refused to do. He fit the description of the same blonde guy people have described in previous reviews.

This seems to be a standard practice for these parking attendants since about 2015 when reading the past reviews. Consistent rudeness.

For many this beach is a long drive to arrive to. I understand there is limited space and people will be disappointed if they can’t get it. It doesn’t help to have someone that rude not even making an effort to do his job. Telling us he doesn’t bother counting cars as the neighbourhood down below cars come and go from.

I’ve been to many of the other state parks where their employees are more than happy to give out information and helpful tips.

We never got to see the beach. A 5 hour round trip (plus added traffic on the way home) to be yelled at and scoffed at for even attempting trying to visit this place.
Written 6 September 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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PFEIFFER BEACH: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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