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Pfeiffer Beach

Big Sur Coastline, California

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Pfeiffer Beach

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  • Pfeiffer Beach.- Pfeiffer Beach
  • Pfeiffer Beach.- Pfeiffer Beach
  • Pfeiffer Beach.- Pfeiffer Beach
  • Keyhole Rock.- Pfeiffer Beach
  • Stair trails over Keyhole Rock.- Pfeiffer Beach
  • The Keyhole.- Pfeiffer Beach
  • The Keyhole.- Pfeiffer Beach
  • Pfeiffer Beach.- Pfeiffer Beach
  • One of many sea caves at Pfeiffer Beach.- Pfeiffer Beach
  • - Pfeiffer Beach
  • Beached bull kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana) is an ecosystem unto itself.- Pfeiffer Beach
  • Pfeiffer Beach.- Pfeiffer Beach
  • The access trail to Pfeiffer Beach.- Pfeiffer Beach
  • - Pfeiffer Beach
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Stunning sunsets. Keyhole rock. Dog friendly.
Cons: 
Can be difficult to find.
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Region:
Big Sur Coastline, CA
Congestion: 
High
Location type: 
Sandy beach
Rocky shore
Parking Pass: 
Parking Fee
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Team

Pfeiffer Beach in the heart of Big Sur is one of the region's most popular beaches, drawing tourists, locals, photographers, and many a Highway 1 road-tripper to its scenic coves and famed sea arch rocks. Framed by tall sandstone cliffs, the beach contains a series of coves that are well suited to beach combing, as well as some unique near-shore rock formations containing good tide pools.

A major draw at Pfeiffer beach is the increasingly renowned Keyhole Rock, through which a nearly plumb and true sea arch can frame spectacular photographs at the interplay of sunsets and ocean mist. During December and January, when the sun sets at it’s furthest south, sunsets can be captured through the keyhole. Arrive early if you are attempting to take shots of the keyhole, as the prime photographic real estate can go quickly.

Managed by Parks Management Company, Pfeiffer Beach is distinct from Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, which is located to the north and across Highway 1. Pfeiffer Beach requires a separate day use fee. The beach is one of the few ocean access points within Big Sur and the only ocean access between Andrew Molera State Park to the north and Partington Cove to the south.

Finding the beach for a first-time visit can be slightly tricky. The road at the end of which Pfeiffer Beach is located, Sycamore Canyon Road, is unsigned and can be difficult to see. Sycamore Canyon Road is located on the west side of Highway 1, a quarter mile south of the Big Sur Ranger Station. 

Dogs are allowed on Pfeiffer Beach on leash.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Map

Field Guide + Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(5 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(46 within a 30 mile radius)

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