Ever dug your toes in purple sand? Clambered through a sea cave? Sat beneath giant rocks? Head for Pfeiffer Beach, a local favorite that’s so hidden, many newbie travelers have trouble finding it.
Part of the Los Padres National Forest, the beach lies 2 miles down narrow, winding Sycamore Canyon Road. Do make the effort to drive down, though, because fantastic rewards await: towering cliffs, sea stacks and unusual rock formations, plus the most interesting sand, purple-hued from manganese garnet particles. Sunsets here are usually awesome spectacles, a collision of gold, blue and purple light bouncing off the rocks.
Access Sycamore Canyon Road on the west side of Highway 1, a quarter mile south of Big Sur Station. Make a very sharp turn downhill and follow the road to the end, then walk on the path to the beach.
RVs and trailers are not allowed on this road.