Big Sur has so many fantastic places. One of the Central Coast Traveler’s favorites is Pfeiffer Beach. Big Sur actually has very few beaches of any kind, since the cliffs plunge sharply into the ocean, and fewer of those are publicly accessible.
I love Pfeiffer Beach’s magic little pocket of sandy shore and rock arch standing in the water, just a few minutes off Highway 1 right here:
It’s especially fun to watch the waves crash through the arch.
So many places in Big Sur are called “Pfeiffer” that it can get a little confusing. There’s Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, and Pfeiffer Beach, among others. The Pfeiffers were some of Big Sur’s first European settlers in the 19th century, long before you could drive along Highway 1 to Carmel or Monterey. I’ve heard that the 60 mile (96 km) round trip for supplies or medical care could take three days back then. The Pfeiffers and other inhabitants must have loved the land, but the isolation surely made life hard at times. I enjoy walking along the beach, imagining what it must have been like for them.