Monterey Spotlight
 
 

Featured Events

Apr
20
2014

Easter Brunches in Monterey County

Apr. 20
Looking for a way to celebrate Easter weekend in Monterey County? Overwhelmed with…more
Apr
27
2014

Big Sur International Marathon

Apr. 27
The Big Sur Marathon is 26.2 miles of the most beautiful coastline in the world -…more
May
2
2014

Steinbeck Festival

May. 2-May. 4
This annual festival consists of several days of films, speakers, panels, theater,…more
May
2
2014

TUDOR United SportsCar Championship

May. 2-May. 4
This entirely new series created by the merger between the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports…more
May
2
2014

Wildflower Triathlon

May. 2-May. 4
One of the premier triathlons nationally and internationally, this course will test…more
May
3
2014

Winemakers' Celebration

May. 3
Over 30 Monterey County wineries from 9 American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) will…more
May
9
2014

Monterey Rock n' Rod Festival

May. 9
The annual festival was envisioned as a fun and entertaining way to raise…more
May
14
2014

Amgen Tour of CA Stopover

May. 14
The Amgen Tour of California will return to Sacramento, the Capital of California,…more
May
15
2014

Carmel Art Festival

May. 15-May. 18
Carmel-by-the-Sea highlights its artist colony origins with the Carmel Art Festival.…more
May
15
2014

Salinas Valley Fair

May. 15-May. 18
Enjoy the atmosphere of an old-fashioned county fair, complete with carnival,…more
May
16
2014

Cooking for Solutions

May. 16-May. 18
The culinary event of the year, Cooking for Solutions features great chefs, gourmet…more
May
16
2014

Ferrari Racing Days

May. 16-May. 18
Ferrari Racing Days return to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with three full days of…more
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Activities

Apr 16, 2014
- Dec 31, 2014

See Monterey

Carmel Food Tours
Save 10% on each ticket purchased when you use the code MCCVB

Enjoy the Wonders of the Wharf VIP Card

Old Fisherman's Wharf Association
The “Enjoy the Wonders of the Wharf VIP Card and Special Offers Campaign includes a…
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Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Big Sur

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Big Sur

Big Sur Beaches

Big Sur's beaches show off the California coastline at its rugged, unspoiled best. Due to their similar names, two beaches - Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park's beach and Pfeiffer Beach - are often conflated, but each is separate and has its own unique charms. While some of Big Sur's wild beaches are accessible by car, visitors should expect to hike to reach most of them.

Garrapata State Park Beach

Many consider Garrapata State Park's secluded beach to be the best in Big Sur. While there are no facilities, this sandy, unspoiled beach has stunning views and is easy to get to. You're also likely to spot sea otters, sea lions, seals and even the occasional migrating whale. Nearly invisible from the road, Garrapata State Park's beach can be reached from the trailheads at points 18 and 19. For detailed directions on getting to this hidden park, see our Garrapata State Park page.

Andrew Molera State Park Beach

Andrew Molera State Park's beach can be reached via the aptly named Beach Trail, which is an easy, almost flat hike along the banks of the Big Sur River. Andrew Molera State Park's beach is considered Big Sur's most reliable surfing destination, and is also a prime surf fishing spot. State park admission fees include parking; there are no facilities at the beach, but restrooms are available at the parking lot.

Pfeiffer Beach

Don't confuse this beach with the one at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, which lies a few miles south. Many locals name Pfeiffer Beach their favorite because of its wide sandy beaches and the arch rock that lies just offshore. Pfeiffer Beach is very hard to find for the uninitiated. It is located at the end of unmarked Sycamore Canyon Road, which is the only paved, ungated road on the west side of Highway One between the Big Sur Post Office and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park Beach

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park's beach is only accessible on foot, but it's worth the trip. Popular with divers, this beach has excellent views and great tide pools. You'll also see equipment and artifacts left over from Big Sur's period as a center of the logging industry. To access the beach at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, take the Partington Canyon Trail, located west of Highway One behind a gate about two miles north of the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park entrance. The trail runs through a rock tunnel on its way to Partington Cove.

Sand Dollar Beach

The biggest unbroken stretch of beach in Big Sur, Sand Dollar Beach is popular with rockhounds for its jade and hikers and photographers for its breathtaking bluffs. (Planning to collect some jade? See our tips below under Jade Cove.) A steep staircase leads down to the beach. Sand Dollar Beach is 25 miles south of the main settlement in Big Sur on Highway One. It is well-signed.

Jade Cove

Named after the smooth, waxy stone frequently found on its rocky beaches after a storm, Jade Cove lies 27 miles south of the main settlement in Big Sur, two miles south of Sand Dollar Beach, and just over three miles north of Gorda. Keep a sharp eye out for the trailhead sign by the side of Highway One, and park at the pullout.

If you plan to seek jade there, you should know that serpentine, a common stone that looks identical to jade, is also often found there. How to tell the difference? Serpentine can be scratched with a steel knife; jade can't, and you may see bits of metal left on the jade. Please see the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary's regulations on collecting jade from beaches.

Lay of the Land

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