Purple Sand Beach: A Hidden Gem in Big Sur

Purple Sand Beach: A Hidden Gem in Big Sur

As I entered in my room at the Big Sur River Inn, I noticed a painted canvas on the wall of the ocean with stunning purple sand along the shore. As I got closer to the painting, I noticed an inscription at the bottom that read “Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur.” It was immediately decided that we had to visit this beach and see it for ourselves. It even happened to be located just 20 minutes down the road!

Traveling South on Highway 1, there is an inconspicuous sign for Pfeiffer Beach on the West side of the road. After a very sharp turn, there is a lengthy and narrow downhill drive to get to the beach.

Once we finally reached the bottom of the hill and parked the car, we took off our shoes and headed to the sand. We were instantly blown backwards from the wind, squinting from the brightly shining sun and sand particles flying into our eyes. There was a woman in a wedding dress at the shore, her dress flapping madly in the wind. I imagine it would have captured beautifully on film.

The reason why Pfeiffer Beach is also known as Purple Sand Beach is as obvious as it sounds. There is an unmistakable purple hue to the sand. The reason this beach is equipped with varying hues of purple is because sand derives its colour from minerals that compose it, which vary from place to place. Pfeiffer Beach’s purple colour comes from manganese garnet deposits found in the surrounding rocks.

This beach is a photographer’s dream. My husband and I walked along the shore, marveling at the enchanting purple sand and the “keyhole,” an opening in the rocks that waves crash through, illuminated by shining light beams. We eventually just sat on some rocks, gazing out in the ocean until the sun set.

If you are traveling along Highway 1, this beach is not to be missed! It offers spectacular views and photographs, some of which I am now considering getting canvassed myself!

Bonus: the beach is dog friendly! We sadly didn’t see any furry friends during our visit, but if your pooch is traveling with you, they are welcome at this beach.

Have you ever seen the beautiful purple sand at Pfeiffer Beach?


My passion for capturing memories through the lens of my camera, my love for food and the joy I find in reflecting on my travel memories using a pen and paper results in a series of blog entries filled with warmth, pure happiness and inspiration. I hope to share a little bit of myself and my adventure of life with you.


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