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How to Get to Purple Sand Beach

by Marge Maghoney

A former colleague had told me about Purple Sand Beach (otherwise known as Pfeiffer Beach) in Big Sur. 

Yes, people, purple sand. This absolutely got me curious and has been added to my California bucket list.

I've recently decided to leave the life of a sidepreneur with a 9 to 5 and dedicate myself full time to both Happee Body and my photography (plus a new one coming soon). And though I've been working my butt off, I've started to make it a point to incorporate a dose of fun during the work week. 

So last Friday, my feelings of wanderlust made my feet itch to travel. Not too far but far enough to escape and regain focus.

So I packed a small cooler, my sneakers, camera and my husband in our Prius. First stop, McWay Falls. Next, Purple Sand Beach.

It took a good 3 hours to get to Big Sur. I actually didn't mind as I felt better and better as I got farther and farther from my desk at home. I love going away on a weekday. Hardly any traffic and definitely less crowds. Though it's summer and there was a slightly bigger crowd, it was still better compared to going on a weekend. 

Just find your way to Highway 1, head south and it's pretty easy to get there. Make sure you do not to stop at the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Keep going south on Highway 1 for about 12 more minutes until you see the sign for its sister, Julia Pfeiffer State Park, on the left. If you see a spot, park on the side of the road and to the right you'll see a walkway leading to the McWay Falls.

It's worth the trip. The falls is absolutely gorgeous. It reminded me of the clear waters in Coron.

Walk all the way to the end of the path to see the view of the other side of the coast.

After I was all pictured out, we went back on Highway 1 and headed back north for Purple Sand. I've been warned that this was going to be a bit tricky as there are no signs for Pfeiffer Beach much less Purple Sand Beach along the road. All I knew was to look for a yellow Narrow Road sign on the left between the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park and the local Post Office. 

Luckily, in between blabbing and sight seeing, I somehow turned my head to the left just in time to see it. It was pure coincidence since the sign was facing the other direction.

So we quickly turned around and made a sharp right. A little further, you'll see a sign for Pfeiffer Beach (a bit too late).

The path is insanely narrow that one would have to back up to a pocket to let the other side through.

Just keep following the road for about 2 miles and you'll reach the entrance. Parking is $10 and there's pretty ample space for a weekday crowd. If it's full, there's an overflow just outside.

I briskly walked towards the beach. The sand wasn't literally purple as I've already seen online but had more of a lavender hue. It was still pretty cool.

Even cooler was the rock formation that had a door, more like a hole, leading to the ocean. I also loved how hidden the beach was. It was like a cove on one end with a cave on the other.

It's absolutely a must see for anyone who has this on their bucket list or if you're just hearing about it now.

I'm glad I went and have happily checked it off on mine.

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