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Big Sur California

Pfeiffer Beach

McWay Cove

Bixby Creek Bridge

Pfeiffer Beach – Big Sur

I was only visiting the Big Sur area for a couple days but Pfeiffer Beach stuck out as one of my favorite spots.  The giant cliffed cove and the sense of beauty and seclusion made it unique.  I think the $10 entree fee keeps away a few people but more so the fact that you won't find this beach unless you're actually looking for it.  You have to turn down a narrow, sharp-angled road and follow it down two miles just to get to the entrance.  There's plenty of space at this beach to throw a football, have a picnic, climb on rocks or do a little surfing.  The area closes "After sunset"  but there's nobody here at night to kick you out if you wanna stay and watch the sunset.

Lone Surfer

Pfeiffer Beach FAQ

  • Is Pfeiffer Beach free?
    No, it costs $10 per vehicle to enter the park area/beach.
  • Can you take an RV to Pfeiffer Beach?
    Yeah, If I remember correctly.  But it costs more to enter, around $30.  
  • Can you camp at Pfeiffer Beach?
    There are many signs that say "no staying overnight" and the employee working the front gate says it's closed at nightfall.  There is definitely some leeway to this, as I left after it got dark and there was no one kicking me out.
  • Is the $10 fee worth it?  
    Yeah definitely.  The ten dollar fee actually makes it better because it keeps the beach a lot less crowded.
  • What is there to do at Pfeiffer Beach / Can you surf at Pfeiffer Beach?
    There were two guys surfing, but it looked cold and the waves weren't perfect.  There's some cool places to hike around and climb.  Definitely bring a camera. 


The Doorway to Hell

If you're feeling particularly brave, you could try swimming through what I'm calling, the "Doorway to Hell." There's this awesome natural 'doorway' through this giant rock formation sitting in the ocean next to Pfeiffer Beach. I think if you show up at the perfect time of year, the sun will set and shine through the door as it sets below the horizon...

McWay Cove

When I was at McWay Cove, the whole thing was closed off because of the wildfires.  After hopping the caution tape and walking around some fences, I found some pretty cool and pretty dangerous trails.  If you wanna follow along with these images, you can climb out onto a precarious ledge that overlooks the waterfall.  Beware though, this leaves you in the direct line of sight of authorities that might wanna scold you or write you some tickets... McWay Cove is a pretty awesome place, probably even better when it's not super foggy like it was when I was there 🙁 

Start here...
Climb down some rocks and dirt
Try not to fall into the churning sea...
The destination

Bixby Creek Bridge

Just pull over to the side of the road when you reach Bixby Creek Bridge.  This is a good spot for a quick hike and a cool photo.  Try climbing down the dusty cliff and you'll find yourself alone in the jungle-ish valley that leads to the secluded beach.  

My Camera:  http://amzn.to/2avHDMs

My Backpack:  http://amzn.to/2awJkfT

My Airbnb discount code:  www.airbnb.com/c/kevink151

Big Sur FAQ

Can I still visit Big Sur despite the wildfires everywhere?

  • Yes you can.  I kinda forgot about the wildfires in California until the day I showed up.  During my drive down from San Jose to the coast I saw a ton of smoke throughout California.  Once you get to Big Sur, there are a bunch of fire trucks and equipment parked along the sides of the road but as of now, the actual coastal parts of Big Sur are not affected.  You can still visit all the beaches, cliffs and coves for the most part.  The main coastal road (California State Route 1) is still completely open.  (I am writing this July 31st, 2016)... 

How to save money in Big Sur?

  • Fill up your gas tank before entering the area.
  • My rental car company gave me a car with a half full tank.  Too stubborn to stop and fuel up, I drove my car til empty, and then was forced to buy gas inside Big Sur at 2- 3 times the price as anywhere else in California.  Gas was ~$2.30 in San Jose, and over $6 a gallon at small gas stations in Big Sur... 
  • Sleep in your car?  I slept in my car on the side of the road to save money = free lodging!   I saw some other people pop up tents in parking lots, cops don't seem to care much.
  • Bring your own food.  Like gas and lodging, food is also expensive in Big Sur so try and bring a bunch of your own, or buy some and stock up before entering Big Sur.