Discovering the Adventure
Big Sur Beaches

They're Beautiful,
But Big Sur Beaches Can Be Dangerous!

Before you visit Big Sur Beaches - or any beach in Northern California - please follow this link to our Beach Safety Tips. You'll find suggestions for keeping you and your family safe along our shores!

Use your Browser's Back Button to return here when you're finished.

Welcome back! Thanks for checking out our Beach Safety page. It's especially important to be aware of potential danger along the Big Sur coast highway! Also, if you're stopping along the highway, be very careful as there are few places to stop safely. Make sure you're pulled far enough off the road so as not to be hit by another car

Let's Get Down to Big Sur Beaches -
You Know You Want To!

There aren't as many, nor are they as expansive as the beaches you would find along the Southern California coastline, but I think they have much more character.

Some of the beaches don't even have much sand. Instead you're likely to find...

  • A bed of ocean-smoothed rocks, or
  • Granite outcrops,
  • Tide pools,
  • Shelters made of driftwood, or
  • Coastal vegetation and hiking trails.

Some are cold and wind-swept most of the time. Others are sheltered from the wind and offer pleasant opportunities for beach combing, sunbathing, and quiet picnics.

There's even a beach where you might find a bit of souvenir jade. And another has horseback riding; still another, purple sand...

We'll tell you about them all so you'll know what to look for and where to find them!

Big Sur Beaches Insider Secrets

Most of the beaches require at least a short hike along a path of sorts to get from the road to the beach.

The weather at the coast in Northern California can be very changeable from one day to the next, and from one spot to another, so bring appropriate layers of clothing with you.

Believe it or not, the best time of year to go to any beach in NorCal is actually in the Winter.

Why? you ask. Because in the summer the lay of the land and the weather inversions frequently cause the coast to fog up (click here for photos), which in turn makes it quite dreary and chilly. The fog can last from a few hours in the morning to all day for several days.

During the winter months the skies are generally clear, unless there's a storm, of course, and it can actually be warmer than in the summer!

So, let's take a look at Big Sur's beaches one-by-one and see what makes each so special. Traveling south from Carmel Highlands, here's what you'll find:

  • Northern Beaches
    Lovely Garrapata Beach, Andrew Molera State Beach with its driftwood huts, secret-of-the-locals Pfeiffer Beach, and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park with its Partington Cove and McWay Falls.
  • Central Beaches
    Easy-to-find Mill Creek, and Limekiln SP with some campsites very near the beach.
  • Southern Beaches
    The pure white sand of Sand Dollar Beach, another great secret called Jade Cove, the Willow Creek Picnic Area & Beach, and finally, Point Piedras Blancas - sometimes called Elephant Seal Beach!

Please continue your exploration of what Northern California has to offer by using the Nav Bars in the left and right columns or by using the links at the bottom of the page.

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Related Pages
Northern California Beaches

Beach Safety Tips

Big Sur Beaches
Nude Beaches