Big Sur has attracted travelers and adventurers for decades, so much so that most of the region’s iconic vistas are now crowded venues for tourism and amateur photography. Pfeiffer Beach is a little off the beaten path, but the reward is an incredibly beautiful and isolated stretch of beach for you and your dog to explore.
The beach’s most prominent landmark is Keyhole Arch, a natural rock formation with a tunnel facing out to the ocean. There are a lot of interesting rock formations on the beach, and many people like to climb and run around in the low tide. During the rainy season, sediment from the rocks above washes onto the beach and creates a phenomenon called purple sand.
Even though Pfeiffer Beach is technically within a California State Park, the beach itself is governed by the U.S. Forest Service. This means that it is public land, but there is a $10 fee to use the day use area and park. Dogs are welcome provided that their owners clean up after them, so it is important that you pack in your own poop bags. Make sure that you keep your dog under control and on a leash at all times. Conservationists and forest rangers that patrol the area may find you if your dog misbehaves or disrupts the natural surroundings.
Since the beach is a relatively isolated location, the nearest restroom facility is a vault restroom at the day use area just a few minutes up the only road in. There is no fresh water at the day use area, so you must pack water for both you and your dog when visiting. Should you find yourself in Big Sur, you might want to make your way to Pfeiffer Beach. The experience itself will be a beautiful, lasting memory that you and your dog won’t forget any time soon.