Thursday, March 30, 2017

California Road Trip: A Purple Sand Beach!

It's not easy to find. But I was determined. Or, maybe I should say Mr. UR was determined. But that's usually how it goes with us. I see a photo of somewhere I want to go. Mr. UR works the logisitics. And if it becomes complicated, then I feel bad that it's taken longer than expected or it's well...complicated. But Mr. UR doesn't give up. Especially if he's got some time in it. And a purple sand beach - I was intrigued. I've been to a black sand beach, a green sand beach and a red sand beach. But never purple. And he found it. A beach with purple sand.


But let's back up and go over directions. First, it's name is Pfeiffer Beach. Not to be confused with Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park which is where Big Sur Lodge is. And it's not Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. That's where the famous McWay Falls flows into the Pacific Ocean. The beach with purple sand is Pfeiffer Beach and it's at mile marker MON 45.64. If you're heading south the mile markers count down and the turnoff is on the right about 1/2 mile past the Ranger Station. If you're heading north, the mile markers count up and the turnoff is on your left about 1/2 mile past the post office.



Once you find the turn-off you will drive  Sycamore Canyon Road - a single lane road - no campers or rv's allowed - keep going, keep going (about 2 miles)- until you get to the ranger booth. Admission is $5 and the beach is open until 8pm. There are restrooms available at the parking lot and even though it's a beach there is no swimming allowed and no lifeguards. Dogs are allowed on a leash. Oh, and there are a few picnic tables. Which we would've liked to use except it was raining. But that was ok cause it kept the crowds at bay.





Is the sand really purple? And if so, why?




The sand really is purple. It almost looks a bit tie dyed. And it's purple color comes from the manganese garnet deposits found in the surrounding rocks. (Most sand is quartz which is why it's light in color)






So, most importantly, is it worth the effort to find Pfeiffer Beach? Well, that depends. If you're thinking of a tropical Hawaiian beach or laying on the sand in Florida with the waves gently lapping up on shore, then you might not think it worth it. My answer would be that it was one of my favorite beaches I've ever been to. 





I mentioned earlier that it was raining. Which made Pfeiffer Beach into a beautiful, windswept, purple sand beach that to me was a little slice of heaven. This was also the weekend of record breaking storms in California. The waves were crashing, smashing, surging, overtaking - and any other words you can think of for wildly rolling waves hitting the coast like crazy.






Other than purple sand, Pfeiffer Beach is known for Keyhole Rock. Keyhole Rock is exactly what it's name says - it's a large rock sitting in the Pacific with a hole in the middle. Photographers come from all over to get that special photo of the sun setting through keyhole rock. Unfortunately for us, we weren't going to catch the sunset that day but we were able to sit and be mesmerized by the waves crashing through the rock. 







So now I've seen purple sand. And the perfect moody, windswept beach with a large rock with a hole in it. We walked back to the car with sandy and muddy feet to eat our lunch in the rain. Worth it? You bet!


A life update: With the exception of a few weekends, we have been on a travel hiatus as we prepare to sell our house. It was a great family house but now that our grown kids live all over the planet, it's easier for us to go to them. We are putting the house up for sale very soon and hoping to downsize.Mr. UR has been doing most of the work while I have been sifting through boxes from the attic - lots and lots of old toys - and doing a bit of spiffing up for the sale.  I, for one, am ready to get this behemoth (5 bedrooms and an office) on the market and have more time to travel - or at least, have less house to upkeep!



This post is part of a link-up with: Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox, Weekend Travel Inspiration at Reflections Enroute and The Weekend Wanderlust Travel Blog Party!









22 comments:

  1. I was dying to visit this beach and was about to do it when we saw the access to it closed. I was so bummed! I am glad you actually found the purple sand. I wasn't sure if there was any in there. #TPThursday

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    1. Sorry you didn't make it - I think the recent storms really wreaked havoc on Big Sur. And the purple sand is there - but it does take a bit to get there! Thanks for visiting, Ruth!

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  2. We LOVE road trips and this is certainly one that would appeal to us! So many cool natural attractions along this stretch of coastline.

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    1. It's a great road trip! Thanks for visiting, Chris!

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  3. I've never seen a purple sand beach before! It looks like such a pretty place. It's a bummer that it was raining, but at least that kept the crowds away and you could enjoy the beach in peace!

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    1. I didn't mind the rain so much - it really created a moodiness to the beach that I liked. It really is a cool beach with that purple sand. I would like to see it in the sunshine someday though! :)

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  4. I personally love windswept West Coast beaches! Never seen one with purple sand before though, very cool.

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    1. I love them also! I've always wanted to spend a week in a cabin during storm season in the Pacific Northwest just watching the storms and waves. Maybe someday! Thanks for visiting The Unpaved Road!

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  5. That's so cool. I never knew there was a purple sand beach.

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    1. Me either! It was very cool to visit it. Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. Awesome! Thank you for the clear directions. I live in California and I'd love to find this purple sand beach during our travels. It's always fun to hunt down something you really want to see and then enjoy the place so much!

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    1. Hope you make it there! I really enjoyed it and am glad we hung in there to find it - even in the rain!

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  7. I lived in California for 15 years and never heard of the Pfeiffers that you mentioned. I am quite a bit like you. I would have tried to give up, but hubby would be on a mission to find it. I am glad your Mr. UR made the effort. The beach is beautiful and purple. Fabulous photos, especially as it was raining.

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    1. Thanks Rhonda! And I'm glad I'm not the only one who would've given up - but I'm glad the hubs didn't. Fantastic visit and one of my faves - we don't have beaches like this on the Southeast coast! Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. We recently sold our family home and although it was a little sad sifting through stuff from when the kids were little, it is a lovely feeling to be unencumbered. We've bought a smaller house now with minimal possessions. We still have the cat and no-one to look after her whilst we travel because we shifted away from our kids, so we will use Trusted Housesitters to look after her when we travel.

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    1. I'm glad to hear from someone else who has downsized and made it through. We are looking at much smaller houses and getting rid of many possessions - like you - and hope to be unencumbered. Our cat just died so now we are pet free ( he was almost 14 so he lived a good long life) and hopefully, large house free soon! :) Thanks for stopping by, Jan!

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  9. My daughter would love a purple sand beach. how very cool. I don't mind the beach on cool, gray days. It can be moody and more interesting than sunny warm days. I would seek this place out if i was nearby. #wkendtravelinspiration

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    1. It's a pretty cool beach - and my daughters would love it also! Thanks for visiting, eileen!

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  10. I've never heard of a purple sand beach! I so want to see it now! Very cool. Putting on my list. #weekendwanderlust

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    1. It is very cool - thanks for visiting The Unpaved Road!

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  11. What a beautiful beach! I have never heard of it before. I have passed by this area a few times and totally missed it. We are definitely stopping by next time. Thanks for this tip! Good luck with selling your house and downsizing.

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    1. Thanks Mary! And I hope you find Pfeiffer Beach and enjoy it! Thanks for visiting!

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