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Big Sur

Whats the best hike in Big Sur? Best beach?

Need a family hike in Big Sur (teenagers, all in good shape) and would like to end up at the beach.

4 Answers

answered first by
Valerie from Los Angeles

I would hike the McWay Waterfall Trail, it isn't too difficult of a hike and you'll end up at the beautiful McWay FallsThe entrance is a little confusing. Once you park, you have to walk back towards the highway and you will end up seeing the entrance to the left of you. Have fun! 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. McWay Waterfall Trail (attraction)
  2. McWay Falls (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Paul from Nevada City

For a good overview, check out the Big Sur Beach Guide.

I can recommend three beaches — each offering different hiking experiences. North-South: Andrew Molera State Park offers a 1 mile, relatively flat and easy hike to the beach, but you have to wade across the Big Sur River at the end of the trail to get on the sandy beach. Plan to get a little wet and it can be a fun little adventure to wade cross. Then you can hike the beach for about another mile, or explore the nearby bluff trails.

Pfeiffer State Beach, managed by the U.S. Forest Service, has two beautiful large coves and a fairly big stretch of beach to explore after a short hike from the parking area. Unusual purple sand (in a few spots), a picturesque arch rock and safe wading/swimming (in the smaller cove close to the access trail), and tide pools at the north end are among the attractions that can keep you here for many hours. This also is a great beach for a sunset.

Finally, Sand Dollar Beach is the longest stretch of sandy beach in Big Sur. If you like simply walking barefoot in the sand for a long way, this is the beach for you. There aren't any sand dollars, though. 

The McWay Falls is beautiful, but it's not much of a hike and you can't go on the beach below. It's also a tourist hot spot and can be very crowded.

FYI, the best longer Big Sur hikes don't go to beaches. They go inland into redwood forest, chaparral and riparian areas. For more info on Big Sur hiking, check out these website: Hiking In Big Sur and Redwood Hikes/Big Sur.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Andrew Molera State Park (attraction)
  2. Pfeiffer State Beach (attraction)
  3. Sand Dollar Beach (attraction)
  4. McWay Falls (attraction)

answered by
Joanna from Oakland

In addition, to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, there's also Andrew Molera State Park. Andrew Molera is about 8 miles round trip. Julia Pfeiffer Burns is about 5 miles round trip. Other options in the area- Point Lobos just south of Carmel (so north of Big Sur). About 6 miles of walking and lots of different sea animals and nature to see. In terms of beaches in the area, there's the Pfeiffer State Beach

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park (attraction)
  2. Andrew Molera State Park (attraction)
  3. Point Lobos (attraction)
  4. Pfeiffer State Beach (attraction)

answered by
Debbie from San Francisco

The Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is a great park for hiking with quite a few trails, complete with the amazing view below.  The McWay Waterfall Trail is a popular one.  With permits, you can also camp there.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park (attraction)
  2. McWay Waterfall Trail (attraction)

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