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Pfeiffer Beach Is California's Best-Hidden Escape

05/14/2014 08:00 am ET | Updated May 14, 2014

As spring sets in, we just can't get enough of California. Or of Big Sur, the state's crown jewel, best explored on a drive down the famous Highway 1.

But off the beaten Big Sur route, past some innocent-looking mailboxes and down a narrow, steep, one-way road, you'll find Pfeiffer Beach. It's arguably the most majestic -- and underappreciated -- piece of shoreline on the whole West Coast. Pfeiffer (not to be confused with other nearby beaches in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park) is low-key and laid-back-- there are only four picnic tables and a small parking lot to greet you on arrival.

But people come for good reason: There's a massive keyhole arch, and in some spots, the sand turns purple from garnet in cliffs that hug the cove, which is usually almost empty. The water turns turquoise in the sun and shows shells when the tide runs out.

Then when the sun sets or peers through the tide pool rocks, we're just like whoa.

Does it get any better than this?

pfeiffer beach

pfeiffer beach

pfeiffer beach

pfeiffer beach

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pfeiffer beach

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