Pfeiffer Beach is an easy place to miss and not to be missed. We certainly would have if we were not looking at the Nepenthe website. The noted cool bluff top bar is pretty much the place to stop for a drink, with fabulous views and beautiful people. We went to the website to check out their prices more than anything else and there was a section on things to do in the area that I am glad I clicked on.
One of them was this remote and incredible beach. Down a narrow winding road that has you thinking you made a wrong turn, you come to a surprisingly busy little parking lot that charges $5 for the privilege. But for that price of admission, you get to walk through a canopy of cypress trees onto a wide sandy beach with rocky outcroppings. The day we went it was sunny but quite windy. The ocean was extremely rough but beautiful. It certainly wasn't a lay on the beach and get a tan scenario but it was prime beach combing and the photos opportunities quite stunning.
Drive north from Nepenthe on Highway One. After you crest the hill, in about half a mile you will pass Big Sur Center Deli and the US Post Office on your left. In another quarter mile you will go over an unmarked bridge. Just 300 yards later you will see an unmarked, paved road, heading downhill to your left. Take this road two miles to the end and park. There is a short path through cypress trees opening onto the mile long Pfeiffer Beach.
A rock makes an island near the coast. the currents bring sand between the island and the coast and progressively the island becomes a peninsula and the rock is linked with the main land.
In French, we call that tombolo. May be it is the same word in English.
I don't know if it was just because the tourism was low in summer 2002 in CA or what, but there were no crowds in Big Sur during my stay there, and it was even a weekend. So I find pretty much the whole Big Sur a little Off The Beaten Path :)