The world’s only purple beach is in Big Sur, Calif.


And then there’s mauve.

Here we are in January — if you’re not reading this while lying on a white, sandy beach, chances are you’re dreaming about getting yourself to one as fast as possible.

But how about something completely different, for the perfect winter getaway — a purple beach, perhaps?

There’s only one, but it’s easy for Americans to visit — called Pfeiffer Beach, the geological oddity is tucked along California’s scenery rich Big Sur coastline.

With winding roads, dramatic waterfalls and clifftop views of the Pacific at every turn, Big Sur is itself a one-of-kind place, one every travel lover should experience — that is, if you can catch it between landslide-causing storms, which can close California Highway 1, the region’s one main thoroughfare, for months, even years.

The bizarrely colored strip of sand sucks in visitors from all over, thanks to its unique look — the source of which scientists haven’t been able to confirm with 100 percent certainty.

The only known purple sand beach in the world is found in California, along the wild Big Sur coastline. Terryfic3D
Pfeiffer Beach attracts surfers, adventurers and selfie-takers to its eggplant-colored sands. Attila Adam

One popular theory — the color comes from particles of the manganese garnet stones lodged in the steep hills and mountains that shoot nearly straight up from the picturesque shoreline.

Just how purple you’ll find the sand can depend on when you visit, but those who navigate the winding entrance road — that, plus the short walk from the parking area — won’t be disappointed with the surroundings and the views, no matter when you’re there.

Pfeiffer Beach has a lot more going for it than what’s squishing between your toes — the waves draw surfers from all over, while adventurers use the beach as a way station while exploring the vast expanse of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.

Come sunset, look out for the hordes of shutterbugs and selfie-takers looking to capture the light pouring through Keyhole Rock, standing between you and the disappearing sun.

Colored stones found in the hills above the coastline are said to give the sand its unique color. Teri Wertman

This unforgettable spot is located about 2.5 hours’ drive south of San Francisco and nearly 6 hours from Los Angeles. The drive from Southern California would normally be shorter, however landslides near the village of Lucia have closed Highway 1 to northbound traffic into the area where Pfeiffer Beach is located, at least until spring.

While no other purple beaches are known to exist around the world, there are plenty of other unique coastlines to explore, from the famous, celeb-studded pink sand of Bermuda to orange sands in Malta and green sands in Hawaii.

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