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Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

JULIA PFEIFFER BURNS STATE PARK: An oasis of incredible beauty, this state park is considered one of the most outstanding cliff/beach camping sites anywhere in Central and Southern California. Located on a small peninsula with a forested hilltop cliff, overlooking turquoise water, sandy beaches with unique rock formations, and this park over looks the strikingly beautiful Pacific. Unfortunately, this park only has two environmental camp spots that are in heavy demand and must be reserved well in advance, as the site is on some of the most spectacular coastline in all of California. There is also a 1,680-acre underwater reserve protecting a remarkable collection of marine life.

SURF, TIDES, CLIMATE, WATER TEMPS: Chilled water temperatures, a jagged, rocky coastline make any kind of swimming, surfing or water activity impossible. The weather can be very unpredictable and changing. Layered clothing recommended.

BEACH ACTIVITIES: This state park has an extensive span from the Big Sur coastline all the way to 3,000-foot ridges and a mix of coastal redwoods, madrone, oak and an 80-fppt waterfall dramatically dropping from granite rock cliffs into the Pacific. There are trails for hiking; scuba diving for experienced divers with permits only. In December and January, whale watching can be readily done as the gray whales migrate south for the winter. In turn, from March through April, they can be seen returning north. A wonderful place to relax, enjoy a picnic and the splendor of the terrain. Reservations with the state park recommended.

LOCAL FLAVORS: The closest town to the state park is Big Sur, which is very remote. Nestled in Monterey County, Julia Pfeiffer is 27 miles south of Carmel by the Sea and there is a trail of fine restaurants, spa resorts, gift shops and galleries along the coastal route.

by: Carla Iacovetti
©2006Carla Iacovetti