Garrapata Beach On The Big Sur Coast

Garrapata Beach

Garrapata Beach, Big Sur

Garrapata Beach is at the northern end of the Big Sur coast, just 9 miles south of the Carmel River bridge.

The early Spaniards named most of the features of California that they saw during their explorations. Their most common naming theme was to use the name of the saint whose feast was being celebrated that day.

Another theme was less “heavenly minded” and bluntly described some of the aggravations they encountered. “Garrapata” is one of these, for the word translates to “tick”.

The ticks are still there (as they are in many places) but are less a bother since we now have nice trails to pass over.

Garrapata beach - view to north


Garrapata Beach quick facts:

Address: Highway 1; Access to the beach is at numbered gates 18 and 19. Gate 19 is near mile marker MON 63.0. Gate 18 is near mile marker MON 63.5. Parking is on the west (ocean) side of the highway.
Park Office telephone: (831) 624-4909
Driving information: (831) 624-8413
Hours: Day-use only
Dogs: Dogs are only allowed on Garrapata Beach and must be kept on a leash (6-foot maximum length) at all times. Observe all posted park signs.
Diving (SCUBA and free diving/snorkelling): Not recommended at Soberanes Point due to rocks and strong currents. Call park office for information.
Accessibility: There are currently no (wheelchair) accessible activities at this park. More information available here. (new window or tab)

Just a reminder, Big Sur beaches aren’t like those in southern California, and while you may be at Garrapata on a calm, sunny day perfect for sunbathing, most days aren’t like that. Summer fogs are common and so layering your clothing is advised.Lone rock off Garrapata beach





BUT, Garrapata is a spectacular place for photography. Some of the best Big Sur photography that I’ve seen comes from Garrapata State Beach. It seems to be quite inspiring for photographers and Ansel Adams came here when he wasn’t capturing the beauty of Yosemite.

And don’t think that cloudy days are a wash-out for photos. Not so here.





I’ll devote the rest of this page to photographs and let you enjoy some of the unique beauty that can be found here…






A succulent growing on a decomposing granite rockface…




Interesting markings on some fine grained rock…

Patterns on a kelp leaf - Garrapata Beach




Completely natural – exquisite patterning on kelp…
Garrapata beach wildflowers on a rockface




Wildflowers and shrubs overtaking a rockface…

Garrapata Beach surfline rocks

Garrapata Beach is famed for its lovely array of rocks..

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