About 8 miles south of Carmel, Garrapata State Beach is not visible from the road, there is no parking lot, and only the cars parked beside the road suggest something of interest is nearby. A path leads to the beach, and there you will find this place of many moods. It's usually not safe for swimming, because of the string riptides.
Sometimes, as in this photo, the wild winter storms have sucked out the sand, exposing huge rocks and cutting off the access to the southern section of the beach (see that little patch of brown?), where Garrapata Creek often makes a little swimming-safe lagoon, and a small pirate's cave is a fun adventure for children.
On any given day, this beach often combines the tranquility of soft sand with the thunderous pounding of the surf, shimmering sands with flying spray, and bright sunshine with cooling fog.
Like most beaches along the Big Sur coast, the most magical times are usually the early morning and the late afternoon.