Sand Dollar Beach

#6 in Best Things To Do in Big Sur
Sand Dollar Beach picture
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Key Info

Details

Beaches, Hiking, Natural Wonders, Recreation Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.1scorecard
  • 4.0Value
  • 2.0Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

A great option for those who don't want to work up a sweat on the trails but want to experience Big Sur's beauty from outside the car is Sand Dollar Beach. Located about 7 miles south of Limekiln State Park, Sand Dollar Beach is the largest unbroken stretch of sand in Big Sur. Along with the beach at Andrew Molera State Park, this crescent-shaped shoreline is considered to be one of the best surfing spots in Big Sur, and is also a hot spot for fishing. The most popular activity, however, is beachcombing. This shoreline gets its name for a reason, as its often graced with washed-up sand dollars. There are also a plethora of rocks located at the southern end of the beach, which are known to contain minerals like serpentine and jade.

Visitors said Sand Dollar Beach is a beautiful and relaxing spot to lay out or have a picnic, adding they appreciated its captivating geological features. It is seldom crowded, but even when there are lots of people, the beach is so big that it doesn't feel jam-packed. Some travelers also mention being able to spot migrating whales from the shore, while others suggest taking the short trail to the lookout point over the beach bluffs.

Sand Dollar Beach is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and it costs $10 to park your car. If you're driving south on Highway 1, turn right when you see the "Los Padres National Forest Picnic Area and Beach: Sand Dollar" sign on the left side of the highway. Keep in mind that swimming at Sand Dollar Beach is considered dangerous and if you plan on searching for jade, mind the regulations. For more information, visit the Sand Dollar Beach website.

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More Best Things To Do in Big Sur

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
Andrew Molera State Park
Type
Time to Spend
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#1 Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Named after one of Big Sur's most beloved pioneers, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is a favorite among both locals and tourists. A feast for the eyes, the park features seven marked trails that take travelers to tucked away coves, up to waterfalls, along miles-long creeks, through redwood-clad forests and more. Not to mention, it is one of the few areas in Big Sur where scuba diving is allowed. 

The shortest and most traveled path is Waterfall Overlook Trail. Less than a mile long, the trail takes visitors to one of the most popular attractions in Big Sur: McWay Falls. The site is lauded for its beauty, and is a culmination of all geological features typical to Big Sur: The secluded beach is flanked by jagged bluffs covered in shrubs, wildflowers and cypress trees. The falls, flowing from atop one of the cove's granite cliffs, tumble 80 feet down into the cove and get swept up by the ocean. The cove is also a prime place to spot migrating gray whales that pass through Big Sur from December to February, as well as March to May. In the past, some have even come into the mouth of the cove.

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