comScore
Sand Dollar Beach picture in Big Sur
Skyhobo / Getty Images

Details

  • Beaches, Hiking, Natural Wonders, Recreation Type
  • 1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.1
Overall
US NEWS LOGO

Scorecard

  • Value
    4.0
  • Facilities
    2.0
  • Atmosphere
    5.0

Read about how we rank Things to Do.

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.

Powered by Viator

More Best Things to Do in Big Sur

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park picture in Big Sur
Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Andrew Molera State Park picture in Big Sur
Beaches, Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Pfeiffer Beach picture in Big Sur
Beaches, Natural Wonders Type
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park picture in Big Sur
Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Garrapata State Park picture in Big Sur
Beaches, Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sightseeing Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Sand Dollar Beach picture in Big Sur
Beaches, Hiking, Natural Wonders, Recreation Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Limekiln State Park picture in Big Sur
Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
|

#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 ...

Read more » lucky-photographer / Getty Images

#2 Andrew Molera State Park

This 4,800-acre park is the largest state park on the Big Sur coast and offers multiple activities and attractions, not to mention several hiking trails. Named after the man who brought ...

Read more » Allie_Caulfield / Flickr

#3 Pfeiffer Beach

If you're on a tight itinerary and don't have time to traverse any state park trails, head to Pfeiffer Beach. Located about 7 miles south of Andrew Molera ...

Read more » Eric Lowenbach / Getty Images

#4 Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

Not to be confused with Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park or Pfeiffer Beach, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is adjacent to the Los Padres National Forest and covers 1,600 ...

Read more » Gary Denham / Flickr

#5 Garrapata State Park

Situated between the base of the St. Lucia Mountains and the rugged Pacific coastline, this 3,000-acre state park is overflowing with trails highlighting the park's diverse landscape. From ...

Read more » Ingmar Wesemann / Getty Images

#6 Sand Dollar Beach

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 ...

Read more » Skyhobo / Getty Images

#7 Limekiln State Park

Located about 7 miles north of Sand Dollar Beach, Limekiln State Park is one of the smallest state parks in Big Sur, but it packs some serious history. The 716-acre ...

Read more » Photo Courtesy of California State Parks

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park picture in Big Sur
Andrew Molera State Park picture in Big Sur
Pfeiffer Beach picture in Big Sur
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park picture in Big Sur
Garrapata State Park picture in Big Sur
Sand Dollar Beach picture in Big Sur
Limekiln State Park picture in Big Sur
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park picture in Big Sur
Andrew Molera State Park picture in Big Sur
Pfeiffer Beach picture in Big Sur
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park picture in Big Sur
Garrapata State Park picture in Big Sur
Sand Dollar Beach picture in Big Sur
Limekiln State Park picture in Big Sur

McWay Falls is the star attraction at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. The 80-foot waterfall used to fall directly into the ocean until a landslide created the beach it now graces.  lucky-photographer / Getty Images

Get your fill of coastal views at Andrew Molera State Park. The 8-mile-long Andrew Molera Loop takes visitors  on the edge of the coast with smaller trails leading down to secluded beaches. Allie_Caulfield / Flickr

It's not uncommon to see hordes of photographers at Pfeiffer State Beach, especially at sunset. The keyhole arch rock is considered to be one of the most photographed natural attractions in Big Sur after Bixby Bridge and McWay Falls. Eric Lowenbach / Getty Images

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is the only state park in the region that doesn't offer coastal trails or coastal access. But that doesn't mean it's lacking in attractions. The Buzzard's Roost Trail, pictured above, snakes through the Big Sur Valley, as well as redwood groves.  Gary Denham / Flickr

Of all the state parks in Big Sur, Garrapata is the hardest to find. There is no sign indicating its presence, only turnout points on the highway leading to certain trails. On the upside, it is by far the least crowded. Ingmar Wesemann / Getty Images

Sand Dollar Beach is heaven for treasure hunters. On the southern end of the beach, visitors can find serpentine or jade if they look hard enough. Skyhobo / Getty Images

Limekiln Park got its name from a limestone business that used to operate out of the park's forest. Venture down the Limekiln Trail and you'll see four old limekilns that once provided materials for making cement.   Photo Courtesy of California State Parks

×

See full list of Best Things to Do in Big Sur »

Explore More of Big Sur

Find the Best Price

Enter your check in and check out dates to find the best price

PriceFinder powered by TripAdvisor Primary Logo