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Sand Dollar Beach in Big Sur

The Sand Dollar Beach and Day Use Area is a beautiful narrow beach that is found in the southern section of the Big Sur coast. Jade can be found here and there are hiking trails leading into the hills. Overnight camping is available at nearby Plaskett Creek Campground. This beach is one of the few opportunities to wet your toes in the Pacific along Highway 1in Big Sur.

Sand Dollar Beach from the bluff

When someone thinks about California beaches, Sand Dollar is not the vision that someone imagines if they have never before visited the Big Sur coast.

Compared to beaches in southern California, this beach isn’t very long and is backed up hard to the bluffs making it narrow. However, that doesn’t mean that you won’t be pleased if you visit here.

Taking the drive along Highway 1 (aka PCH or Cabrillo Highway) requires numerous breaks for viewing the spectacular scenery that Big Sur affords, if not also for rest and comfort.

And there are few places along the 90 miles of Big Sur where you can take a restful walk along the beach like here at Sand Dollar.

Dog and morning fog at Sand Dollar Beach

Sand Dollar Beach Quick Facts:

Location: Highway 1, Monterey County, near the small community of Plaskett. Actual address is: 69232 Cabrillo Highway, Big Sur, CA 93920

Miles from: Carmel – 61; Cambria – 40

Mile Marker: Mon 13.8 (Monterey County; 13.8 miles north of the southern border with San Luis Obispo County)

GPS Coordinates: 35.920867, -121.466512

Organization: US Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service. A part of the Los Padres National Forest.

Services and facilities: Ample parking; restrooms and picnic areas; most shaded by trees.

Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible restrooms in the parking area with handicapped parking; picnic tables; packed dirt pathway to the bluffs above the beach area. No wheelchair access to the beach proper as it is accessed only by a stairway down from the bluffs.

Fee: $10 for day use; no camping here.

Dogs: Allowed on the beach on leash

Jade collecting: Allowed south of the beach access stairway starting at the mean high tide line seaward to the 90 foot depth line. Click here for the full regulations

Jade Cove is located south of Sand Dollar Beach at mile marker 13.3

Camping nearby: Plaskett Creek Campground (by reservation only).

Lodging nearby: Treebones – 2 mi. south; Ragged Point Inn – 15.4 mi south; Lucia Lodge – 9.2 mi. north.

Hiking: Pacific Valley Bluff Trail. This trail is found just north of Sand Dollar and gives a great southerly look at the beach. Access is by means of a stile (stairs) over the fence and a mostly level walk to the point. Parking is alongside the road directly across from the ranger station. (Approx. mile marker 14.7) This trail can also be accessed from the Sand Dollar Day Use parking area taking the trail about 1/2 mile north.


More photos of Sand Dollar Beach

View north from the bluffsA wintery day and high tide – not much walkable beach left

Sand Dollar Beach looking southSame wintery day looking south to Plaskett Rock

Sand Dollar Beach - path and stairway down to the sandPath and stairs down to the beach

Sea stacks off Sand Dollar BeachSea stacks at the southern end of the beach

Low level view of the rocks and sand at Sand Dollar BeachA good view of the beach itself

Sand dollarEponymous sand dollar