What Big Sur lacks in terms of the quantity of accessible beaches is certainly offset by the quality of those beaches. Sand Dollar Beach on the southern Big Sur Coast is a prime example. This crescent-shaped beach runs nearly three-quarters of a mile (Big Sur’s longest and widest continuous strand), boasts turquoise blue waters, and an enjoys a scenic mountain backdrop.
Sand Dollar’s strand offers fantastic beachcombing and lounging, and decent tide pooling is possible on both the north and south ends in the smaller lagoon-like bays at low tide. Fishing in the lagoons can be fruitful. While the name suggests that sand dollars might be abundant here, that’s typically not the case. The more distinguishing hallmarks are the jade and serpentine mineral deposits embedded in the tall cliffs that frame the crescent of sand.
Sand Dollar Beach is Big Sur’s most consistent surf spot, and its broad main bay gathers swell from all directions. More often than not, Sand Dollar's surf is mediocre, but the setting is spectacular. And if you’re lucky enough to line up a mid-tide groomed swell with shapely sandbars and an offshore wind, you just might be fortunate enough to surf Sand Dollar on one of it's exceptional days. The beach is popular with surfers who are passing through. When the swell is on the small side, Sand Dollar can be a user-friendly break. The south end in front of the stairwell typically offers the best shape.
Access to the beach is provided via a short walking trail and stairwell. The trail leads down from a parking lot that is equipped with restrooms, but no drinking water. Just across the highway to the south is Plaskett Creek Campground, a convenient home base for spending a day or two at Sand Dollar Beach. Both Sand Dollar Beach and Plaskett Creek are managed by the U.S. Forest Service.
There is a $5 parking fee to park in Sand Dollar’s day use lot. Dogs are welcome and permitted to run free on the beach.