Sand Dollar Beach

Big Sur

The tortuously winding 40-mile stretch of Hwy 1 south of Lucia to Hearst Castle is sparsely populated, rugged and remote, mostly running through national forest lands. Around 5 miles south of Kirk Creek Campground and Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd, almost opposite Plaskett Creek Campground, is Sand Dollar Beach. From the picnic area, it’s a five-minute walk to southern Big Sur’s longest sandy beach, a crescent-shaped strip of sand protected from winds by high bluffs.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Big Sur attractions

1. Jade Cove

0.22 MILES

In the waters of Jade Cove in 1971, local divers recovered a 9000lb jade boulder that measured 8ft long and was valued at $180,000. People still comb the…

2. Ragged Point

9.36 MILES

Your last – or first – taste of Big Sur’s rocky grandeur comes at this craggy cliff outcropping with fabulous views of the coastline in both directions,…

3. Salmon Creek Falls

9.65 MILES

Take a short hike to splash around in the pools at the base of this double-drop waterfall, tucked uphill in a forested canyon. The falls usually run from…

4. Limekiln State Park

11.08 MILES

Two miles south of Lucia, this park gets its name from the four remaining wood-fired kilns originally built here in the 1880s to smelt quarried limestone…

5. Mission San Antonio De Padua

13.81 MILES

Remote and evocative, this historical mission sits in the Valley of the Oaks, once part of the sprawling Hearst Ranch landholdings and now inside the…

6. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

19.77 MILES

If you're chasing waterfalls, swing into this state park named for the daughter of some of the earliest European settlers to arrive in Big Sur. The…

7. Piedras Blancas Light Station

20.51 MILES

Of the many lighthouses on California’s coast, few have such an evocative natural setting as this 1875 light station – one of the tallest on the West…

8. Partington Cove

21.58 MILES

This is a raw, breathtaking spot where crashing surf salts your skin. On the steep, half-mile dirt hike down to the cove, you’ll cross a cool bridge and…