Caution: Check with rangers or lifeguards that conditions are safe for your planned activities.
Between Lopez Point and Cape San Martin along the southern Big Sur coast are a number of great little beaches that are worth visiting. Anyone looking to play in the waves might do better farther north or south, but for fishermen, photographers, surfers, beach combers, campers, rock hounds, sun bathers, dog walkers, and adventurers - the southern Big Sur beaches are calling.
Part of Limekiln State Park, the beach makes a nice stop along the coast, whether to spend the night at the campground, hike to Limekiln Falls, or fish from the shore.
Sand Dollar is the shining star of this cluster of beaches. It's expanse of sand is the largest in the region. Camp at nearby Plaskett Creek Campground and walk to the beach.
More rock than sand, Jade Cove is famous for the jade that can be found there. The cove is only a half mile from Sand Dollar Beach.
One of three beaches we have grouped as the Creek Beaches. The adjoining campground is located on the bluff overlooking the ocean. A trail leads down to the long, narrow beach.
Find a picnic area adjacent to the parking lot overlooking the beach. Interesting places to explore when tide is out.
Good fishing from the shore. Bring a picnic and find a secluded spot along the rocky coast.
Experienced hang glider pilots in the area like to launch from Prewitt Ridge, high in the coastal mountains, and work their way down, eventually landing in the broad open field north of Sand Dollar Beach. To the reach the launch spot, drive up Nacimiento-Fergusson Road (just south of Kirk Creek Campground). Follow the road 7 miles to the Prewitt Ridge Road on the right. Another 5 miles leads to the launch site just north of the summit of Prewitt Ridge. The elevation there is about 3,000 feet.
The southern Big Sur area is often too foggy for flying in the summer. Fall months are usually among the best. The flight is probably suitable for those rated H2/P2, but first timers in the area should hitch up with someone experienced with the launch site and landing zone.
May 5-7, 2017
Pacific Valley School near Sand Dollar Beach and Plaskett Creek Campground
Big Sur Jade Festival
Highway 1, 7 miles north of San Simeon.
A lighthouse and elephant seal rookery.
Free admission to elephant seals viewing areas.
Friends of the Elephant Seal docents are often on hand to answer questions.
Friends of the Elephant Seal Beach Webcam
Lighthouse Tours are offered at 9:45 AM every day except Sunday during the summer and Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays the rest of the year. Tours meet at the former Piedras Blancas Motel located 1.5 miles north of the light station on Highway 1.
Highway 1, San Simeon, CA
Tour the famous Hearst Castle.
A variety of tours are offered.
California State Parks and Recreation cautions that "large surf, cold water temperatures, backwash, sudden drop-offs,
pounding shorebreak, and dangerous rip currents can turn what seem like safe activities such as
playing near the surf line, wading, or climbing on rock outcroppings, deadly."
Learn more about ocean safety at
CA State Parks: Ocean Safety