Sand Dollar Beach, Big Sur
Drive two hours north of civilization and, unless the road is blocked off by landslides or fires, head very carefully up the windy two-lane Pacific Coast Highway on a historic trek through Big Sur, a place where, yes, even today, you will (thankfully) lose all phone signals.
Embrace your inner Jack Kerouac.
About 30 minutes outside of the tiny town of Gorda, where gas is “only” six dollars a gallon, you’ll reach Plaskett Creek, a campground within the Los Padres National Forest. Across the street, you’ll find straightaway access to Sand Dollar Beach and picnic area—a great place to stop, eat, take in some scenery and yes, surf if you’re up for the long paddle and sharkier waters. Despite the fact that Sand Dollar is one of Big Sur’s most obvious surf spots, the break rarely sees serious SoCal-like crowds, if ever. From the cliffs overlooking the white sand beach, big rock boulders dot the coastline and on a clear, sunny day, you might see dolphins and elephant seals playing in the surf.
Don’t let perspective fool you as it is a loooong paddle out, the wave is a bit more punchier and the current and cold water are not forgiving at all. Even on sunny days, ice cream headaches are a thing. When duck diving, you might hear dolphins talking. Know that you are TRULY in nature.
The wave starts off mushy, but tends to get more hollow on the inside of the break. If you are on a potato chip, it may take longer to get out to the break while your longboard counterparts knee paddle their way out, beaver tails in tow. Don’t get discouraged. Take a breath and, hey! Stand up! Because the sand bar stretches a lot farther out that most places in California.
What the locals say:
Can anyone speak dolphin, elephant seal or great white?
The Dollar that is Sandy?
Highlights: Beautiful scenery and national parks galore! Not a single house or crowds of humans in sight! Take in the beauty that is Big Sur, unplug and truly connect with nature.