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The Ultimate Guide to Camping California’s Big Sur

Coastline in Big Sur California

The Big Sur area includes pretty much everything along Highway 1 between the Monterey-Carmel area and Hearst San Simeon State Park. In addition to being the furthest point South that campers and hikers will find the sort of majestic redwood groves California’s coast is known for, the region claims a number of breathtaking outdoor destinations such as the Los Padres National Forest and the Ventana Wilderness.

Beyond redwood trees, the Big Sur area has some of the best access to the Pacific Ocean California has to offer. Along with other attractions like relaxing hot springs and rivers that are perfect for inner tubes, California’s Central Coast is a prime location for camping. Below, you’ll find some of the most popular grounds Big Sur has to offer.

The Best Big Sur Campgrounds

California State Parks

While the nearest national park is located pretty far inland, there are several state parks dotting the Big Sur coast. In addition to day-use areas that feature attractions like horseback riding and hiking trails, the following state parks have campgrounds that offer a range of overnight options. For more information and/or to make reservations, be sure to visit reservecalifornia.com.

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park: This is the go-to hot spot for state-sanctioned Big Sur experiences, hence the name. The park’s campgrounds line the Big Sur River and are extremely popular.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park: Not to be confused with Pfeiffer Big Sur, this state park is south of the Central Coast’s crown jewel near the McWay Falls area. Each of its campsites have features like fire rings and picnic tables.

Limekiln State Park: Located on an isolated patch of coast, Limekiln offers family and primitive sites, as well as RV camping spots. More importantly, it’s got hot showers and flush toilets!

Andrew Molera State Park: You’ll find this state park north of Pfeiffer off of Highway One. In addition to historic sites, the park has a trail camp for hikers. Be sure to check its availability before heading out, as it is prone to closures.

Big Sur Tent Camping

RELATED: Glamping 101: Your Guide to a Glamorous Camping Experience

Along with the state parks mentioned above, there are other tent sites spread out across the Big Sur stretch. Just remember, the following grounds are for tents only. You RV and travel trailer folk feel free to scroll on down.

Ventana Campground: You’ll find this site between the Pfeiffer Big Sur Campground and the Ventana Big Sur Wilderness Resort. Along with the traditional features you’d expect, it has a couple of modern bathhouses.

Treebones Resort: More of the glamping type? Check out this posh spot just south of Pfeiffer Beach that offers tent cabins and rental yurts.

Big Sur Beach Camping

If you want guaranteed beach access while camping on the Big Sur Coast, your best bet is to set up on the sand itself. While a lot of California’s Central Coast is covered with rocky beaches that are better for enjoying ocean views than camping, there are still some softer and sandier options available.

Kirk Creek Campground: Although it isn’t right in the sand, this beautiful Los Padres National Forest camp spot isn’t far from the beach. It features both tent and RV sites.

Plaskett Creek Campground: This site is right next door to Sand Dollar Beach. Although it welcomes RVs and trailers, it doesn’t offer any hookups or a dump station.

Where’s your favorite spot to camp on the Big Sur Coast? Tell us where to go on our Wide Open Roads Facebook!

READ MORE: Camping California’s Central Coast: The Best Spots to Pitch a Tent on the Pacific

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