12 Best Campgrounds Near Big Sur & Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, California


Spending the night camping in the redwood trees and along the adjacent seaside bluffs is the ideal way to view Big Sur’s towering mountain cliffs and stunning ocean.

Campgrounds on the Big Sur coast are in high demand, spanning approximately 90 miles of Highway 1 between Hearst Castle and Carmel-by-the-Sea. Big Sur has drawn other noteworthy visitors such as Henry Miller and Jack Kerouac over the years, and it now attracts millions of tourists each year, many of whom are hoping to pitch a tent or park an RV.

Limekiln State Park, for example, has contemporary campsites with flushing toilets and coin-operated showers. Campsites in California State Parks can be requested up to six months in advance, with the majority of campsites around the Big Sur coast being booked months in advance.

Make no mistake, with stunning beaches and enormous redwood woods, campsites like Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park provide once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to commune with nature.

Outside of the state parks, commercial campsites in the region can be reserved in advance. Some commercial campsites, such as Ventana Campground, provide distinctive “glamping” experiences to make roughing it easier.

Other campgrounds are accessible via the US Forest Service, which controls the nearby Los Padres National Forest, and they are frequently more cheap choices for camping along the Big Sur coast.

With our list of the finest campgrounds around Big Sur/Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, you can find the greatest spots to stay in the wilderness.

1.Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is about 1,000 acres in size and includes redwood trees, picturesque rivers, and breathtaking views of the coastline. Pfeiffer Big Sur is located in the middle of the Big Sur coast, close to several of the area’s best attractions, including Pfeiffer Beach and the Henry Miller Memorial Library, as well as local food stores and restaurants.

The state park has almost 200 campsites along the flowing Big Sur River, which runs through the park, offering spaces for both tents and RVs.

This is an excellent base for visiting other surrounding coastal sites, with days spent exploring the trails and nature of Pfeiffer Big Sur. The River Trail is a half-mile path that follows the riverside as it runs alongside a tall redwood grove. The Buzzard’s Roost route is a three-mile circle within the park that offers magnificent views of the ocean.

Pfeiffer Big Sur features cabins for rent, and every overnight camper has access to flushing toilets and coin-operated showers.

Big Sur, California, Pfeiffer Big Sur Road

2.Ventana Campground.

This privately owned campsite is located in the centre of the Big Sur coast, within a coastal redwood canyon. Ventana Campground, which has over 60 campsites that fit into the natural environment, also has 15 beautiful glamping sites with stone fireplaces, a safari-style canvas tent, and a comfy glamping mattress pad.

Aside from being immersed in a redwood forest, Ventana Campground is conveniently placed near restaurants, the coast, and the Henry Miller Memorial Library.

Big Sur, California is located at 48123 CA-1.

3.Kirk Creek Campground.

Kirk Creek Campground, located on a coastal cliff on the west side of Highway 1, offers spectacular ocean views from every site. The breathtaking vistas of this Forest Service campground are popular with sunset and dawn fans, and it is open for tents and recreational vehicles under 30 feet long.

Kirk Creek Campground has vault toilets scattered among its 40 sites, and in addition to magnificent vistas, neighbouring recreational activities include a short drive to Sand Dollar Beach and entry points into the Ventana Wilderness.

CA-1, Big Sur, California

4.Big Sur Campground and Cabins

This family-friendly campsite beside the Big Sur River is located in the middle of the Big Sur coast, midway between Andrew Molera and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Parks.

The campground’s outdoor playground, surrounded by redwoods, is popular with both parents and children, as is the enormous swimming pool that branches from the river. Big Sur Campground has tent and RV parking as well as one- and two-bedroom camper cottages with private facilities.

Big Sur Campground maintains its quiet hour of 10pm to 8am with a delicate but tight touch, making it easy to sleep in at night and full of activities throughout the day.

Inner tubes may be rented at the campground, and flushing toilets and showers are accessible to all overnight guests for free. The world-famous Pfeiffer Beach is merely a five-mile drive away for beach access and one of the most beautiful sites to watch the sunset in Big Sur.

47000 CA-1, Big Sur, California

5.Limekiln State Park.

Limekiln State Park, located near the town of Lucia on the Big Sur coast, contains a little bit of all this rough edge of the country has to offer. Limekiln State Park offers redwood grove hiking paths, stunning waterfall perspectives, access to the Ventana Wilderness, and panoramic ocean views all in one day. Four lime kiln relics, accessible through hiking routes, are also on exhibit.

Limekiln State Park, which covers approximately 700 acres, provides 24 campsites that are close to showers and flushing toilets.

63025 CA-1, Big Sur, California

6.Plaskett Creek Campground.

The Plaskett Creek Campground, operated by the Los Padres National Forest, has 44 campsites on the east side of Highway 1. Most campsites can hear the breaking surf of the adjacent ocean, and all registered campers have access to flushing toilets and water spigots.

Plaskett Creek Campground is best suited for tent camping and modest camping trailers, but the true draw is its closeness to Sand Dollar Beach, Big Sur’s largest beach and one of the most popular for fishing, swimming, and surfing.

Location: 69345 CA-1, Big Sur, California

7.Hearst San Simeon State Park.

Hearst San Simeon, located less than 20 miles south of Ragged Point, popularly known as the Gateway to Big Sur, is a more inexpensive camping adjacent to Big Sur. Hearst San Simeon has two campgrounds with about 200 tent and RV campsites.

The San Simeon Creek Campground features 115 campsites near the seashore with flushing toilets and coin-operated showers.

The Washburn Campground is located one mile inland and is considered basic, with just pit toilets accessible, making it one of the most cheap campgrounds on this stretch of shore.

The state park’s coastline areas offer seasonal opportunity to witness hundreds of elephant seals. The spectacular Hearst Castle is also a short drive from the campsites, allowing a glimpse into one of California’s most stunning pieces of architecture.

Cambria, California 500 San Simeon-Monterey Creek Road

8,Riverside Campground and Cabins are located on the river’s edge.

This commercial camping establishment in the Big Sur coast’s central portion offers tent camping, RV parking, and cabin lodging. This contemporary campsite on the banks of the Big Sur River has hot showers, flushing toilets, and 16 acres of redwood forest to explore.

As the Big Sur River quietly babbles adjacent to the campsites, one of the most popular pastimes at Riverside Campground is relaxing. Riverside Campground offers heated cottages and complete RV hookups for winter camping.

Location: 47020 CA-1, Big Sur, California

9.Fernwood Campground & Resort

Fernwood Campground & Resort, located just north of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park and Pfeiffer Beach, offers places to stay surrounded by redwoods and the Big Sur River.

Fernwood, located in the heart of the Big Sur Coast, has tent and RV campsites, woodland cottages, and canvas tents, as well as a hotel with 12 standard rooms. Fernwood also has a general shop, restaurant, and laundry facilities, as well as two huge bath rooms used by camping visitors.

Location: 47200 CA-1, Big Sur, California

10.Arroyo Seco Campground.

Arroyo Seco, operated by the Los Padres National Forest, is a rugged campsite located on the other side of the Santa Lucia Mountains from the seashore. The campsite, located at a height of 1,200 feet, allows for dry camping for tents and RVs, as well as pit toilets and coin-operated showers.

The adjacent Arroyo Seco River is popular for fishing and swimming, and the Ventana Wilderness is ideal for day trips and multi-day adventures.

11.Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park features only two basic campsites and is best renowned for day-use activities such as coastal canyon hiking trails and stunning vistas of an 80-foot waterfall plunging into the ocean (McWay Falls).

Visitors should count themselves fortunate to be able to stay at these tent-only, walk-in campsites, which are highly sought after and can be reserved online up to six months in advance.

The two environment campsites at Julia Pfeiffer Burns, located on the opposite side of Highway 1 from the day-use area, provide panoramic vistas, pit toilets, and a coastal seclusion seen at few other Big Sur campers.

Along with their personal belongings, campers must carry all of the water and firewood they will need for the night on the almost half-mile journey to the sites. At these popular campgrounds, reservations are tightly enforced, and overnight campers must check in at the entry kiosk before occupying their spot.

Big Sur, California is located at 48123 CA-1.

12.Andrew Molera State Park.

Andrew Molera State Park is located on the northern Big Sur coastline and offers hiking paths as well as ocean access. Winter storms and significant floods forced the closure of the Trail Camp at Andrew Molera in the spring of 2019, however cleanup work to repair the 17 sites are ongoing.

Much of Andrew Molera State Park remains available to the public, including a one-mile route that spans the Big Sur River and leads to a peaceful beach shoreline.

Location: 45500 CA-1, Big Sur, California


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