Big Sur is the name for the 90-mile stretch of wild and rugged coastline between Carmel and San Simeon, California. This classic drive along Highway 1 is often recognized as the most scenic coastal drive in the US. It offers plenty of places to explore along the way, from dense redwood forests and soaring ocean cliffs to deserted beaches and luxurious coastal towns. One of the best ways to experience the dramatic natural beauty of the California coast is to spend a night or two at one of the Big Sur campgrounds along Highway 1.
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Campground
Located 26 miles south of Carmel, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Campground is nestled into the redwood forest in the bluffs above the Big Sur coast. Campsites are large enough to accommodate RVs, although there are no hookups available in the campground. The towering Sycamore and Redwood trees overhead provide plenty of shade at camp, and a network of trails provide excellent views of the Big Sur Valley and Big Sur River Gorge. The campground is an extremely popular getaway, so book ahead of time online to guarantee a spot.
Fernwood Campground and Resort
Just a short drive from the fantastic sand and iconic rock formations at Pfeiffer Beach, the Fernwood Campground and Resort offers a range of camping options, including RV sites with water and electric hookups. One of the best Big Sur campgrounds for solo travelers, an onsite coffee shop and tavern makes mingling with other campers easy. Fernwood is adjacent to Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, and you can easily hike into the park from the campground.
Kirk Creek Campground
Sitting atop an ocean bluff with views of the Pacific, Kirk Creek is one of the most scenic Big Sur campgrounds. Both RV and tent sites are available at this Forest Service campground, but parking surfaces are dirt, and no hookups are available. It’s only a short walk from the campground to the narrow rocky beach below. Plus, you’ll have easy access to several hiking trails that will take you to the beach and show off great views on the way there. Kirk Creek only.
Hearst San Simeon State Park Campgrounds
Hearst San Simeon State Park is located just outside San Simeon on the northern end of Big Sur. The park is home to two campgrounds, both of which are accessible to RVs – San Simeon Creek Campground and Washburn Primitive Campground. Recreational activities in the park include hiking, fishing, bird watching, seal viewing, and surfing. The historic Hearst Castle is only a short drive from the campground, a destination we highly recommend checking out.
Pinnacles National Park Campground
About 40 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean, Pinnacles National Park is a wonderland of towering rock formations, caves, and volcanic remains. One of America’s newest national parks, Pinnacles has over 30 miles of trails, hundreds of rock climbing routes, two talus caves to explore, and spacious campsites for both tents and RVs. Electric hookups are available, and other amenities include hot showers, a pool, WiFi, and a fully-stocked camp store.
Plaskett Creek Campground
Plasket Creek Campground, located in the Los Padres National Forest, and just minutes from the largest beach in the Big Sur area, Sand Dollar Beach. Plaskett is a family-friendly campground offering both single-site and group site options year-round. Utility hookups are not available. Individual sites come equipped with a campfire ring, grill, and picnic table. Flush toilets and drinking water are throughout the campground. Group sites accommodate up to 40 people and include multiple tables, grills, and fire pits, as well as drinking water and out-houses.
Plaskett Creek Campground is an excellent choice for beachgoers and anglers. Sand Dollar Beach is a short walk from the campground and is popular for surfing, fishing, sunbathing, and includes trails nearby. A 15-minute drive lands you in Limekiln State Park, where you’ll be surrounded by Redwoods, hiking trails, and the Limekiln Falls.
Ventana Creek Campground
Thirty miles south of Carmel, nestled in between Andrew Molera State Park and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, you will find Ventana Campground. Each campsite provides a picnic table and fire ring, and the campground has two communal bathhouses. Water faucets are within walking distance of each campsite. Ventana is mostly tent camping and can not accommodate for RV camping, motorhomes, pop-up tents, or travel trailers. However, minivans and camper vans up to 22ft are allowed.
Surrounded by the Ventana wilderness, and only one mile from Pfeiffer Beach, Ventana Campground is Big Sur camping at its finest. Make sure to grab some California BBQ at the Big Sur Smokehouse before you leave.
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About the Author
Bastian is the Sales & Marketing Manager here at Travellers Autobarn. He holds a Master of Commerce in Marketing and International Business Management, and 20+ years experience in campervan hire, road trips and travel.