Guide to Camping in Big Sur
Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the world: Big Sur is sandwiched between the forested Santa Lucia Mountains and the Pacific Ocean on the central California coast, and is a paradise for camping, outdoor and adventure enthusiasts.
Where to camp
Limekiln State Park
For beachside camping Limekiln State Park, is a great option with over 30 campsites, most of which boast stunning ocean views, whilst the area is also home to beautiful redwood forests and the 100-foot high Limekiln Falls.
Andrew Molera State Park
Home to 25 campsites which operate on a first come first serve basis, unlike the majority of those in Big Sur which take advance bookings. There are numerous great hiking trails and access to a number of quiet beaches, whilst the scenic views are some of the best in Big Sur.
Andrew Molera State Park
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park Camping
Undoubtedly one of the most picturesque camping spots in Big Sur, the park is home to just two campsites which sit atop a cliff overlooking the ocean. RV’s are not allowed, and the area's popularity and limited capacity means bookings should be made well in advance.
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Camping
Located on the slope of the Santa Lucia Mountains and centred on the Big Sur River, this beautiful,1006-acre park is nicknamed mini-Yosemite, and is home to nearly 200 sites for RV and tent camping. Though the park has no beach access, it boasts some of the best hiking trails in the region, as well as a vast array of flora and fauna.
The Kirk Creek coastline
Kirk Creek Campground
Kirk Creek’s 34 campsites have no running water or electricity, and cell-phone signal is extremely limited. However, they offer access to several beaches, are home to myriad hiking trails and offer some of the best ocean views in the region.
Redwood Trees at Big Sur
For those who want to experience camping in Big Sur without giving up their usual comforts, there are several sites in the region offering luxury camping options.
Treebones Resort offers several accommodation options including: yurts, tents and wooden huts, alongside a host of amenities including a pool, hot tub, showers, and an on-site restaurant and sushi bar.
Fernwood Campground and Resort
Located in a beautiful patch of redwood forest on the fringes of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park: Fernwood offers luxury tents, motel rooms and forest cabins, along with an area for guests who have their own tents or RV’s. There is also an on-site restaurant, espresso bar and a camping and general store.
Best Hiking Trails in Big Sur
Pfeiffer Falls & Valley View Trail
A 2.4 mile long trail up a redwood covered slope, past the 60ft Pfeiffer Falls, it leads to a ridge with stunning views over the Big Sur Valley and the Pacific Ocean.
Sykes Hot Springs via Pine Ridge Trail
This steep and rocky trail traverses scenic redwood forests, eventually leading to the picturesque Sykes hot Springs.
McWay Waterfall Trail
Barely a mile long, this is the shortest trail in the region, but is one of the best, due to the stunning 80ft beachside waterfall at its culmination.
A great all-rounder, the trail ecompasses a diversity of landscapes, including scenic forested canyons, and steep rocky ridges with striking ocean views.
Andrew Molera Loop
This challenging 8.8 mile long hike ascends an elevation of over 1000 ft, offering views of the iconic Point Sur and its lighthouse, before looping back down to the coast, where several beaches are accessible.
This relatively flat series of forested trails offer a diversity of interesting sights, including historic limekilns, and a stunning, 100ft waterfall.
As well as your tent, there are a number of important items which will make your trip more comfortable.
Even though the weather is relatively warm year-round, the nights can get cold, and a good quality sleeping back (at least 20°F rated) is important.
Many of the region's campsites are without electricity, so it is important to have a portable charger, to ensure your phone is charged at all times.
Stay hydrated, avoid plastic waste and save money with a reusable, water bottle.
Mosquitos and other insects are rife in Big Sur, particularly during the summer months, so bring a repellent spray or lotion to avoid being bitten.
Big Sur’s campsites and trails are mostly poorly lit, so a torch is a really important piece of equipment, and you should also remember to bring some spare batteries.
Between Autumn and Springtime it rains often in Big Sur, and though much rarer in the summer, it's still worth bringing a good-quality raincoat regardless of when you're visiting.
Camping Stove and Cookware
Few of Big Sur’s campsites are home to restaurants, so you will need to bring a good camping stove and cookware, as well as plenty of food!