Looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of your busy life? Then head on over to Big Sur, where you can find some of the best campgrounds in California. Nestled between the Santa Lucia Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Big Sur has been a mecca for outdoor lovers since the early 20th century. With its dramatic coastline, towering redwoods, and pristine beaches, it’s no wonder that it is one of the most popular camping destinations in the state.
And because there are dozens of campgrounds to choose from, finding the perfect one for your needs can be a challenge. That’s why I’ve put together this list of the 12 Best Campgrounds Near Big Sur. Read on!
1. Big Sur Campground & Cabins
If there’s one campground that best epitomizes the Big Sur experience, it would have to be Big Sur Campground & Cabins. It is one of the best campgrounds near Big Sur, located just a few miles from Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.
This family-friendly campground is situated next to the Big Sur River and features mesmerizing views of the surrounding mountains and coastline. There are nearly 100 campsites, a mix of both tent sites and RV sites with hookups. In addition to the standard amenities like flushing toilets and showers, this campground also has a playground and a large swimming pool formed by the river.
This is a great place to stay if you’re looking for a little more excitement during your Big Sur camping trip. There are plenty of activities nearby, such as hiking, fishing, and kayaking. The campground also offers guided tours of the area, including a popular night hike that exposes stargazers to some of the best views in Big Sur.
2. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Campgrounds
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is one of the most popular camping destinations in Big Sur, and for a good reason. The park offers stunning viewpoints of the Big Sur coastline, towering redwoods, and plenty of opportunities for hiking and other outdoor activities.
There are nearly 200 campsites, a mix of both tent sites and RV sites with hookups. You can also rent one of the park’s cabins if you’re looking for a more comfortable camping experience. Flushing toilets and coin-operated showers are available, as well as a general store where you can buy other supplies.
However, because this is a popular destination, the campgrounds can fill up quickly, especially during the peak summer season. So if you’re planning on camping at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, be sure to make your reservations well in advance.
3. Kirk Creek Campground
Kirk Creek Campground is one of the best places to camp in Big Sur if you’re looking for coastal camping with easy access to nearby hiking trails. Situated on a bluff high above the Pacific Ocean, this campground offers panoramic ocean views and dramatic sunsets.
There are over 40 campsites at Kirk Creek Campground, which can accommodate both tents and RVs of up to 30 feet in length. Every campsite has a picnic table and a fire ring, and there is a ranger station on-site. Vault toilets are available for campers, and there is also a dump station.
This Big Sur campground is just five miles north of Sand Dollar Beach, one of the best beaches in Big Sur for swimming, sunbathing, and surfing. The beach is also a great place to explore tide pools and go beachcombing.
Campsites at Kirk Creek Campground can be reserved up to six months in advance, and I recommend making reservations early if you’re planning to visit during the peak summer season.
4. Hearst San Simeon State Park
Hearst San Simeon State Park is a great option if you’re looking for Big Sur campgrounds with oceanfront sites. This state park is located on a strip of coastal land adjacent to Hearst Castle, the famous former residence of newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst.
There are two campgrounds within Hearst San Simeon State Park, with nearly 200 campsites for tents, RVs, and trailers. The San Simeon Creek Campground is the larger of the two, with over 115 sites. The second campground, The Washburn Campground, is located just a short walk from the beach and has around 86 sites.
I found Hearst San Simeon State Park to be a great option if you’re planning to visit Hearst Castle, as the campgrounds are located just a short drive away. And even if you’re not interested in touring the castle, the state park still offers plenty of other great amenities, like miles of hiking trails, beach access, and more.
5. Ventana Campground
If you’re looking for an unforgettable Big Sur camping experience, look no further than Ventana Campground. This campground, situated in a forest of redwoods, offers visitors the opportunity to experience the beauty of these giant trees up close.
Ventana Campground is exclusively for tent camping, with over 60 campsites. And because the campground is located in a forested setting, many of the sites offer privacy thanks to the dense vegetation.
If you’re looking for a more luxurious camping experience, Ventana Campground also offers 15 “glamping” sites. These sites are for those who want to enjoy a camping trip without giving up all the comforts of home. However, note that glamping sites must be reserved in advance and cost more than regular campsites.
One of the great things about the Ventana Campground is that it’s located within easy driving distance of many other Big Sur attractions, including the Big Sur coastline and Henry Miller Memorial Library. So if you’re looking for a campground where you can enjoy all that Big Sur has to offer, Ventana Campground is a great option.
6. Plaskett Creek Campground
Plaskett Creek Campground is one of the best campgrounds near Big Sur if you’re looking for a quiet and peaceful setting. This campground is located in Los Padres National Forest and features 40 campsites, which are spread out over a large area and offer plenty of privacy. The sites here can accommodate tents and small camping RVs. Campers here will have access to flush toilets and coin-operated showers available on-site.
One of the best things about Plaskett Creek Campground is its location. The campground is situated close to Sand Dollar Beach, which is a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking. There are also several hiking trails in the area that lead to waterfalls and scenic lookouts.
Overall, Plaskett Creek Campground is a great option if you’re looking for a relaxing place to camp near Big Sur. The campsites are spread out, so you won’t have to worry about being too close to your neighbors. And, you’ll be close to some great beaches and hiking trails.
7. Riverside Campground & Cabins
Are you looking for a secluded and intimate camping experience? Riverside Campground & Cabins might be just what you’re looking for. This campground is located on the banks of the Big Sur River, surrounded by towering redwoods. It’s one of the best places to camp in Big Sur if you want to reconnect with nature.
Riverside is a modern campground with all the amenities you need for a comfortable stay. There are sites for both tents and RVs, as well as cabins that can be rented. Bathrooms are clean and well-maintained, with flush toilets and hot showers.
This is a great place to relax and soak up the natural beauty of Big Sur. But if you’re looking for things to do, there are plenty of options nearby. Hiking trails abound in the area, and the Big Sur River is perfect for fishing, swimming, or just cooling off on a hot day.
8. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is another great option for camping near Big Sur. This state park is best known for its 80-foot waterfall that cascades over a rocky cliff into the ocean below, a truly awe-inspiring sight. The park also features a number of miles of hiking trails that wind through redwood forests, offering glimpses of the ocean along the way.
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park has two walk-in campsites that are best suited for tent camping. These sites are located a short walk from the beach, and each has a picnic table and a fire ring. Showers and pit toilets are available for all campers to use, and there is also a small store located within the park.
While this state park doesn’t have quite as many amenities, it more than makes up for its natural beauty. Hiking to the McWay Falls is a must-do while visiting, and you can also explore the tide pools or go for a swim in the ocean.
Note that reservations are required for all camping here, and they can be made up to six months in advance. So plan ahead and have your dates set before you arrive to ensure you can stay at this beautiful state park.
9. Arroyo Seco Campground
Next on my list of the best campgrounds near Big Sur is Arroyo Seco Campground, which is operated by the Los Padres National Forest. This camping spot is located within the Ventana Wilderness, a remote and rugged wilderness area that encompasses over 240,000 acres of land.
This campground is located in a stunning setting along the Arroyo Seco River. The river flows through a canyon of towering redwoods, providing a beautiful and peaceful setting for a few nights of camping.
The campground has 40 campsites that can accommodate both tents and RVs. Each site has a Drinking Water, equestrian trail, picnic table, a fire ring, vault/flush toilets, and showers.
What I loved about this campground is that it’s located within the Ventana Wilderness, which offers endless opportunities for exploration. There are numerous trails to hike and explore, and the scenery is absolutely breathtaking. I highly recommend spending a few nights here if you’re looking for an unforgettable camping experience in Big Sur.
10. Limekiln State Park
Limekiln State Park is located just 40 minutes south of Big Sur on Highway 1 and features a dramatic coastline, redwood forests, and a beautiful sandy beach. This park encompasses over 700 acres and features a total of 26 campsites which can be reserved in advance.
All of the campsites have picnic tables and fire pits, and there are also a few grills scattered throughout the campground. Flush toilets and coin-operated showers are available, and drinking water can be found at a few different locations throughout the park.
One of the best things about Limekiln State Park is that it offers a little bit of everything. In addition to the majestic redwoods, there are also eucalyptus trees, madrones, and Douglas firs. The campground is also situated right next to Limekiln Creek, which flows into the ocean.
This is a great place to spend a few days exploring the coastline. There are numerous hiking trails that wind through the forests and provide incredible views of the ocean.
11. Andrew Molera State Park
Another of the best campgrounds near Big Sur is Andrew Molera State Park, which sprawls across nearly 4,766 acres of meadows, redwoods, and the Big Sur coastline. The state park is home to Andrew Molera Beach, one of the best beaches in the area for fishing, surfing, and picnicking.
There are 17 campsites available to reserve within the park, all of which are best suited for tent camping only. Picnic tables, grills, and fire rings are available at each campsite. Showers and pit toilets are also located within the campground.
Because of its large size, this state park has miles of hiking trails that explore the diverse terrain and ecosystems within it. This makes it a great place to relax, enjoy the beach, and take in all that Big Sur has to offer.
12. Fernwood Campground & Resort
Just down the road from Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is Fernwood Campground & Resort, another great option for those looking for places to camp in Big Sur. Fernwood offers both RV and tent camping, as well as cabins and a motel for those who want a little more comfort.
The resort is located right next to Big Sur River and features a general store, showers, and flush toilets. There is also a restaurant on site, which is perfect for grabbing a quick bite or a drink after a long day of exploring.
This campground is just minutes away from Pfeiffer Beach, one of the best beaches in Big Sur. Here you can find dramatic cliffs, tide pools, and a pretty waterfall that flows into the ocean. You can also find a number of hiking trails nearby, including the short but sweet Pfeiffer Beach Trail.
Whether you’re looking for a state park or a family-friendly campground, there are plenty of options for places to camp near Big Sur. I hope my list of the best campgrounds near Big Sur has helped you narrow down your choices to this beautiful region of California.