Big Sur is a sight that one always remembers. It’s a place of immense charm and character where forests meet coastlines and mountains meet the mighty currents of the Pacific Ocean. So if you’ve ever driven through the rugged roads of Big Sur, and have experienced the sheer and wondrous beauty of the place, then you definitely know why it’s a must-visit destination for campers. If you haven’t, then let this be a sign for you to start researching and planning.
We have taken it upon ourselves to give you a starting point in your search and compiled a meticulous list of Big Sur camping at its finest, where you’ll find camping opportunities fit for all preferences and expectations.
1. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is a superb – and probably the most sought out – camping destination in this part of Cali. The State Park is the proud home to numerous diverse species of wildlife including beautiful flora. Who wouldn’t want to camp out there?!
The campground at Pfeiffer Big Sur SP – located along the banks of the Big Sur River – boasts 189 campsites, making it an ideal destination for many campers with different preferences. There you’ll also find amenities such as a store, showers, a dump station and a laundromat.
Activities include hiking, biking, fishing, wildlife, watching, and paddling.
Make sure to reserve a spot here at least six months prior to your visit.
Dogs are allowed; however, they need to be leashed at all times.
Do not confuse Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park with Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. The former is considerably bigger than the latter and offers more recreational opportunities for eager adventurers.
Address: California 93920, USA
2. Big Sur Campground & Cabins
If you’d like to camp out with your family and have fun in all the usual ways but if you also value your privacy and evening peace then Big Sur Campground & Cabins is for you.
This is a top-notch camping destination with a gorgeous atmosphere and infrastructure. As you can gather from its name, the place boasts not only a number of tent and RV campsites but also numerous cozy cabins for those who aren’t exactly looking for a typical camping experience but want to soak up the stunning natural environment of Santa Lucia Mountains nonetheless.
Onsite amenities are aplenty – there you’ll find hot showers, laundry facilities, a camp store, and a playground. In addition, you’ll be provided with full water and electricity hookups for your RVs. A dump station is also available. Cabins come fully equipped with all necessities.
Very conveniently, the sparkling Big Sur River flows along the campground where you can swim and even tube. Tube rentals are available in the facility.
Big Sur Campground & Cabins values your comfort and harmony so 10pm to 8am are quiet hours.
You can book your stay on their official website. Make sure you do so at least 6 months in advance.
Address: 47000 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, United States
3. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park (not to be confused with Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park) is the camping choice of many despite it being fairly small. It’s a place where simplicity meets the beauty of wilderness and for many people this combination more than makes up for the destination’s two semi-primitive campsites that come with very few amenities. There you’ll find a picnic table, a fire ring and a couple of pit toilets.
These campsites are located near McWay Waterfall (among other gorgeous natural sights) which is a real visitor-magnet and makes all the inconveniences of booking and planning well worth it. It’s a stunning waterfall huddled in between massive cliffs and boulders that cascades straight into the Pacific Ocean. McWay Waterfall Trail is pretty small and takes only 10 minutes to complete.
When it comes to Julia Pfeiffer Burns SP, always book your stay far in advance. They’re usually booked up even 6 months in advance, so make sure to plan around that.
Pets are not allowed on site and neither are cars. You’ll have to park somewhere along Highway 1 and then walk. You can reserve a spot here.
Address: 52801 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
4. Treebones Resort
Treebones Resort is a place to go for the ultimate glamping experience. It’s an extremely cozy and aesthetically pleasing yurt village located off Highway 1. Every yurt has a deck overlooking the ocean which is one of the reasons it’s a top destination for many.
Treebones Resort isn’t just limited to yurts though. There you’ll also find numerous sites for tents and even your own yurts for those looking to have a more natural and rustic experience.
Yurts are equipped with essentials like electricity, running water, and soft beds. Every reservation includes access to showers, the pool, hot tub, and breakfast.
Pets and campfires aren’t allowed.
Treebones Resort is more of a community than just a lodging. They value togetherness and have a diverse roster of group activities and events. At the time of writing, there are 10 days left till their festive Thanksgiving dinner. So if you’re lucky enough to reserve your stay at short notice, you’ll definitely have one memorable Thanksgiving dinner.
Address: 71895 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
5. Riverside Campground & Cabins
Riverside Campground & Cabins — just like its companion, you’ll find many RV and tent camping sites at Riverside along with numerous rustic cabins, a couple of which have a little bit of a modern touch.
When it comes to amenities, Riverside Campground & Cabins in some ways offers you all and more — apart from basic necessities like water and bathrooms (electric and water hookups for RVs), you’ll also find a laundry room, hot showers, fire pits and picnic tables at each site. However, there are no dump stations or sewers.
Tubing along the Big Sur river is also available as well as some fishing opportunities on a catch and release basis.
The camp is dog-friendly. Reservations can be made here.
Address: 47020 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
6. Sykes Hot Springs
Sykes Hot Springs is a gem of Ventana Wilderness that has been gaining more and more attention in the past few years. It’s located far inland from Big Sur and requires a challenging hike to get to (19.7 miles out-and-back trail). However, if you’re big on hiking and are a bit of an adrenaline chaser, Sykes Hot Springs is an amazing (and extremely sought-out) camping destination which gives you the opportunity to take in the most gorgeous natural sights (such as Coastal Redwoods) along the way. You’ll find numerous campsites in the area equipped with all the essentials needed for a proper camp.
The Spring itself consists of two rock walled pools – with a temperature that can hover around 100°F – nestled on the banks of the Big Sur River. This makes the water temperature adjustable and the place all the more wondrous.
Sykes Hot Springs is the ultimate destination for all adventurers out there, especially the campers. It’s an opportunity you don’t want to miss.
Location: Los Padres National Forest, Ventana Wilderness, California
7. Ventana Campground
Located 40 miles south of Carmel is Ventana Campground – a gorgeous 40-acre redwood canyon that offers tent-only camping opportunities.
The campground has two bathhouses and each campsite is equipped with picnic tables, fire rings and water faucets. This campground is also conveniently located close to the Big Sur community so all the essential establishments like stores, restaurants and even a post office are located nearby.
Quiet hours are between 10pm and 7am, but either way no music or noise of any kind are allowed. Dogs need to be leashed at all times.
Staying at Ventana Campground offers you many hiking opportunities. Be sure to also see Coastal Redwoods.
Address: Ventana Campground, 48123 Highway 1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
8. Kirk Creek Campground
Laid out on a bluff that directly overlooks the Pacific Ocean among the lush landscapes of Los Padres National Forest and showing off stunning views wherever you look (mountainous beauty on one side and the coastal beauty on another) is another visitor-magnet known as Kirk Creek Campground. It becomes ten times more picturesque during sunrise and sunset.
At Kirk Creek you’ll find 40 tent and RV sights. Each sight comes with a picnic table, fire ring, and grill. Vault toilets are also available. As you can see, some of the necessary amenities are available on site, but due to its relatively remote location it’s always recommended to stock up with necessities before heading out. Especially water.
There are no utility hookups for RVs, no cell service in the area and no showers.
You can make a reservation at least three days in advance here.
Address: 64955 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
9. Plaskett Creek Campground
Plaskett Creek Campground is a beautiful park-like campground located only a few minutes from Sand Dollar Beach. It’s a dog-friendly campground that offers 44 spots for tent and RV camping. A couple of spots are also available on a first-come first-served basis. Each campsite comes with a picnic table, fire ring and a grill.
Amenities such as flush toilets, sinks and drinkable water are also available onsite. There are no hookups for RVs.
Sand Dollar Beach is located just south of the campground which makes it a perfect summer camping destination. This area is also rich with wildlife which is another perfect natural feature for those who love wildlife watching.
Remember that there’s a lot of poison oak in the area.
Make sure to book your stay in advance here.
Address: 69345 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
10. Fernwood Resort
Located at the heart of the Big Sur inlands with the Big Sur river flowing alongside it is Fernwood Resort – a place that has been operating since 1932 and offers its visitors unmatched recreation opportunities.
Fernwood Resort has it all: tent camping, RV camping, forest cabins, tent cabins, even a motel – you name it! Naturally it also comes with all the necessary amenities required for your utmost comfort so you don’t have to worry about those inconveniences.
Onsite you’ll also find a tavern, restaurants with bars and grills, and a cafe.
Make sure to reserve a spot at least a year in advance. Due to its long history of operation, fame and the abundance of amenities, Fernwood Resort gets booked up all the time.
Address: 47200 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
11. Marina Dunes RV Park
Marina Dunes RV park is one of the best RV beach resorts in California, which balances natural beauty with modern touches extremely well. There you’ll find 96 RV sites nestled between the forests and coastlines of Big Sur.
There you’ll find bathrooms and a laundry room as well as a store, clubhouse, fitness center, shower facilities, playground, volleyball ground and EV charging station. And what’s more, the gorgeous Marina State Beach is only a short walk away.
Address: 3330 Dunes Drive, Marina, CA 93933
The Do’s & Don’ts
Don’t forget to follow the Leave No Trace practices. Don’t litter and always clean up after yourselves. Do not deface trees or stumps and respect the peace of the redwoods.
Highway 1 is currently closed between Lucia and Limekiln State Park on the Big Sur coast due to mudslides. You’ll have to find a different route to these campgrounds.
The Final Takeaway
Looking at Big Sur and its natural wonders on a scenic drive is one thing, but actually camping there is an experience that is off the charts. This is a place where you can form a bond with nature and fully relax without having to worry about any mundane responsibilities. As you can clearly see the selection is vast and options are diverse! So start looking for the best one for you and give yourself a once in a lifetime experience with nature.
While we at Traxplorio do our very best to give you the latest information about these recreational sites, life happens, weather happens, property owners happen. We always recommend you go to the official hot springs’ web page and/or the relevant state authority page to check conditions, times and prices (where relevant) before you head out. Thanks for understanding, and enjoy your soak!