Big Sur Camping & Campgrounds
California Central Coast 


A great variety of private and public campgrounds abound in Big Sur. Rustic and primitive sites in the back country, to convenient drive in sites with swimming and showers. Listed here North to South.

Campgrounds on this page:

Botchers Gap


Pfeiffer Big Sur

Julia Pfeiffer Burns



Redwood Springs

San Simeon




Where to camp in Big Sur and Ventana
Listed North to South

Other Pelican Big Sur Pages


Interactive Map

People & Places

Hwy 1

The Lodge


Old Coast Road





Partington Cove & Canyon

Molera State Park

Nacimiento Road

Julia Pfeiffer Burns SP

Birding in Big Sur

Song Bird Banding
with the Ventana Wilderness Society

New Condor in Big Sur Photos

Bottchers Gap

Palo Colorado Canyon Road – at the top of a rough road – 7.7 miles

Forest Service – independent camp host
Info: 831 385 5434
Access to Ventana Wilderness trails.

Primitive camp sites. No drinking water. First come basis.

Good views of Pico Blanco and Ventana Double Cone mountains

$12 per night

see Los Padres camping website

Andrew Molera State Park
Ca State Parks

21 miles south of Carmel crossroads.

Fantastic driftwood beach. Awesome hikes to the south on ocean bluffs. Hikes up mountain canyons in Santa Lucias. Horseback riding along Big Sur River and on the beach. Nearly 5,000 acres. Natural history museum & Pioneer home.

See the PelicanNetwork site:
Molera State Park


California State Parks made improvements to the Molera Big Sur camping experience.
The new Trail Camp will open April 4, 2003.

Hike in to 24 rustic environmental sites. Secluded. No RVs. By the Big Sur River. Limited to 4 people per site. No reservations. First come – first serve.

New restrooms

Dogs are not allowed beyond the picnic area between the river and the parking lot.

Good hikes to mouth of the river. Excellent bird watching- Bird banding and conservation talk each Saturday morning.

State Park. Fee: $7 per night.

Day use fee: $5 per vehicle
($4 for seniors)

831 667 2315

            Big Sur Campground and Cabins (Private)

Near Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, along Big Sur River

Tent sites, RV hookups, tent cabins and cabins

Rates are for 2 adults: $38 a night,
$34 off season (Sun thru Thurs., Sept thru May)

$3 more with power, $3 each dog and extra adult
Children under 4 free

RV – $48 a night (Sept thru May, Holidays), $40 off season (Oct thru Apr, excluding holidays)

Family oriented. Excellent setting on the river.

Tent cabins, $95 – $80 off season

Call for cabin rates





Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Campground
Ca State Parks

24 miles south of Carmel River

214 camp sites, along the Big Sur River in the redwoods.

2 group campsites – for up to 35 people

Sites are well spaced apart.

1,006 acres. Showers. Store.

Restaurant, gift shop and grocery store at lodge.

River swimming. Good hiking trails. Waterfalls.

Camping Fee: $16 a night.
Seniors $14
Off season rates: $13 – ($11 Seniors)Dogs allowed in campground areas only
Premium Sites are $20 In-Season ($18 for Seniors), $17 Off Season ($15 for Seniors )
Dump station for RVs

Campsite reservations: 800.444.7275

Julia Pfeiffer Burns
Ca State Parks

Hike in environmental campsites, like Molera. But nicer. And, cost more. Price here is $14 per day ($12 for Seniors) In-Season, and $11 ($9 for Seniors) in Off-Season. There are two sites, each accommodates up to 8 people.


These sites have something rare and exhilarating.


If you do not see it for yourself, you will not believe it.

No water. No toilets. You have to hike back to the park entrance for those. The hike from the park’s vehicle parking area is about 1/3 mile. But, the campsites can be reached from the road by foot (there’s a closed gate at the trail to the camp sites), and that cuts the hike in half. The sites have a cupboard, table, typical camp charcoal stand, and a fire pit.
(Dogs are not allowed.)

Set on the south side of the promontory that forms the threshold for McWay Falls, the camp sites face Saddle Rock – a unique scene of extraordinary beauty – and the granite coves of the south side of this point.

The views are breathtaking. The camp sites are situated among granite boulders, in a pine and cypress forest.

Two other features of Julia Pfeiffer Burns are worth mentioning. McWay Falls is an 80 foot drop over a granite precipice, into the ocean tide on a pristine beach in a cove that is completely unmolested by humans – except there is a trail high up the granite cliffs on the opposite side where people trod a well beaten path to view one of this continent’s most exquisite sights.

The other mentionable feature is a picnic area near the Park entrance. It is in a Redwood canyon along the McWay creek – as delicious and idyllic a scene as any Hollywood set creator could dream up.

There are ancient Redwoods that were not harvested 125 years ago as most virgin trees were because they had anomalies –like twisted trunks or great burl out growths that diminished their commercial values. But left to grow they are magnificent reminders of what the forest was like. They are like huge holy creatures. The forest floor is a soft bed of fluffy needles accented by glossy green ferns, sunlight beaming through the forest canopy on to the busy, gurgling steam –which is flopping over colorful, mossy rocks in a gentle meander to its thunderous fate in the spectacular falls into the Pacific Ocean.

Our Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park site: JPB State Park

A great hike at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Plaskett Creek Campground

36 miles south of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

45 sites. Tables. Fire pits. Bathrooms.

Fee $16 per night

U.S. Forest Service 831 385 5434

or 831 995 1976

Limekiln State Park

In a canyon, along a bustling creek, in a Redwood Grove.
711 acres, and adjoins Los Padres. Many good trails. Beach.

33 sites. Operated by California State Parks.
Camping fees: $16 per day ($14 for Seniors) In-Season, and $13 ($11 for Seniors) in Off-Season.

Showers. Laundry. 831 667 2403

Day Use is $5 per vehicle ($4 for Seniors)

Trail: Vicente Flat Trail begins on east side of Hwy 1 by Kirk Creek Campground Steep switch-backs, 1 hour to the crest. Great views.

Kirk Creek

Near the junction of Nacimiento Road Hwy 1

38 miles south of Pfieffer Big Sur State Park

Out on a bluff over the ocean. If not for the civilized camp sites, this is a wild scene.

33 Very good sites. Grills. Tables. First come basis.

Bathrooms. Spectacular setting.

Fee: $16 per night

831 385 5434


Redwood Springs Road is by the Coast Ridge Road,north to Cone Peak.

Nacimiento and Ponderosa campgrounds are farther east along Nacimiento Road.

Each is basic. Tables. Fire pits. Outhouses. $8 per night to camp at Nacimiento. $12 at Ponderosa (photo at right).

U.S. Forest Service Adventure Pass does not cover this fee. 831 385 5434

Excellent trails nearby.

Three small Forest Service campgrounds up in the mountains from Kirk Creek, and accessed by Nacimiento Fergusson Road.

For Big Sur State Parks campground information call
Pfeiffer-Big Sur State Park 9 am – 4:30 p.m. every day
Tel (831) 667 2423

or, Big Sur Station 831 667 2315


Talk with Forest Service staff about the Los Padres National Forest campgrounds
-Monterey Ranger District office
406 S. Mildred Ave.,
King City 93930
831 385 5434

San Simeon State Park

Near the ocean, close to Hwy 1, just north of Moonstone Beach, close to Cambria
Call 805 927 4509 for information




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