Discover the Adventure
Big Sur State Parks Campgrounds

Camping Bliss Amidst Coastal Beauty:
Big Sur State Parks Campground Guide

Big Sur beckons with its unparalleled natural beauty—ancient forests, cascading waterfalls, and secluded campsites that invite you to embark on an unforgettable journey into the heart of wilderness.

Big Sur Ventana Campground 640Big Sur Ventana Campground

There are many reasons to choose camping in Big Sur State Parks campgrounds - campsites range from walk-ins to environmental to nestled among the redwoods or sitting alongside a river.

The number of camping sites in State Parks around the Big Sur area range from 2 camp sites (at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Parks) to 204 camp sites (at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park).

State Park campgrounds in the Big Sur region are extremely popular as you can imagine - it's important to make reservations where possible (some campgrounds are on a first-come, first-served basis only), and to make them early!

Big Sur State Parks Campgrounds:
Andrew Molera State Park

Big Sur Beach; CC collectmomentsBig Sur Beach; CC collectmoments

Andrew Molera is a primitive walk-in campground used mostly by young folk - backpackers, surfers, bicyclists, and such.

If you camp here, you'll park in a central lot, then schlepp your gear in about a half mile to a large meadow setting.

No reservations - it's first-come, first served only.

You'll find 24 open campsites with picnic tables and fire rings at this Big Sur state parks campground.

There are miles of hiking trails that traverse grassy meadows, beaches with tide pools, and hilltops with majestic views.

What might cause you to choose Molera campground:

  • Miles of Big Sur hiking trails
  • Surfing at Andrew Molera State Beach
  • Horseback riding on the beach
  • The World Music and World Community atmosphere at the camp

Big Sur State Parks Campgrounds:
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Julia Pfeiffer SP Camping; CC Matthew EspinozaJulia Pfeiffer SP Camping; CC Matthew Espinoza

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is the smallest of the state parks campgrounds - it has only has two campsites (not campgrounds) - both environmental, both tent only.

They're about one mile from the parking lot, but once you arrive you'll find yourself atop a forested bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and McWay Falls - one of only two U.S. waterfalls that drops directly into the ocean! (The other is Alamere Falls near Bolinas in Marin County.)

These are very popular sites and must be reserved far in advance of your planned visit.

The draw at Julia Pfeiffer:

  • No crowds
  • Incredible views
  • Partington Cove and McWay Falls
  • Pfeiffer Beach is nearby
  • If you're an experienced diver, getting a permit to dive the Julie Pfeiffer Burns Underwater Area

Big Sur State Parks Campgrounds:
Limekiln State Park

Limekiln State Park is an interesting campground because of the cultural history of its limekilns.

In 1887 the Rockland Lime and Lumber Company was extracting lime from the area, processing it in four large limekilns, and loading it on ships for transport, to be used in the making of concrete.

Although most of the surrounding Redwood forest was used to fuel the kilns, when the lime ran out after about three years, the forests were able to rejuvenate themselves to the extent shown in the picture here.

Okay, on to Limekiln State Park campground. You'll find breathtaking views at Limekiln of both the Redwood forests, and the rugged Northern California coastline.

The park is open all year, and reservations are recommended, although there are five campsites available for first-come, first served.

There are 33 developed campsites, 28 of which are reservable, set into the Redwood forest. Facilities include restrooms and showers. Vehicle size is limited to 24 feet (thus RV access is limited).

What's the draw at Limekiln?

  • Fewer people
  • Beautiful setting amongst the Redwoods, and extraordinary views of the California coastline
  • The history of the limekiln industry - you can still see what's left of the kilns along the West Fork of Limekiln Creek
  • Pay witness to the fact that fog-loving Coastal Redwoods amazingly enough live side-by-side with drought-tolerant succulents like the yucca plant

Big Sur State Parks Campgrounds:
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

Pfeiffer Big Sur campground is one of the most popular of the Big Sur campgrounds - people come here to enjoy the beautiful forests, the flower-filled meadows, the streams and rivers, the hiking and nature study that everyone finds so spectacular in Big Sur.

The Big Sur River runs through, and some of the campsites run along the river. Pfeiffer is open year-round for camping.

Don't feel like camping this trip? Try the Big Sur Lodge, which is located inside the park.

There are 204 camping sites for either tent or RV, but there are no hook-ups for RVs. The camps are scattered throughout the area, and each site has a picnic table.

You'll find restrooms, showers, food service, and supplies available - even WiFi. There are exhibits and programs, hiking loops, nature walks, and swimming available if you want to do more than just veg out.

The draw at Pfeiffer State Park campground:

  • There's a reason it's so popular - beautiful setting, lots to do, facilities like restrooms and showers
  • Forests, waterways, hiking loops
  • Proximity to all the other activities in Big Sur - beaches, shops, restaurants, taverns, etc.

Interested in other Big Sur campgrounds?

Please continue your exploration of what Northern California has to offer by using the Nav Bars in the left and right columns or by using the links at the bottom of the page.

Like what you're finding here at Discovering Northern California? Then please share with the Social Network of your choice.

And thanks for coming!