Camping in Big Sur – A Scenic California Highway One Roadtrip

bridge near the sea during daytime

 Big Sur Campgrounds for family vacations offer hiking, fishing, exploring beaches and wilderness. Take in the beautiful scenery while appreciating nature.

A treasure trove of fun and adventure awaits families with kids in one of the most scenic and beautiful places on earth. The majestic giant coastal redwood trees, miles and miles of hiking trails that cross forest, headland, and sandy beaches, along with abundant wildlife make Big Sur an unforgettable place to take the family camping. Big Sur is also isolated and remote, so families can spend quality time away from the crowds while basking in nature.

Big Sur is comprised of picturesque coastal villages and hamlets nestled along the rugged coastline of California’s Highway One. Several state beaches and parks such as Andrew Molera State Park, Garrapata State Beach, and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park offer families scenic picnicking along the ocean, glimpses at waterfalls and wildlife, and insight into the historic past of Big Sur.

gray and brown mountain beside body of water

Bird watching and animal sightings are also popular over the land and sea in Big Sur. It’s not uncommon to spot bald eagles, condors, whales, elephant seals, butterflies, and sea otters. Mountain lions are also common in the area, and the California State Park System does take steps to educate the public on the safety and awareness of these elusive creatures.

Big Sur Camping Versus Hotel Lodging

Big Sur can be an expensive getaway for a family, as most hotels, resorts, and inns average from $170 to over $500 per night in the off season. Holiday and summer rates are even more expensive. Luckily, tent camping at one of Big Sur’s camp grounds is very affordable, and will cost on average $40-$45 per night for a tent location, $55-$65 for a R.V. site, and $105 for a tent cabin. Camping is a great way for a family to enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Big Sur without having to spend a lot of money.

Since camping in Big Sur is a popular choice for families, spaces tend to fill up during the summer months, and reservations are recommended up to 12 months in advance. During the off-season from September to November, space is plentiful and the weather is rather enjoyable with mild temperatures. Reservations can be made by calling (831) 667-2322.

Family Camping in Big Sur

aerial view photography of mountain near body of water

What makes camping in Big Sur memorable is experiencing the lush forest while delighting in the tranquil environment and mild temperatures. Nature sounds are all around, from the ocean to the forest. Evenings are spent around the camp fire roasting marshmallows and looking up at the stars. Mornings are lazy, and sometimes it’s better just to sleep in until the fog lifts. Days are filled with exploring nature and wildlife, while experiencing peaceful family moments.

It is recommended that campers dress in layers as mornings and evenings are cool, and it does get foggy. Afternoons tend to warm up nicely, and folks opt for short sleeves and shorts. Pets are allowed at most campgrounds, and firewood is sold for $5.00 per bundle. The rest is up to the imagination of each camper on what memories they will make.

Favorite family campgrounds in Big Sur include:

  • Andrew Molera State Park – 24 walk-in campsites. Big Sur River is nearby with abundant hiking trails.
  • Big Sur Campground & Cabins – Year round tent, R.V. sites with cabin rentals available, near the Big Sur River with amenities of a store, inner tube rentals and more.
  • Fernwood Campground – Boast 60 campsites and a motel. Redwoods and Big Sur River make this spot a great place for families.
  • Limekin State Park – Overlooks the Pacific Ocean on 716 acres with 33 campsites.
  • Plaskitt Creek Campground – A great family campground across the Highway from San Dollar Beach and Jade Cove.

A Few More Facts about Big Sur

To get to Big Sur, drive about 65 miles south along California’s Highway One from Monterey or about 65 miles north from San Simeon. The 90-mile stretch of road traverses the Big Sur coastline along the edge of Santa Lucia Mountain ranges with breathtaking ocean views to the west.

Attractions and restaurants dot the 90-mile rugged coastline of Big Sur which boasts a population of 996 residents, with three million tourists a year. Internet and cell phone service are unpredictable. Remember to bring a camera. Explore Big Sur with an open mind and leave with a refreshed outlook on life and wonderful family memories.

References

Big Sur Chamber of Commerce

California State Park System

Ripplewood Resort

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