Sharp cliffs formed by the majestic surf line of the Pacific Ocean crest California’s Pacific Coast Highway that winds its way along Big Sur Coast. Fog-banked canyons and meadows of spring wildflowers create some of California’s most memorable ocean vistas between Carmel and San Luis Obispo County on the California Central Coast.
Here visitors can explore nature’s beauty at one of many state parks, or soak in world-class art, staying in lavish hotels or as most prefer, one of dozen rustic creekside or ocean view bluff campgrounds.
The first is Andrew Molera State Park, located 20 miles south of Carmel on Highway 1. This walk-in campground offers 24 first-come-first-served sites in the middle of a beautiful meadow. The Big Sur River also runs through the park, with its miles of trails that meander through meadows, beaches, and grassy hilltops.
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
Not too far away is Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, which offers camping amid giant redwoods and an 80-foot waterfall that drops into the ocean from the Overlook Trail, which winds its way to 12 miles north to Big Sur State Park.
Offering 180 primitive sites with picnic tables, Big Sur SP provides 1006 acres for swimming and hiking along the Valley View Trail, where hikers are treated to spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and the Big Sur Valley. Besides the campground, the Big Sur Lodge also provides rooms and cabin accommodations.
Treebones Resort, which features seven ocean view tent campsites and yurts. Included with reservations are a private heated pool and hot tub. There are also showers on-site, as well as two restaurants. Treebones Resort 71895 Hwy 1 Big Sur, CA 93920.
Kirk Creek Family Campground
Next up is Kirk Creek Family Campground, a trendy spot for surfing, fishing, swimming, exploring and sunbathing, and Plaskett Creek Campground and Limekiln State Park, both of which are more developed camp spots. All campsites have an ocean view.
Limekiln State Park is located in the heart of Big Sur and offers 25 campsites, 11 of them are tent only. This beautiful park features a 100-foot waterfall, Redwood trees, and miles of rocky Big Sur coast. Finally, Ponderosa Campground provides fantastic fishing opportunities from its mountain trout stream that feeds from the Nacimiento River, which runs through the campground.
Things to do California Big Sur Region
Mission San Antonio, one of the oldest California Missions, is located a short drive away from the Ponderosa Campground and features a museum, original aqueducts, Indian graveyard, and chapel.
Point Lobos State Reserve features coves and hidden beaches. There is even something for those that don’t want to get wet, as hiking trails provide fantastic walks that lead to hidden coves.
The best time to stay and play in Big Sur is from October through May, as temperatures are mild and crowds are smaller. However, in the spring, wildflowers always seem to be blooming, as California Condors fly overhead on their way inland.
This area of California has an abundance of natural wonders that make Big Sur such a great place to visit for a day, week, or longer. Big Sur has about ninety miles of California coast and is situated along California State Route 1 between San Simeon (Hearst Castle) and Carmel. One hundred twenty miles south of San Francisco and 250 miles north of Los Angeles.