With a remarkable amount to see and do, it can be difficult to decide on where to start and where to finish. The West Coast has much to offer to everyone and anyone, especially those looking for a grand outdoor adventure.

For those with a love of the outdoors, this guide to the Central Coast’s most beautiful camping destinations will hep you down the right path (figuratively & literally.)

Growing up in a smaller beach town like Monterey, California, you learn to find the local ins and outs of everything. Cheap eats, surf spots, free entertainment, and the absolute ultimate; places to camp. Monterey sits beautifully nestled between Santa Cruz and Big Sur with the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway or “The 1”) wrapping its way through the towns.

Following the PCH about 15 miles south, one will find themselves entering the rugged, breathtaking coastal terrain of Big Sur. The winding road can be tricky at times but a beautiful drive nontheless.

The small redwood shaded town, has many delicious eateries including (the local favorite) Big Sur Bakery. Once the food worries are cured and it becomes time to find a place to lay ones head, the decision making comes. There are several state parks that offer gorgeous camping areas, although they do fill up extremely quick in this area so if you are intending on staying in an actual camp ground, plan ahead.

The beauty of Big Sur and the surrounding areas, is in the diversity within the geography. From bright, rocky coasts to complete envelopment in the redwood forests, you are able to post camp in just about any type of environment one would want. 

Below, I have compiled a list of a variety of my favorite camping areas you should check out.


1. Andrew Molera State Park 

Camping California

Takes you through undeveloped territory with about a 2 mile hike to the beach. Once you’ve reached the beach, you can set up camp and enjoy the surf and sunshine. Great place for surfing, body boarding, and hiking.  


2. Kirk Creek Campground 

Camping California

An oceanfront camping paradise that allows you to pitch tents or park an RV and wake up to the sound of the pacific ocean. The campground is just five miles north of Sand Dollar beach, and fifteen miles south of Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, home of the well-known McWay Falls.


3. Limekiln State Park 

The furthest and favorite of the campgrounds, is extremely unique and has many diverse camp spot options. The name comes from four actual lime kilns that reside alongside one of the hiking trails that you can see and take photos of.

The kilns originated from a lime-smelting operation that ran from 1887 and came to an end in 1990. Besides the interesting history and multiple hiking trails, the grounds in addition have a beach, redwood forest, and 100-foot waterfall.

Camping California

If you end up in Big Sur, and have the opportunity to camp at any of the above mentioned places; jump at the chance. The area has some of the world’s most breathtaking coastlines and landscapes that will be sure to keep you busy and feeling inspired.

For the extreme outdoorsy people out there, stay tuned for my next article that will discuss the “off the beaten path” options of the area. Not everyone who camps necessarily wants to stay in a campground and therefore would like something a bit more mysterious and unplanned – until next time.  

Happy trails, fellow adventurers!       


By Chantelle Edwards


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