RV Campgrounds Near Big Sur

Jan 31, 2022 | Best Campgrounds, Campgrounds

RV Campgrounds Near Big Sur

By Madeleine Balestrier

For 650 miles from Leggett to Dana Point, you can drive California’s coast, one of the most iconic road trips in the U.S. Navigate your car or RV through sleepy surf towns, pull off to Arcata for local farmer’s markets, make breakfast overlooking Bodega Bay, and wake up to the early morning fog in Santa Barbara. 

You won’t want to miss the most picturesque area of Highway 1: Big Sur. Tucked between Carmel and San Simeon, Big Sur captures the essence of California with nearby redwood trees and salty water mist from the coastline.

Cooking at a picnic table at Bodega Bay off of Highway 1 in Big Sur, California
Bodega Bay on Highway 1 in California – Photo by: Madeleine Balestrier

Related The top things to do on a Pacific Coast Highway road trip

Although you really can’t go wrong with a trip to Big Sur, the best time to visit is from September to November, especially for RVers. While the roadway is less busy this time of the year and fire season comes to a close, the temperatures are still warm and enjoyable. Highway 1 sees the most closures from December through the rainy season in spring. 

While Big Sur’s rugged coastline is more difficult to navigate with a big rig, it’s still possible to access plenty of RV-friendly campgrounds in the area.

National Forest Campgrounds Near Big Sur

Arroyo Seco Campground, Los Padres National Forest

  • Number of Sites: 49
  • Pad Type: Cement
  • Reservations: Yes

Arroyo Seco Campground is a modest area in Los Padres National Forest with the Arroyo Seco River running through. 

While each site can accommodate any vehicle size and offers a fire ring, picnic table, and grill, the grounds lack hookups. Depending on the site, campers have access to either potable toilets or flushable toilets and showers. 

While this campground is a bit out of the way from Big Sur, it’s a viable option during the busy season and it’s big rig friendly. 

RV parked at Kirk Creek Campground in Big Sur
Kirk Creek Campground in Big Sur, California – Photo: Campendium

Kirk Creek Campground, Los Padres National Forest

  • Number of Sites: 33
  • Pad Type: Cement
  • Reservations: Yes

When you stay at Kirk Creek Campground, you exchange location for amenities. Every site is dry camping with only a fire ring and picnic table and can accommodate RVs up to 30 feet.

Aside from the views, the draw of this campground is the beach access and hiking trails. 

Plaskett Creek Campground, Los Padres National Forest

  • Number of Sites: 42
  • Pad Type: Cement
  • Reservations: Yes

Plaskett Creek Campground is located near Kirk Creek Campground and Sand Dollar Beach right off of Highway 1. While Kirk Creek has better views, Plaskett Creek has more shade under the Monterey Pines. 

Like most Big Sur campgrounds, this area is a dry camping location with few amenities, which include a picnic table and fire ring. Water is available for campers.

RVs up to 30 feet are welcome at Plaskett Creek Campground.

White Oaks Campground, Los Padres National Forest

  • Number of Sites: 7
  • Pad Type: Mixed
  • Reservations: Yes

White Oaks is a tiny campground fit for small vehicles, RVs and vans up to 20 feet, and tents. There’s no potable water or hookups, just picnic tables and fire rings. 

The appeal of the campground is its remote location in the national forest and access to wildlife and the Pine Ridge Trailhead—the gateway to the Santa Lucia Mountain Range. 

State Park Campgrounds Near Big Sur

Limekiln State Park, Big Sur

  • Number of Sites: 31
  • Pad Type: Dirt
  • Reservations: Yes

The Limekiln State Park Campground is a sanctuary for campers, wildlife, and natural growth. 

Although this campground doesn’t offer any hookups, there are showers, flushable toilets, water access, and sites for RVs up to 24 feet. 

While this campground is currently open, the surrounding trail system is closed due to the Dolan Fire. When fully functioning, this campground has access to incredible views, beaches, trails, and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. 

Hiking trail at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
Hiking trails at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park in Big Sur, California

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Big Sur

  • Number of Sites: 189
  • Pad Type: Gravel
  • Reservations: Yes

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is worth a stop for views of the Big Sur River and the state park is also home to a worthwhile campground in the northern section. 

Thanks to its popularity and number of sites, the campground offers amenities like a general store, freshwater access, full-service restrooms, group sites, and even big rig access. 

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Campground allows reservations and has first come, first served sites for those traveling on a whim. 

Other RV Parks and Campgrounds Near Big Sur

Big Sur Campground & Cabins, Big Sur

  • Number of Sites: 80
  • Pad Type: Mixed
  • Reservations: Yes

Big Sur Campground & Cabins has spacious tent sites, big rig access up to 40 feet, and glamping cabins located along the Big Sur River.

It offers hookups, a general store, pull-through access, full-service restrooms, dining experiences, a playground and basketball court, and onsite activities for all ages. While this campground is more expensive than most in Big Sur, it’s worth it for those with larger rigs and traveling with kids.

Fernwood Resort, Big Sur

  • Number of Sites: 46
  • Pad Type: Dirt
  • Reservations: Yes

Bordering Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Fernwood Resort is a rustic, but homey campground resort with camping and glamping options, including RV sites that can accommodate 30-foot rigs. 

The grounds are home to full-service restrooms, hookups, a dump station, dining options, and even WiFi. Look out for events, festivals, and weekend activities hosted by the resort. 

Campers also have access to trails, beaches, and California’s Highway 1 nearby. 

Riverside Campground & Cabins, Big Sur

  • Number of Sites: 34
  • Pad Type: Mixed
  • Reservations: Yes

Riverside Campground & Cabins makes for a quaint stop along the Big Sur River, located right off the Big Sur Coastal Highway. Stay in cabins, pull in your 34-foot RV, or pitch a tent, and then cool off in the river. 

This campground provides partial hookups, water, full-service restrooms, and laundry. And don’t forget your fishing rod! 

Truck with an RV on the back parked at Saddle Mountain Ranch Campground
Saddle Mountain Ranch Campground in Carmel, California – Photo: Campendium

Saddle Mountain Ranch, Carmel

  • Number of Sites: 21
  • Pad Type: Gravel
  • Reservations: Yes

“RV spots are lovely and separated by bushes and flowers (a very nice touch),” according to a Campendium reviewer. While Saddle Mountain Ranch is ideal for smaller rigs up to 24 feet, there are also sites for tents, glamping, and larger groups. 

Expect full hookups, full-service restrooms, lawn games, cable TV, and WiFi. Although Saddle Mountain Ranch is about 1 hour north of Big Sur in Carmel, it’s still a worthwhile stop along the California coastline. 

Big Sur Travel Tips for RVers

Here are a few tips to consider if you’re planning to visit the area with your RV:

  • Bring a tow vehicle with four-wheel drive so you have more maneuverability to travel off the beaten path. 
  • It’s illegal to boondock on California’s Highway 1, including in Big Sur. 
  • The majority of the RV-friendly campgrounds are dry and don’t provide full hookups. 
  • Drive carefully along the hairpin turns and watch out for wandering wildlife. 
  • Check your brakes before your trip.
  • Always follow local fire bans and be responsible about campfires and wildfire safety.