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Big Sur RV Camping: Where the Forest Meets the Sea

Few places in our country are as breathtaking as the coast of California, and Big Sur is no exception. A Big Sur RV camping trip will allow you to enjoy giant redwood forests and the Pacific Ocean beaches, sometimes steps away from each other!

Read on to learn more about RV camping in Big Sur, including where to camp, what to pack, when to go, and what to do once you get there.

big sur rv camping

Planning Your Big Sur RV Camping Trip

While it’s not quite as fun as going on your camping trip, discovering all the possibilities of places to stay and things to do can still be fun! Hopefully, this part builds up your expectations and anticipation to prepare you for a Big Sur RV camping trip of a lifetime!

Choosing the Right Campground

These campsites are equally good but look closely at each to see which sounds like the best choice for your Big Sur RV camping trip.

Fernwood Campground & Resort

Nestled in the middle of massive redwoods, right next to the crystal blue Big Sur River, Fernwood Campground & Resort has hosted guests since 1932.

Most of their 19 RV sites are directly on the river. Each has water and electricity hookups and a dump station on-site.

They can handle motorhomes up to 30” long and trailers up to 28” long.

The Tavern is on-site and serves delicious food every day for lunch and dinner. You can enjoy live music there most Saturday evenings.

You can reserve your campsite up to a year to the day in advance, so it’s never too early to start planning your Big Sur RV camping trip.

Big Sur Campground and Cabins

Families taking a Big Sur RV camping trip should consider booking their stay at Big Sur Campground and Cabins.

Select sites at this campground can accommodate RVs up to 40 feet long. Each site has a picnic table and fire pit. They also have full electric and water hookups with a dump station on site.

Big Sur Campground is ideal for families because of all the on-site activities.

A huge playground is open from 8:00 AM until dusk, as well as a basketball court for some games of 1 v 1 or Horse. Big Sur River is on the property and ready for swimmers, too!

If swimming in the river isn’t enough, you can rent (or bring) an inner tube for a gentle float down the river.

For tired moms, you can schedule private yoga sessions or plan to get a therapeutic massage. Booking in advance is recommended.

Kirk Creek Campground

While boondocking may not be high on your list of desires on your Big Sur RV camping trip, a few nights at Kirk Creek Campground may be well worth it!

This campground is atop an open bluff, 100 feet above sea level, with wide, unobstructed views of the Pacific Ocean below.

Some of their 40 campsites can handle RVs up to 30 feet long, but no water or electric hookups are available. Campers need to bring all the water they’ll need.

If you plan to visit Big Sur between November and February, this campground should be at the top of your list because of migrating whales. California Grey whales are regularly visible from the campsites!

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is one of the most popular camping locations in the area. Campsites book up far in advance, so make sure you reserve yours six months to the day from your planned arrival time.

If you want to stay here on your Big Sur RV camping trip, your trailer must be 27 feet long or shorter. If you’ve got a motorhome, it can be up to 32 feet long.

No hookups are available at the sites, but bathhouses with hot showers, fresh water, and flushable toilets are spread throughout the campground.

Big Sur RV Camping Essentials

While you’ll still need your regular camping essentials, there are a few specific items you want to ensure you’ve got on your Big Sur RV camping trip.


Big Sur is known for its amazing scenery and abundant wildlife. A pair of binoculars will help you fully appreciate your incredible surroundings.

You may see sea lions, dolphins, whales, and even adorable sea otters!

They’ll also come in handy with some gorgeous coastal views, helping you explore them differently.

Hiking Gear:

Whether you’re an adventurous, hardcore hiker or just looking to walk through nature, you must pack your hiking gear for your Big Sur RV camping trip.

You’ll need comfortable, sturdy shoes, lightweight layers, a water bottle, and something to carry your bottle and some snacks in.

Camping Hammock

Bring a camping hammock to set up amongst the massive Redwoods so you can sit back, relax, and fully enjoy nature.

We’ve got a guide to the best camping hammocks to get you started if you’ve never looked into having one before.

Bug Repellant

Because of all the water in the area, mosquitos may surround you on your Big Sur RV camping trip, especially if you visit in May or June.

While regular bug spray will come in handy while you’re hiking, biking, or enjoying time away from your camper, there are also a lot of camping solutions that will cover more ground at once. They’ll allow you to enjoy your campsite without spraying everyone down whenever you want to go outside.

Wet Weather Gear

The rainy season in Big Sur is between November and April. If visiting then, having rain gear for all the campers is a good idea. That way, you know you’ll have fun, no matter what the weather decides to do.

There aren’t many days that are rainy all day long, but showers typically come and go. Keep your rain stuff nearby all the time!

Nature Guidebooks

There are so many incredible plants and animals to experience on your Big Sur RV camping trip that you’ve got to have a nature guidebook nearby to know what you’re seeing!

Having a guidebook to read while relaxing at your campsite is good, but a pocket-sized guide is even better. It will be much easier to stick it in a pocket to bring along on your hikes or scenic drives.

Bring the same pocket guide back year after year and see if you can mark off all the different animal species!

big sur rv camping

When to Visit

There’s no wrong time to take a Big Sur RV camping trip. It just depends on what you want out of it.


Each of the four seasons brings its own twist to your trip. When planning your visit to Big Sur, you’ll want to keep these things in mind.


In Big Sur, spring brings breathtaking wildflowers, lower crowds, and pleasant weather. There may also be extra rain and limited campsites available to choose from.


Camping in Big Sur in the summer means long, sunny, warm days full of opportunities for fun in the water, too!

Keep in mind that all the fun will also draw larger crowds. The heat and moisture in the air sometimes cause fog on the coast, too.


Fall in Big Sur ushers the beginning of the whale-watching season, pleasant weather, and vibrant fall foliage. The number of rainy days will begin increasing, and some campgrounds will be winding down for the year. That may limit the options available to you.


Big Sur is much emptier in the winter, making camping trips peaceful and quiet.

The whales will still make their way south at the beginning of the season, too. Winter storms will happen, but they may lead to more colorful sunsets.

Special Events

Big Sur International Marathon

Every April, runners from around the world will come to Big Sur to participate in a marathon all along the gorgeous coastline. If you’re not a marathoner, there’s a 5K that happens at that time, too! The Big Sur International Marathon is an event worth experiencing!

Big Sur Food and Wine Festival

If you love wine and gourmet food, plan your Big Sur RV camping trip for November so you can attend the Big Sur Food and Wine Festival.

Every year, the festival celebrates the unique and delicious food and wine the coast of California is famous for.

Simply eating and drinking at this event is also making a difference in the world! All the proceeds of this event go towards local organizations such as schools, libraries, sports teams, and wildlife societies.

Big Sur Jade Festival

In October, Big Sur celebrates its many deposits of jade with a Jade Festival! Jade art, jewelry, and carvings are all available for sale. Other local vendors, live music, and educational opportunities are also available. You definitely don’t want to miss the Big Sur Jade Festival!

big sur rv camping

How Long to Stay

A Big Sur RV camping trip could take 2-10+ days. There’s so much to do, see, and experience. You could stay for weeks and enjoy yourself.

But if you’ve only got a couple of days or a long weekend, don’t fret. You can still get a taste of the beauty this area of the country has to offer through some short hikes, a visit to the beach, and some scenic drives.

What To Do On Your Big Sur RV Camping Trip

Now that you know when you’re going and where you’re staying, let’s look at what you can do while RV camping in Big Sur.


There are nearly countless hiking trails in the Big Sur area, but here are some you should consider.

Pacific Valley Bluff Trail

This trail is perfect for families or beginning hikers. The Pacific Valley Bluff Trail is flat, well-maintained, and only around 1.5 miles round-trip.

Begin the hike at Pacific Valley Ranger Station and walk along the path through wide open grasslands, along grand, rocky cliffs, and high over the Pacific Ocean.

McWay Waterfall Trail

Ending with the awe-inspiring view of a waterfall going directly into the ocean, one of only eight in the world, this hike is another must-do for families and those looking for easy walks.

The trail is paved and wheelchair accessible. It’s just a little over half a mile long, round trip, so pushing or navigating a wheelchair through it wouldn’t be difficult.

While the end of the hike is worth it, there are also many spots along the way of the McWay Waterfall Trail to stop and admire panoramic ocean views.

Valley View Trail

Located inside Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, the Valley View trail is considered moderate because of the elevation gained. It’s only 1.5 miles, so new hikers shouldn’t be scared off.

Hike through massive redwoods and end up at a spot overlooking the amazing Big Sur River Valley.

Jade Cove Trail

Lesser known, but not lesser quality, the Jade Cove Trail is a short, rocky trail that will lead you to a sandy cove where you can search for jade pebbles along the shoreline.

Taking a few pieces with you as a souvenir is encouraged, but leave enough for those visiting after you.

Water Fun

Depending on where you decide to stay on your Big Sur RV camping trip, there should be plenty of water fun!

Kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, surfing, scuba diving, and snorkeling are all available in Big Sur.

Explore State Parks

You don’t have to stay at a state park to explore them. Check each out to see what they’ve got to offer.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Home to McWay Falls, this park has many adventures waiting for you.

Check out our Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park guide!

Andrew Molera State Park

While you can’t camp here in your RV, you should visit to explore their 20 miles of hiking trails on your trip.

Check out our Andrew Molera State Park guide!

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is home to redwood groves like few other places on Earth, ready to be explored.

Check out our Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park guide!

big sur rv camping

What Else Is In Big Sur?

An RV camping trip in Big Sur doesn’t mean you’re stuck in the wilderness. There are many places to eat and things to see in the area that you won’t want to miss.


  • The Restaurant at Deetjen’s will seem to transport you to a quaint English village. Hearty dinners are served here five days a week, and reservations are required.
  • Sit on the outdoor patio of Nepenthe and enjoy their fresh American cuisine while looking over the breathtaking coastline.
  • Visit Big Sur Bakery for a low-key and relaxed meal. They’re open for brunch and dinner!


Here are landmarks you don’t want to miss on your RV camping trip in Big Sur.

  • Bixby Creek Bridge is a great destination for taking pictures and seeing majestic views of the cliffs and water below.
  • Visit Pfeiffer Beach Keyhole Arch at sunset to see the sun peeking through the arch.
  • Point Sur Lighthouse offers nearly 360° views of the ocean. Guided tours are also available.

Plan Your Big Sur RV Camping Trip!

Oceans, woods, cliffs, rivers, valleys— a Big Sur RV camping trip has everything! Start planning yours today and get ready to experience the wonder of California’s northern coast.

Check out our RV Camping page to discover more places to visit and gadgets you may need.