Top Places to Go Camping in Monterey County
Monterey County, found in the central region of California has a lot to offer those who visit. It has many tourist attractions including regional parks (where you can enjoy outdoor activities), beautiful forest views, amazing cliffside and ocean views, bay aquarium, and epic shopping.
If you are looking for a good place to visit with your family, consider this county as it has many fun family activities and attractions.
This county also has many fantastic campgrounds including on the coastline, near downtown, alongside rivers, streams, and lakes and atop the cliffs. Most of the parks in Monterey County offer campsites for tent campers and RV campers. Camping can help a family bond and get close as they spend quality time together. These camping tips may help you plan your next camping trip.
Here are the best campsites in Monterey County:
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is one of the most popular camping grounds in Monterey County. This park is found on the banks of the Big Sur River Gorge. In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps built bridges, fences, and trails in this beautiful park on the western slope of the Santa Lucia Mountains using river rocks and redwood lumber.
Redwoods are still found in the park with the river surging through the Big Sur River Gorge. The park has over 150 campsites for RVs up to 32 ft and a few tents-only hike and bike campsites. The campground has showers, restrooms, an RV dump station, and water. Just like any other state park in California, this campground often fills up early.
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
This park is among the highly rated campsites on the Pacific Coast. It offers 2 campsites that you should book far in advance. This park provides great views of the Big Sur coastline through cypress groves that have wildlife. The park has McWay Falls, a beautiful all-year-round waterfall measuring 80 feet. You can see the grey whale migration if you camp in winter (December/January) or spring months (March/April).
Limekiln State Park
The Limekiln State Park was the site of a limestone quarry in the late 1800s and became a state park in 1994. The park is surrounded by some of the oldest redwood groves in Monterey County. Limekiln State Park has 24 campsites and provides great views of the steep coastal hillsides. You can choose to meander along Hare Creek through a redwood grove that was saved when it was about to be destroyed in the 1980s or hike to visit former steel kilns.
Andrew Molera State Park
Andrew Molera State Park covers an area of 4,800 acres and has a wide range of trails that run through beaches, meadows, and hilltops. The Big Sur River flows through the Andrew Molera State Park. The park has a primitive trail camp that is popular among bikers and hikers, about 1/3 of a mile from the parking area. The campsites are found in a primitive trail camp located 1/3 of a mile from the parking area.
Fremont Peak State Park
Fremont Peak State Park provides great views of the Monterey Bay, the Salinas Valley, San Benito Valley, and Santa Lucia Mountains. The park has 10 primitive family campsites and 40 picnic areas. 2 of the 6 group camps in the park can accommodate up to 50 people while the remaining 4 should be reserved through the park supervisor. The group picnic area is available on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Lake San Antonio, Harris Creek Campground
Lake San Antonio is popular for its year-round water sport activities that include water-skiing, boating, and swimming. So, if you are looking for a good water recreation spot, consider visiting Lake San Antonio. Lake San Antonio has more than 500 campsites located around the lake with a wide range of wild animals and a good place to take your kids.
Kirk Creek Campground
The Kirk Creek Campground is among the most beautiful camping grounds in Monterey County. It is perched on a bluff above the Big Sur coastline and provides a great view of the Pacific. In fact, you can clearly see the ocean from every campsite in Kirk Creek.
While you are in your tent, watch an ocean sunset, hit the trail that is 5 miles long to Sand Dollar Beach (the longest sandy beach along Big Sur coast and a dog-friendly place). There are many trails from the beach which can lead to bluffs and coves in the area. Apart from these trails, there is the Vicente Flat Trailhead which is also a good hiking spot.
Monterey County Event Center RV Park
As its name implies, Monterey County Event Center RV Park is found at the fair center of the county. It is often closed when there are other events are being held in the fairgrounds (You can check the dates on their website). When it is open, you can reserve on the internet and find full hookups with 30 and 50 amp electrical, showers and Wi-Fi. Children and pets are allowed and there is no size limit on your RV. They don’t have tent sites.
Monterey Veteran’s Memorial Park
Veteran’s Memorial Park is located in the forest and is a mile from downtown Monterey. It has forty campsites with thirty of these campsites accommodating trailers up to 21 ft long. Hikers and bikers can camp here. These campsites have a barbecue pit, a table, restrooms, and showers.
Water faucets are also available nearby. However, you cannot reserve these campsites as they are on a first-come, first-served basis. As such, it is good to get there early to snag a spot and have a contingency plan if you don’t succeed. It is a good idea to consider Site 35 which is an isolated spot that will make you feel like you are in your own private campground.