Camping in Monterey County

Anyone who has camped in Monterey County knows that every campsite in the region is enviable in one way or another, but there are a few campsites in Monterey County that those in the know try to book over and over again.

Alila Ventana Big Sur

Alila Ventana Big Sur Camping Glamping

Alila Ventana's luxury glamping experience offer a more refined way to connect with nature and experience the full splendor of Big Sur.  All tent cabins include an electric fire pit and electric lamps and power outlets with USB ports for charging devices, with additional amenities such as s’mores and beverages available for purchase. Dogs are welcome at the campgrounds for an additional fee, with a maximum of two dogs.

Fremont Peak State Park

Fremont Peak State Park Camping

Tucked into the northeast corner of Monterey County, Fremont Peak State Park has spectacular views that extend over several California counties, as well as an astronomical observatory that is open to the public once a month. The sites are very rustic, but if you enjoy roughing it, you'll be rewarded with views from Santa Cruz to Carmel and beyond during the day and the Milky Way bright above you at night. On moonless Saturday nights, hike over to the Observatory to watch the stars. Visitors who like camping and stargazing compete to stay at Site 14. It's one of the few campsites that is first-come, first-served, and is said by astronomy buffs to be the best spot to set up your telescope.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park 

McWay Falls

Two Environmental Campsites are located on the west side of Highway 1 south of McWay Cove and have breathtaking views. Both sites are tent-only site and no vehicle access is permitted. Campers must hike a half mile with their gear and supplies to get to the campsites. These sites are extremely popular year round and usually fill up six months in advance. Reservations are required

Kirk Creek Campground

Kirk Creek Campground Big Sur Camping

Kirk Creek Campground, four miles south of Lucia on the west side of Highway One, feels like it's perched on the edge of the world. The campground is sited on a bluff overlooking the ocean, next to the creek from which it takes its name. One trail leads down to the beach; both Jade Cove and Sand Dollar Beach are only a short drive away. There's also a trail across Highway One that goes up into the redwoods. Though all the sites are fantastic, Site 22, which allows RVs up to 39 feet, is slightly more secluded and right on the edge of the cliff. Don't be surprised if you spot migrating whales in the ocean.

Laguna Seca Recreation Area and Campground

Laguna Seca Recreation Camping

Laguna Seca Recreation Area and Campground has a number of campsites with sweeping views of the picturesque Monterey area and of the world-renowned WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Among the perennial favorites are Site 113, which has the best view of the tricky Turn 6 and the hill leading up to the iconic Corkscrew series of turns. But for pure relaxation, Site 145 has it all, with spectacular views of the peaceful Salinas Valley. These sites are appreciated by both motorsports enthusiasts, as well as hikers and runners who enjoy convenient access to the neighboring Fort Ord National Monument.

 Amenities include clean restrooms, hot showers, picnic areas, fire pits and the location - Laguna Seca is just three miles from a local deli & market, convenience stores, restaurants and gas stations.

Lake San Antonio

Lake San Antonio camping

Lake San Antonio may be the most popular camping area for Monterey County residents. It has hundreds of campsites, and all have very different flavors. On the north shore of Lake San Antonio, visitors can camp right on the shoreline, a boon to those with boats. On the south shore, the campsites are further away from the water, but often more shaded. Harris Creek Campground wins some of the best reviews for its seclusion, tucked away where Harris Creek feeds into Lake San Antonio, its easy access to the lake, its views and the shade the trees provide. Within that campground, Loop E wins for the best combination of shade and proximity to the lake. Stay at the off season, and you may see bald eagles overhead.

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Camping

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, nicknamed "Mini Yosemite," is the most popular camping destination in Monterey County. The Big Sur River Gorge is one of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park's most popular attractions. Stay at site 218 and you'll practically be on top of it. Site 218 is also adjacent to the popular Big Sur River Gorge hiking trail. The partially shaded site allows campers up to 24 feet in length.

Plaskett Creek Campground

Plaskett Creek Campground Camping Big Sur

Plaskett Creek Campground is the sibling to Kirk Creek. It's located on the east side of Highway One, 5.5 miles south of Kirk Creek and directly across from Sand Dollar Beach and Jade Cove. The Monterey pines between the campground and the road provide a nice air of seclusion, great shade and a windbreak for the blowing ocean breeze. All of the sites are beautiful, but site 33, near Plaskett Creek, is set the furthest back from the highway and offers the most privacy.

Veteran's Memorial Park

Veteran's Memorial Park Camping Monterey

Veteran's Memorial Park is Monterey's best-kept secret, a campground tucked into the forest only a mile from downtown Monterey. The campground perfectly combines scenic beauty and urban convenience. While Veteran's Memorial Park has a number of stellar campsites, one stands out as the best: site 35, which is the most isolated campsite. Camp at site 35 and you may feel like you've found your own private campground.

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