Veterans Memorial Park & Campground
We have some friends here who have promised that they will do everything in their power to make sure each and every one of our camper vans has a spot at their campground on busy nights when everywhere is sold out. So if you’re in a bind, this is the place to go! They are a couple of miles off of Hwy 1 above the heart of Monterey. They don’t have hookups but they do have a pump-out, fresh potable water and hot showers (showers included with the campsite or $2 for non-campers). Rates are $35 per site with one extra vehicle for an additional $9. They are 2 miles from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, 1 mile from Fisherman’s Wharf, and close to the start of the beautiful 17-mile drive which leads people south towards Big Sur. They also have a 2-mile hiking trail (Huckleberry Hill) that gives hikers a decent view of the ocean and Monterey Bay. Book here.
Kirk Creek Campground
A few miles north of Plaskett Creek are a couple of first-come-first-serve campsites that are tailor-made for Escape Camper Vans. Kirk Creek is the ONLY campground along this stretch situated on the western side of the highway. Bring your own water as there are no amenities, but it’s a fantastic place to watch the sunset over a roaring, legal campfire and fall asleep listening to the waves crash below you for $20. If you’d prefer not to pay the $20, cross Highway 1 and head directly up Nacimiento Fergusson Drive. It’s paved, liberally dotted with car pullouts and free. Even if you’re just driving through, head up this road anyway – the views are spectacular. Alternatively, Lime Kiln is located in a steep ravine just south of there and, if you’re lucky, you can snag one of the few campsites located right by the ocean.
Plaskett Creek Campground
This campground has some of the friendliest campers you’ll encounter on your entire trip. It’s right across the road from the often-missed Sand Dollar Beach, perfect for an afternoon walk. Access to the parking area at Sand Dollar will run you $5 but you can park on the road and walk in for free. (There’s free camping up along Plaskett Ridge Road. But remember, you are not covered by insurance on any unimproved roads, trails, and tracks, excluding county and state maintained roads).
Last, but not least! Nestled among the redwoods with the Big Sur river running through the middle, this is an idyllic place to take a breather from the road for a couple of days. There is a great little hike just behind the stage that takes you into a large stand of redwood trees to the north. It’ll be tourist-free and a nice breather from driving the crowded roads of Highway 1.
Directions: West side of the road 1 mile (2 km) north of Pfeiffer Big Sur Campground. It’s just south the Fernwood General Store and Cabins. Tell Andrew we said to take care of you.
Best Side Trip
- Hearst Castle — It took 28 years to complete William Randolph Hearst’s lavish estate, which includes 165 rooms on 125 acres. There are a variety of tours available. You can’t miss the entrance on the right up Highway 1 outside the town of San Simeon.
- Pinnacles National Park — Want to tack one more breathtaking side trip onto your Big Sur adventure? As one of America’s newest National Parks, Pinnacles has yet to gain the attention it deserves. The giant rock needles and vertical canyons are all that remains of an ancient volcano that was literally sheared in two by tectonic plates (have we captured your interest yet?). This area attracts hikers, rock climbers, and a whole lot of bats. There’s also a small rookery of endangered California Condors that make Pinnacles home.