Camping at Big Sur | Everything You Need to Know for Camping at Big Sur

You may have heard of the stunning beauty and pleasant atmosphere of California’s Central Coast, or seen photos of Big Sur in post cards. But should you believe it? The short answer is absolutely. Central California combines everything that is winding road wilderness, rustic charm, breathtaking views and a Mediterranean topography and climate a la Italian or Spanish coastline that make it truly live up to its legend.

During this trip, we started with a quick Friday-night jaunt up the 101 highway from downtown LA to Monterey. And then Began our descent from Monterey down the famed CA-1, through Big Sur, and through fours hours of near-remote paradise. You can find the details on this Big Sur itinerary here.

There are several campsites near Big Sur – we chose to camp at Hearst San Simeon Park. If you are planning to camp, make sure to reserve your campsite in advance as these sites are known to be booked months in advance.

Here are a list of camping absolute musts that we purchased and used from Amazon. You can access this complete list on Amazon’s site listed here.

Coleman Sundome Tent – $140

For a couple’s quick camping trip, this tent is perfection. The dome at the top protects from overbearing morning sun rays. We slept in till 10am with this feature. The tent is built for 4 people but I would really only use it with two unless you’re wanting a squeeze.

Queen size air mattress – $100

Fits perfectly in the tent listed above with still a bit of room on the sides to place your belongings. Easy to set up and maintain. We had a great night sleep on this mattress

2 Person sleeping bag – $70 

Slept like babies in this sleeping bag. The flannel lining was a big plus. It’s better for campsites that get chilly at night.

Air pump – $16

Needed to blow the air mattress up.

Headlamp – $19

Each person camping will want a headlamp for visibility at night.

LED Camping Lantern – $22

The great thing about camping at Hearst San Simeon Park is that each campsite comes with a picnic table. We used our lantern to light the table with all of the food on it.

 2 Burner Pro-pane Stove – $56

In the weekend itinerary, you’ll see that we camped only one night at Hearst San Simeon. We purchased this stove but did not end up using it on the trip due to the one night stay. There is a grocery store nearby with a deli that has plenty of cooked food that we brought over to the campsite.

Water bottle – $22

Bring enough water to keep yourself hydrated

Wipes – $12

Although there are showers at Hearst San Simeon Park – we find that camping with wipes/baby wipes is a easy way to freshen up

Trash bags – $10

Let’s keep this earth clean – bring a few trash bags to clean up before you check out of the campsite. There are trash receptacles spread about Hearst San Simeon campgrounds, usually near the bathrooms.

One of the great things about staying at Hearst San Simeon Park (besides sleeping to the waves crashing all night) is it’s proximity to Hearst Castle. After packing up your campsite, head on over to the Castle to continue your road trip adventures. More details here.

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