If you want to camp in California's Redwood forests you could go to Santa Cruz Redwoods RV Resort or go to Big Sur Campground and Cabins, which has the added benefit of being near Monterey, Carmel, and some of the most beautiful beaches California has to offer. In all transparency, we haven't camped there yet ourselves, but have had several of our Airstream rentals towed there by guests and we've also delivered Airstreams there.
Big Sur Campground and Cabins is located 2 hours south of our Airstream garage, about 30 miles south of Monterey. The drive there is absolutely beautiful, though if you are towing a trailer you probably won't be able to enjoy the scenery as much. Here are some things we learned about the actual campground:
- The most important thing to know about Big Sur Campground and Cabins is that it does not have a sewer connection. That means all the water that is used onboard the Airstream will need to be stored in holding tanks during your trip. They do have one dumping station which looks like a big well of filthy water, which can be used in case you really need to clear the tanks. But most Airstream renters probably won't want to deal with the hassle of dumping (and as Elite RV guests you won't need to since we do all the dumping and sanitation for you). But this does mean that when you're staying at this campground you will need to be very conscious of your water usage, especially your gray water usage (this is all water from sinks and showers). Once your gray water tank is full, you will see dirty water start pooling in the shower. The 19' International and 20' Flying Cloud can hold 21 gallons of gray water, while the 25' Flying Cloud and 25' International can hold 35 gallons and the 27' International can hold 37 gallons. You will also need to be aware of your black water usage (that's all things flushed down the toilet), but that won't be as much of an issue normally since the black tank can hold as much as the gray tank, but each flush is minimal. So what does it really mean to not have a sewer connection? No long showers. But the campground also provides bathrooms with free hot showers, and their bathrooms are clean and well-maintained.
- Also the spaces at this campground are very close together and the path/road to get to sites are very narrow with some really tight corners. In fact, the first incidence of major damage to one of our Airstreams occurred at this campsite. So we recommend that only experienced towers come to this site or have an Airstream delivered here. Also, some RV parks will have staff help you back up an RV (especially since the staff usually know the easiest ways to maneuver into sites), however this RV campground doesn't offer that service. So you're on your own, and for brand new towers this campsite can prove to be quite a challenge. And definitely do not try to go there after dark. I imagine trying to reverse a trailer in those narrow spots without light would be beyond impossible.
-There is no cell reception here for AT&T and Verizon, and they don't offer wifi. So if you're planning to do a working vacation, you will need to head to a bar that offers wifi (there's one 3 miles away and one 1/4 mile away).
That was all the bad news, but if you're ready to take on the challenge of partial dry-camping, this campground and Big Sur has plenty to offer!
- This is a super family-friendly campground and they provide a lot of activities for the whole family. They have basketball and volleyball courts as well as playgrounds for the younger kids.
- There's a mix of RV and tent camping, many times right next to each other. So if you're going with a big group and the rest of the group wants to experience tent camping, then its possible to do that with adjoining sites.
- There's a swimming hole on site and you can rent inner tubes for the day.
- And from some research, the best RV sites are near the river. So those are sites #99, #100, #11 and #13. This particular site in the pictures is site #72.
The best part about Big Sur Campground and Cabins? Location, location, location! It's close to some of the most beautiful beaches and state parks California has to offer.
- Pfeiffer State Park (1.5 miles south): this beautiful picture below was taken here (enough said, right?). The park can be a bit hard to find so here's some tips.
- Do some treasure hunting at Jade Cove, where you might find some actual pieces of jade.
- Jade can also be found at Sand Dollar Beach, along with the beach's namesake, sand dollars.
- Bixby Bridge (pictured below), is on the way to Big Sur.
- Carmel, which is about 25 miles north of the campground is one of the quaintest towns in California. A bit upscale, but a fun place to browse. More info here.
- Monterey, home to one of the best aquariums in the country and the Monterey Bay is a great place to kayak (we've done it before and it's the best way to see sea otters fairly close and in their natural environment).
And if you're looking to eat in the Big Sur area these places have come highly recommended: Big Sur Bakery, Big Sur Roadhouse, Nepenthe, and the Restaurant at River Inn (right next door to the campground).