Camping on California's Central Coast

Enjoy your stay on the Central Coast of California that sports the nickname the American Rivera.

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97% (6238 reviews)

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Camping on California's Central Coast guide

Overview

California's Central Coast covers 230 miles of Pacific coastline north of Los Angeles and south of San Francisco. With temperate weather year-round and easy ocean access, this is an extremely popular destination! Call ahead when planning your camping locations to make reservations whenever possible.

Pismo Beach, near San Luis Obispo at the midpoint of the Central Coast, provides plenty of adventure options. Camp on the state beach or rent an ATV and hit the dunes. For a slightly quieter experience, head just 30 minutes north to reach Morro Bay. Bring binoculars; this area's excellent for Hipcampers who enjoy birdwatching.

The gorgeous Big Sur area is a bit further north, just south of Monterey Bay. You'll find excellent hiking options here, ranging from easy sightseeing strolls to challenging treks. Two of the best trails are both accessible from Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. The McWay Waterfall Trail offers Big Sur's most spectacular view; the Ewoldsen Trail takes you through breathtaking Redwood groves.

Manresa State Beach Campground near Santa Cruz offers about 60 first-come, first-served tent sites. Here you get both beach access and a phenomenal view of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Manresa's also a solid choice if you enjoy fishing. Bass, perch, flounder, and halibut all swim in Monterey Bay.

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