Discover the Enchanting Beauty of Big Sur: Camping at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

NOTE: This overview is for the group campsites at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. For the general campground, check out our overview here.

Nestled along the captivating Big Sur coast, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park offers a camping experience like no other, with its breathtaking views of waterfalls, bays, and the Pacific Ocean. As you pitch your tent in one of the two pristine campsites, Saddle Rock and South Gardens, here are essential tips, strategies, and gear recommendations to make the most of your stay at this wild coastal gem.

Map & Reservations

Top Tips for Campers Camping Here for the First Time

  • Reserve in Advance: With only two campsites available, securing a reservation is crucial for your visit to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. Make reservations between 2 days and 6 months in advance to ensure you have a spot in this coveted camping destination.
  • Pack In, Pack Out: As an environmental site, campers must bring their own water and firewood while ensuring they pack out all their trash. Embrace a Leave No Trace mentality to preserve the park’s natural beauty and minimize your environmental impact.
  • Choose Your Site Wisely: Each campsite offers a unique experience—Saddle Rock provides oceanfront views, while South Gardens is nestled amidst mustard flowers. Tailor your camping experience by selecting the site that aligns with your preferences.
  • Explore the Surroundings: Venture beyond the campground to enjoy scenic hiking trails, witness the majestic McWay Falls, and keep an eye out for passing whales, sea lions, seals, and sea otters along the coastline.
  • Whale Watching: Enhance your experience by whale watching from the park’s vantage points. Plan your visit during peak whale migration seasons to catch a glimpse of these magnificent creatures.

Top Strategies and Tactics to Get the Most Out of Camping Here

  • Ideal Seasons to Visit: Optimal months for camping at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park are during the milder seasons of spring and fall. Plan your visit in May or September to enjoy pleasant weather and avoid the summer crowds, ensuring a more serene camping experience.
  • Arrival Time: Arrive early in the day to secure your campsite and have ample time to explore the surroundings. Early afternoons are ideal for setting up camp and immersing yourself in the beauty of the park before nightfall.
  • Sunset Spectacle: Witness the magic of Big Sur’s sunsets from elevated vantage points east of Highway 1. Capture the stunning hues as the sun dips below the horizon, casting a warm glow over the rugged coastline.
  • Night Sky Delight: Take advantage of the park’s remote location by indulging in stargazing during clear nights. Away from city lights, the night sky over Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park offers a mesmerizing display of stars.
  • Quiet Hours: Respect the tranquility of the park by adhering to quiet hours from 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM. Embrace the serene atmosphere and the soothing sounds of nature during your stay.

Recommendations on Essential Camping Gear

  • Water Containers: Since the campsites do not offer potable water, bring sufficient drinking water in reusable containers. Consider a hydration pack for convenient access during hikes.
  • Portable Lighting: Illuminate your campsite with portable lighting solutions such as battery-powered lanterns or LED lights. Enjoy the ambiance without disturbing the natural surroundings.
  • Comfortable Sleeping Gear: Pack a comfortable sleeping bag suitable for the varied temperatures of the coastal environment. Ensure you have appropriate insulation for cooler nights at this elevated location.
  • Camp Cooking Equipment: Explore our gearlist account for specific recommendations on camp cooking equipment. Portable stoves, cookware, and utensils will enhance your culinary experience amidst nature.
  • Explore Our Gearlist: For detailed gear recommendations, explore our gearlist account. Discover specific suggestions on camp cooking, sleeping systems, overlanding setups, backpacks, and clothing to optimize your camping experience at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

Check out our Gearlist for the gear we use for trips like this

Our Gearlist account lists all of the gear we use. Discover our top picks, where to snag them, and stay informed with our regular updates.

Immerse yourself in the enchanting beauty of Big Sur at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. With these tips, strategies, and gear recommendations, embark on a memorable camping adventure along the rugged coastline, where every moment promises awe-inspiring views and a connection with nature. May your stay be filled with the tranquility and magic of this coastal haven.