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Old 03-04-13, 08:22 PM   #1
dddave
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(car) camping along the california coast

i figured some of you may have experience doing this and i was hoping to get some ideas. my girlfriend and i will be driving up the coast mid-august and hoping to camp along the way. we're leaving on a friday and most likely staying at figueroa mountain that night, maybe el capitan. then, saturday through tuesday, we will be at a ranch in santa ynez with her family. tuesday night we would like to camp in or near san simeon, wednesday night in the carmel/monterey area.

what i would like to know is if any of you know of good spots to camp in san simeon and carmel/monterey. we don't mind doing the coastal campground thing, but if anybody knows of any "secret" spots where we can drive a few miles out on a fire road (2WD truck, keep that in mind) and set up shop wherever we feel, that would be awesome. even any first-come first-served rural campground would be great. like i said, we don't really mind being in one of those spots where every campground is 15 feet apart, but the other options would be even better.

thanks for any suggestions!
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Old 03-04-13, 08:34 PM   #2
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The Pfeiffer State Park in Big Sur has some very nice campgrounds.
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Old 03-05-13, 01:16 AM   #3
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What he said, this is campsite #1 at Julia Pfeiffer State Park. It is on the West side of the why and there are only two spots on the west side. Not sure if it is still open as the State closed it down for a while. There is a water fall below this site that falls directly into the ocean.
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Old 03-05-13, 06:24 AM   #4
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San Simeon Creek SP is great. Get a spot on the creek. Walk to the beach. Driving or riding up San Simeon Creek road is neat as well. You can't get anywhere as it ends at a locked gate.

A little south is Montana de Oro State Park. Spooner's Cove is a very nice CG. Just make sure you take out the trash and lock your food up as the racoons are very tenacious. Nice walk to the beach and point. Great mountain biking in the hills behind the campground.

There are also so Forest Service roads north of Ragged Point and south of Big Sur that I've stealth camped on. In August they would be no problem with 2WD. Can't give any specifics as to where as it's been a long time. I tend to do as much looking out the side windows when I drive as the windshield, so I see and good looking side road and I take it.

If you go up 101 you can take 58 inland and there is a lot of FS land which has designated and stealth spots to camp. Might be a bit toasty in August though.
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Old 03-05-13, 09:19 AM   #5
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Check out Plaskett Creek.
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Old 03-05-13, 05:54 PM   #6
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thanks for the recommendations. as much as i love big sur, it's just too in-between our two destinations. maybe once we get closer to carmel/monterey i'll keep my eyes open for some fire roads. how far out do you recommend driving? do fire/service roads in that area get patrolled very often?

and on that 101/58 tip, how do you find these designated stealth camp spots?


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You can't get anywhere as it ends at a locked gate.
pfff, quitter!
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Old 03-05-13, 06:10 PM   #7
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hmm... now that i'm looking at montana de oro, i think i might have to change our plans around... this place looks great! their environmental sites sound pretty cool and the surrounding wilderness sounds pretty dope. just might have to do

MDO tuesday night, drive to cambria/san simeon/hearst castle on wednesday, do our thing, then maybe stay at pfeiffer in big sur wednesday night, do our carmel/monterey thing on thursday. decisions, decisions...
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Old 03-05-13, 07:13 PM   #8
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Montana de Oro is awesome. Walk on the bluffs and check out the tidepools. And when you pay for camping there, they let you in to Morro Bay State Park where you can use the coin-op showers. And La Parisienne Bakery on Front Street is a great place to grab pastries and breakfast sandwiches before heading north.
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Old 03-06-13, 06:26 AM   #9
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And the coin op showers often don't require coins.....

Forgot about the bakery, truely yummy!
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