Big Sur Camping Trip

The Big Sur road trip is a bucket list trip for most people and I finally did it… in 3 days, so it was a lot to fit in.

We started in Orange County at 5:45am on Friday and it took us 2.5 hours to reach Ventura to pick up our third.

From there we stopped in San Luis Obispo’s Madonna Inn. It’s right off the 101 and packed with people eating in their restaurant. We got a couple slices of cake and explored the pink dining room.


We took a detour to Paso Robles’ Tooth & Nail Winery. It’s a faux castle, not what we expected. They had games, which we played while wine tasting.


Our first stop was Limekiln State Park to stretch our legs after so much driving. After paying the $10 fee to park, we walked through the campground where they had showers, water spouts, and could have fires and into the woods. It was nice and cool under the shade of the trees.


We stayed at Kirk Creek Campground. Sure we had to book it 6 months in advance, but WOW, it was phenomenal. We booked site 20, but an acquaintance booked sites 8, 21, and 23. We stayed on site 21 with them, on a cliff overlooking the water. But the best was site 23, which was shaded with a giant tree you could hang hammocks on. The campground has vault toilets.


We star gazed and it was dark enough to see the Milky Way, and fell asleep to the waves crashing below.


On Saturday, we drove all the way up to Carmel-by-the Sea. A couple years ago, I had the opportunity to visit Carmel-by-the-Sea for a free retreat during the off season. I drove up by myself and it was one of the most lush and relaxing trips… and possibly the start of my love for travel.


We made our way down from Carmel to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. It was packed, but we easily found street parking. We walked on a handful of short and easy trails.


We took a break to soak in Garrapta State Beach, its beaches speckled with sea plants, caverns, and a view of one of the bridges.


Bixby Bridge is a quick stop. You’ll see all the cars stopped at the vista point. We hopped out real quick to snap a photo.


Another touristy spot is McWay Falls. You can’t miss the turn-off. There’s no way to get to the beach below so we stood with dozens of others for this view.


We got in a dose of beach south of our campground at Sand Dollar Beach. There were lots of little harmless gnats everywhere.


On Sunday, we started early with a hike up Vicente Flat Trail. We began at the campground and walked up 3.5 miles and back. We didn’t do the whole 5 miles up since we were on a time crunch. The trail is slightly uphill the whole way up but weaves in and out of the uncovered ridge and shaded woods.


Needless to say, the weekend went by quickly and it was honestly too busy for me to read, do crossword puzzles, and journal like I wanted. I’ll catch up on that this week. 

I can’t wait to do it again, and I’m already planning my next outdoors/camping trip!

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