If you’re looking for a campground with beautiful coastal views with an off-the-grid vibe, Kirk Creek Campground might be for you. Located about 45 minutes south of Big Sur off highway 1. The campground doesn’t have running water or RV hookups, so you’ll have to bring everything you need. But the sites are well spaced out, and their views of California’s coastline are amazing.
See The Full Detailed Video Below
Kirk Creek Campground Visiting Information
Main Visitor Info
- 64955 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920
- GPS coordinates: 35.991667, -121.494167
- Be sure to download the map to use offline before heading out just in case there isn’t any cell phone reception in the area.
- Dates & Hours:
- Dates and hours of operations may change. We recommend calling them or checking their website beforehand to confirm their business hours.
- $45 nightly/daily rates, $2/holiday additional and $2/weekend additional.
- How much we spent during our visit:
- Total: $45
- One night campsite.
- Total: $45
- Limited to 2 vehicles per site. $10 charge for 2nd vehicle.
- Wildlife Viewing
- Time spent:
- Stayed for one night
- Booking window is on a 6-month rolling basis and is released at 7am PDT. Reservation is real time so campsites will become available as soon as someone cancels. We were able to snag a site a month before our trip. Persistence is key!
- Best camping spots:
- Site 9 has the best view. Sites 5, 8, 11, 13-22 are all great options too.
- There aren’t many food options in the area so we packed our own food. I bought stuff to make sandwiches, fruits, veggies, grilled cheese with @pacificfoods tomato soup, @allgoodles mac and cheese, and @siete tortillas to make quesadillas.
- Pet allowed:
- Yes, but they must be leashed.
- Stroller friendly:
- Vaulted toilets.
- What we observed:
- All sites include up to 6 people but max of 8. $10/person after 6 people.
- All campsites are standard nonelectric.
- There is no running water available. We packed enough water to clean our dishes, shower, wash our hands, and brush our teeth.
- No cell service or wifi available in the area.
- The vaulted toilets were very clean.
- There is poison oak throughout the campsite. We had our kids in long sleeves and pants and had them play at the picnic table or the van.
- There is a short kid friendly hike to a rocky beach. See our YouTube video below for more details.
- Don’t let vaulted toilets, poison oak, and no running water steer you away. Our family really enjoyed this remote and beautiful campground.
- Check the weather before you go. The weather can be changeable; layered clothing and closed toe shoes are recommended.
- What we packed:
- Sunscreen, lip sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, insect repellent, bug bite suction, big bite relief ointment, Suds2go cap, food, snacks, water, hiking shoes, swimwear and games.
- You can get the links to all our travel essentials here: Travel Essentials | Califoreigners
- Where we stayed:
- We camped at site 13.
things to bring
- Ways to save money:
- Pack all your meals, snacks and water.
- Other places to visit in the county:
- Our itinerary up the coast:
- Camped at Plaskett Creek Campground.
- Sand Dollar Beach – best to go during low tide.
- Camped at Kirk Creek Campground.
- Gamboa Point – quick stop for a gorgeous view point.
- McWay Falls Trail – Short and easy hike to the falls.
- Partington Cove Trail – Another great hike for the kids.
- Nepenthe Restaurant – Stop for coffee or dine with a beautiful view.
- Ventana campground – Wasn’t able to stay here because they do not accommodate camper vans.
- Pfeiffer Beach – you can find small pockets of purple sand. We were too nervous to take our camper van in so we had to skip this stop.
- Pfeiffer Falls Trail – 1.8 mile hike through redwoods trees to the falls.
- Camped at Fernwood Campground – You can also purchase a day use pass to access the river if you aren’t staying at their campground.
- Fernwood General Store – make a quick stop for Lappert’s ice cream.
- Camped at Big Sur Campground and Cabins – swim and tube in the river.
- Big Sur River Inn – Order take out, eat, and get your feet wet on their wooden chairs right in the river.
- Bixby Creek Bridge – The parking lot was full so we had to skip this stop.
- Garrapata Bluff Trail – A nice short hike with the kids.
- Camped at Carmel by the River RV Park.
- Monterey Bay Aquarium.
- Pls pack in, pack out and leave no trace.
- Follow us on Instagram @thecaliforeigners, Youtube @Califoreigners, TikTok @Califoreigners
What We Said In Our Kirk Creek Campground Video
Once inside, you’ll notice Kirk Creek is small. Two loops encompass the 33 sites and the camp host in the middle. The camp host site is where you can buy firewood and a $5 firestarter you’ll have to use to start your campfire. They are adamant about using that particular starter, and you’ll get fined if you get caught using anything else.
The sites come with a standing grill, fire pit, bench, and a whole lot of poison oak. As long as you’re careful, it’s not an issue. And thankfully, the itch-inducing bushes provide a nice barrier between the sites and homes to all the squirrels and rabbits who call Kirk Creek home.
Hike-wise, you can find the trailhead for Vicente flat across the highway. At 10.9 miles, it’s not for families with small kids. But the campgrounds do have access to a creek and small rocky beach. You’ll find the path down between sites 9 and 11. At only a half-mile round trip, it’s an easy trail that follows the cliff side down into an easy switchback that heads back toward the beach after you cross the creek. You’ll also have to be aware of all the poison oak lining the path here. At Least a few times, we had to turn sideways to avoid thick patches of the plant, so be careful.
Once the path opens up, it reveals a really fun rocky beach. It’s not a “get in the water and play” kind of beach, but it’s full of interesting shells and rocks to poke around for. The beach also has small patches of coarse sand the kids can play with and a few spots that are good for climbing that can be explored. The girls loved it down there, and we recommend checking the beach out if you decide to camp here.
We felt that the only real drawback to Kirk Creek is their vault toilets, so break out your pandemic masks and handle your business as fast as possible when nature calls cause it’s rough. But vault toilets are horrible everywhere, so don’t let that put you off from this off-the-grid campground.
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