California has tons of state parks. I was here for 2 nights--June 29 & 30th. This one was $10 per night and included a fire pit, a picnic table, water faucets, a food box (attached to the picnic table), and a flushing toilet and sink facility. It was a very short walk in to the "grasslands".
Once at the "grasslands" the campsites are individually marked. Yes, there are lots of ground squirrels (in the day) and racoons (at night) that are pretty much domesticated. Watch out for them squeezing into the food boxes. I recommend carrying in a plastic rubbermaid box or your cooler. They won't get into tents if you zip them up.
Unfortunately, we were there when it was a windy week, so if it's like that, then you are going to have to sit there while your tent is blowing and blowing. BRING EARPLUGS! I hear, though, the wind doesn't always occur. You can hear other campers if they play guitars or have parties, but the campground rangers patrol at 10 pm to tell you that it's quiet time, so that's comforting if you have kids.
It's a short walk to the beach, which is nice when it's not windy. We saw sea otters and harbor seals and lots of sea gulls.
WATCH OUT FOR THE POISON OAK!!! This should be your very first chore, even before you unload your stuff from the car you came in! Immediately after you arrive, have the ranger show you what it looks like, cuz it's all over the trails and you'd probably never guess you walked through it until you started itching. Stay on the trails, too, cuz it's EVERYWHERE!
Where there are ground squirrels and deer, there are bound to be TICKS! I had a tick crawl on my tent, but if you conduct regular checks of your hair and body, you should be Ok. I did not get any on myself at all.
Bring your own water. You can't drink the water from the faucet.
If you want to have a fire in the pit, bring $7 for the cord of wood. There is no free wood gathering, which is cool and pretty cheap, cuz the wildlife need places to live, too! We are encroaching on them!
In the "grasslands" it's a little hot, so prepare yourself by bringing a hat or big umbrella or plan your day trip in the Redwoods forest. The scenery is great. You can see the California mountains all around. Yes, there is wildlife. Birds, ground squirrels, bobcats, owls, hummingbirds, lizards, coyotes, and deer. It's pretty laid back and the people there seem to want to just hang out. I felt safe and left my tent there all the next day while I was gone. Remember to take your valuables with you wherever you go, though, because sometimes there are squatter-campers. I'm not a picky camper, nor do I haul the house when I go, so this place was pretty cool.
Also, it's so close to the other state parks. And, the $10 a day fee gets you into them ALL. Yeah! So, prepare yourself for great hiking, awesome views of Highway 1, swimming, sleeping by the Redwoods, nature walks, birdwatching, chillin' out time. Big Sur is awesome!
I would recommend going there for the camping and day adventures.
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