on the California Central Coast
Camping right on the sand is possible in California, you just need to drive far enough to find it. Campground reservations are common (year round) on this stretch of coastline, since PISMO is a premier vacation spot for most of Central California.
blue links lead to camp reservation services
This camping page features all beach front camping options along the Central Coast, from Santa Barbara to Big Sur. State Parks, State Beaches, bay side marinas and rugged rural coast camps. We even list private campgrounds and RV parks, just so you have more choices.
Flying Flags RV Resort, Buellton, CA
River Park RV Campground, Lompoc CA
Santa Maria Pines Campground (CLOSED)
San Luis Obispo Camping, Off Road & RV Parks
Pismo Beach Campgrounds
Oceano Dunes State Park (SVRA) – Pismo Dunes Off Road Area
Pismo State Beach
county park camping Pismo
RV camping near Pismo, CA
Pismo Coast Village RV Resort
Pacific Dunes Ranch & RV Resort
Pismo Sands RV Park
Le Sage Riviera RV Park, Grover Beach, CA
San Luis Bay & Point Conception
Avila Beach, Morro Bay Camping
Avila Beach RV Camping Sites
Avila Beach Hot Springs Camping
Montana de Oro State Park
El Chorro Regional Park Campground
Morro Bay State Park Campground
Morro Strand State Beach
Morro Strand RV Park
Morro Dunes RV Park
San Simeon & Big Sur Campgrounds
San Simeon State Park Campgrounds
- San Simeon Creek Campground
- Washburn Primitive Campground
USDA National Forests lies inland along the Central Coast of California, all the way from Ventura to Monterey. Numerous recreational lakes and back roads that lead to secluded small campgrounds. Primitive dispersed camping is allowed, but campfires are limited to local fire restrictions. The later part of the year means drier conditions and sometimes campfires are not allowed during wildfire season. Obtain a free campfire permit & check current conditions from the local ranger before venturing into the backcountry.
Central Coast Inland Lakes Camping
Central Coast Mountains / Central Coast Cali
Within 40 miles from the Santa Barbara coast are mountains that reach near 9000′ elevation, the tallest in Kern County. Mount Pinos & Mt Able, as well as the Sespe, Dick Smith, San Rafael, Matilija & Chumash Wilderness Areas, make up this southern portion of Los Padres National Forest. There are plenty of tiny, primitive campgrounds that offer seclusion for RVs & car campers. 4×4 camps, OHV routes & parks, plus numerous Wilderness areas that will suit everyone’s need for the outdoors. A great drive for accessing this area is Hwy 33 North from Ojai.
Further up the coast is the northern section of Los Padres National Forest – which is the mountainous back drop to the magnificent Big Sur coastline. If you are seeking to camp near Big Sur without the fees of a developed Campground, these dirt road ridge lines may be your saving grace… if you don’t mind roughing it. Views over the ocean & coastline are even more spectacular than from Hwy 1, but campfire restriction can be tight in summer & fall months. There are plenty lodging opportunities, historic lodges, cabins or luxury RV parks, located in the small towns along the coast.
Both Los Padres forest north & south are open all year long for recreation & camping. Only one town in this region, Pine Mountain Club, gets considerable amounts of snow (roads may be impassable without chains, AWD or 4×4). Central Coast icon Big Sur with Hwy 1 is prone to mud & rock slides during heavy rains, so plan for alternate routes & check road conditions w/ CalTrans when traveling during inclement weather.
Central Coast forest & parks –
Los Padres National Forest
Andrew Molera State Park
Julia Pfieffer Burns State Park
Limekiln State Park
Pfieffer Big Sur State Park
San Simeon State Park
Central Coast maps & trails –
Central Coast towns nearby –
Big Sur, Cambria, Frazier Park, Gorda, Gorman, Ojai, New Cuyama, Pine Mountain, San Simeon, Ventucopa
Colony Days and Tent City
San Luis Obispo, north county Atascadero holds this annual event called Colony Days every autumn. Parade, vendors, tent city and a cool band festival.
Jubilee By The Sea
This Jazz Festival is held in Pismo Beach California. Every October is “Jubilee by the Sea,” a world class traditional jazz festival. This event began in 1976, with fans streaming in from all over the country each and every year. 20 bands plus guest artists. It is held for four days at multiple venues. Buses run continuously to get you to all of the venues for another great show! Locally catered food and drinks are available at all locations. We have hardwood floors at all venues for your dancing pleasure!
Annual event; October
Pioneer Day of Paso Robles
Paso Robles Pioneer Day was established in 1931, providing a day of community friendship and a commemoration of the heritage of the north county San Luis Obispo area.
Annual Event: October
Paso Robles California