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Visit Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park for a Family Camping Adventure

Visit Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park for a Family Camping Adventure

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park was an ideal getaway for family camping in California. We had originally planned to go all the way up the California coast to Oregon for an end of summer 10-day camping trip.  Let this be known as the summer braces took away our vacation!  An 8 year old child isn’t supposed to need braces! I was anticipating that expense more in the 12 year old age bracket.  The camping trip was off.

But I didn’t cancel our reservations. I think I was waiting for a windfall.  No surprise. Didn’t happen. But then I started calculating the actual expenses. We’d pre-paid the campsites on – an already sunk expense. What would really eat up our dollars was the gas money. So what if we just stayed closer to home? What if we didn’t travel so far? We’d already reserved 2 nights at Pfeiffer Big Sur . . . what if one more night was available? It was! So we changed our 675 mile/10 day trip to a 298 mile/3 night trip.

I must give a shout-out to my favorite camping blogger:! His family camping checklists, camp food recipes/suggestions, and especially tips on how to “pre-cool” the cooler, made our trip run very smoothly.  Our cooler has never stayed so . . . cool.

Here’s what it looks like along the road into the campground:

Remember when I wrote that post a few weeks ago about identifying poison oak? When we arrived at our campsite, I was thinking you’d all be laughing at me! See ALL that low brush around the trees? Guess what it is? I’m happy to report NONE of us got it, despite it being everywhere. Don’t touch it and you’ll have no problem.

The beautiful Big Sur River runs through the campground providing a peaceful sound as we drifted off to sleep.

It also provided a wonderland of play opportunities for the kids: catching water bugs, throwing stones, watching the sticks and leaves float, swimming, seeing another family catch (and release) crayfish, stacking rocks to make sculptures, feeling the force of the water, looking out for trout (no fishing here), and walking along the dry river bed.

We all enjoyed the short Gorge Hike where we scrambled over rocks and under tree limbs. We didn’t cross the river, but many who passed by were suited up for the swim and wearing their water shoes. Next time . . .

My favorite part of the day was emerging from our tent to see what critters visited us during the night. I think this was a racoon:

We also saw what I think is a paper wasp next on our hike to the Homestead Cabin.

In the next post, I’ll share a famous viewpoint and a lesser known hike which was a highlight of the trip!

We have to save these parks for future generations!

Happy Camper

Thursday 25th of November 2010

Bonding time with family anywhere is always best. Expensive vacations are not the essential thing when we get to spend time with them. I love the photo of the view, breath taking. I bet it is much more nicer in person. Any bugs came out during your stay?

Angela Johnson

Wednesday 15th of September 2010

We just spent 5 nights here at Pfieffer Big Sur end of August and as my inagural (more than one nighter) camping trip,it was better than I expected. We were forwarned about the Poison Oak at this park but you are right, if you don't touch it, you won't have a problem. I love your pictures. The majesty of those tall Redwoods are incredible. Good post!


Wednesday 15th of September 2010

We were probably there at the same time!


Tuesday 14th of September 2010

Great to see you last night! And to meet the hubby :) What a great trip! This will go one the 'places to visit' list!


Sunday 12th of September 2010

it is awesome. we went by this area when we were on the way to SF. I fell in love with the scenery and I would love to camp there soon. Thank you for sharing...;)


Saturday 11th of September 2010

This looks beautiful! Thanks for sharing all the photos -- I've heard this is a great place to camp with kids and now I can see why!

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