Since our reservations at New Brighton State Beach were canceled due to the big March storms, we decided head down the Big Sur coast and see if we could find a nice spot to camp. On our trip down Highway 1, we pulled off the road to admire the view of the Point Sur Lighthouse and a house perched on the cliff overlooking the ocean.
We thought Lime Kiln State Beach would be a good choice because it has beach access which is a rarity on the Big Sur coast. The campground is uniquely situated under a bridge along Highway 1.
There was only one site available at Lime Kiln and it was a bit too close to the neighbors for our liking so we decided to try the secret spot further down the coast that’s known to the Big Sur boondocking crowd.
Boondocking Above Big Sur, Nacimiento Furguson Road
Heading south on Highway 1, about 300 yards past the entrance to Kirk Creek Campground is the turn off to Nacimiento Furguson Road Turn left and you will see a steep and narrow road but it’s completely manageable for most RVs. The sign warns that nothing over 30’ should venture up the road but if you’re planning to just drive up to the turnout which is just 1/8 of a mile from Highway 1, anything up to and including a 36 foot Class A should be okay.
We arrived at the secret spot which is just a large turnout along the side of Nacimiento Furguson Road. It’s hundreds of feet above Highway 1 with sweeping 180 degree views of the Big Sur coast. There’s very little traffic on the road so all you hear is the sound of the surf below.
The first day was a bit windy and it rained a bit but the bad weather was offset by the most beautiful views.
Dispersed camping is permitted because this spot is within the Los Padres National Forest, Obviously the view is the best part of this site but there’s also something special about camping at a site that costs absolutely nothing. We spent the evening enjoying the sunset in between the brief but intense rain squalls.
Mill Creek Day Use Area
Saturday morning we drove a half of a mile down to the Mill Creek day use area which was just below our campsite. We grabbed the primo parking spot right next the beach and setup camp on the grassy lawn.
We’ve visited Mill Creek several times, even staying overnight once. This spot is not patrolled aggressively due to the state budget cutbacks, The Kirk Creek camp host is responsible for checking the day use area at 10pm every evening. Hint: If you want to spend the night next to the ocean along the Big Sur coast, try this spot, just make sure you arrive after 10pm.
The day use area is a popular spot for tourists because it’s one of the few places to access the ocean from Highway 1. We had the place to ourselves except at lunchtime travelers decided to take a break to eat their picnic lunch. Saturday evening we left the day use area and drove above our campsite on Nacimiento Furguson Road. Our RV is the tiny white speck in the middle of the picture (double click to see a bigger image).
After sunset, we sat outside in the warm breeze watching the occasional car drive by, hundreds of feet below.
Sunday morning we got up early and headed home. We stopped at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park to see the infamous McWay Falls that pours onto the beach. Simply gorgeous.
Things we learned
- Although this campsite has some of the best views on the coast, it’s situated along side of a road. At this time of the year we didn’t see much traffic so the spot seemed very private.
What to see and do
- The drive up Nacimiento Furguson Road is very scenic. You can drive this road all the way over to Highway 101 and into the Salinas Valley.
- Vicente Flat Trail begins close by at Highway 1 and Nacimiento Furguson Road.
- Mill Creek Picnic Area is just ½ mile away of offers access to the beach. We’ve seen kayakers paddle out for the day, fishing for Rock Fish.
- Point Sur Lighthouse has limited tours.
- And of course, don’t forget to stop into Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn for breakfast. We’ve eaten there before and the food and ambiance are wonderful.
March 11-13, 2016