Growing up nearby, I spent more than a few weekends in the Big Sur area. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is one of those places that is great for families and small groups to spend a weekend in the woods, without having to rough it too much. There are showers for 25 cents per 3 minutes and other such conveniences. You can choose to grill at your campsite or drive 5 minutes to nice nearby restaurants (I suggest heading a few minutes south to the hippy pizza place -- great brick oven pizza).
It's best to get a campsite with an empty site on either side of you, since the spots can be pretty small. That leads to the only drawback I have for the park. When the park gets full, you can have screaming children, drunk young (and old) people and other annoyances. It's just human nature -- if you put enough of us together, a few of us are bound to be ... trouble.
Even when the people get noisy, it rarely becomes too much of a nuisance. If you're looking to really rough it, I'd suggest heading out into the hills, maybe up Palo Colorado Canyon road to Botcher's Gap, where you can backpack a few miles down to Apple Tree Camp. If you're looking for a nice simple place to camp in Big Sur, Pfeiffer will serve you just fine.
Julia Phiffer Burns State Park is absolutely the most beautiful place on earth! I just moved to Cali from Alabama and go I there every chance I get. The Falls onto the beach are amazing!! If you are really daring you can climb down and play in the cove and walk under the waterfall. If you like climbing, trail running, exploring, and beautiful scenery this is the place to be. Nothing I have ever or will ever see could match it! PS I have never seen it crowded.
The campground is on a lovely field right next to the beach and you can hear the waves. It's a short hike from the parking lot so you can bring most of your creature comforts too!
The only bad thing about it was that it was very crowded. When we went hiking along the beach, another group had nabbed the fire pit that we had previously staked out. We ended up sharing with them... but
My mother and I walked the trail to McWay Falls in Jlia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. This was an incredibly experience. The fall comes out of the rocky cliff onto the beach and drains into the beautiful turqoise waters surrounding this beach. The beach is sandy, but large rock formations lay in the waters surrounding the beach, making for beautiful pictures.
My suggestion would be to go in the early morning, providing it is not foggy. We were there in early morning, and there was no one on the trail, giving us optimum pictures.
You can by-pass all the other privately run campgrounds around the area and head straight to this state run campground. It's cheaper, less crowded and over all a lot more pleasant if you can get a space here.
Adobe units in garden setting 25 mi south of city on Hwy 1, in mountainous Big Sur Valley. Amenities:Refrigerator. Microwave
Oven. Private Bath. Radio/Alarm Clock. Desk. Shower. Bathtub. Non Smoking Rooms. Daily Maid Service. Fireplace. Coffee Maker. Kitchen/Kitchenette. Hotel ...
Set in a 40 acre redwood grove, this campground is renowned for its 80 private campsites, each with picnic tables
and adjustable fire rings. Three bath houses with hot showers are also on the property.