Andrew Molera State Park campground is located in an open meadow and has 24 walk-in campsites, all of which are available without reservations on a first-come, first-serve basis. The park is made up of about 4,800 pristine acres of land on the scenic Big Sur coast of California, with awesome scenery of the coast and surrounding mountains. Andrew Molera State Park also offers miles trail hiking on trails which crisscross meadows, hilltops, and beaches. Hiking throughout Andrew Molera State Park you could encounter a number of its natural inhabitants including wild pigs, bobcats, and deer, most of which are fairly harmless as long as you do not get too close. From the parking lot, the walk to the campground is only about a third of a mile through some brush and across a grassy meadow. Each campsite allows a maximum of four people and provides a fire ring and access to bathrooms.
Each campsite at Andrew Molera State Park campground includes a fire ring, food locker, and access to bathrooms. You will need to bring your own firewood, as wood gathering in Andrew Molera is prohibited, and it is not sold within the park.
Andrew Molera State Park is currently closed due to damage to the area from the recent wildfires and heavy rains. Please be sure to check with California State Parks before going. More information can be found here.
Andrew Molera State Park Campground Bottom Line
While Andrew Molera State Park is a beautiful place to visit and there are lots of activities available to you, the campground is not fantastic, and we would opt for camping at nearby Pfeiffer Big Sur or Bottchers Gap over camping at Andrew Molera. Don’t get us wrong, Andrew Molera State Park Campground is not a bad campground, it just would not be our first choice. The campsites are not right on top of each other and provide good distance between campsites, but they still do not feel like they have any privacy, as the open meadow that they are situated in does not provide any division between campsites, and it feels more like a private campground. Also, since there are only a handful of trees in the campground, there is not a ton of shaded spots in the campground. However, the campground at Andrew Molera would make a good single night stop over if you were camping your way up or down the coast or we simply using as a base camp to do other activities in the area.
One of the best things about Andrew Molera State Park campground is it’s proximity to the beach, which is a beautiful sand beach, and is located only a short walk away from the campground.
The best campsites at Andrew Molera State Park campground are campsites 1-4, on the east end of the campground, just as you enter the campground. These campsites have fewer neighbors, and thus more privacy, than the campsites on the west side of the campground due to the teardrop shape of the campground, and these campsites are a little more shaded than the other campsites.
Andrew Molera State Park Campground Features
|Campground Type:||Organized, semi-primitive|
|Number of Campsites:||24 Campsites|
|Hiking Access:||Yes – Walking trails|
|Cell Phone Service:||Possible, but coverage is spotty at best|
|Operating Season:||Campground open year round|
|Geo Coordinates:||36.2833 -121.8333|
|Nearest City/Town:||Carmel, California|
|Location:||Santa Cruz County, California|
|Paved Road Access:||Yes, to parking lot, must walk-in to campground|
|Proximity to Stores:||1.5 miles to Big Sur, California|
|Directions:||From Carmel, head south on CA-1 for 20 miles, the entrance to Andrew Molera State Park is on the west side of the road.|
|Phone:||831.667.2315||Facebook:||Andrew Molera State Park Facebook Page|
|Web:||California State Parks||Twitter:|
|Reservations:||Not Accepted, First-come, First-served|
When To Go
Summer – While it may be more difficult to get a campsite in the summer, it is the best time to go due to the weather and access to the beach.
Highs in the summer are usually in the mid-high 70’s and lows in the winter usually hover in the low 40’s.
What To Do
Trail hiking and hanging out on the beach are the two most popular activities at Andrew Molera State Park. There are several walking trails that crisscross the park, and the entire western edge of the park is beach.
Andrew Molera State Park was park of a former Mexican land grant called Rancho El Sur, and was acquired in 1855 by Yankee fur trader Juan Bautista Roger Cooper. The park is named for his grandson Andrew Molera, who inherited the ranch, which had a successful dairy operation. Andrew Molera is largely credited with popularizing the artichoke in California in 1922.