Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park Campground is a small environmental campground that only has two camping spots, but it known as one of the best places to camp on the Pacific Coast. Both campsites are secluded walk-in campsites and serve up picturesque views of the rugged Big Sur coast. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is on the small side, and should not be confused with its bigger sibling, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. The primary attraction at Julia Pfeiffer Burns, is McWay Falls and the 1,680-acre underwater reserve area, which is popular with scuba divers, and protects a vast assortment of marine life.
Each campsite has access to vault toilets, a picnic bench, and fire rings.
Julia Pfeiffer Burns 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.
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park Campground Bottom Line
Camping at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is a unicorn for many people that live to camp, as the campsites are often booked out for the season as soon as reservations become available, due to the limited supply of campsites. The views from these campsites and the surrounding park are breathtaking and is a fantastic spot to watch the sunset in the hope of seeing a green flash. These campsites have been named by Sunset magazine as one of the “four best places to pitch a tent on the Pacific Coast”, and they live up to that hype.
Due yourself a favor and keep an eye on these campsites, and if you find an open reservation day, BOOK IT!
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park Campground Features
|Campground Type:||Organized, Environmental|
|Number of Campsites:||2 Campsites|
|Beach/Lake Access:||No – Scuba Diving Access Only|
|Cell Phone Service:||Possible with Major Carriers|
|Operating Season:||Campground open year round|
|Geo Coordinates:||36.158921, -121.670446|
|Nearest City/Town:||Big Sur, California|
|Location:||Monterey County, California|
|Paved Road Access:||Yes – To Campsite Parking lot, must walk-in from there|
|Proximity to Stores:||11 miles to Big Sur|
|Directions:||From Carmel, CA travel 37 miles south on California Highway 1. The entrance to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is on the east side Highway 1. From Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park travel 12 miles south.|
Maps & Brochures
|Web:||California State Parks||Twitter:|
|Reservations:||Reserve a Campsite Now|
When To Go
Fall – Spring – You are more likely to be able to reserve one of these coveted campsites in non-peak camping season. It is usually rainy in Spring, but anytime the campsites have availability, take it, the campsites are often booked months in advance. Also, whale migration occurs in fall and spring, making whale watching possible from the campsites.
What To Do
Wildlife and Whale Watching – Gray whales migrate south starting in the late fall, and return north in Spring. Many of the whales pass close to shore at this point, and occasionally one will come into the mouth of the cove, making the campsites a great place for whale watching. Other wildlife can be found in the cove area at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, such as sea otters, harbor seals, and California sea lions.
Underwater Marine Area – The Julia Pfeiffer Burns Underwater Area is located between Partington Point and McWay Creek is a scuba diving area. Special-use permits allow experienced scuba divers to explore the reserve.
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is named after Julia Pfeiffer Burns, a well respected pioneer woman in the Big Sur area.