Washburn Campground is a primitive campground located within Hearst San Simeon State Park and features spectacular views of of the Pacific Ocean and the surrounding Santa Lucia mountains. Washburn Campground is pretty wide-open and is sparsly dotted with trees. Most of the campsites at Washburn are tent and RV friendly, and have a fire ring, picnic table, and access to drinking water and vault toilets.

Online Campsite Reservations

Washburn Campground – Bottom Line

Of the two campgrounds at Hearst San Simeon State Park, we prefer Washburn Campground over San Simeon Creek Campground, as it is less utilized and is a little more relaxing. Since Washburn Campground is situated on a plateau above the rest of the park, the views are better too, especially if you can grab one of the campsites on the western edge of the campground, as you can easily see the ocean and watch sunsets from these sites.

What we also like about Washburn Campground is that the beach is still accessible via a mile long hike, giving you access to activities such as whale-watching and tidepooling.

Washburn Campground is officially a primitive campground due to the vault/chemical toilets and the unpaved roads, but otherwise this campground has plenty of amenities. During the dry summer months, however, Washburn can get a little dusty at times due to the unpaved, gravel roads that in the campground.

The best campsites at Washburn Campground are those that are on the outer loop of the campground, as they are a little larger and generally have the best views, as well as being further away from the bathrooms and dumpsters.

Washburn Campground Features

Campground Type: Organized, Primitive
Number of Campsites: 68 Campsites
Cost: $35/Night
Use Level: Medium
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Fire Rings: Yes
Drinking Water: Yes
Toilets: Yes – Vault Toilets
Showers: No
Trash/Dumpsters: Yes
Hiking Access: Yes
Beach/Lake Access: Yes – 1 Mile Hike
RV/Trailer Length: RV – 35′
RV/Trailer Amenities: Water & Dump Station – Located at San Simeon Creek Campground
Cell Phone Service: Possible – Verizon
Wifi: None
Operating Season: Campground Open Year-round

Getting There

Address: 500 San Simeon Creek Road Cambria, CA  93428
Geo Coordinates: 35.594778, -121.1111635
Nearest City/Town: San Luis Obispo, California
Elevation: 50 feet
Location: San Luis Obispo County, California
Paved Road Access: No – Paved To the campground entrance
Proximity to Stores: Cambria, CA is 3 miles south
Directions: San Simeon State Park is located 35 miles north of San Luis Obispo on Highway 1.


Phone: 805-927-2020 Facebook: San Simeon State Park Facebook Page
Web: San Simeon State Park Website  
Reservations: Online Campsite Reservations

When To Go

Late Fall – Winter – We like going to the campsites on the Central Coast of California during the Late Fall and Winter. It is still plenty warm enough to camp and you do not have the crowds of peak camping season. Additionally, in January and February you may be able to do some whale watching.

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What To Do

Trail Hiking – There are some nice trails that meander through San Simeon State Park that extend all of the way down to the beach. Tidepooling – Moonstone Beach is a great destination for tidepooling and is accessible by foot from San Simeon Creek Campground. Whale-watching – From some of the campsites and the accessible beach you can whale-watching in January and February. Visit Nature & Historical Preserves – There are 2 nature preserves and 1 historical preserve located within San Simeon State Park. Santa Rosa Creek Preserve is an are made up of riparian forests and coastal wetlands which provide habitat for endangered Tidewater Goby. San Simeon Natural Preserve consists of wetlands, riparian areas, and several undisturbed native plant communities and is also a wintering site for monarch butterflies. Pa-nu Cultural Preserve is about 14 acres in size and contains a significant archeological site that is nearly 6000 years old, and documents prehistoric technology, subsistence practices and social organization over the course of several centuries.

Online Campsite Reservations

Washburn Campground Photos

Online Campsite Reservations

Image Credits: Justin Wilson

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Justin is an IT Professional, focused on cloud, mobile, and infrastructure management and security with his consulting business, as well as chief bottle washer for this website. In addition to NextCampsite.com, Justin also runs and writes for the technology infrastructure-focused blog OddJobsInTech.com, and the mobile device-focused blog EnterpriseMobileDevice.com.


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