Big Sur Camping Tour | See Monterey, Santa Cruz and the California Coast

Why We Love This Tour

“Big Sur is the quintessential image that I think of when I think of California, and for sure Big Sur camping should be on your bucket list if it isn’t already! There’s nothing quite like it when you stand above the crashing waves along the rocky coast at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. As a Santa Cruz resident, I try and make my way down there as often as I can. You will LOVE checking out the sights along the way, like the boardwalk that hosts one of the oldest wooden roller coasters in the world, and the aquarium in Monterey with all the adorable otters.”

– Lauren Chouinard
Digital Marketing Manager

Tour Highlights

  • 3-day guided camping/lodging trip
  • Coastal redwood hiking
  • Pacific Coast Highway 1 Coastline
  • Six delicious home-cooked meals (camping option only)
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Price: $449

Special EARLY BIRD deals on summer 2019


Book 90+ days out from your tour date
20% off with code EARLY90

Book 60+ days out from your tour date
15% off with code EARLY60

Book 30+ days out from your tour date
10% off with code EARLY30

* Rate based on camping option and double occupancy. Child rate available for those under 12.

Take in the beautiful California Coastal sunsets.
McWay Cove Big Sur
Explore hidden coves along the way.
Beach Big Sur
Visit the rocky beaches full of tidepools and awesome wildlife.
Bixby Bridge Big Sur Coastline
Head down the winding roads along the iconic California Coast.

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Visitors view the newly renovated Open Sea exhibit

Join a Californian rite of passage as you experience the journey down the Pacific Coast Highway 1, exploring the natural grandeur of the nature and small-town vibes that captured the imaginations of John Steinbeck, Henry Miller, and Jack Kerouac. You’ll step away from the big city into the laid back beach towns just a few hours south of San Francisco, where you’ll experience an entirely different scenery. Enjoy 3 full days of hiking, exploring and adventuring through Santa Cruz and the boardwalk, Monterey and Cannery Row, biking or kayaking, or a visit to the best aquarium in the country. Revel in the quiet nature of the giant redwoods, rugged coastal cliffs, and spend a full day hiking the rustic and austere terrain of Big Sur. With a choice of camping or hotel accommodations, this versatile tour has something for everyone. New to camping? No problem! We’ll supply all the necessary camping gear. Your guide will provide everything you need to enjoy a night in town or under the stars on this unforgettable trip into this fiction-worthy coastal dreamland.


Sample Itinerary


DAY 1 – San Francisco to Monterey

We’ll meet bright and early to begin our escape to the sun-drenched coastal city of Santa Cruz. Keep an eye out for produce stands filled with artichokes and hang gliders floating over the Pacific Ocean along Highway 1. Depending on the time of year, you may even catch the famous super blooms, an explosion of wildflowers that yields a vibrant scene of poppies, primroses and lilies. Who needs coffee when we have roller coasters on our route? We’ll make a quick detour at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk to take a few rides and grab some fried snacks before continuing on to Monterey.

In the afternoon, prepare to hit the ground running as you head to the central coast’s crown jewel, Monterey.  Explore the bay by kayak or stand-up paddleboard, or simply stroll along the coast. If you’d rather get a closer look at what is beneath the water (like the world’s largest octopus), head over to the Monterey Bay Aquarium*. Of course, you’ll have to check out historic Cannery Row and Fisherman’s Wharf: adventure, history and clam chowder await! You’ll stay overnight in Monterey County at a nearby campground or hotel.


DAY 2 – Full Day Big Sur

Strap on your good walking shoes, today you’ll trade in the small-town charm for the brilliant beauty of the rural coastline. Venture through the lush greenery of Big Sur and and through to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State, where, nestled in a beachy enclave of emerald water, you’ll see one of the most photographed waterfalls on the Pacific Coast, McWay Falls. Have you been waiting for your chance to wrap your arms around a redwood? These happy trees thrive in the coastal fog that blankets Big Sur. We’ll end our day of adventuring hiking through Point Lobos State Reserve, speckled with hidden coves and beautiful shorelines.


DAY 3 – Monterey to San Francisco

We’ll spend our final morning kayaking among a shocking number of otters and seals, as we explore one of the most fiercely protected nature reserves, the Elkhorn Slough (pronounced SL-OO). One of the largest tidal marshes in California, you’ll row your way through sea lions, otters, seals, brown pelicans, American avocets, cormorants, egrets. You’ll see otters flip and play, edging close to the boats, as we admire the lush nature recently designated a “Wetland of International Importance,” for its biodiversity and significance to the survival of critical species. Once we’ve shed our kayaking gear,  we’ll stop back through Santa Cruz to discover the unknown at The Mystery Spot before heading into the quaint town of Half Moon Bay. We’ll end our journey where we began. With hints of saltwater still on your skin, we’ll head back into the twinkling lights city life in San Francisco.

*a wee note about the pricing* a few of these activities have additional entrance fees that we don’t include in the price of this tour to make sure you can choose your activities along the way




This camping trip is a community effort! We love camping, and we want you to as well. So we make it easy to put together and break down your tent on your own. Don’t worry if you’ve never camped before; many people haven’t. We supply the gear, using quality tents, camping and cooking equipment (you will need a sleeping bag – they are available for rent) We expect everyone to help with the set-up and breakdown of camp, and our professional guides are there to ensure a positive camping experience. We camp at comfortable campsites that have hot showers and modern facilities.

Camping Food: Are you ready to put your chef’s hat on?  We provide the food, but not the chefs. Our guests are the cooks, waiters, and dishwashers. The fare is all-you-can-eat and very tasty, and is a mixture of chicken, beef and vegetarian. Most people eat better with us than they do on the rest of their travels. Please inform of any dietary restrictions or allergies prior to your trip.

Tour Details


– Central San Francisco Hotel pick-up and drop-off

– Narrated guided tour

– Park entrance fees

– 6 meals on the camping tour option ONLY (no meals included for lodging guests – food will be available nearby the hotels) NOTE: Please advise us of any food allergies or special dietary needs you may have while booking the tour. All of the food shopping is done prior to the tour departure.

– Hotel or camping accommodations (double occupancy same-sex or couple share, single occupancy supplement applies for single bookings. Camping gear provided; sleeping bags available for $20 rental fee.)



– No meals included for lodging/hotel guests

– Some additional away-from-campsite meals for the camping guests

– Guide gratuity (customary 15-20% of tour cost as per TripAdvisor tipping guide)


Gear List:


Comfortable walking shoes

Layered clothing – California’s weather can be unpredictable

Bathing Suit & towel

Sunscreen and Bug Repellent

Small day pack

Water bottle



Fridays, ~ 8:15am at Hilton Union Square Hotel (333 O’Farrell St, meet on the Mason St side of the hotel)

See More of What California Has to Offer!


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