Situated on California’s scenic Big Sur Coast, about 55 miles south of Monterey, Limekiln State Park has weathered its fair share of hardships. It began in the late 1800s, when the Rockland Lime and Lumber Co. began stripping the limestone out of the canyon for use as building materials for the burgeoning San Francisco area. At the time, the redwood forest covering these coastal slopes was almost entirely clearcut. Nearly a century later, after recovering, the area was almost clearcut again, but conservation groups intervened. It finally became a state park in 1995. Since then, a portion of the park burned in 2008, then it was threatened with closure in 2012, due to state budget shortfalls. The park was saved once again when the Save the Redwoods League stepped in to assist with funding and maintenance needs.
The small campground in Limekiln State Park offers 29 campsites in two areas along Limekiln Creek. About half are in an open area near the highway, with beach access; the other half are located upslope, under a canopy of shady redwoods. Sites are small and can only accommodate trailers up to 15 feet, and RVs up to 24 feet; each site is equipped with picnic tables and fire rings. Both upper and lower camp areas have drinking water, restrooms, showers and picnic areas. Firewood gathering is not permitted in the park, and dogs must remain leashed at all times. Visitors should keep in mind that this is a rugged coastal environment, and exercise caution around cliffs and near the ocean; climbing on the cliffs is not permitted. Campsite rates are $35/night.
The main attraction at Limekiln State Park is the old lime kilns that still sit at the base of the hillside, more than a century since their last use. These giant furnaces were used to purify the limestone being mined out of the canyon, before it was shipped north for construction uses. The kilns can be seen via a 0.5-mile trail from the upper camp area. A short side trail on the way to the kilns leads to 100-foot Limekiln Falls. Watch out for poison oak while hiking. The park is also a great place for wildlife watching. Keep your eyes peeled for bobcats, foxes and ringtails on shore, and otters and gray whales in the ocean. More than 200 species of birds are known to inhabit the area, including pelicans, peregrine falcons and California condors.
Camped in December (woods). Couldn’t be more happy with the view and the creek running behind us. Lovely to fall asleep with its sound at night! The ground was a bit rocky but nothing compared to the beach camp sites - Woods has more privacy also. There’s no cell reception, nor electricity in the bathrooms. Bathroom was clean ok. We couldn’t get to the waterfall but the walk was pleasant (and very short). We saw a couple of whales on the beach. I would definitely recommend camping in the woods if looking for somewhere peaceful!
You are deep within the magic of Big Sur. Come here to relax and recharge. This camp is close to nothing - in a good way! Escape your phone.
We enjoyed short hikes to see waterfall and like kilns with no one else on the trail.
The camp sites near the ocean seemed a bit windy in November, but we were cozy in the trees.
I have to disagree with the vast majority of reviews on this site for this campground. After reading all of these reviews, I was very excited to camp here! We even splurged and got one of the "ocean" campsites. However, we were very very very disappointed. Their ocean campsites are mostly located on a large dirt lot directly under highway 1. There is no separation between you and the next campsite other than a log or some rocks so expect zero privacy. The highway itself is very loud throughout the day and into the night. The bathrooms were very dirty all the time with mud, dirt, and large trashcans that were constantly full. The showers also were out of order. The squirrels are pretty vicious here and it is sadly due to the improper trash policy this campground has. The trashcans are simply metal trashcans without any type of lock on them. Throughout the day and the night, squirrels and birds would get the lid off the trashcan and rummage through the trash. Unfortunately, it does not appear that the rangers of the campground do much educating on proper interactions with wildlife either as the vast majority of other visitors were also seen feeding the squirrels. It may seem harmless, but it is very unhealthy for these animals!
The hike to the waterfall and the limekilns was pleasant and definitely pretty. It was a short hike and we completed both in about an hour and a half. The beach is also nice overall.
There are 12 ocean sites, three of them are up a rocky slope. There are other sites in the redwoods. We were lucky to get an ocean site without a reservation on a Monday and Tuesday at the end of October but the best spots are best reserved. I believe some are set aside for walk-ins. There is also day use but the beach access is reserved for campers. Two toilets, one sink and one shower for the 12 ocean sites but one of the toilets was out of order while we were there. Although there was a light in the other, it was not working but I would assume campers would have flashlights. Camp hosts are very friendly and we had great conversations with other campers. Sites are kinda close together but while we were there not all were occupied so it felt fine. Four short moderate trails were easily doable in one day. One along a creek, one to a viewpoint, one to a great waterfall (caution; there are four stream crossings) and one to the remains of four lime kilns. No hookups and the size of vehicle (no big RVs) is restricted. Fantastic sunsets and while we loved this campground, it was pricey ($35 vs $20 for Oregon state parks for a non hookup site)
Beaches, mountains, rivers, waterfalls, redwoods, must I say more? It’s BREATHTAKING.
Beautiful campgrounds right by ocean. Can get a little cold with ocean breeze but so beautiful and worth it. Redwoods and hiking in campground too.
We came out with a bachelorette group and the rangers were so incredible and helpful that they switched us to a bigger site when they found out there were 7 of us in a site that was stated as being big enough but due to the water flow. It was vacated after the mudslides so they had the "penthouse" available for us to move to. We were sleeping under the Redwoods but we were only a 2-3 min walk to the beach for sunset.
The creek was flowing at full capacity so it seemed like we were the only people in the campground because all noise was drowned out by the lovely flow of the river.
Limekiln State Park is one of the many campgrounds located off of Highway 1 in gorgeous Big Sur, CA. Limekiln is one of my very favorite places to camp EVER. There are three different areas to camp in; the beach, by the creek, and in the redwoods. All three areas are gorgeous and magical. I have camped in both the redwoods area, and down by the creek.
We have camped in site 16 in the Lower Creek area the last couple times we have camped at Limekiln, as it is the most secluded area to camp in. There are only 3 sites down in the Lower Creek area, and they are fairly small sites, so large parties cannot camp there, which leaves it pretty quiet. You are still surrounded by redwoods down in the creek sites, and listening to the creek is so relaxing and peaceful.
Each site has a firepit and picnic table. The campground has plumbed toilets, coin operated showers, and drinking water.
We like to cook in the campground, plate our food, then walk over to the beach to eat in front of the ocean. The beach is essential a private beach, as the surrounding cliffs block it from other areas of Big Sur.
The trails through the redwoods are easy hikes, and absolutely beautiful. There is a small waterfall down one fork in the trial, and the old, decaying lime kilns are down the other fork - they are a must see! The history of the lime kilns is very interesting, and worth reading about.
One time the camp hosts told us about the bats that come down the creek at dusk - they told us to go stand on the bridge that connects the beach sites with the rest of the campground, and ait for the bats at dusk. I’m sure bats are not everyone’s cup of tea, but we enjoyed seeing them fly around the bridge and down the creek.
Limekiln, in my opinion, is one of the prettiest places in Big Sur, and is a must see!
Plumbed Toilets: Yes
Drinking Water: Yes
Showers: Yes (coin-operated)
Picnic Table: Yes
Cooking Grate: Yes
Cell Service: No
Animal Bins/Food Lockers: No
there you have your pick; camp on the beach or camp in the redwoods. you cant go wrong with either one. located on higway 1 between monterey and Cambria this place is any miss. So keep an eye our for the turn out. but totally worth it. beautiful trail to the abandone limekilns and falls
This was a lst minute trip planned and thankfully die to a cancellation we were able to get one of the best camp sites with a view with only two days notice! Our front view was a beautiful beach barely used and our back view were mountains and trees and withing those trees were beautiful hikes with waterfalls, wood bridges, streams and historic lime kilns. It was our perfect campsite! Showers and restrooms close by, the staff was super nice and they are dog friendly! We stayed three nights and four days and absolutely loved every minute of it!