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Pinnacles National Park, CALIFORNIA
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Magical Wooded Adventure with the Redwoods

Fernwood is a unique campground because it has tent sites, RV spaces, canvas tents, cabins, a motel and even a restaurant. It’s situated on the river in Big Sur, and is surrounded by the majestic Redwood trees. If you don’t feel like cooking head up to the restaurant for a delicious meal. There’s also a small market to pick up necessities and ice.

Decent area

Campsites were well kept, a little close to neighbors but not on top of each other. Great for a long weekend.

Beautiful view, hiking and campground amazing!

No fires allowed, spacious sites, must book in advance. Raccoons will come through at night, must make sure everything is put away and secure. Breathtaking views and hiking trails are challenging yet worth it!

Beautiful, spacious campsites

1. Spacious campsites

2. Bathrooms were clean

3.  Flushing toilets 

4. Picnic table and fire pit at campsite

Would be perfect if it weren't for wild pigs

Bathrooms are extremely clean and well kept. The lake is nice (and you may spot geese or ducks), and there's plenty of room for kids to run around. There are food lockers since wild pigs come out at night. Be sure to lock all food up! They will roam through the camp ground all through the night if anyone has left any food out. They also leave lots of droppings that are pretty sizable - but surprisingly don't smell that much considering the quantity and well, what it is. 

Would really love to come again if it weren't for the wild pigs!

Redwoods

Great campground but was not able to pick a campsite before I got there,First come first served. Luckily I was there with my son the first night and was able to pick a great site at 9:00 a.m. the next morning. the big downside is slit of the sites are walk in, you park your car and have to bring your tent, cooler and everything else up a dirt path, for $85 dollars a night? They have showers and bathrooms, but way to far away from each other. Beautiful but not worth the money.

3 days 2 nights

Good family camping. Restrooms and showers were clean and available. Enjoyed a nice hike, there is poison oak on the trails but they are well maintained.

Beautiful but pricey

Ventana Campground is nestled among a gorgeous Redwood forest. I stayed at campsite 38 and a small creek went right through my campground and ran off onto a small waterfall. I slept like a log every night listening to the sound of the flowing creek. However, the campground is part of a resort and although the showers and bathrooms were always very clean it was a very costly campsite. The sites are also pretty close together. I stayed for four nights and had only one night of peace and quiet. I think you can probably find much better sites inside the park but Ventana is a nice option for a reservable site and a pretty campground.

I Could Live Here

Truly one of the most beautiful places I have ever camped. The stars are out of this world, the Milky Way spans the entire sky.

We stayed 2 nights but could have stayed many more. We did have raccoon visitors each night but as long as you keep your belongings secure it’s no issue.

We went night bathing at the Esalen Institute which was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. Highly recommend trying to coincide your trip with their night bathing they open to the public every so often. It’s from 1-3am and is unlike anything I’ve ever done before. It’s clothing optional. We saw a constant stream of shooting stars.

Very Unhappy

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.

Glamping Approved

This place is nestled in the Carmel Valley and decently secluded. We booked a luxury gazebo situation which came with a queen bed (heated mattress) a fire pit and your own propane grill. There are areas for tents and RV’s as well and priced accordingly. The restrooms and showers are super clean and the staff is great. There is a heated pool and various hiking trails to keep you occupied. The only downfall is you’re a little close to other campers. You don’t get much space/privacy but it’s not too bad. I would come back for sure.

Pretty but lacks privacy.

This site has showers, water, bathrooms and trash bins. There are a lot of sites and I reserved mine to guarantee a spot as it does fill up. It has beach access that is easy to get to and is very beautiful! The sites do not really have any boundaries between them and I could see everyone’s site. Definitely could use some shrubs or trees so each site isn’t in full view of Each other.

Hot

Beautiful weather! Nice campground.fire pit and grill. Trees all around. Latrine.

Amazing

Very beautiful. Pricey. Fresh.

Nice hiking trails

The campground has well spaced spots nice bathrooms but horrible pay showers, definitely bring your shower shoes. The rv spots have electric hookups but no water or sewer. Very warm in summer no fires allowed. If you are looking to explore the caves March or October is when they are fully open. The park gets quite busy on weekends, parking lots at the trails are usually full by 10am, make sure you get an early start.

Beautiful rock formations and caves

Summer is not the best time to go. It gets hot and you can’t have fires I went in late June and it was bearable to do an early hike, but bat caves may be closed in summer. That said the nights were beautiful full of stars and warm. They have a pool that will be full of kids but feels really refreshing after a hot hike. There was a lot of wildlife. Some sites are close together, but not all so check them carefully. There were big Oaks in most campsites that offer some shade. The bathrooms were fine, but the showers really needed some help.

Beautiful redwoods

This is a private campground and a little pricey compared to public campgrounds, but quite reasonable compared to staying in a hotel in the area. Location is great with nearby hiking or beach going. The bathrooms were clean and slightly nicer than usual, but I’ve been to other private campgrounds with better bathrooms. Most sites are close together, but a few are nicely separated, so pick carefully.

Big

Awesome park very big and trails and track for all experience levels been riding this place since I was a kid and pretty packed on weekend now days but trails have been better maintained

Lots of Shade and Easy Access to the Coast

We were able to get a site without any problems during the weekend. The site was large and there were TONS of sites and loops. The redwoods gave tons of cover and space to set up hammocks. 

You can walk over and see McWay Falls on the path. You are also within walking distance to the beach as well. This site is one of the largest in the park so it is usually pretty packed but we happened to go when there were rockslides on the 1 so it was easy to find a spot. 

There were full bathrooms and trash receptacles all around the park. There are raccoons and small critters in the area so keep your food stored properly. It is also a large campground with lots of traffic so make sure that your belongings are stored and not laying around.

Great for Hot Days and Batty Nights

This campground was perfect for a large group camping trip! We were there during the week so it was pretty quiet and we had free range to play at night in the area. 

The group sites were large enough to fit a group of 15-20 and were spaced far apart enough to have your own space. There was shade and great parking spots. There was trash receptacles scattered around the area, and there were were bathrooms easily accessed. 

The hiking was filled with incredible views and there were plenty of spaces to climb and have stunning views for a day in the park. 

The general store and pool was perfect after a long day of hiking. 

Make sure you check out the bat caves and keep your food stored properly, little critters do roam the campground.

Oh Kirk Creek... you da bess

My favorite campground in America. Seriously. Nothing but wonderful memories here and friendly groundskeepers. If you show up late, all spots are taken and you have to take one of the walk-in sites, make sure to tip the managers! Amazing views of the ocean and a great beach to relax on and stare at the wild surf of Big Sur. Also INCREDIBLE star gazing when the moon is down. Lots of whale and seal sightings, especially Humpbacks. Great sunsets. Make sure to bring everything you need since all this place really has is outhouses.

Tent camping site 89

This site was less then ideal yet worked out in the end. It’s a bit windy from 4-8 pm. We were here in June. The bat show in the evening was great. Close to the beach. Ground was in even yet close to the bathroom and had its own water spout.

Pricey glamping in an amazing Redwood forest

I have always end up here every time I have visited Big Sur because the public campgrounds in the area are always booked out, but this has to be one of my favorite place that I have ever camped. The setting is 10/10 and is probably one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring places I could think of pitching a tent. There is something truly special about sleeping underneath a giant redwood forest, and this grove of trees is nothing short of amazing. 

The camping experience aside, Ventana is by far the most expensive campground I have ever stayed in. This is partly due to the fact that it's owned by the luxury Ventana Resort up the hill, and also simply because it's Big Sur where camping is pricey even at the public campgrounds. I get that Big Sur is extremely popular, but there becomes a certain point where the price tag for a simple campsite becomes outrageous. I feel that Ventana is more or less taking advantage of campers in that respect, baking on people willing to pay any price just to be able to camp in Big Sur, especially when every other option is booked. 

Bu with the price tag, you get to camp in a beautiful setting that is very well maintained, that has probably the nicest/cleanest camp bathroom I have ever seen. Seriously, the bathrooms are actually pretty nice and they have showers. (Pro tip: Use the bathrooms in the lower loop because they have individual single rooms with showers where you can be alone. The bathrooms in the upper loops have showers in the shared bathroom space.) Firewood and shower tokens can be purchased from the host, and they sometimes even drive around in golf carts to your site with wood and tokens so you don't even have to leave your site. I will note one slightly frustrating thing about this campground: while you can reserve ahead of time, you can't choose your site specifically. But what you can do is write a comment in the reservation and request a specific area and that has usually worked for me. Some of the campsites are kind of close together with shared parking, but it has never been issue. 

All in all, I loved camping at Ventana/Big Sur. I just wish I didn't have to spend so much to do so.

Great place close to town

Great sites. Good views. Very quiet. Lots of wildlife to see. Good bass fishing. B

RV campground. No tent sites

Pinto Lake is a small, but popular rv campground. It's a pretty lake. Nice view. Popular local fishing spot. Paddle boat rentals during the summer. There's no market, but there's one within walking distance just up the road, as well as Safeway about a mile toward town off Airport Blvd. The bathrooms are iffy. No hiking trails, but if you drive up Green Valley Rd about a mile, you'll find a second Pinto Lake Park run by Santa Cruz County where there's a hiking trail along that end of the lake, as well as a disc golf course, playground, and a newly installed pump track. (No campground at the County side. They are two different parks).

My favorite campground of the Monterey Bay

Mount Madonna County Park has 4 campgrounds. I've been camping in this park since the late 70s. I've seen some changes over the years…ahem…decades. There's something for everyone here, RVers, tenters, and those who want to rent tent cabins. There are plenty of trails to hike, as well as equestrian trails. No bikes on trails though.

There are several micro climates in this area and temps can vary, besides our weather varies from day to day.

There are trails offering views of the Santa Clara Valley, and trails offering views of the Monterey Bay. The park is above the fog line (most of the year). We don't get rain in the summer here. The park is situated at the County lines of Santa Clara County and Santa Cruz County and is part of the Santa Clara County Parks system.

No stores or markets in the park, but you can easily run into town, either Watsonville or Gilroy. It's slightly closer to Watsonville where you will find a gas station/market on 152 (Currently a Valero), or go into Gilroy on 152 for Safeway and more.

There's a small cabin (ranger's station) with a history exhibit and the white reindeer up from the kiosk. My favorite campground in the park is the Tan Oak campground at the top and through the day use area. There are plenty of Geocaches on the trails.

The bathrooms are generally clean. I say generally because I prefer the off season when I have the campground to myself and the bathrooms are super clean, but when the campground is full, like any public bathroom they can need more attention. (Or maybe people just need to clean up after themselves) I've never used the showers, nor the tent cabins. I like the sites because overall they are separated by trees so you don't feel as crowded as more open campgrounds.

Despite signage warning of mountain lions, I have never encountered a single one in all the years of camping here. I've had raccoons and skunks (so lock up your food and belongings), turkeys and deer.

Weekends, especially a holiday weekend such as Memorial Day weekend, can be full. (Not my favorite) I have also stayed for the 4th of July when it fell midweek and had the campground (Tan Oak) literally to myself.

Leashed pets are allowed (2 per site) and 2 cars and 8 people per site.

Santa Clara County Gem

Beautiful county park in the redwood forest of the coastal range. Varied sites and multiple campgrounds make for a choice option for everyone. We’ve stayed here twice and enjoyed it both times.

Beautiful campground

Easy access to water (creek) and firewood. Definitely a lot of mosquitoes, but once the fire kicks in they scatter. Not much hammocking options. Go with a tent.

Great campsite, greater scenery

The drive to the campsite was very nice, driving alongside of a hill and taking in the scenic valley that it's located in. The campsite itself was spacious, equipped with clean and cold drinking water for consumer use, garbage disposal within arms reach, and well maintained, clean restrooms and shower rooms. Campsite staff was great and very helpful, also selling firewood and ice if campers needed it. Walking down from the campground is the river where everyone can swim for day use. My only complaint is the park rangers who made up rules out of nowhere such as kicking everyone out of the day use area an hour before it's supposed to be used and other nonsense. Aside from that, my friends and I enjoyed a great camping trip!

First to Review
Real Interesting

A friend and I stayed here for a night while heading south on the I5. Super interesting campground, bathrooms seemed clean, had showers, hookups, decently tidy campground. They have an agricultural museum there. Which would have been cool to actually spend some time and check out but we just saw the 100+ tractors and agricultural equipment on the way in and out of there.