If there is one overlooked region in California, it would definitely be Central Coast. You always hear talk of SoCal or Northern California, but never enough of this place! This is odd - after all, Central Coast is home to a great many things. Wineries? Check. Butterfly groves? Check. Dramatic bluffs and sceneries? Check. Beautiful beaches? Check! And when it comes to beaches, Pismo Beach reigns above all. Sprawling sand dunes, fantastic sunsets, surfing, and bodyboarding, you can enjoy them all here. No wonder why a lot of people love to camp out in Pismo Beach. Do you have an adventurer’s soul? Then check out the following top campsites in Pismo Beach, California.
1. North Beach Campground
If you want to camp closer to Pismo Beach, North Beach Campground might be the ideal campsite for you. It has direct beach access, although it’s not located on the beach itself. And while at first glance it looks mightily exposed, you can trust the surrounding dunes to keep the area sheltered from the winds. There are over 100 sites for tents and RVs but take note: there are no hookups available. On the bright side, there are showers and restrooms. Dogs are also allowed, as long as they’re leashed! North Beach Campground can get really busy during the height of summer as it’s extremely popular among families, so if you’re looking for a quieter place, you might be better off somewhere else.
North Beach Campground
Address: 399 S Dolliver St, Pismo Beach, CA 93449, United States
2. Pismo Creek RV Resort
Unlike other campgrounds near Pismo Beach that are hit or miss when it comes to RV hookups, Pismo Creek RV Resort doesn’t disappoint. Here, you can enjoy full hookup RV camping among many other amenities. There are more than 100 sites available, as well as a game hall and a clubhouse. Staying here is like being in a small community! The catch, however, is that this place is a private, members-only RV park. As a lifetime member, you can visit as often as you like, which makes the membership worth it, especially if you are deeply in love with Pismo Beach.
Pismo Creek RV Resort
Address: 98 S Dolliver St, Pismo Beach, CA 93449, United States
Website: Pismo Creek RV Resort
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 8am - 5pm; Sat: 10am - 3pm (closed on Sun)
3. Cerro Alto Campground
Located not far from Morro Bay is Cerro Alto Campground. It’s a popular base for hikers and adventurers who are in the midst of exploring more of the Inland Valley and the region of Central California Coast. From here, you can head down to the beaches to surf, go fishing, sail, or dive, while the trails can lead you deeper into the valley. Pitch a tent in one of the single-family sites or park your RV here. Ground amenities include tables and campfire grills. No need to worry about the sun - the entire campground is sheltered by sycamores, pines, and mixed oaks.
Cerro Alto Campground
Address: CA-41, Morro Bay, CA 93442, United States
Opening hours: Open 24 hours
Price: from 25 USD
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4. Pacific Dunes Ranch RV Resort
Are the campsites in Pismo Beach too crowded for your liking? Hey, don’t lose hope. There are more campsites just a short drive away. For instance, there’s Pacific Dunes Ranch RV Resort in nearby Oceano. The campground is minutes away from the beach and a network of trails that will lead you to some of the best overlooks in the entire Pismo Beach area. Pets are welcome but must be leashed, and each campsite can accommodate a maximum of six people. Activities here include basketball, horseback riding, surfing, sand sledding down the dunes, and beach fishing.
Pacific Dunes Ranch RV Resort
Address: 1205 Silver Spur Pl, Oceano, CA 93445, United States
Price: from 25 USD
5. Hi Mountain Campground
Pismo Beach is great, sure, but the highlands have a different but equally beautiful appeal as well. If you want to explore the Santa Lucia and Garcia wilderness areas, you can set up camp at Hi Mountain Campground and experience the full extent of the backcountry. It’s a small campground with only 11 sites available, so you can expect peace and solitude. Light up a bonfire at night, snuggle with your pet, and enjoy a nice picnic. The only catch is that if you stay at Hi Mountain, you need an Adventure Pass or a similar permit, both of which are available from the USDA Forest Service.
Hi Mountain Campground
Address: Forest Rte 30S11, Hi Mountain Lookout Rd, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420, United States
Price: from 5 USD
6. Santa Margarita KOA
Open year-round, Santa Margarita KOA is hailed as one of the best campgrounds in Central California. Nestled on tree-covered foothills, this rural haven is where you can enjoy completely dark skies as you settle in your secluded campsite. There are a variety of amenities available, such as a pool, WiFi access, firewood and propane, a horseshoe pit, a volleyball court, and even a nine-hole disc golf course. But the best way to enjoy your time here is to set up a bonfire, make some s'mores, and enjoy the great outdoors with friends and family.
Santa Margarita KOA
Address: 4765 Santa Margarita Lake Rd, Santa Margarita, CA 93453, United States
Website: Santa Margarita KOA
Opening hours: Open 24 hours
7. Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area
Another option in Oceano is Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area, often shortened to Oceano Dunes SVRA. This one is certainly unique, as it’s the only state park in California that allows you to drive down to the beach. You can take your pick-up truck, set up a nice and cozy nook, and watch the sunrise or sunset on the beach from your car, just like in the movies! You can also enjoy other recreational activities such as surfing, hiking, surf fishing, and camping. And speaking of camping, you can do so in the open dunes area. Campsites must be reserved ahead of your visit.
Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area
Address: Pier Avenue, Oceano, CA 93445, United States
Opening hours: 7am - 11pm (daily)
8. Oceano Campground
Pismo Beach has two campgrounds: there’s North Beach, and then there’s Oceano. Unlike the former, Oceano Campground is just a short distance away from the beach - you’ll have to walk a little before you hit the sand. And since trees shelter the area, you don’t have to worry about windy days and nights. Oceano is considerably smaller - there are only 42 campsites here - so you can rest assured that you won’t have to deal with overwhelming crowds as well. Some of these sites have RV hookups that come as a bonus. Because of the limited number of sites, reservations are required to stay at Oceano.
Address: 555 Pier Ave, Oceano, CA 93445, United States
Opening hours: 2pm - 8pm (daily)
9. Morro Bay State Park Campground
Morro Bay State Park has a great campground that you should check out if you long to camp near the water. It’s a rather large facility with about 120 campsites, some of which have RV and trailer hookups. It’s open all year round and comes with amenities such as picnic tables, restrooms, showers, and a dump station.
Morro Bay State Park Campground
Address: Main St, Morro Bay, CA 93442, United States
Website: Morro Bay State Park Campground
Price: from 35 USD
10. Lopez Lake Recreation Area
Trade the sea with a different water scenery at Lopez Lake Recreation Area. This place boasts a long shoreline that’s just perfect for a plethora of activities. It’s great to visit all throughout the year, thanks to the relatively warm climate Central Coast enjoys. There are about 350 campsites available, and you can choose to be near the lake or under the tall oaks. There are hookups and hot showers. If you don’t want to camp, there are also cabins in the Hawk area.
Lopez Lake Recreation Area
Address: 6800 Lopez Dr, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420, United States
Experience the classic beach town of Pismo Beach
Find out why Central Coast is one of California’s best-kept secrets. Once you’re done, we’re sure you’ll keep coming back to this underrated jewel on the United States’ west coast. For more of Pismo Beach, explore our website.
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