Posts Tagged ‘Toddlers’

The Big Sur running past our campsite

Rocks are such fun

We made our annual pilgrimage to Pfeiffer this weekend. It’s a gorgeous campground that quickly became a family favourite and regular summer ritual after we first visited in 2009.  Generally, we like to spend the summer exploring new parts of North California, but sometimes it’s nice to return to a beautiful and familiar spot, especially when it’s so particularly suited to camping with small children.


What makes this park so special?

It’s a beautifully, but unobstrusively, maintained state park  with some of the nicest campsites we’ve encountered.  Most of the plots are relatively large, and some are so secluded that you can forget you’re in a campground while still having the convenience of car camping and state park amenities (toilets, showers, running water, trash cans etc).

Location, Location, Location

Set in a sheltered valley on the Big Sur it has a wonderful, shallow river for kids to play in and lots of open forest space to explore. Plus there are beautiful beaches, pony-riding and hiking nearby. Lots to keep the kids occupied.

Things to be aware of when camping with kids

1. The dust. Pfeiffer in the summer is exceptionally dusty and small children will end up covered in dirt.  Luckily, there are coin operated showers on site and the Big Sur river to clean off in, but be sure to dress your kids in old clothes.

2. The individual campsites vary considerably in size, exposure and privacy.  Generally, the sites in the center of each loop are fairly open and sometimes quite noisy on the weekends.  If you like peace and seclusion, opt for one of the many sites on the edge of the campground or along the road.  While most of the sites are shaded, those in the direct vicinity of the campstore are very exposed and can get brutally hot during the day.  On the whole, however, the sites at Pfeiffer are significantly larger than those encountered at many state parks and can comfortably fit two families (although note there is an 8 person per site maximum).

3. Some sites sit on the banks of the Big Sur with direct access to the river. We loved this, but if you’re nervous about having your kids so close to the water, choose a site deeper in the woods. Incidentally, we’ve never had any trouble with mosquitos near the river, but it’s probably worth bringing some repellent if you react badly to bites.


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