Big Sur is among the world’s most beautiful places to pitch a tent. The problem: Everyone knows it, and campground reservations often fill months in advance. Though it isn’t immune to crowds or filling up, Andrew Molera State Park
is your best bet for an eleventh-hour trip because you have to walk a third of a mile (a deterrent for many) to the 24 tent sites, and it doesn’t take reservations. The campground is also a short hike from a 2-mile-long beach (pictured) and hiking trails, including the storybook 8.4-mile roundtrip Ridge Bluff loop
, a coastal route so stunning it’s as if you’ve been transported to Narnia. But this fantasy is real. Dream Big!
Andrew Molera State Park is 20 miles south of Carmel on Hwy. 1. Arrive at the park by 10 a.m. for your best bet at getting a campsite. No dogs.