|| I've just returned from Andrew Molera State Park Campground in the Big Sur region of California. There are about 20 sites there, and all in all, it is the most relaxed place I've ever been camping. You essentially are camping in a meadow, with intermittent trees and tall grass pushed off to the side. It's easy to pitch a tent on the flat ground, and if you get a good site, you can put it in a perfect little nook in the shrubbery. There's only a bit of dust to be kicked up, and unfortunately, the grass is usually more dead than green (I've been here twice, once in the fall and once in late spring, and both times the grass looked nearly the same). The chipmunks are adorable, unafraid and everywhere. The crows aren't too shy either. At each campsite, however, the management provides a storage cupboard for your food (as well as a table and a nice-sized firepit). The rangers (as of May 2007) at this place are very relaxed, nice people. Check-out time is noon, according to the placard they hand to you to clip onto the table at your campsite, but when we asked the ranger as we checked in, she said there was no check-out time at all. We left at 9:00am, but I don't think she would have made us pay the extra day if we left at 2:00pm. The fee was 10 dollars per night, and the limit is 4 people per site. The campground is walk in, but it seems shorter than the 1/3 of a mile they claim it to be. We made a couple trips from the car to the site, but it wasn't that bad. It's really quite nice not to have the car right there. You can feel like you're backpacking...without the backpacking. The campground actually lies right off the side of a flat, well-developed trail, and if you continue to follow it past the campground for approximately 3/4 of a mile, you will be greeted by the confluence of the ocean and the Big Sur river. A truly lovely place, with bluffs you can walk up into and view the water from above. In May, the water feels great and looks even better. They say wading is unsafe, but you can go 50-100 f!
during low tide with the water to your waist without feeling any danger at all. The ocean floor doesn't drop out for a good ways into the water, and wading is especially fun right in the area where the river and the ocean meet (it doesn't go above your knees, and there are hardly any waves). However, going in further from this point and swimming past this long, safe area is a bit scarier, and from personal experience, I wouldn't recommend it. The water gets extremely choppy about 100 feet out from the shore, and swimming is difficult and exhausting. Surfers, however, didn't seem to mind. We saw more than one catch some low, easy waves during our 3 day stay. The poison oak is everywhere. I wouldn't even bother taking an allergic person, the risk is too great. Not to scare anyone; mostly it's all pushed off to the sides, and no one in our party got it or even came close to having enough contact to get it, but it always seems to be around. They do have spigots in the campground, but as of April 2007, you have to boil all the water that comes from them if you intend to drink it. Toilets are flush, and really, rather nice considering campsite toilets in general. No showers, no laundry, no general store within a couple miles. Often times the ranger station is unmanned and they put up the instructions for self-registration. It's first-come, first-serve, but I've never seen the place even come close to filling up. I met a man there who said he had been there several times, and he'd only ever seen it fill up once. So, your chances are very good. Usually, you'll be one of five occupied sites. This is a very good place for quiet and seclusion, to really get away. Personally, I just wish it was a little greener.
Received from Diana H for visit in May 2007
Site Number: None
Stay Again? YES