Camping Calvert Style

Tradition has never really been a part of my family, so naturally we don’t have many. One of the few things that we would consider a family tradition is our annual camping trip. Every year for the last 10 years my brother and I pack up our families and go camping together in the summer. Both of our families look forward to the trip all year long.  The last two years have been the most memorable because of a place called Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.  It’s a beautiful mind blowing experience into nature. The fresh air scented with redwood trees, the wild animals and the exhilarating short hike to the deeper, calmer parts of the river  make this one of the most memorable experiences we, as a family, have ever had. The long road trip of 2-3 hours to get there is well worth it and filled with some amazing views. I learned about this place from a child hood friend. He and his wife have a family tradition of their own, going there year after year. Now we all share the tradition together celebrating a wonderful bonding experience with family and friends. I am so very grateful that they shared this place with me and I am more than happy to share my experience with you.

Here are some pictures from our last trip. Enjoy!

(Click on the images to enlarge)


Big Sur River


Feel like a climb?




Butterfly In Flight


Fearless Squirrels


Mama and Baby Deer


Gotta swim and climb to get up here.


Woo hoo!


Riding Inner Tubes Down the River


Lovin’ it!

Everyone always has a great time!


The Guys


The Girls


The Ladies


The Gents

After a Long Day of Playing in the River


Eating Together Back at Camp


Getting Ready to Roast Marshmallows


Some of the Boys Roasting Marshmallows


Toasty Camp Fire

Would you like to plan a trip like this for your family?

This should help you get started.

  • Booking for camp sites at Pfeiffer Big Sur is found at this link and, for the summer months, starts promtly at 8am on January 2nd. By 9am the whole park is usually fully booked for the entire summer so plan to get up early that day and pick your days and site before 8 so that you can check out as soon as they open. You can log in up to 10 minutes in advance to do this.
  • Be sure to pack accordingly. Pfeiffer Big Sur is near the ocean and on a river. It can get fairly cold at night even in the summer so be sure to check forecasted temperatures. Sleeping bags are made for a variety of temperatures check yours to make sure they are capable of handling the weather while you’re there. Here’s a great camping supply list to help you plan your gear.
  • Bring your own wood. You are not allowed to gather firewood from the forest. Wood is available for purchase on site but it is rather expensive and burns quickly. It’s best to bring your own if you can.
  • Pack your food in solid containers. There are wild animals at Pfeiffer Big Sur. Foxes and Raccoons will try to get to your food at night if you don’t secure it. Squirrels and birds will boldly come in the day and snatch any unattended food as well. Coolers with heavy rocks on top is sufficient.
  • Bring quarters for showers. If you plan to shower in the facilities available through out the park be sure to bring quarters.  You’ll get about 5-7 minutes per quarter and the water is nice and warm.
  • Bring toilet paper and hand soap. There are bathrooms available and while they are stocked with toilet paper they do run out. The bathrooms are not stocked with any kind of soap.




As you can tell by the map there are several places called “Big Sur” and a few called “Pfeiffer” in the area. There, however, is only one “Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park” so watch the signs carefully. Get directions from your house to Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park at this link.






If you can, take turns driving with someone else. The views on the way there, like the one in the picture below, are something not to be missed stuck behind the wheel. Having one person drive there and another drive back will allow both of you to fully enjoy the experience.

The Lodge

If you love nature and would just like the experience without actually camping, there is a lodge you can stay in on the grounds, but you’ll have to walk much farther to get to the good places by the river.

I hope you enjoyed this little tour of our family tradition.

Your Feedback is Welcome!

Please use the comment section below to leave feedback or to answer any of these questions:

  • Have you ever been to Big Sur?
  • Does your family ever go camping?
  • Do you know of other amazing places to camp?
  • Does your family have any other traditions that involve spending time out in nature?

One response

  1. Great photos. My family has done a lot of camping at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. For many years we did an annual trek to Big Sur. Hiking up the creek and jumping off the rocks into the water was always a highlight. It’s sort of funny looking at your photos. I think we have the same set of photos, just different people in them. For anyone that loves camping, this is a great place to go. And, for anyone that has never camped before, going here will get you hooked.

    January 23, 2013 at 4:10 pm

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