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Camping at Garrapata State Park

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General Overview

Garrapata State Park is a spectacular stretch of coastline located on California's famous Highway 1, just south of Carmel-by-the-Sea and north of Big Sur. Renowned for its scenic views, wildflowers, hiking trails, and beaches, Garrapata State Park is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. The park includes both beach and inland areas with the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Santa Lucia Mountains to the east.

Camping Information

Day Use: As of my last update, Garrapata State Park is primarily a day-use park, which means there are no official camping facilities within the park. Visitors can enjoy the park during daylight hours for activities such as hiking, wildlife viewing, photography, and beach access.

Overnight Camping: If you're looking to camp near Garrapata State Park, you will need to look for nearby campgrounds outside of the park. Some popular nearby camping options include:

  • Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park: Approximately a 30-minute drive to the south, offering family campsites.
  • Andrew Molera State Park: Less than 20 minutes to the south, has a trail camp for walk-in camping.
  • Private campgrounds: Various privately-owned campgrounds and RV parks are located in the region with different amenities and services.

Backcountry Camping: Backcountry camping might be available in the adjacent national forest land or wilderness areas subject to permits and regulations, so it's critical to research and plan accordingly.

Rules and Regulations

  • Fires: Beach fires may not be allowed or may be restricted to specific areas and require a permit. Always check current regulations before planning a fire.
  • Wildlife: Do not disturb wildlife and always maintain a safe distance. Feeding animals is prohibited.
  • Leave No Trace: Practice Leave No Trace principles to preserve the environment for others and wildlife.
  • Pets: Pets may have limited access to trails and beaches. Where allowed, keep them on a leash and clean up after them.
  • Permit Requirements: For certain activities or nearby camping, a permit may be required; always verify before your visit.

Safety Tips

  • Tides and Waves: The Pacific coastline can be treacherous with strong currents and sudden waves. Always stay alert.
  • Weather: Weather can change rapidly; bring appropriate clothing and gear.
  • Trails: Stay on designated trails to avoid poison oak and reduce erosion.
  • Emergency Preparedness: Cell service can be spotty, so plan ahead and inform someone of your itinerary.


Accessibility in Garrapata State Park may be limited as trails and beach access often involve uneven terrain. Check the official California State Parks website or contact park officials ahead of your visit for the most recent accessibility information.

Contact Information

Before heading out to Garrapata State Park for a day visit or to find nearby camping options, it is advisable to contact the California State Park system for the most current information on conditions and regulations:

California State Parks: www.parks.ca.gov Local Park Office: The contact number can be found on the state park's website or through directory inquiries.

Always ensure to have the latest information, as park conditions and regulations can change due to weather, wildlife, and maintenance considerations.

Map of Campgrounds in Garrapata State Park
Campgrounds in Garrapata State Park
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