Campground and RV Parks Around Monterey and Carmel

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    Campground and RV Parks Around Monterey and Carmel

    Camping at the Monterey Fairgrounds
    Adapted from Google Street View

    If you're traveling a recreational vehicle and looking for a place to stay close to Monterey and Carmel, you may be surprised how few places you'll find to do that. In fact, the Monterey Peninsula is woefully short of places to camp, and it gets worse if you're looking for a place to camp in a tent.

    You could spend a lot of time searching around for non-existent campgrounds and RV parks, but you don't have because I did it for you. This short list is actually the result of hours of online research.

    Camping in Monterey

    Veteran's Memorial Park is in the forest and only a mile from downtown Monterey. The campground has 40 campsites. Thirty of them can accommodate trailers up to 21 feet long. Hikers and bicyclists are welcome, too. Sites have a table and barbecue pit. Water faucets are nearby, and they have restrooms and showers.

    It's first-come, first-served basis only, with no reservations. You will probably want to get there early to snag a spot.Site 35 is particularly desirable at Veteran's Memorial, an isolated spot that may make you feel like you're in your own private campground.

    Monterey County Event Center RV Park is located — as the name suggests — at the county fair center.  It's closed when the fairgrounds is in use for other events (dates are listed on their website). The rest of the year, you'll find full hookups there with 30 and 50 amp electrical, showers and WiFi. Pets and kids are welcome, and there's no size limit on your RV. They do not have tent sites. 

    Monterey Pines RV Campground is a U.S. Military campground, located near the Fairgrounds. It's open to active and retired military personnel and civilians who work for the Department of Defense (DoD) or Nonappropriated Fund (NAF).

    Don't let the name fool you. The Salinas/Monterey KOA is far from the town on US Hwy 101. Likewise, the Santa Cruz/Monterey KOA is north of Monterey in Castroville.

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    Camping in Carmel and Carmel Valley

    Campsite at Carmel by the River RV Park
    Carmel by the River RV Park

    Carmel by the River RV Park is located off Carmel Valley Road about 7 miles from Monterey and 4.5 miles from Carmel. They have 30 RV spots and take reservations. They can handle RVs up to 40 feet long, but they do not allow tent camping. They are pet-friendly and have hookups, showers, cable TV, and WiFi.

    Saddle Mountain Ranch is 5 miles west of CA Hwy 1 and located on 89 acres of forest land. They can accommodate vehicles up to 40 feet and have full hookups, showers, and a swimming pool. Pets are allowed with a fee. They recommend making reservations early because they fill up fast. They also have tent sites and cabins.

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    More Camping in the Monterey Area

    Marina Dunes RV Park Near Monterey
    Courtesy of Marina Dunes

    Marina Dunes RV Resort is just a few miles north of Monterey and off CA Hwy 1. It has tons of amenities, full hookups and tent sites, as well as some cottages for rent. The resort also has a restaurant.

    East of Monterey is the Laguna Seca Recreation Area, which offers RV camping year round. It's adjacent to the Laguna Seca Raceway and particularly busy when there's a race at the track. You can check the raceway schedule at their website. Their RV sites are also suitable for popup tents with no stakes, and they have 70 non-hookup sites suitable for all tents which are available April through September. They take reservations up to one week before arrival. After that, it's first come, first served.

    Depending on where you're going, you can also find places to camp south of Monterey in Carmel. Check these Big Sur Campgrounds. Or you could look for a Campground Near Santa Cruz, which is north of Monterey.

    Rating Monterey Camping

    When we polled our readers about camping in Monterey, almost 14,000 of them responded. These are their favorites in order of votes: Carmel by the River (33%), Marina Dunes, Laguna Seca and Monterey Fairgrounds (each at 17%) and Saddle Mountain RV at 14%.