Camping in the UK has never been so beautiful... If you want to get away this summer, with friends or family, and fancy getting back to nature, why not experience the joy of coastal camping? There are a wealth of beautiful coastal campsites for you to explore, with campsites in Cornwall, Wales, Yorkshire, Scotland and Devon each offering idyllic spots for your summer staycation.
From surf-friendly campsites in Cornwall to family fun holiday parks in North Yorkshire, each coastal campsite offers stunning sea views for a fraction of the price, plus facilities and activities (either on-site or nearby) to suit a range of outdoor interests including mountain biking, hiking, coasteering and stargazing.
Coastal camping can have positive effects on your general wellbeing, too—all that healthy fresh air, rugged scenery and exciting beach-side fun can be a powerful mood booster. It's the perfect antidote to the stresses of work and daily life.
In fact, if you enjoy camping anyway and love the idea of waking up to the sound of the ocean each morning, there's no better way to kick back and enjoy the slow life this summer than by heading to a sun-drenched coastal campsite.
While you're packing, check out our guide to the best beach tents (for instant shade and wind protection), the best camping cool boxes (for chilled refreshments) and the best camping chairs (for a comfy perch at any time).
How to book a beach campsite stay
Each of the sites featured in our beach campsites guide combine breathtaking views with plenty of outdoors activities to do, from scenic walks to rock climbing. After something more exhilarating? Then you're in luck, as many coastal campsites offer access to beaches where water sports such as snorkelling, surfing and jet ski touring are popular.
Which campsite by the beach is best for you depends on what you’re looking for, but before you do anything you should check what months the site is open. Some sites close down in autumn/winter, while more sheltered beach campsites open year-round. These are great for more atmospheric and rugged autumn camping.
If you're planning on camping with family or several friends, check if your preferred site is kid-friendly or open to large groups of people. In our experience, some campsites don't permit multiple groups of friends and families to camp together. This may sound mean, but it's to avoid having rowdy groups together in big pockets of the camping site, as the noise may disturb other campers.
Also explore the on site facilities (showers, toilets and cooking areas), and whether advance booking is needed for specifics such as an electric hook up. You'll often find that it is, as more of us are now car camping and investing in some pretty luxurious and extensive camping setups.
Nearby pubs and restaurants are another tick in the box for the best beach campsites, as you can pop over for a lunch or evening meal, which saves you from having to cook each day of your camping holiday – not that it isn't fun whipping up meals on a camping stove.
You can then get on with the business of relaxing and recharging, surrounded by nature and within earshot of the rolling waves. Sound ideal? In that case, read on for our pick of the best campsites by the beach and what each of them can offer you...
Campsites by the beach: Three Cliffs Bay, Gower
- Where: Gower Peninsula, Wales
- Best for: sandy beaches, coastal foraging, rambling
- Average price of pitch: £25 (tent), £30 (caravan/motor home)
- Open: 29 Mar - 4 Nov
Kicking off our campsites by the beach guide is Three Cliffs Bay Holiday Park on the south coast of the Gower Peninsula. With wrap-around panoramic views, this beach campsite will take your breath away. The Bay takes its name from the three limestone cliffs that jut out into it, which you can overlook from the Three Cliffs Bay Holiday Park.
The five-star family-run site welcomes campers with tents, caravans and motor homes. There's free Wi-Fi, disabled facilities, baby change facilities, and a shop selling cakes and pasties.
This Welsh coastal campsite is pet-friendly, as is the beach. The path down to the beech is steep so you'll need decent walking shoes, but there is a longer, less steep path if you'd prefer.
Looking to venture beyond the beach? Go rambling along the 35-mile Gower Way, which forms part of the Wales Coast Path. Or perhaps try pony trekking or visit some of the nearby historical sites including Weobley Castle.
To maintain its tranquillity, the Three Cliffs Bay Holiday Park is exclusively for families and couples. There’s a 10pm quiet rule, making this the perfect place to relax after an adventure-packed day.
Visit the website for Three Cliffs Bay Holiday Park
Ocean Pitch, Croyde, Devon
- Where: Croyde, Devon
- Best for: surfing, body boarding, stand up paddle boarding
- Average price of pitch: £33 (2 adults with a car)
- Open: 19 April - 30 Sept
Ocean Pitch is the ultimate beach campsite for surfers and adrenaline junkies. Nestled just 50 yards from the action-packed beach of Croyde Bay, you can’t get much closer to golden white sand than this.
There are on site toilets and showers, as well as a Snack Shack serving hot drinks, breakfasts and lunches. There are also several electrical hook ups, plus free Wi-Fi, and new glamping pods if you'd rather just arrive, check in to a pod then go surfing.
If you’re looking for an action-packed adventure by the sea, we recommend pitching up at Ocean View beach campsite in April or late summer (Aug-Sept) when the beach is less crowded and the surf is picking up.
Visit the website for Ocean Pitch
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Treen Farm Park, Penzance, Cornwall
- Where: Penzance, Cornwall
- Best for: beach hopping, cycling, fishing, clifftop coastal walks
- Average price of pitch: £17 (2 adults)
- Open: 28 Mar - 31 Oct
If you’re not much of a planner, Treen Farm, situated three miles from Lands End and sitting above Porthcurno Bay, is a great coastal campsite for you as no advance bookings are taken; just turn up and pay for a pitch on the spot.
There's a touch of nostalgia about this laidback campsite by the beach, with its oldschool coin/token operated showers. There's a shop on site, and the nearby Logan Rock Inn serves hot food daily.
What Treen Farm has in abundance is ocean panoramas: the campsite offers enviable views from Lizard Peninsula to the Isles of Scilly.
Fishing trips run from Penzance, and nearby Porthgwarra – where Poldark's filmed – is home to climbing spots such as Gwennap Head. The historic Minack theatre is a 15-minute walk away.
Visit the website for Treen Farm
Whitby Holiday Park, Whitby, North Yorkshire
- Where: Whitby, North Yorkshire
- Best for: rock pooling, fossil hunting, crabbing
- Average price of pitch: £19 (2 adults)
- Open: 1 Mar - 30 Nov
Located a short drive away from Robin Hood’s Bay, the cliff-top Whitby Holiday Park overlooks the National Trust-owned Saltwick Bay and offers views of the North Yorkshire coastline. At low tide the bay is perfect for rock pooling and fossil hunting, and the Cleveland Way Coastal Path is accessible directly from the park.
Whether you choose to venture further afield – the North Yorkshire Moors are a short drive away – or spend your time swimming in Saltwick Bay, the campsite is equipped with a shop, cafe and bar to ensure you're well looked after.
Large groups are welcome, and a playground and family club ensures there's plenty for the little ones. There’s free Wi-Fi, and laundry facilities too. Limited electrical hook ups are available so advance booking is recommended for those with camper vans.
Visit the website for Whitby Holiday Park
Shell Island, Gwynedd, North Wales
- Where: Gwynedd, North Wales
- Best for: rugged camping, big walks, sweeping clifftop views
- Average price of pitch: £16 (2 adults)
- Open: Until 31 Oct
How could we write a guide to campsites by the beach without including this epic site? With 800 pitches across 300+ acres, Shell Island has a real community feel, which is enhanced by an on site restaurant and tavern. This campsite by the beach is open to campers with tents but doesn't allow caravans.
Shell Island is nestled in unspoilt countryside and has three bathing beaches. The main beach runs for six miles down to Barmouth and the two smaller beaches are available when the tide is out.
If fishing is more your thing, grab your tackle box and hire a boat to take you out to St Patrick’s Causeway, a 14-mile reef brimming with marine life.
The views are spectacular, and on a good day you can see from nearby Snowdonia all the way to Cardigan Bay. Online booking isn’t required for this coastal campsite, but it is recommended for weekends and holidays when the site gets busier.
Visit the website for Shell Island
Camusdarach, Arisaig, Scotland
- Where: Arisaig, Scotland
- Best for: panoramic coastal views, fishing, canoeing, wildlife cruises
- Average price of pitch: £25 (2 adults)
- Open: 1 April - 1 October
A small campsite with 42 pitches, Camusdarach sits between Arisaig and Mallaig in one of the most scenic parts of the Scottish Highlands. The site is open to tents and caravans, and there are laundry, disabled and baby changing facilities.
There’s also free Wi-Fi and the option to drop off your devices for charging if you’re not using one of the electric hook ups. The on site shop/takeaway sells tea, coffee and croissants, plus pizza in the summer months.
If you’re a keen photographer, we can’t recommend Camusdarach enough because of the wealth of wildlife that surrounds it year-round.
This coastal campsite is walking distance from three sandy beaches, from where you can swim and fish. It’s also possible to launch sea kayaks and small boats. Half or full day canoe and kayak hire is available if you don’t own a kayak.
Rainy days are accounted for, too: why not take in the views from Fort William to Mallaig, including the famous Glenfinnan viaduct, on board the Harry Potter train?
Visit the website for Camusdarach Campsite