As the spring rolls by and the snow melts, some of us turn our heads from the mountains to the ocean. Summer brings with it some much-desired sunny skies and some beautiful swells for surfing. Whether you are heading home from the mountains or just looking to escape the daily grind of the big smoke, there has never been a better time to go and explore the coast.
Before going through the basics needed for a successful coast camping trip, it is good to think about your destination. Whether looking towards the home shores or abroad, there are plenty of campsites near to the coast. Here are some of my favourite destinations.
South West France
A firm favourite: a South West of France camping trip always symbolised the end of winter. Packing up the car after the last chair lift had closed, dropping off the house keys to the landlord and heading to Hossegor before heading back to England was our ritual.
In the springtime, Hossegor is blessed with great swells for surfing and has some great coastal walks. Away from the beach, there are plenty of activities for everyone. Head to the lake for some stand-up paddle boarding, jump off the bridge, just relax around town in the local bars or head to Biarritz, just a 30-minute drive away.
Capbreton Beach, south of Hossegor
Due to the famous beach breaks in the region, surfers come from all over the world to stay in Hossegor. This has resulted in an abundance of campsites in the south of France. Although there are plenty of campsites to choose from, we'd recommend booking a plot before you turn up to save yourself some hassle.
North Devon, especially around Croyde and Woolacombe, is a favourite for many surfers and campers alike and has a variety of good campsites. Croyde has plenty of campsites in close range to the village, with many overlooking the beach. Woolacombe, just around the headland, is livelier but the campsites are further out of town.
On the south coast of Devon, there is a back to basics campsite near Bantham, the site has no electricity but will allow you to BBQ, which is rare to find in coastal campsites. Bantham has some great walks and adventures to be had, including a tractor ride to the Burgh Island for a pub lunch.
The biggest benefit of camping in Cornwall is the short commute from the north coast to the south, making it a great place for a coastal road trip. Start at the furthest western point of Cornwall’s north coast; Gwithian is situated just outside of St Ives and has a great selection of campsites and long open beaches to explore. When in Gwithian, make a trip into St Ives and head to The Stoop pub, which has been open since the 1300’s.
If you are looking for somewhere with more nightlife, Newquay is a great stop with some lively pubs and bars about. Venturing further east on the north coast, you can find the small town of Bude, with some great campsites that overlook Widemouth Bay, offering some great views, surf and leisurely walks.
Scotland is a fantastic place for camping; it's somewhere where you can truly escape the crowds and even the campsites. Head into the wilderness and pitch up a tent; there are vast stretches of coastal areas where you can camp without getting disturbed. Please note that although wild camping may seem attractive to many people, it is challenging, and a campsite needs to be tactically selected.
For those who favour the luxuries of a campsite, there are plenty to choose from. Just a short distance from Edinburgh, the Scottish east coast is full of campsites, just off the beach and ideal for coastal walks. A favourite campsite of ours is found in Thurso, on the northern coast of Scotland. Thurso Bay Camping Park is literally just on the beach and is home to a world-famous surf spot.
Now you have an idea where you are looking to go, it is time to look at the essentials you need for your camping trip.
Choosing the right tent is vital, especially in the UK’s changeable climate. Although summer brings in some sunny skies, our weather is ever-unpredictable - nobody wants to wake up in a puddle of water! Spending a little extra on a high-quality tent is strongly recommended, to keep you dry if the weather turns.
When it comes to a good night's sleep, your sleeping bag is a maker or breaker. With a wide range of sizes and weights, there is a perfect sleeping bag for you in our range. The trick is to get the right weight and insulation for your chosen time of camping. For a camping trip during spring or autumn a three-season bag will do great. In the height of summer, a lightweight sleeping bag will be adequate.
It is important to consider the insulation used; a down sleeping bag will be more compactable, making it easier to transport, and is warmer than synthetic, but can lose its effectiveness when in wet conditions. Synthetic bags are not as compactable or as warm as down, but the insulation maintains the warmth once they are wet and are relatively cheaper than down sleeping bags.
A thermal flask is a perfect way to keep your drink as warm or cold as you like. They are perfect for keeping your tea warm throughout the day, whilst on a coastal hike, or sipping your morning coffee on the beach.
For many a mini stove is not an essential, spending your time in the local pub isn’t a bad way to get away from your campsite or avoid a downpour! But if you want to spend as little time around crowds and experience real camping, then a mini stove is a vital piece of equipment to get you cooking.
A touch or a headlamp is an essential for any camper and something we've all learnt the hard way! Being lost in the dark when it's cold out is not fun; a simple thing like a head touch can save you time, warmth and frustration. A good touch for inside the tent is also a great addition.
If you’re going on a coastal camping trip, beach attire is a no brainer, but some people overlook some of the basics for when you are around the campsite. A good insulated jacket is great for around the campfire and when the inevitable British weather rolls on in. Bringing a good pair of walking boots or shoes is always a great idea. Whether you are on a coastal hike, or just walking to the local pub, walking boots will give you fantastic support and comfort.