Camping vacations are one of the best ways of seeing Scotland. And it is certainly a very popular way of doing so: in the Dumfries and Galloway region where I live, it is said that 70% of visitors to the area stay at a camping ground, or holiday park, as they are often called in this part of the world.
Thanks to the more than 350 holiday parks scattered all over the country, Scotland camping vacations are very easy to organize and offer a wide variety of choices. That applies to the type of location as well as the level of quality you seek.
You may be content with a relatively simple site with the basic amenities, especially if you are undertaking your Scottish camping vacation in a motorhome.
If, on the other hand, you are travelling with a tent of whatever size and shape, you are more likely to want a camping ground that offers a greater range of facilities, in particular somewhere to wash yourself, your clothes and your dishes!
Another option for camping vacations in Scotland is of course to tow a caravan, and most parks are equipped to provide you with an electric hook up as well.
Finally, there is a more practical option if you are flying in from further afield and need to keep your baggage weight down with regard to equipment. Many Scottish holiday parks offer so-called static caravans.
"Room with a view"
These are basically fixed trailer homes, and can be very comfortable, depending on the standard you book. They often, though not always, come with an outstanding view, depending on the location.
For example, near us, on the coastal part of the A75 road to Dumfries – on a section that really reminds me of coastal drives in New Zealand where I grew up – there is a holiday park called Auchenlarie. It is perched on the hillside above the sea, so the static caravans are in rows like in a cinema or movie theatre, giving the occupants of each and every one a spectacular view across the water, right down to the Isle of Man and the Cumbrian (English) coast on a clear day, of which there are many. Within walking distance is a beautiful swimming spot we like to go to, and where we take friends visiting from abroad.
Camping vacations are ideal for outdoor activities
One of the reasons camping vacations are so popular in Scotland is that most holiday parks are located within easy distance of interesting attractions and activities.
Whether it is swimmimg (yes, swimming, as I just mentioned, we have great beaches and the Gulf Stream makes the water warm enough for water activities during much of the summer), hill walking, horse riding, cycling and mountain biking or fishing, camping vacations are a great way to enjoy these outdoor activities.
To help you choose the best places to stay, there are a number of good guides, such as the VisitScotland "Caravan & Camping", updated every year, as well as numerous informative websites.
Caravan and camping clubs also put out their own guides and operate websites, there are even online forums where members exchange tips, recommendations and experiences or ask questions about particular sites they are interested in.
And when "on the road", always keep an eye out for the "Thistle Commendation" symbol, awarded to holiday parks that maintain the highest standards.
Now, while camping vacations in Scotland generally involve staying at established camping grounds or holiday parks, if you find yourself in one of the many wilder parts of Scotland you may wish to – or be obliged to! – camp "wild".
This is allowed in Scotland, as long as you ask the owner of the land for permission to put up your tent or park your vehicle.
You might even find yourself invited to join in a hearty meal, if you're lucky, and this whole aspect of coming into close contact with the people of Scotland, whether owners of property or other people at holiday parks, is another thing that makes camping vacations an especially enjoyable way of seeing Scotland.
In the near future I will be adding pages that go into more detail on the possibilities the various parts of Scotland offer you for camping vacations, so be sure to bookmark this page and check it frequently for updates!