The BEST Loch Ness Camping Guide

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Camping at Loch Ness is the perfect way to escape the tourist crowds and experience first hand what makes this area such a magical place. Famous for its affectionately named “Nessie” monster, Loch Ness is a wonderful place to pitch up and enjoy some of the stunning walks in the region, take a boat trip along the Loch, or simply kick back and relax along Scotland’s most famous loch.

There are camping and caravan parks on both shores of Loch Ness, and you’ll also find some great camping options in the villages that dot the coastline.

We’ve created this guide to help you understand your options and make planning your holiday a bit easier.

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Loch Ness Camping

Despite its large size, there are only a handful of camping and caravan parks along the shores of Loch Ness. Of these, three stand out as your best option if you’re looking for a traditional campground to pitch up at.

These three are comprised of Loch Ness Bay outside of Drumnadrochit, Inver Coille Camping which only takes tents, and Loch Ness Shores Camping & Caravanning Club Site on the eastern shores of the loch. Outside of these, there are options for glamping pods, static caravan rentals, and a campsite just for walkers on the Great Glen Way.

Keep reading to see all of your options and reference the map below for exact locations of each campground.

Camping at Loch Ness

Check out the section below for details descriptions of each campground as well as information on bookings, location, and more.

A loch in the Scottish Highlands

Loch Ness Bay Camping (Borlum)

Camping Options: Caravan & Camper pitches, tent pitches
 Essential during summer months.

Our top pick for a camping & caravan park at Loch Ness is the Loch Ness Bay Campsite, also known as Borlum. This well run caravan park is located just outside of Drumnadrochit, one of the more popular villages on the loch. Loch Ness Bay can accommodate tents, motorhomes, caravans, and campervans, so whatever you’re travelling in there will be a pitch that should work for you here.

This campground has seen some excellent renovations in recent years and now has hardstanding pitches with electric hookups and drinking water, in addition to a large field to pitch your tent.

In our opinion, Loch Ness Bay enjoys the best location of any of the area campgrounds as you can easily walk into town for a bite to eat or to pick up something from the shops, while also being only 15 minutes walking from Urquhart Castle and the Loch Ness Exhibition Centre. There are also several walking paths in the immediate vicinity.

Facilities here area basic, but more than adequate, and include a clean shower/toilet block, WiFi throughout, a dishwashing area, and laundry facilities.

All things considered, Loch Ness Bay is our favorite camping & caravan park anywhere along Loch Ness!

Inver Coille Camping

Camping Options: Tent pitches and glamping pods
 Recommended. Click here to reserve.

For traditional tent camping on the shores of Loch Ness, check out the Inver Coille campsite. Located on the western shore of Loch Ness, this is a popular stop for those camping on the Great Glen Way, and is located approximately halfway between the villages of Fort Augustus and Invermoriston, just off the A82.

Although many will be disappointed that Inver Coille doesn’t welcome campervans or caravans, this is to the benefit of tent campers as you won’t have to deal with the inconveniences that often come with sharing pitches with those in campers. In addition to tent pitches there are also several unique glamping options available here. These include Geodomes, a wooden pod, and a timber tent.

This is a quiet and secluded place to pitch up, and we recommend Inver Coille for those looking to have easy access to some of the best villages on the shores of Loch Ness, without the hustle and bustle of a busy caravan site.

You’re a short distance from Fort Augustus here and in addition Inver Coille is also near several great walking routes as well as only three miles from the village of Invermoriston, which has a variety of services on offer.

The facilities at Inver Coille are basic, but well cared for and include a modern shower block and a fire pit area.

Inver Coille Camping at Loch Ness
Inver Coille Camping at Loch Ness.

Loch Ness Shores Camping & Caravanning Club Site

Camping Options: Caravan & Camper pitches
 Essential during summer months.

Situated on the less visited eastern shore of Loch Ness you’ll find the Loch Ness Shores Camping & Caravanning Club Site. Located on the edge of the small village of Foyers, this is a lovely place to pitch up for a few days. This is a much quieter side of the loch as you don’t have the main A road running past and there are far fewer towns and villages.

Loch Ness Shores is as you can guess from the name, right on the lovely shores of Loch Ness and has beautiful views out over the water. This is a Camping & Caravanning Club Site, but they welcome all campers here. Tents can be accommodated, although they primarily cater to campervans and motorhomes here.

Amenities include everything that you expect at a club site such as hardstanding pitches with electric hookups, well-maintained grassy areas, a small shop, and tidy shower/toilet blocks. There is also a small dock to launch your boat, and the fishing is top notch.

All things considered, if you’re travelling in a campervan and want to be right on Loch Ness, this is one of your best bets.

Campervan at Loch Ness Shores Camping & Caravan park

Dave’s Rest

Camping Options: Caravan & Camper overnight parking
 Not required

A unique option to spend the night in your camper or caravan near Loch Ness is known as Dave’s Rest. This isn’t a campground per se, but rather is a safe and convenient place to park your self-contained camper overnight just outside of Drumnadrochit. You’ll pay a very reasonable rate for access to the washrooms, drinking water, and chemical disposal point.

Tents aren’t permitted here, but there is a fun atmosphere for those on a longer touring trip, perhaps following the length of the Great Glen between Fort William and Inverness.

Amenities are incredibly basic here, but they do have shower facilities as well as the washrooms previously mentioned.

All in all, Dave’s Rest is a welcome option for campers looking to stay a night on their Loch Ness camping trip!

Campervan driving through Scotland.
Dave’s Rest is a great option to park your campervan overnight near Loch Ness

Abriachan Cafe & Campsite

Camping Options: Tent pitches for walkers/cyclists
 Not needed.

A unique and off the beaten path option for the adventurous campers out there is to spend a night at the lovely Abriachan Cafe & Campsite. Located just off the Great Glen Way, this campsite and cafe is primarily accessed via cycle and walking paths. Given this, Abriachan is aimed towards anyone looking for a quiet place to pitch up on their overnight walk or cycle trip. No touring caravaners to be found here!

The cafe is basic, but be sure not to leave without getting a slice of the wonderful lemon cake and a cup of tea.

Facilities are simple, but the warm welcome you’ll receive from the owners more than make up for what the site lacks in modern amenities.

This is camping at Loch Ness and in the Scottish Highlands at its best and a great chance to meet some wonderful locals and connect with the Highland spirit!

Camping Pod Heaven

Camping Options: Camping Pods

Another unique ‘camping-style’ accommodation option at Loch Ness is known as Camping Pod Heaven. Situated in a lovely wooded area above Loch Ness’ western shore you’ll find this simple but thoughtful camping pod campsite. There are no pitches for your tent or campervan here, but rather individual camping pods that are equipped with basic mattresses, a small heater, and access to a washroom block.

You’ll need to bring everything else that you would need when camping, such as a cooker, torch, sleeping bag, and any other essential you’d like to have.

There are some basic picnic tables at Camping Pod Heaven along with free WiFi throughout the property, but other than that the main attraction here is the beautiful natural surroundings.

They do offer a pick up/drop off service if you’re coming from Inverness, a nice feature if you’re arriving to the area by train or airplane.

Loch Ness Glamping

Camping Options: Glamping Pods

Located on the grounds of the Great Glen Bed & Breakfast you’ll find six beautiful glamping pods that comprise Loch Ness Glamping. Located west of Drumnadrochit but still within easy reach of the western shores of Loch Ness, this is a wonderful place to spend a few nights if you’re ready for a break from sleeping on the ground!

The glamping pods here are very well appointed with small kitchenettes, underfloor heating, and a BBQ area complete with a picnic table. You can also splurge a bit on the ‘Posh Pod’ which includes a fully equipped kitchen, flat screen tv, and en-suite bathroom.

We like the location at Loch Ness Glamping since you have easy access to both Loch Ness as well as Glen Affric with its miles of walking and cycling trails through a beautiful Caledonian forest.

Urquhart Castle at Loch Ness

Loch Ness Highland Resort

Camping Options: Glamping Pods.
 Essential. Click here to reserve.

If you’re interested in being in one of the lovely towns that dot the shores of Loch Ness, then take a look at the Loch Ness Highland Resort in Fort Augustus. Unfortunately, this is a static caravan rental park so you won’t be able to pitch your own tent or stay in your campervan here.

You will however be able to enjoy one of the stylish and well-appointed glamping pods at the Loch Ness Highland Resort, situated at the far south end of Loch Ness. This is the perfect place to stay if you want to be able to walk to shops, restaurants, and pubs in Fort Augustus while still having a relaxed, camping-vibe stay.

Glamping pods here can accommodate either two or four people depending on the specific pod, and all feature a small but functional kitchenette as well as full washroom. There are televisions as well, and the kitchenettes include a microwave, kettle, and small refrigerator.

The amenities here are also top notch and include a small shop, restaurant, childrens play area, and free WiFi throughout.

We recommend the Loch Ness Highland Resort if you’re looking to get out of your tent or camper for a night and enjoy a bit more luxury conveniently located right in Fort Augustus.

Looking for more camping & caravan parks in the area?

For those willing to drive a bit, you’ll find many more great options just outside of the Loch Ness area. Some of our helpful camping guides for the region will help you find a great pitch for your next trip:

  • Inverness Camping Guide: Heading north from Loch Ness towards Inverness will bring many more opportunities to camp. This is a great option if you’d also like to see some of the sights in the capital of the Highlands.
  • Fort Augustus Camping Guide: Want to stay near Fort Augustus at the southern end of Loch Ness? Check out this guide to see all your options.
  • Fort William Camping Guide: At the southern end of the Great Glen you’ll find the popular tourist town of Fort William. There are many great campgrounds here all within driving distance of Loch Ness. You can even camp right at the base of Ben Nevis!

Wild Camping

Wild camping is an essential part of accessing the outdoors in Scotland and a very common practice in the Highlands and Loch Ness region. Several of the walking routes in the area have good wild camping options, although there are some specific rules to consider.

We’ve compiled an overview of Loch Ness wild camping below to give you a sense of whether this makes sense for your trip.

Storm clouds over Loch Ness

Wild Camping at Loch Ness

Wild camping should only be considered by those who are on an overnight or multi-day walk or cycle trip in the Loch Ness region. This ensures you’ll only stay for a single night and set up late before leaving early, two pillars of a successful wild camp.

If you’re on holiday and simply looking for a free place to pitch your tent, the area around Loch Ness won’t be for you. Much better to find a pitch at one of the nearby campgrounds included in this guide.

However, if you’re walking or cycling the Great Glen Way or another route in the area, you will be able to wild camp.

You’ll want to first familiarize yourself with the main principles of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, which we’ve outlined below:

  • The Scottish Outdoor Access Code permits wild camping.
  • Wild camping is lightweight, done in small numbers, and only for two or three nights in a single place.
  • Avoid camping in enclosed fields of crops or farm animals.
  • Keep your campsite well away from buildings and roads
  • Always Leave No Trace by packing out litter, property handling human waste, and removing evidence of your pitch, and avoiding campfires.

Although the length of the Caledonian Canal, which includes Loch Ness, is considered a Scheduled Ancient Monument, which typically prohibits wild camping, there are several informal wild camping spots provided.

These campsites can be broken into two broad categories: Trailblazer rest sites and canalside informal campsites.

For all intents and purposes there isn’t much difference between the two, just be sure to only stay for a night.

Along Loch Ness, these are the sanctioned wild campsites that you should consider:

  • Kytra Loch: South of Loch Ness just past Fort Augustus
  • Knockie: On the west shore, before Foyers.
  • Foyers: Space for 4 tents on a hillside above the shoreline.
  • Dochgarroch Lock: North of Loch Ness along the Caledonian Canal.

Outside of this designated wild camp spot you are not allowed to wild camp along along Loch Ness.

What to Bring

We’re sure you’ll already have the essentials like a great tentsleeping bags, and camp chairs, but below are some of our favorite items for camping at Loch Ness:

  • Map: A good map is essential to exploring the area, and learning more about your surroundings. We always recommend bringing an Ordnance Survey map and this version covers Inverness & Loch Ness in great detail.
  • Camping Stove – This classic piece of gear is perfect for cooking up deluxe campsite dinners.
  • Cooler – Keeping food and drinks cool is essential when camping.
  • Midge repellent – Camping in the Highlands is almost synonymous with midges. Be sure to pack some bug repellent to fight off these tiny nuisances!

Have a great trip!

That’s it!

We hope we’ve provided all of the information you need to plan a fantastic camping trip, and we know you’ll find the perfect campsite for your upcoming adventure!

Be sure to let us know in the comments below if you have any questions and be sure to tell us about your trip!

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