Oban is a superb destination for outdoor lovers: the surrounding area is brimming with breathtaking, dramatic scenery. The best way to experience this untamed wilderness and its natural splendour is by wild camping near Oban or staying at one of the many well-equipped campsites around Oban. Here’s everything you need to know about those places:
Nestled within the Firth of Lorn, Oban is a charming little town visited by more than 25,000 tourists annually. Those who come here quickly realise why this place is so popular – from ancient castles to scenic islands to excellent seafood, Oban has a lot to offer.
Best Wild Camping Near Oban
The following are my favourite places for wild camping. However, you only have to drive or hike a few miles from Oban to find a great place to pitch your tent.
Ben Cruachan Wild Camping
Located 13 miles east of Oban, Ben Cruachan is the highest point in the Cruachan Horseshoe mountain ring and the highest mountain in the Argyll and Bute council area. If you’re interested in mountain wild camping near Oban, this place should be at the top of your list.
To get to Ben Cruachan from the town, drive north-northeast via A85, passing Connel and Taynuilt. Keep going until you reach the Cruachan Dam Visitor Centre, next to where River Awe flows into Loch Awe. You can leave your vehicle at the centre’s car park.
This is where you can begin your climb. You’ll encounter the Cruachan Reservoir and its imposing dam on your way up. Rejoin the route by hopping over the dam (there’s a ladder) and clambering up some rock slabs. Ben Cruachan will be to your left – keep going until you find a suitable place to camp on the mountain’s southern slope.
The view you will have from up here is nothing short of majestic. You will have the deep blue reservoir to your left, Loch Awe winding into the distance, and the breathtaking Argyll wilderness stretching to the horizon. Bring a warm sleeping bag, as the nights here can be freezing.
If you want to spend a few days in the wild in neither a tent or a motorhome, consider staying at one of the numerous bothies managed by MBA (Mountain Bothies Association). Often located several hours of walk from civilisation, these places are typically old cottages where hikers and campers can spend the night free of charge.
There are a few MBA-managed bothies near Oban, the most interesting being Leacraithnaich Bothy. This stone cottage is on the other side of Firth of Lorn, on the Morvern peninsula, next to the small lowland lake called Loch Teàrnait. It costs £25 per year for membership and is well worth that price.
Reaching Leacraithnaich Bothy from Oban takes some effort, but the journey is worth it. You must take a ferry to Craignure on the Isle of Mull, drive west to Fishnish, and then take another ferry across the Sound of Mull to Lochaline. From there, head northeast until you reach Rannoch River, which flows into Loch Teàrnait. There are other bothies nearer Oban on the mainland.
The bothy is on the lake’s western shore. It has been renovated relatively recently and now sports a new roof, windows, and an updated interior. You will have to bring your own fuel to use the fireplace.
The fishing village of Port Appin lies north of Loch Creran on the coast of Appin. This is a very picturesque region with numerous excellent wild camping spots near the beach. The best of them is situated near the natural rock arch called Clach Thoull near Airds Bay.
To get here from Oban, follow A85 north of the town, cross the Connel Bridge, drive north along A828 and cross another bridge at the Dallachulish Caravan Site. From there on, the road will take you west, straight to Port Appin. The whole journey should take at most half an hour.
Once in Port Appin, you’ll want to head south to a small peninsula which encloses Airds Bay on its western side. The rock arch is located at the very end of the peninsula, and in front of it is a flat, grassy area where you can set up camp. The views from this spot are impressive – you can see all the way south to Kerrera and Mull.
While in the area, visit the island of Lismore – you can go there by ferry from Port Appin. Prised for its beauty and tranquillity, the island features excellent opportunities for picnicking, sailing, kayaking, cycling, and walking, all with unforgettable views. Two places that are particularly worth visiting are the Lismore Gaelic Heritage Centre and the ruins of Achanduin Castle.
With the Isle of Mull just across the Firth of Lorn, why not hop on a ferry at Oban and explore its numerous natural wonders? Out of all the wild camping destinations on the island, the best one is undoubtedly Calgary Bay, tucked away in its northwestern corner.
Once you exit the ferry at Craignure, drive northwest towards the island’s capital – Tobermory – and then switch to B8073, which will take you straight to the beach. Once there, you will encounter a large grassland area where you can pitch your tent and enjoy the views. This is a very peaceful and tranquil place, primarily because motorhomes and campervans are prohibited.
Two things worth mentioning here are that this is also a grazing area (watch out for sheep!), and there’s no access to drinkable water. Moreover, campers are expected to stay in the grassland area only – do not pitch your tent in the dunes or on the beach. There are public toilets on the beach’s southern end.
There’s a lot to see and do around Calgary Bay. The nearby Robins Boat is one of the best places on the Isle of Mull to have ice cream: look for a tiny house with a roof made of a boat hull flipped upside down. If you’re a history buff, head up the hill from the beach to check out the ruins of an old 19th-century hamlet.
Loch na Droma Buidhe
The next wild camping area can be found in the same area as Leacraithnaich Bothy described above, on the Morvern peninsula. As such, it requires a bit of travelling by ferry and on foot (and with a car, if you want to get there faster). The journey is undoubtedly worth it, though – Loch na Droma Buidhe is among the most scenic lakes in this part of Scotland.
Once you exit the ferry at Lochaline, you’ll want to head west instead of north, like in the case of Leacraithnaich Bothy. Keep driving – or walking – along B849 until you reach the end of the road, and find a suitable place to park your vehicle. From here on, you’ll have to proceed on foot by going straight over the hills and creeks or following the coastal path to the west, to Auliston Point and then further northeast.
The best place to camp at Loch na Droma Buidhe is on the lake’s southern side. The spot marked on the map is a sizeable grassland area with plenty of flat ground for tent-pitching. This remote location is an excellent option for wild campers who are also kayaking enthusiasts: you will have the entire loch and its peaceful waters at your disposal.
Another great thing about this spot is its good supply of driftwood for the evening’s campfire. The views are to be considered, too – you’ll be surrounded by the rolling hills and towering peaks on three sides except to the west, where you’ll be able to see all the way to the Sound of Mull.
Gylen Castle Beach
The last wild camping destination near Oban on my list is only 4 miles south of the town, on the island of Kerrera. The island is separated from mainland Scotland by the Sound of Kerrera and is one of the quietest and most rural islands in the region. Only about 40 people live here, and there are no villages.
The Gylen Castle Beach is situated in the south of the island, in a region called Ardmore. As its name suggests, it’s next to an old – and well-preserved – castle. The Gylen Castle was built in 1582, burned by the Covenanters in 1647, and made a scheduled monument in 1931.
The beach is very small and surrounded by flat, grassy areas – pick one that suits you the best and pitch your tent. You will have excellent views of the Slate Islands and a chance to explore the castle. A word of advice: be very careful while climbing up to the castle, as it’s situated on the very edge of the steep headland.
Use the opportunity and explore the rest of Kerrera as well. I recommend visiting the Ardentive Farm on the other side of the island (a 3-mile hike with impressive coastline views). The owners sell local produce such as fruit, eggs, pork, lamb, and beef and run a small gallery.
Best Campsites Near Oban
If you are looking for more facilities than wild camping allows, or you just want to be around more people – the following is a great selection of camping and holiday parks near Oban.
Oban Holiday Park
Previously known as Oban Camping and Caravan Park, Oban Holiday Park is an ideal base for folks wishing to explore the western Isles of Scotland. It has the best location out of all official campsites near Oban – it’s only a short drive from the town centre and offers magnificent views of the Inner Firth of Lorn (which separates mainland Scotland from the Isle of Mull).
While staying here brings the feel of being thousands of miles away from the hustle and bustle of modern life, Oban Holiday Park features all the amenities you could need. These include a modern toilet block, private showers, a laundrette, free Wi-Fi, electricity points, TV aerial points, a shop, and a play park. The campsite is also pet-friendly.
Moreover, the campground has accommodation options that suit every camping style. Its static lodges and caravans range in size, but all come equipped with kitchens and bathrooms. On the other hand, each of its camping pods features a folding table, lighting, heating, a kitchenette, and a comfortable mattress. You are, of course, free to come in your RV or bring your tent, too.
A minimum stay is required in case of advance booking for both camping caravans and pods (seasonal differences apply). Lastly, this is a very popular summer campground, so reserve your spot in advance if you’d like to stay here between May and September.
Pennygown Holiday Park
A family-run business (run alongside a farm), Pennygown Holiday Park is on the other side of the Inner Firth of Lorn, on the Isle of Mull. The easiest way to reach this scenic campsite is by taking the Oban – Craignure ferry and driving northwest via A849. The whole journey lasts about an hour.
The fact that the owners also operate a farm – adjacent to the campsite – gives this place a peaceful and idyllic feel. Moreover, Pennygown Holiday Park has a central location on the Isle of Mull. From here, visitors can easily explore everything this island offers, from ancient castles to stunning wildlife.
The campsite’s excellent amenities include a small shop, showers, toilets, deep sinks, tumble dryers, coin-operated washing machines, and dishwashing facilities. Besides the friendly staff, Pennygown also has a couple of on-site wardens whose job is to ensure the well-being of all its guests.
Last but not least, this campground has its own coastal walk. And seeing how this is a pet-friendly campsite, Pennygown is an ideal destination for campers who often travel with their four-legged companions. If you keep your dog on a leash, you can take him/her for a stroll along the beach – they will undoubtedly be very grateful.
Shieling Holidays Mull
Next up is another campground just across the Firth on the Island of Mull, located in the village of Craignure. There is a direct ferry line from Oban to Craignure, with the journey lasting less than 20 minutes. The campground is situated just down the road from the ferry port.
Due to its location on a small peninsula, Shieling Holidays Mull enjoys breathtaking views in all directions. On a clear day, those staying here can see all the way to Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the United Kingdom. You will also have splendid views down Loch Linnge and up the Sound of Mull.
Visitors repeatedly rave about the excellent hospitality of the campsite staff and the cleanliness of its facilities. These include a laundrette, chemical disposal station, electric hookups, and modern showers and toilets. Moreover, Sheiling Holidays Mull welcomes dogs.
Attractions worth visiting while staying here include Duart and Torosay Castle, Tobermory Distillery, and Mull Museum. You will also want to check out the numerous inns, coffee shops, ice cream parlours, and craft shops scattered everywhere along Mull’s eastern coast.
Creagan Station Tourers
Next is a touring park located 15 miles north of Oban, on Loch Creran. It is just off the A828 and very easy to reach by car (a half-hour drive). Although relatively new (established in 2017), this place is already very popular with outdoor enthusiasts exploring Scotland’s western regions.
The most significant advantage of Creagan Station Tourers is quite apparent – its lochside location. As such, it has excellent views from every pitch and easy water access. The owners live in the middle of the campsite and are happy to assist visitors with anything they need.
The hardstanding pitches are spacious and suitable for trailer tents, motorhomes, and campervans and are supplied with electricity and water hookups. As for facilities, you can expect free Wi-Fi, a laundry room, toilets, and showers. Dogs are welcome at Creagan Station Tourers.
Besides the fact that it’s easy to reach Oban from here, the campsite is also relatively close to the grand mountain peaks in Glen Coe and Britain’s hillwalking capital: Fort William. As such, it’s an ideal place to spend a few nights and explore the surrounding area and its natural wonders.
- Call +44 (0)1631 720 262 to reserve
The glamping experience offered by Highfield Holidays is something you won’t forget anytime soon. One of the most luxurious campsites on my list, this place is located 8 miles (20-minute drive) north of Oban, close to the shore of the Ardmucknish Bay.
This bayside location is one of the best things about the campground – Tralee Beach and its golden sands are only a short walk away. And, like other campsites in this article, Highfield Holidays is close to numerous hikes, climbs, forest walks, and all other outdoor activities offered by this part of Scotland and its isles.
In addition to glamping pods (all of which have fancy names, like the “The Argyll” or “Deluxe Safari Tent”), Highfield Holidays also offers spacious pitches for motorhomes and tourers. The glamping pods have fire pits, private hot tubs, and en-suite bathrooms. On the other hand, the pitches feature electricity and water hookups.
Amenities include a chemical/waste disposal area, a dishwashing area, and modern and clean showers/toilets. Although a bit pricey, Highfield Holidays has a vibe of pure relaxation and stands as one of the best places near Oban for recharging your batteries and reconnecting with nature.
North Ledaig Caravan Park
Here we have yet another campsite on the other side of Loch Etive, six miles north of Oban – North Ledaig Caravan Park. Like other campgrounds on this list, it sports a location that can help visitors make the most of their time in the Oban area.
The best thing about this particular campsite is that it has its very own bay, facing west. Its pitches are close to the water’s edge and face the sea. In other words, unforgettable sunsets are guaranteed. You can also do some fishing here, while the kids can spend their time at the well-equipped playground with large grass areas.
In terms of facilities, expect two toilet blocks with modern showers and toilets, most of which are accessible to disabled people. There is also a food preparation area, a dishwashing area, a chemical disposal point, and a well-stocked on-site shop open from 8.30 am to 6 pm.
Those wishing to stay active will appreciate that a National Cycle Route runs through the middle of the campground. North Ledaig Caravan Park is also ideally located for campers interested in canoeing, diving, sailing, hiking, pony trekking, and wildlife watching.
Seaview Caravan Park
- Call +44 (0)7884 034 740 to reserve
Enjoying a phenomenal location with spectacular seaside and countryside views, Seaview Caravan Park is yet another excellent campsite near Oban. It is located just down the street from Highfield Holidays described above and, thus, enjoys the same location-wise benefits as its neighbour.
Those staying here can also enjoy swimming and relaxing at the nearby Tralee Beach and embarking on numerous climbs and hikes available in the area. You’ll be only 15 minutes from Oban and its many shops, pubs, cafes, distilleries, and museums.
What sets this campsite apart from Highfield Holidays is that it doesn’t offer glamping – just regular motorhome camping (tents are not allowed). Still, all of its pitches are spacious and equipped with electric hookups.
Facilities include central water accessibility, chemical disposal points, wash-up sinks, toilets, and showers. An important thing to remember is that you can’t camp here just for a day – there’s a 3-night minimum stay.
Roseview Caravan Park
- Call +44 (0)1631 562 755 to reserve
The last campsite on my list is also the one closest to Oban – it’s only two miles south of the town (a 10-minute drive). It is one of the quietest options in Oban’s vicinity, surrounded by lush green hillsides and charming pastoral scenery.
One thing that significantly contributes to the quiet atmosphere of Roseview Caravan Park is that it features no bars or any entertainment on site. Make no mistake, though – the campground is still well-equipped and has everything you’ll need as an outdoor enthusiast wishing to make the most of your time in this region.
There are various accommodation options: pods, bothies, bunk rooms, and pitches. You can come here in a caravan, motorhome, or with your tent. The campsite operates on a first-come, first-served basis, although reserving in advance is possible for those who’d like to stay in a camping pod or a bunk room.
On-site facilities include fresh spring water, free Wi-Fi, laundry, a dishwashing area, an indoor eating area, a BBQ area, a shower block, toilets, and a small playpark for younger visitors. The bunk rooms are particularly well-equipped, with 13 amp sockets, heating, TVs, and essential kitchen appliances. Roseview Caravan Park is also dog-friendly.
Where to Next?
The Calgary Bay, which I’ve described above, is just one of the numerous – and genuinely breathtaking – wild camping destinations on the Isle of Mull, just across the Firth of Lorn from Oban.
Other nearby campsites and wild camping locations:
I love hiking, backpacking, and camping. From the Camino de Santiago to the West Highland Way in Scotland or simply a great day hike on the weekend. Hiking refreshes me, my mind, and keeps my body reasonably fit. So far I have walked three Camino routes and many other long distance hikes in the UK, Canada, and around the rest of Europe. One of the best was my hike up Ben Nevis.