Home to about 1,000 people, millions of Atlantic mackerel, Ballan wrasse, and the terminus to the world-renowned ‘Rathad nan Eilean,’ Mallaig is a gem in the crown of the Scottish Highlands.
It beats some of the world’s best wonders, such as the Trans-Siberian railroad and the Cusco-Machu-Picchu line. The Road to the Isles is not so immensely popular and beloved for the state of the rails alone.
Instead, fantastic scenery along the way with enchanting loch sides, seascapes, and unique mountain and moorland terrain make the West of Scotland one of the most beautiful places in the world.
It represents the perfect place to park your RV or pitch a tent.
In this article, I will talk about a place that can scarcely be surpassed in beauty by many places around the globe. Mainly, I will focus on the best campsites near Mallaig and about wild camping and camping in Mallaig proper.
Whether you’re looking for a basecamp for starting your exploration of scenic West Scotland or you’re on the lookout for a seaside fishing expedition, Mallaig represents a place like no other.
It gives you quick access to the Isle of Skye, a significant destination for climbers, walkers, and hikers. Mallaig represents an essential gateway for getting to know craggy peaks, coastal black hills, old lighthouses, and snow-covered hillocks.
The area in and around Mallaig is so well-known and beloved for its landscapes that it served as the filming location for Harry Potter films. You can observe the Hogwarts Express passing some fantastic scenery en route to Mallaig during the summer months.
I will discuss the best camping sites in and around Mallaig in the passages below.
Mallaig is a small port well-known for fishing and being home to an end of a central railroad. As scenic as this place is, there is not much room for camping in the town.
Most camping venues here disperse along the Road to the Isles route. This Road goes south of Mallaig and features several camping venues and caravan parks.
Maybe you plan to visit some of these roadside pullouts and stay there as the leading destination. Alternatively, perhaps you consider them a stop on your way to such destinations as Fort William or Ben Nevis. This area can be a fantastic place to pitch your tent.
Camping along this Road means pitching your tent next to the ancient village of Arisaig or parking your RV next to the shoreline so the waves can touch your wheels. Arisaig’s mysterious, northern beaches are also known as the Silver Sands of Morar for their exceptional beauty.
I will talk about camping around the Mallaig area in the passages below. As you will see, there are plenty of options here, so if you’re looking for more variety in camping in this part of the world, this place is where you can have the best experiences.
Camping near Mallaig
Much to the chagrin of many drivers in the northern UK, the area around Mallaig is a fairly popular destination for RV enthusiasts.
As a result, many of the campsites around Mallaig are RV-friendly. Since the weather can get pretty chilly in Scotland, enjoying a camping trip based in your RV can be a fantastic opportunity to enjoy some unique duality. You can get the best of both worlds – 1) viewing the most breathtaking scenery and 2) doing so out of the comfort of your RV.
As opposed to the town of Mallaig, the Mallaig broader area offers considerably more camping venues that you can visit. From beautiful storefronts to fantastic views of mountains, Mallaig has a lot to offer to an enthusiastic camper.
Set against a gorgeous view of the Islands and on a beach that can accommodate both RVs and regular tents, the Camusdarach campsite represents the pinnacle of Mallaig camping.
The campsite gets its name from the nearby beach. Black and dark green rocks combined with yellow-green low-growth grass make this beach a place where the tranquil and cold ocean meets the rugged shoreline of the Scottish West.
One of the many attractive features of this campground is its simplicity and tidiness. Clear tent markings and multiple electric hookup points cover the entire area. Other than that, a Wi-Fi signal is present throughout the campground, so you can rest assured that you will be able to browse the World Wide Web from the comfort of your RV.
In addition to these valuable amenities, this campground is well-known for its few but well-refurbished pods, which offer you a glamping experience. Glamping + some of the most beautiful northern beaches anywhere in the world makes the Camusdarach campground so beloved among campers.
Silversands Caravan & Campsite
Suitable for caravan & camper vehicles, Silversands Caravan & Campsite can be a great option if you’re looking for pitches that are immediately adjacent to the sea. Also, you can get there onboard your trusty four-wheeler.
With no tents allowed anywhere on the premises, this place represents one of the best, if not the best, caravan park camping locations.
The immediate access to the sea makes this place immensely popular with all kinds of visitors. Thanks to this area’s beautiful shoreline, you can rest assured that you won’t have to look far for direct sea access. You will also have access to some genuinely fantastic photo ops.
The views on this campground you can describe as ‘some of the best RV scenic camping in the UK.‘ The soft sandy beach and the craggy and mystic mountains in the distance won’t leave you disinterested. Take a look at a couple of photos of this campground.
Amenities at this campground include clean shower blocks, convenient laundry facilities, and a beneficial chemical disposal plant.
One thing you won’t find here, though, is Wi-Fi access. So, suppose you want to be able to browse the Internet and possibly upload freshly-taken snaps on your phone to your Instagram profile. In that case, you will need an Internet hotspot in your vehicle.
Portnadoran Caravan Site
Well-suited for caravan and camper pitches, this caravan site requires no reservations.
One of the qualities of this place is that, in addition to camping on four wheels, tenting is acceptable here. Many flock to this area to pitch their tent on a seaside location with fantastic views of the water, sky, and moody, black, and dark green craggy hills in the distance.
This campground is family-run, so the amenities are a tad limited. No website is currently available about this location.
An exciting plus of camping at this location is that you are only 10 miles away from the famous Mallaig Railway Station.
You can use this campground as a starting place for embarking on the famous Harry Potter railroad. So, suppose you’re a JK Rowling fan. This small caravan site can be a great camping spot for commencing a fantastic journey aboard Hogwarts express.
Sunnyside Croft Touring & Camping Site
Suppose you’re looking for a smaller camping ground that gives you a more private camping experience. In that case, the Sunnyside Croft Touring & Camping Site can be just the thing for you. A local family owns and runs this site, and reservations are a must during the summer months, which is the peak of the camping season.
Besides the fantastic RV-ing and caravanning potential, this place also has room for a couple of tents. What makes this such an attractive prospect is that this location is relatively peaceful and adjacent to the coast. This quality gives it a unique air of tranquility on the beach while observing the potentially turbulent events on the ocean and the mysticism of the surrounding hills.
Regarding camping surfaces, they are all hard here, so parking a vehicle will be a piece of cake. Also, all the sites are within reach of the local Wi-Fi router, and the Internet is free.
Sustainability and cleanliness-oriented, this campground pays special attention to hygiene and water consumption.
Facilities available to guests include free access to the laundry room, drying room, and dishwashing area.
Last but not least, thanks to its location (between Arisaig and Morar), you’ll be able to quickly get to either of these places in case you want to explore more.
Invercaimbe Caravan & Camping
Representing a small private camping area adjacent to the sea, Invercaimbe Caravan & Camping can be a fantastic solution for folks looking for a simple camping experience with only nature surrounding your camper van and some islands in the distance, drenched in and veiled by the seaside mist.
The wheels of your campervan will be lodged right next to the famous white sands of the western Scottish coast on one of the fourteen pitches available on this campground.
There aren’t any amenities here that you’d typically find in a camping environment. That said, you can certainly get everything you need if you book a room in one of the nearby lodges.
Other than these, campervan and caravan owners are welcome here, but tenting is unavailable.
As this is a relatively small camping area that’s reasonably popular with RV folks and other campers, booking pitches or lodging in advance is a must. The easiest way to do this would be through Facebook, the owner’s page.
Typically, the vacancies here fill out quickly. Still, you may want to follow the Facebook page updates if there’s a last-minute cancellation, which tends to happen frequently.
Kinloid Caravan Park
You will find a relatively simple, farm-style campground just north of Arisaig that can easily compete with any campsite with more amenities. Kinloid caravan park can be a fantastic solution for a camper ready for more of a quiet experience.
This campground comes with no more than a couple of pitches, but it makes up for that with open fields unmarked for camping that you can still use for this purpose.
Whether it’s open-field tent camping or RV-ing, parking here will land you close to the beachfront but not exactly next to it.
Still, the views here are fantastic, as the rural environment of the campground itself meets the nearby beaches. What the Maldives are for the southern oceans, the western Scottish coast is for the northern seas.
Regarding facilities, you won’t find that many here other than the very basics. This place is not as busy as other camping areas nearby.
So, if you’re looking for an area where you will be slightly away from the beach but well away from other busy campsites, Kinloid park can be a perfect option.
Tigh-na-mara Campsite & Pods
Occupying a beautiful patch of the beachfront about halfway between Mallaig and Arisaig, the Tigh-na-mara Campsite & Pods represents a fantastic option for folks looking for simple but cozy accommodations prepared in advance.
You get instant access to the ocean from this location, which will get you a beautiful view every morning when you wake up.
The amenities and facilities here are not necessarily on par with the other amenities in some of the nearby campgrounds we described above. That said, you will still get good value for money here. Given the spectacular scenery and instant access to the sea, you can see how this place is fantastic value for money.
The Croft Caravan & Camping Site
This whole campground features both caravan and campervan pitches. As such, it represents a scenic area that captures the beauty of a seaside resort and simultaneously gives you some excellent amenities.
While this campsite’s main ‘selling point‘ is caravans and camper pitches, one other thing you can enjoy here would be tenting. There aren’t as many tent sites here as others, but the ones here will give you an incredible camping experience.
The Croft Caravan & Camping site gives you the most options in terms of how you can camp – tents, caravans, small campervans, motorhomes, you name it.
The pitches on this site are close to the small nearby beach. Thanks to the curious shape of this area, this beach is reasonably well-sheltered from the rest of the coast.
There are no hard-standing surfaces here, only grass, so expect to situate all the tents, campervans, and caravans on a soft surface.
Wild Camping Near Mallaig
When it comes to wild camping near Mallaig, there aren’t many places that make a decent campsite. Still, those existing often feature the same aesthetic and atmospheric appeal you get with the developed RV or other campgrounds.
The Mallaig area is not precisely known for many wild camping spots. Outside of developed campgrounds, large farms, private homes, and enclosed fields belonging to local farmers and artisans dominate much of the other territory.
While you will probably find a few wild campsites here and there, you will likely have much better luck if you look toward the nearby Islands. These Small Islands you can find quickly just off the shore of Mallaig. The alternatives are to go south down the coast a little. On the coast between Morar and Arisaig there are loads of great beaches where you can wild camp: Camusdarach Beach and the villages of Portnaluchaig and Bunacaimb.
Catching a ferry and reaching any of these islands is a piece of cake, so you don’t need to worry about needing any special transportation to get there, the most popular is camping wild on Skye.
The authorities developed this code to help visitors understand the local rules in a digestible way. They do this to ensure that their stay on one of Scotland’s many beaches, small islands, or craggy mountains is as pleasurable and low-impact to the surrounding environment.
There are three main rules that you need to stick to when Scottish Outdoor Access Code is in question:
- Respect the interests of other people,
- Care for the environment,
- Take responsibility for your actions.
More specifically, you can distill these rules to more clear instructions that take into consideration the terrain and the rules of camping ‘engagement’ in this area:
- According to the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, wild camping is allowed.
- Wild camping should be lightweight, done in small numbers, and for only two or three nights at the same place.
- Your improvised campsites should be away from roads and buildings.
- Avoid camping in enclosed, privately-owned fields with crops or farm animals.
- Practice Leave no Trace principles.
Train rides reminiscent of Harry Potter films, seaside views with craggy mountains, enchanting small islands covered with mist, and tranquil beaches with fine white sand. The west of Scotland is a place that recommends itself as a prime setting for a fantasy story.
These fantastic landscapes also represent a perfect place for camping. The tranquil imagery contrasts the mysterious mountains in the distance. The seaside pitches and campsites offer an ideal place to take it all in.
The Mallaig general area is full of campground gems. Maybe you’re looking for majestic seaside resorts where you can park your campervan or pitch your tent right next to the waterline. Or more private, secluded spots hidden behind the rocks. You will undoubtedly love to visit these and return to them in the future.
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.