Wild camping at Loch Ness, known for its mysterious “Nessie,” is one of the best ways to experience one of Scotland’s most popular attractions. While the existence of the Loch Ness Monster remains unproven, a camping holiday on the shores of Scotland’s most famous lake undeniably makes for a genuinely unforgettable experience.
Numerous fantastic tent-camping, motorhome-camping, and glamping campsites are found on both shores of Loch Ness. In addition to exploring these places in detail, I’ll provide some basic information on the best Loch Ness campsites for those who love the tranquillity of secluded areas.
Best Loch Ness Campsites
Loch Ness Highland Resort
- Call +44 1320 366 257 to reserve
The very first Loch Ness campsite on my list is at the lake’s southernmost point, within the historic village of Fort Augustus. The most important thing to say about this campground – and what makes it different from all the rest – is that it’s a static campsite. In other words, visitors can’t stay in their campervans or pitch tents but must choose between on-site holiday homes and glamping pods.
However, these accommodation options are luxurious and well-equipped. For example, each of Highland Resort’s holiday homes is spacious and can easily house a family of four. Moreover, each has a full kitchen (including a dishwasher), a dining area, a large bathroom (with a hot tub), and a personal deck. The same is true for the campsite’s glamping pods and its superb on-site facilities that all guests can use.
Of these, special words of praise go to the campground’s on-site Papa G’s Restaurant. It’s an ideal place to sit down for a family meal or grab a snack during a break between your adventures. The resort’s Loch Ness Gift Emporium is also worth mentioning (excellent souvenirs!), as is its Monster Playpark, where your children can play all day long in the fresh air, surrounded by Highland countryside. Other amenities include free Wi-Fi, on-site parking, and BBQ facilities.
The most significant advantage of Loch Ness Highland Resort is its location. If you stay here, you will be only minutes away from the village’s eateries, pubs, and attractions like the Pepperpot Lighthouse, the smallest lighthouse in Britain. The campground’s location at the lake’s southern tip also allows visitors to access both shores of Loch Ness easily – it’s the ultimate base for exploring one of the world’s most famous lakes.
Loch Ness Glamping
- Call +44 1456 450 114 to reserve
As its name suggests, the next campsite is another excellent option if you are seeking a more luxurious camping experience near Loch Ness. Besides the prices, the only not-so-good thing about this place is that it’s not on the lake’s shoreline but three miles to the west, between Milton and River Enrick. However, the location is lovely – the campground is set in a lush wooded area in Glen Urquhart, with plenty of space to relax and enjoy the tranquillity.
Visitors can choose between several custom-built eco-camping pods called “Armadillas.” Each features a front deck overlooking the valley, allowing guests to sit back, drink, eat, and enjoy the view. Moreover, each “Armadilla” has a fire pit, a barbecue, underfloor heating, an LCD TV with a DVD player, tea-making facilities, and a fridge. Glamorous and comfortable, these tiny homes are perfect if you wish to spend your time at Loch Ness as far away from tents and motorhomes as possible.
Loch Ness Glamping is also rich in facilities that all guests can use. There’s plenty of space for relaxation here, including a large lawn that can be used for games. In addition, the campground features a free parking area, an indoor BBQ house, and a table tennis room. There are also facilities for children, such as horse swings and trampolines. Finally, Loch Ness Glamping is dog-friendly and serves breakfast and dinner (up to £10 per meal).
The campsite is near the famous Great Glen Way and the Loch Ness Centre in the village of Drumnadrochit. Moreover, you will be relatively close to the ruins of the Urquhart Castle, which sits on the shore of Loch Ness and which offers visitors to experience a glimpse of medieval life. Urquhart Bay Wood, one of the region’s best wild camping areas, is just north of the castle.
Camping Pod Heaven
- Call +44 7570 862 151 to reserve
Next up is another unique Loch Ness accommodation option, less than a mile from the lake’s northern shore. As its name suggests, Camping Pod Heaven allows visitors to stay in one of its many wooden pods – camping in a motorhome or tent is not possible here. Instead, visitors are expected to book a pod in advance (call the number above) and bring all of their camping essentials.
The beautiful natural surroundings are undoubtedly the campsite’s main attraction. It is located in one of the most charming wooded areas near Loch Ness, on a small hill dotted by hundreds of tall pine trees. The atmosphere of this place is second to none – if you’re seeking tranquillity and unforgettable woodland smells and sounds, look no further than Camping Pod Heaven.
Regarding amenities, expect heating, free private parking, Wi-Fi available in all parts of the campsite, special facilities for disabled visitors, a designated smoking space, and a covered BBQ area. One particularly great thing about Camping Pod Heaven is that it provides a pick-up/drop-off service for guests from Inverness, which can be helpful if you are arriving in this part of Scotland by plane or train.
It takes only a five-minute drive to reach A82 (the road along the northern shore of Loch Ness) from the campsite. In addition, you will be very close to the picturesque village of Abriachan and the small but quaint Loch Laide. The Abriachan Forest Trust – a mile to the west, just after Loch Laide – is also worth mentioning. In addition to some of the best wild camping spots in Scotland, it features some of country’s most scenic and well-kept walking routes.
Abriachan Cafe Campsite Wester Laide
- Call +44 1463 861 462
The next Loch Ness campsite is very close (a mile northwest) to the one described above. Primarily accessed via walking and cycling routes, the Abriachan Campsite is situated just off the famous Great Glen Way. It is a perfect option for trekkers wishing to spend time near Scotland’s most famous lake. It features only tent pitches – motorhomes and similar vehicles are not allowed.
As such, this particular campground is a better choice than its neighbour for folks looking for a more back-to-basics camping experience. Like most campsites around Loch Ness, this one is also set in a wooded area, but the overall atmosphere is a bit different – you’ll feel like you’re camping in the middle of a forest far from civilisation. For that matter, you must bring all the essentials you may need – from your torch to your sleeping bag.
However, as its name suggests, this place is not completely basic – it features a lovely cafe. I recommend trying the delicious lemon cake. The couple running this campground is very friendly. In the words of one visitor, “The readiness of the owners to help you with whatever you need more than makes up for the lack of modern facilities.”
Abriachan Campsite is close to Abriachan Forest Trust, the quaint village of the same name, and Loch Ness itself. The village of Abriachan is high above the lake’s western shore. In other words, the village is a joy to explore in itself and provides visitors with spectacular lochside views that stay etched in your memory forever.
- Call +44 7949 476 376 to reserve
Located in the charming village of Drumnadrochit, Dave’s Rest is one of the best options for outdoor enthusiasts planning to explore Loch Ness in their motorhomes. It’s one of the most unique campsites on my list – rather than being a campground in the conventional sense, Dave’s Rest is more of a convenient and safe place to spend the night in your motorhome. Staying here will cost you £10 per night.
Besides providing you with an overnight parking spot, the fee will give you access to some basic but convenient amenities. Dave’s Rest features washrooms, shower facilities, drinking water, and a chemical disposal point. One particularly great thing about this place is its communal area – a big red bus that everyone can use for relaxation and meeting fellow travellers.
Another good thing about Dave’s Rest is its location. As previously mentioned, the campsite is in Drumnadrochit, which allows guests to easily stock up on supplies in the village’s many shops. Moreover, you’ll be only minutes away from some of Scotland’s loveliest inns and eateries. While in Drumnadrochit, remember to visit the Loch Ness Centre, the “real home of the Loch Ness story” and a place where you can learn more about the myth and its scientific research.
When staying at Dave’s Rest, you will be close to several points of interest already mentioned in this post, like the ruins of the ancient Urquhart Castle and the forest north of it, which is great for wild camping. The nearby Falls of Divach are also worth mentioning – they’re less than a mile southwest of the campsite and are genuinely breathtaking at any time of the year.
Loch Ness Shores Camping and Caravanning Club Site
- Call +44 1456 486 333
Unlike the campsites described above, this one is on the lake’s eastern shore, in the village of Foyers. As its name suggests, the campground is situated right next to Loch Ness – spectacular views of Scotland’s most famous lake are guaranteed. However, that’s not the only good thing about this place: Foyers is one of the quieter Loch Ness villages, which turns the campground into an excellent choice for campers seeking to escape the crowds.
The campsite only welcomes motorhomes. There are several types of pitches available here, ranging from standard grass pitches with no electric hookups to super-service hard-standing pitches equipped with waste drainage, fresh water, and electricity.
Eco-friendly technologies are used throughout the campground. In addition to the amenity block with shower rooms and underfloor heating, the Camping and Caravanning Club Site also features facilities designated for people with disabilities, a children’s play area, and free Wi-Fi. It is also pet-friendly.
Due to its shoreline location, this campground is also an ideal option for campers interested in fishing (you may have to get the license first, though). It is close to many charming Loch Ness villages and their cafés, tea rooms, pubs, and eateries, like Foyers Lodge and Craigdarroch Inn. It can serve as an excellent base for exploring the lake’s eastern shoreline, which, with the main A road being on the other side of Loch Ness, is much quieter.
Inver Coille Camping & Glamping
- Call +44 1320 351 224 to reserve
The last on my list of developed Loch Ness campgrounds is also one of the best if you’re just a regular tent camper. Inver Coille Camping & Glamping is about four miles northeast of Fort Augustus on the lake’s western shore. It’s one of the most well-equipped campsites in the area and a great choice if you’d like to avoid sharing pitches with motorhomes and campervans.
Besides the advantage of not suffering the hustle and bustle of busy campervan sites, Inver Collie also has a beautiful location. It’s in a gorgeous wooded area just off A82 (easy access!), whose sights, smells, and sounds are hard to forget. You’ll have Loch Ness in all its glory to the east and the Great Glen Way to the west, with plenty of scenic Scottish wilderness to explore in all directions.
Inver Collie’s facilities are basic but well-maintained and include a fire pit area and a modern shower block. There is also a designated parking area and a field where you can play ball games with other guests. In addition, this is a dog-friendly campsite, although guests are expected to clean up after their pets and keep them on a leash at all times. The visitors must also keep the noise at a minimum between 11 PM and 7 AM.
The Inver Collie Campsite is close to most attractions situated around the lake’s southern half. These include the village of Invermoriston and its bridge and falls, the Allt na Crìche burn and its delightful waterfall, and the settlement of Fort Augustus and its Caledonian Canal Heritage Centre. And, as mentioned above, the Great Glen Way is right next to the campground, allowing visitors to go on scenic walks with magnificent views of Loch Ness.
Best Wild Camping Spots Around Loch Ness
Urquhart Bay Wood
While it’s true that you can set up a shoreline camp pretty much anywhere on the lake, this particular spot is one of the best due to its convenient location.
You’ll have an excellent view of the lake and the lush Urquhart Bay Forest behind you. Moreover, when camping here, you can easily stock up on supplies in nearby Drumnadrochit and check out the ruins of Urquhart Castle, one of the area’s most famous landmarks.
Another excellent wild camping location is Dores Beach, at the northern end of Loch Ness. It’s a lovely mix of woodland and a stone beach with a great view of the lake’s northern half.
You can grab food and drinking water at the nearby Dores Inn. The inn also has outdoor toilets, which close at 11 PM and aren’t available on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Indeed, Dores Beach is just one of Scotland’s many wild camping beaches. The country’s expansive coastline and untouched wilderness are dotted with countless more such picturesque beaches. These locales, each unique in their charm, offer the perfect blend of tranquility and adventure, making Scotland a true wild camper’s paradise
If you’re seeking genuinely impressive views, head to the spot marked on the map. The place’s name is a bit misleading – you won’t be wild camping on the shore of a loch, but rather on a mountain north of it.
Once you find a suitably flat spot to pitch your tent, you’ll be rewarded with a view you won’t forget anytime soon. From here, one can see both Loch Ness and Loch Tarff, as well as the rolling hills and narrow glens everywhere around.
If, however, you’re looking for a change of scenery closer to the urban pulse, wild camping near Glasgow offers its own unique charm. Nestled amidst the verdant landscapes, it’s a delightful juxtaposition of city life and nature’s tranquillity, making it a worthy alternative for those seeking both convenience and beauty.
Loch Ness South Shore
The small meadow marked on the map is yet another fantastic Loch Ness wild camping spot. This place is very easy to access, as it’s just off B862.
The ground is sufficiently flat for tent pitching, the view is terrific, and there’s a small footpath leading down to the lake. In addition, you’ll be only minutes away from Fort Augustus, where you can stock up on supplies.
While there are countless fantastic wild camping spots around Invermoriston (like the wooded area of Achnaconeran north of the village), one of the best is situated on the hill north of the city.
You’ll have a stunning view of Loch Ness and the hills beyond from up here. However, I would only recommend coming here if you’re reasonably fit – you’ll have to trek up a long, steep, and winding footpath that starts in the forest north of the hill.
Where to Next?
There’s no shortage of breathtaking places to see and explore in Scotland. Folks staying at Loch Ness can continue their wild camping adventure by heading north to the spectacular Scottish Highlands or south to the gorgeous Cairngorms National Park.
Whichever direction you choose, check out my guide to wild camping in both of these regions to learn more about their most scenic tent-pitching spots.
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.