The Best Waterside Campsites – Camping By Lakes, Rivers & Streams

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Waterside Campsites

Whether it’s wild swimming, stone skimming or simply messing about in boats, there’s nothing quite like camping beside a river or lake. The wide, flat meadows and green spaces that surround waterways seem ready-made for camping and it is often here, in these beautiful areas, that the very best campsites can be found. To help you find your next watery wonderland, we’ve gathered together all of the very best riverside campsites and lakeside campsites in one place. All you need to do is pick your favourite and hop ashore…

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The Best Waterside Campsites

There are fewer finer camping experiences than waking up to the soothing sound of a babbling brook, the gentle lapping of a lake or the breaking of ocean waves. Waterside campsites captivate the imagination with the possibilities of lazy days spent relaxing lakeside, cooling off with a spot of wild swimming and dreamy evenings telling tales from the riverbank under star-studded skies, the glow of a campfire reflecting off the water. Camping beside the waters edge truly recharges the batteries and reinvigorates the soul. So if you find yourself in dire need of a digital detox, bin the self-help book, pack up the tent and seek wellness by the water's edge at the waterside campsite of your dreams.

From campsites on fisheries and canal camping, to epic Scottish lochs, riverside retreats and beachside campsites so close to the surf you’re practically staying in a sandcastle, our guide to waterside camping boasts a stunning array of waterside campsites across the UK and Europe.

Although there are a plethora of commercial holiday parks more suited to holidaymakers with caravans and motorhomes or novice campers who seek static caravans, children’s entertainment and campsites with bars and restaurants, our collection focuses on the best small-scale, independent, tent-friendly campsites, with many waterside campsites suitable for campervans and dog-friendly to boot.

Depending on camping health & safety (and likelihood of flooding permitting!), many riverside campsites permit campers to pitch right on the riverbank, meaning guests can soak up the true waterside camping experience (though hopefully not literally!). Similarly, many campsites by the sea offer coveted spots overlooking the ocean – just be warned, there’s often a real scramble for the best summer campsites with sea views so be sure to book early to avoid disappointment.

As well as the best waterside campsites to pitch your tent, our collection boasts a whole host of glorious glampsites beside lakes, river and beaches. So if a hassle-free holiday appeals, leave the tent at home and consider a stay in a bell tent on the beach, pondside pods, seaside shepherds huts, or treehouses overlooking some truly beautiful bodies of water. Many luxury campsites even include glamping hot tubs – you can't get much more waterside than that!