Ocean, river, and countryside camping surround this historic port city.
Devon’s largest city boasts a prime location at the meeting point of three rivers and the English Channel—so there are plenty of ways to get on the water. During your next Plymouth camping trip, float along the River Plym on a stand-up paddleboard, kayak around Plymouth Sound, ride the Cremyll Ferry across to Cornwall, or try your luck fishing for mackerel along the coast. Further out are the harbourside Cornish villages, the beaches in the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the riversides of the Tamar Valley, and the wild expanses of Dartmoor, all perfect for campers looking for outdoor exploring. For the ultimate outdoor challenge, Plymouth lies along the epic 630-mile-long South West Coast Path.
Plymouth’s closest beaches are Bovisands and Wembury, where you can swim, surf, or explore the rock pools. Both lie within the South Devon AONB, which stretches more than 60 miles along the coast. Hike along sea cliffs, swim or surf at blue flag beaches, or go coasteering along the Kingsbridge Estuary, then take your pick of country camping grounds.
Cross the border into Cornwall, where rugged headlands, estuaries, and historic mining towns lie at the mouth of the Plymouth Sound and the Lynher River. Camp by the seafront along the Rame Peninsula, tour an 18th-century mine, or enjoy wakeboarding and windsurfing at the Hamoaze estuary. Further west, the Cornish Riviera is home to picturesque fishing towns, golden beaches, and the Eden Project.
The River Tamar snakes its way north from Plymouth into the Tamar Valley AONB, where you can enjoy wildlife cruises and riverside camping. To the east, the misty moorlands and wild heathlands of the Dartmoor National Park are a natural playground for hikers and campers. Explore ancient ruins and waterfalls, ride the South Devon steam railway, then stop at a local pub for a traditional Devonshire cream tea.
Spring through autumn is the best time for camping, hiking, and boat trips near Plymouth. The city is busiest in July and August, when it’s a good idea to reserve campsites at least a few months in advance. Don’t be put off by a winter visit, though—it can be wet and windy along the coast, but there are plenty of indoor attractions to escape the rain, and many caravan parks stay open year-round.
Plymouth is set around Europe’s largest natural harbour, meaning seaside attractions are major here. Urban campers will find something to suit all tastes, whether visiting Plymouth Hoe to climb Smeaton’s Tower, going for a swim at the Art Deco Tinside Lido, stopping in at the National Marine Aquarium, or dining alfresco along the Barbican Harbour.
Even outside the city, there’s still plenty to see and do during a camping holiday in Plymouth or South Devon. Head over the county border to visit the Cornish seaside resort of Looe, or go east along the coast to Wembury for beaches and rockpooling within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The peaceful Tamar Valley starts on the outskirts of the city, offering miles of riverside walking, cycling, and countryside exploration with Dartmoor National Park’s wilder beauty just beyond.