15 Best Campervan Overnight Stops On The NC500
The North Coast 500 (NC500) is a spectacular route in Scotland to drive in your campervan. Our guide to the very best places to overnight at each stage of the route will ensure that the superlative views you have at each twist and turn of the road continue while you’re parked up, enabling you to enjoy every single minute of your trip.
Our sites are located all the way around the North Coast 500, and are chosen for many reasons, what they all offer is a very special location. Some will give you memorable sunsets across a loch, others a wild remote beach for long summer evening walks, and some are in villages with a cosy pub and great seafood restaurants. Each site will make you want to linger a while longer with your morning coffee, slow down, breathe in the air and savour the moment.
We’ve chosen the best sites in each area. Each one will offer a friendly welcome. Some are free, some are on campsites and others are on council provided parking areas with a nominal fee. Facilities vary from nothing but nature, to everything anyone could possibly need.
The sites are listed starting in Inverness and going clockwise around the route. You will encounter single track roads along the route and the infamous Bealach na Ba, or pass of the cattle, if you choose to drive it!
Beauly Holiday Park, Beauly
This site is ideal for your first night on the North Coast 500, located just a ten-minute drive from Inverness and a 20-minute walk to the attractive town of Beauly with its tasty food shops, handy for stocking up. The site has a huge selection of tourist information brochures available and is positioned alongside a river with a six-acre nature reserve and many paths. We love the new toilet and shower block installed in 2022, with the largest showers we’ve ever seen. There are also fully accessible and family washrooms. The friendly wardens are really helpful, and the site is efficiently managed. They run their own micro festivals, Beauly Buzz, in 2023 is on 19th-20th May with local bands and beer, and Mutiny on the Beauly is September 23rd.
Perfect for: First or last night of the NC500. Stocking up at the local businesses in town.
Google map of location
Facilities: Launderette, shop, WiFi, charging stations, electric hook-up (EHU), chemical and grey water disposal, dishwashers, fridge freezers, hot showers, excellent disabled access, pets allowed, 75 pitches, children’s play area, BBQ, small bar open at weekends in summer with live music most Fridays from May to September.
Prices from: £29 for 2 adults
Open: All year except for one-month, closes mid-November to mid-December.
Applecross Campsite, Applecross
A grass site with basic facilities, Applecross is all about the location. Applecross peninsula can only be reached by two roads, both on the NC500, one of which is the Bealach na Ba, Britain’s highest road. After crossing this, you’ll come into the village which locals simply call, ‘The Street’. The campsite is tucked away behind the inn and a restaurant, and it offers sublime views across the sea to Skye.
Perfect for: Visiting Applecross Inn and The Walled Garden, both a few minutes’ walk away.
Facilities: Launderette, EHU, hot showers, food on site, pets allowed, 60 pitches.
Prices from: £25 for 2 adults
Open: 1st March to 31st October.
Shieldaig Camping, Shieldaig
Run by a young family, this peaceful site opened in 2019 and has been gaining in popularity ever since thanks to the friendly, helpful owners and stunning location. The site overlooks Loch Shieldaig and its picturesque island. It’s a couple of minutes’ walk to the village which has outdoor activities such as kayaking, a fantastic restaurant and very tasty café. Immaculately kept facilities. A really relaxed place, we love the silence and serenity here and the community feel of Shieldaig village.
Perfect for: Getting away from it all, peace and quiet.
Facilities: Launderette, hot showers, pets allowed, 20 pitches.
Prices from: £23 for 2 adults
Open: 1st April to mid-November.
Sands Caravan and Camping, Gairloch
A vast site covering 55 acres, you can park up wherever you wish. Even when it’s busy you can find a secluded nook or cranny, so it never feels like a big site. Situated in the grassed area and sand dunes that back the aptly named Big Sand, an enormous stretch of beach with views across to the Black Cuillins of Skye and Applecross. For a perfect evening, take a bottle of wine and a picnic to the beach and watch the magnificent sunset. This is a truly special place to spend a few days and immerse yourself in the local area. Gairloch village is three miles away and has shops, places to eat, boat trips and outdoor activities. For a wonderful treat after an active day, there’s a bath in the shower room. The on-site café has a great selection of tasty food and there’s EV charging for your CampervanCo Eco Camper.
Perfect for: All the facilities of a large site, family fun, romantic evening walks on that beach! Gairloch Highland Gathering is held here every summer and is well worth attending, make sure to book well ahead though.
Facilities: Launderette, hot showers, shop, play area, café, indoor cooking and eating area, launch slip, games and TV room, EV charging, chemical and grey water disposal, dogs allowed, 135 EHUs.
Prices from: £26 for 2 adults
Open: 31st March to 1st November.
Gruinard Bay Caravan Park, Laide
A small, friendly site on a rocky and sandy beach. We love that you can park up right on the shoreline and look at the sky stretching on forever. The beach is ideal for exploring and the stars seem to shine brighter here. The facilities are spotless, and the owners are extremely helpful.
Perfect for: Watching seals from your camper van window, beachcombing.
Facilities: Launderette, WiFi, EHU, chemical disposal, pets allowed, hot showers
Prices from: £23 for 2 adults
Open: 1st April to 31st October
Shore Caravan Site, Achmelvich, Lochinver
Located right next to one of the best sandy beaches in Scotland and boasting its own fish and chip shop. An informal, family orientated site, busy in the school holidays. Grass pitches and you choose your own spot. Achmelvich is all about the beach, we love the perfect sand just a minute’s walk from your camper van and it’s a terrific spot to paddleboard and swim.
Perfect for: Family fun.
Facilities: Launderette, shop, WiFi, fish and chips, EHU, chemical and grey water disposal, no dogs, hot showers, disabled access, 60 pitches
Prices from: £19.50 for 2 adults
Open: April to mid-October
Clachtoll Beach Campsite, Clachtoll, Lochinver
*** TOP SITE***
This site is the essence of perfect camping and our favourite on the North Coast 500. A quiet, family-run site in a stunning spot right on the picture perfect Clachtoll beach, complete with its famous split rock and whales, dolphins and sea eagles. The scenery is as spectacular as it gets, and you are truly immersed in it here. There’s plenty of wildlife to see and it’s a great spot for a swim.
You can feel the love the owners put into this site, they really understand what campers want and they give it, in abundance. We love that everything is included, even use of kayaks, wetsuits, canoes, paddleboards and fire pits. The site is eco-friendly using renewable energy and they even include eco-friendly washing and cleaning products free of charge. The outdoor showers are great for rinsing off the sand after a day at the beach, they have indoor ones too of course, and the water is always hot. The undercover seating and cooking area is lovely, with the thoughtful inclusion of kettles, toasters and microwaves, and you can BBQ too. Your CampervanCo Eco Camper will be right at home here, it won’t want to leave, and neither will you.
Perfect for: Staying an extra day or two to relax on the beach, fish, snorkel, walk and explore locally. At New Year they open for a few days and have their own New Year’s dook.
Facilities: Disabled and family room in the shower block, launderette, WiFi, shop, EHU, chemical disposal, pets welcome, hot showers, fridge and freezer, 25 pitches, hairdryer, curling tongs, kettles, microwave, toaster, water sports equipment, covered BBQ area, recycling facilities, secure charging stations.
Prices from: £26.00 for 2 adults
Open: End of March – October and New Year
Scourie Caravan and Camping, Scourie
With terraces so everyone has an elevated sea view, this site is really well laid out and has a path down to a small, secluded beach. With plenty to do locally, Scourie village is an excellent place to base yourself for a few days. Try coasteering or one of the many walks, you’re right in the heart of the North West Highlands UNESCO Geopark so you could follow the rock trail or take a guided tour. There’s a shop and petrol station in the village as well as a bar/café which is just by the entrance to the site.
Perfect for: Trips to Handa Island, sunset views and dinner at the seafood restaurant in nearby Tarbet.
Facilities: Launderette, WiFi, EHU, chemical disposal, bar/café, pets allowed, hot showers
Prices from: £23 for 2 adults
Open: April to October
Loch Clash Campervan Stopover, Kinlochbervie
For a real feel of Highland life, stop a night on the pier at Kinlochbervie, a traditional west coast fishing village with a working harbour. All proceeds from your stay will be used to support community projects as the pier stopover is managed by The Kinlochbervie Community Company, a charitable company whose aim is to initiate and develop community improvement projects. Pop into the local shop to pay for your stay.
Perfect for: Diving with Dive KLB, or experiencing a real fish auction with international buyers.
Google map of location
Facilities: EHU, waste disposal, pets allowed. Public toilets are available at the main harbour 500m away and you can use the shower and laundry facilities at the fish market building, by the fishing boats.
Prices from: £10 for 2 adults
Open: All year
Sango Sands Oasis, Durness
An iconic North Coast 500 campsite, with full facilities and a prime location, this site can be very busy in the summer, but there’s plenty of room. Durness is blessed with an array of magnificent beaches, Smoo cave can be accessed by a wooden walkway and stairs from the site, whales and dolphins are frequently spotted from the elevated pitches and there are plenty of activities nearby including a zip line and Britain’s most northerly golf course at Balnakeil.
Perfect for: Staying a few days to explore. Be sure to take the passenger ferry and minibus to the remote wilderness of dramatic Cape Wrath, there’s no land between here and the Arctic.
Facilities: Launderette, WiFi, EHU, chemical and grey waste disposal, pets allowed, hot showers, bar and shop next door.
Prices from: £22 for 2 adults
Open: Mid-March to end of October
Kyle of Tongue Hostel and Holiday Park, Tongue
The campsite was added to the hostel grounds in 2018 and refurbished in 2022 so everything is in great condition. The village of Tongue is surrounded by some of Scotland’s most majestic seascapes and mountains, including Ben Hope, the most northerly munro. This site has jaw dropping 360-degree views and is perfectly placed to use as a base for a few days exploring. We love the large spaces, the views and the breakfasts at the café are divine.
Perfect for: Joining in the traditional dances at a Ceilidh in the nearby community hall or accompanying a local ranger on an otter watch.
Facilities: Launderette, WiFi, EHU, chemical and grey waste disposal, pets allowed, hot showers, shop, café/bar
Prices from: £33 for 2 adults
Open: Mid-April to 30th September
Dunnet Head Car Park, Thurso
Dunnet Head is the most northerly point in mainland Britain and Highland Council considerately allow overnight parking in this wonderful car park perched atop 300ft high cliffs. If that’s not reason enough to stay, it’s also on an RSPB reserve and next to a lighthouse built by Robert Louis Stevenson the author of Kidnapped and Treasure Island. A perfect wee gem for an overnight stop, places like this are the soul of the North Coast 500. You’ll want to return time and time again. One of the questions we’re asked most frequently is, ‘will the weather be bad?’ Well, probably, some of the time anyway, but in places like this, it enhances the experience. You can’t say you’ve really experienced Scotland if you haven’t seen its wild side. Sometimes you can get lucky and have sunshine for your whole trip too!
Perfect for: Cosying up on a wild stormy night to watch the waves hitting the cliffs. Viewing the myriad birds raising their chicks on the cliffs.
Facilities: None, this is what makes it special.
Price: £10 per night
Open: All year
John O’Groats Caravan and Camping Site, John O’Groats
No NC500 trip is complete without a visit to John O’Groats. The village has a souvenir shop, general store, petrol station and hotel. A very welcoming site with gorgeous views across the Pentland Firth to Orkney. The big sky views and northerly location make this a prime spot for seeing the aurora borealis.
Perfect for: Ticking off your bucket list photo with the legendary signpost.
Facilities: Launderette, WiFi, EHU, chemical and grey waste disposal, pets allowed, hot showers, hair dryers, disabled toilet, 90 pitches
Prices from: £24 for 2 adults
Open: 1st March to 31st October
Latheronwheel Harbour, Latheronwheel
A peaceful harbour with a BBQ and lovely seating area for picnics, all maintained by locals for the benefit of visitors and the community. This is a great area for learning about the history of Scotland. Visit iron-age Carn Liath Broch, see standing stones, pop into the Clan Gunn Heritage Centre and Museum to learn about the clans’ Norse origins and go to Laidhay Croft Museum and Tearoom to see how people lived 250 years ago.
Perfect for: Strolling around Latheronwheel Fairy Glen which starts at the parking area, an imaginative walk created by the local community (and fairies).
Prices from: Free, donations gratefully accepted in the honesty box. All money raised supports more community projects.
Open: All year
Fortrose Bay Campsite, Fortrose
Fabulous sea views with pitches right on the pebble beach, perfect for having a BBQ or campfire and listening to the waves. This site has the friendliest of owners who will go the extra mile to make your stay something special, ask them what the best time of day is to see the local dolphins a beautiful 15-minute walk away.
Perfect for: The last night of your North Coast 500 trip. There’s plenty of nearby towns and villages for buying last minute souvenirs and you can reminisce and plan your next visit over a delicious dinner in one of the many nearby pubs or restaurants.
Facilities: Laundrette, hot showers, pets allowed, WiFi, 50 pitches, EHU, chemical and grey waste disposal, fridge/freezer, kitchen area
Prices from: £17 for 2 adults
Open: April to October
Other Sites to Consider
We reviewed every campsite on the North Coast 500 route before selecting our top picks for this guide. There were a few others that we love staying at, and came close to being included. So, starting at Inverness and going clockwise again, we’d like to share these sites with you too.
Kessock Caravan Park, Kessock - Small woodland site, newly opened in 2021, simple and peaceful. www.kessockpark.co.uk
Riverside Chalets and Caravans, Contin – right next to a river with great opportunities to spot wildlife and it has a well-stocked shop. www.lochness-chalets.co.uk/
Auchtertyre Farm – Overnight Aire style parking just off the route, three miles from the Skye bridge and near Eilean Donan Castle and Plockton. www.overnightparking.co.uk/
Ardmair Bay, Ullapool – A tranquil setting on a pebble beach, just north of Ullapool. https://www.ardmair.com/ullapool-campsite-holiday-park/
Port a Bhaigh, Altandhu – just off the route, north of Ullapool. Incredible views to the Summer Isles, lovely pub serving meals on site and a shop. www.portabhaigh.co.uk/
Windhaven, Dunnet – Open all year, this small site has two kayaks and two mountain bikes available to hire. www.windhaven.co.uk/
Ferry View Night Stop, John O’Groats – friendly, quirky, family run site with on-site café in a bus. www.ferryview.scot/
Golspie Shore Street Car Park, Golspie – A Highland Council Car Park charging £10 per night. As the name suggests, it’s right on the shore and a very handy spot. www.searchforsites.co.uk/image.php?src=46116_1657301848_app.jpg
Dornoch Firth Caravan Park, Tain - A modern site with award winning shower facilities including accessible washrooms. Great views across the Dornoch Firth and a two-minute drive to the town of Tain. Dornoch Firth Caravan Park for Holiday Park near Tain for Camping
Highland Council – A trial was undertaken in 2022 to allow overnight parking in some popular areas with few or no nearby sites, charging just £10 to park overnight. The results of the trial haven’t been announced yet so these sites may change but will be updated on this website. These are really handy to know about for back-up sites if you aren’t booking ahead and many are lovely spots.
Toyota Proace Eco REVOLUTION
Ford Transit PHEV Evolution II
Toyota Alphard Hybrid Eco Pioneer II
Toyota Alphard Hybrid Eco Pioneer
Toyota Alphard Hybrid Eco Explorer