Being able to see the sea can have a calming, meditative effect on those with busy lives. Pitching next to it can mean instant relaxation and joy at the thought of daily swims, walks, picnics, surfing, bodyboarding or simply sitting, listening and watching the rhythm of the waves, and filling your lungs with the fresh, sea air. It evokes a feeling of escape and, if things get a bit blowy, the crashing waves can lend a sense of exhilaration. Here we list some beachside settings that offer that sense of escape far from our cities’ busy streets. Some you can sample as you tour along Scotland’s North Coast 500 route.

Clachtoll Beach

134 Clachtoll, Lochinver, Sutherland, IV27 4JD; 01571 855377
Lying 100 metres from Clachtoll Beach and Split Rock, the campsite is surrounded by a natural playground for the family. Lochinver and its shops and restaurants are just five miles’ drive. Look out for dolphins.

Gruinard Bay

Laide, Wester Ross  IV22 2ND; 01445 731556
Spend the evening watching the sun setting over the sea from your seafront pitch and spend the day fishing from a boat or enjoying a sealife cruise and getting up close to seals and dolphins.

Sango Sands

Sango Bay, Durness, Sutherland IV27 4PZ
Sitting on cliffs above the beach, the site has gorgeous views out to sea where you might spot whales, dolphins and seals. Adjacent to the site is a bar and restaurant serving good food and stocking a wide range of whiskies. 

Sands Caravan and Camping Park

Gairloch, Wester Ross IV21 2DL; 01445 712 152 
Choose between a pitch sheltered by the dunes or one high up with fantastic views of the Isle of Skye and the Outer Hebrides. There is a shop, café, bike and kayak hire. Gairloch, with its shops and restaurants, is just three miles’ drive.

Dunnet Bay Caravan and Motorhome Club site

Dunnet, Thurso, Highlands, KW14 8XD
This is the Caravan and Motorhome Club’s most northerly site, overlooking Dunnet Bay. From nearby John O’Groats you could take a ferry trip to the Orkneys. Family and pets will love it.

Cnip Grazing

Cnip, Maibhaig, Uig, Isle Of Lewis, Hebrides HS2 9HS; Tel: 01851672332 or 07951188712
Located on the grassy verge of a white sand beach, this is a get-away-from-it-all site, owned by Cnip villagers through a community trust. The nearest shop is four miles. It’s 40 miles from the island’s main town, Stornaway.

Seal Shore Camping & Touring Site

Kildonan, Isle of Arran KA27 8SE; 01770 820320
A private beach on the Isle of Arran is the idyllic location of this site, which won the AA Small Campsite of the Year award in 2018. You’ll be sharing the view with Otters, gannets, porpoises, dolphins, basking sharks and grey seals – all are regular visitors.

Camusdarach Ventures Ltd

Camusdarach Lodge, Arisaig PH39 4NT; 01687 450221

Muasdale Holiday Park

Muasdale, Tarbert PA29 6XD; 07741 576880 
Pitch up on the grass behind the white sandy beach and gaze out across the water at the islands of Gigha, Islay and Jura. Pack cameras and binoculars to train on seals and otters. The campsite is under new management.

Shielings Campsite

Craignure, Isle of Mull PA65 6AY; 01680 812 496
Take in breathtaking views of the sea, mountain, the Sound of Mull and Loch Linnhe from this shore-front, family-friendly campsite. Nearby are the ferry, pub, shop, hotel, local cafés, and buses for Tobermory and Fionnphor.