Camping is a fantastic way to unwind, rejuvenate and spend quality time as a family without the distractions of technology or work. It’s also an opportunity for kids to grasp the importance of nature and how to respect the ecosystem. So, for those who prefer to get back to nature and ‘rough it’ instead of staying at 5-star hotels, we’ve found the best camping destinations for your next adventure.
Visit the Mossy Forest and try spot the alien-looking Rafflesia flower
When the jungle is calling, head to the hill station of Brinchang, which is located in the Cameron Highlands in the Malaysian state of Pahang. Just a 10-minute drive outside of town, you’ll find what is known locally as the ‘Mossy Forest’ (a type of tropical vegetation also known as ‘cloud forest’, because it’s always shrouded in a dense blanket of mist) – which will provide welcome relief from the humidity of the Malaysian peninsula. Take a trek through the forest and along the way try to spot native fauna and flora – the damp environment is ideal for frogs, tropical birds and the endangered, alien-looking Rafflesia flower. And take a dip in the pools of cascading waterfalls you pass along the way. Stay at the Sungai Pauh Campsite, which has basic facilities available and parking. Before heading up to the highlands, stay at Themework Homestay@Cameron Highlands.
Ta'if, Saudi Arabia
Spend the day hiking the Al Wahbah crater
Ta’if – a city in the Mecca Province of southwest Saudi Arabia – is known for its arid, mountainous surrounds and flavoursome, fresh fruit such as grapes, pomegranates and figs. It’s a handy base for families looking to witness splendid natural beauty as it’s just a two-hour drive from the city to the Al Wahbah crater (Maqla Tamia in Arabic), a circular crater with a cream-coloured, moon-like surface that stretches for two kilometres. Soon, you’ll be able to spend the night, as a camping site is being constructed right beside the crater. The lack of light pollution allows for dark skies and piercingly bright stars, so you can spend the evening teaching the family about the galaxies and constellations. Before leaving the city, stay in comfort at the Iridium Hotel.
Visit Imatra year-round with the family
Imatra is a small town in Finland amid a wilderness of old-growth forests and powerful rapids. And whatever the time of year, it’s great for the nature-loving family (whether you’re keen for fishing and hiking or cross-country skiing). Visit the gushing Imatrankoski rapids, before exploring Lake Saimaa’s calm shores and the dense surrounding forests, full of edible wild berries and mushrooms for foraging (but always do your homework to ensure what you’ve picked is safe to eat). On a short hike, stay at one of the many Imatra campsites. Or embark on a weekend trek, pitching a tent along the way.
Sierra Nevada, Spain
Go wild camping in the mountain rage of Sierra Nevada
Sierra Nevada is a mountain range and national park in the Spanish region of Andalucia but it’s also the name of a family-friendly ski resort located high up amid its rocky peaks. In the winter, this mountain town is famous for its powdery, white snow. While in summer, camping in the Sierra Nevada can be an experience unlike any other, surrounded by open valleys and clear blue skies. Wild camping is allowed in the mountains but there are some restrictions – you can only set up your tent for one hour before sunset and you must take it down one hour after sunrise and you also have to change locations each night. For families looking for a more relaxed approach, there are also lots of well-equipped campsites in Sierra Nevada and in the surrounding towns and villages.
Camp with the best views of Uzungöl, a lake found in Turkey
Uzungöl (known locally as Şeraho) is a calm lake found in the mountains to the south of the city of Trabzon, Turkey. The area is a utopia for families who love to be by the water and offers the chance to go hiking in the Soğanlı Mountains. To set up camp for the night, you can either hike or drive towards the surrounding hills. At the top of the mountain, you’ll find open space where many camping travellers (temporarily) call home; there are no amenities available at these sites but the view of the valley, the sun-burnt orange roofs of the local houses and the teal lake makes ‘roughing it’ well worth it. When you decide to come back down, stay at Nova Uzungöl.