Essex is full of gorgeous countryside, fascinating towns and villages, historic attractions and 350 miles of coastline to explore. It’s an ideal place to go camping and make the most of the outdoors. Here is our guide to the best campsites in Essex. 

Mersea Island Holiday Park

What could be better than camping on an island by the sea? Just a stone’s throw from the beach, Mersea Island Holiday Park has all the amenities you need. It’s a simple campsite, with no motorhomes or caravans allowed. Facilities include toilets, showers, an indoor swimming pool, a children’s play area and an onsite shop selling all the essentials.  

West Mersea Holiday Park

Also on Mersea Island is the West Mersea Holiday Park. This small, quiet and relaxing park is a short distance from the estuary, and there’s plenty to see for wildlife fans. Onsite facilities include showers, plenty of water points, a shop, laundrette, shop and family entertainment complex serving up food and drinks. The campsite is an ideal location if you’re planning on trying out water sports and fishing.

Fen Farm Caravan and Camping Site

Another campsite on Mersea Island is Fen Farm. This is the ideal spot for people wanting a quiet family getaway. Situated by the sea and close to a country park, Fen Farm has been run by the Lord family since 1918. Facilities include a toilet and shower block, disabled bathroom, laundry room and washing up area. You’ll find a pub a few minutes walk away, and some takeaways will deliver to the campsite. There are plenty of things for the kids to get stuck into, like an outdoor play area, open field for ball games or crabbing in the creeks.

The Pretty Thing

This peaceful campsite is a short distance from Colchester’s historic town centre, and is close to the seaside towns of Frinton, Walton, St Osyth and Clacton. Set over three acres of green space, the site is perfect for birdwatching during the day and stargazing at night. Facilities include a modern toilet and shower block, washing up area and children’s play area. You’re welcome to bring your own BBQ or you can also hire fire pits. 

The Orchards Holiday Village

Want to experience the traditional Essex seaside holiday? The Orchards Holiday Village is the place to be. The campsite has direct access to the beach and sits right beside the River Colne. Enjoy the views out to Mersea Island or follow a sea wall walk straight from the campsite. Facilities at the campsite are second to none. Enjoy a heated indoor and outdoor pool, a sports court, two fishing lakes, live entertainment, a golf course and a bar and restaurant. Bike hire is available to explore the surrounding countryside.

Birch Hall

Birch Hall is actually an activity centre with a campsite set on a 400 acre farm, and is only available for whole-site group bookings. The campsite borders the Hamford Water Nature Reserve, with a mile and half of coastline. A five minute drive gets you to Frinton-on-Sea and the traditional sea-side charm of Walton-on-the-Naze. Facilities include a modern shower and toilet block, a kitchenette and meeting room which can also be used for dining and games during wet weather. 

Grange Farm Campsite

Grange Farm Campsite is  located in the small village of Thorpe le Soken, Essex, near to the coastal resorts of Clacton on Sea, Frinton on Sea and Walton on the Naze. The site is predominantly adults only with a limited number of pitches for families. It’s an ideal place if you’re looking for back to basics camping. Although the facilities are very basic and include toilets and showers, the site is only a 10 minute walk into the centre of the Thorpe-le-Soken with its shops, pubs and eateries and a 10 minute walk to the nearby Railway Station. 

Kelvedon Hatch Camping and Caravanning Club Site

At the heart of rural Essex, Kelvedon Hatch Camping and Caravanning Club Site is within close distance to the beaches. The facilities include toilets, showers, disabled bathroom, wifi, washing up area and a shop. The village of Kelvedon Hatch is best known for its once-secret nuclear bunker, which is now a museum with plenty of activities for the whole family. It’s worth going to Southend to check out the beaches for the many amusements, attractions, shops, cafes and restaurants.

Colchester Country Park

This well-maintained park is within short distance to all that the historic city of Colchester has to offer. It’s also a quick half hour from the sunny Essex coastline. Facilities include three amenity blocks with showering and washing facilities in private cubicles. There is also a disabled bathroom, dishwashing and laundry areas, and a large play area for kids.

Osea Meadows

Situated by the Blackwater Estuary, Osea Meadows offers peaceful relaxation amongst stunning open countryside and coastal pastures. Facilities include toilets and showers, a bar and family restaurant. Nearby, you’ll find attractions like the New Hall Vineyard, combined Military Museum, Museum of Power and Steam, Tiptree Jam and Colchester Zoo. There are also plenty of coastal walking and cycling routes nearby.