Camping In Cork: 12 Scenic Spots To Pitch A Tent (Waterside, Luxury Campsites + More)

camping in cork
Photo left via Hungry Hill Lodge and Campsite on Facebook. Photo right via Inch Hideaway Eco Sustainable Campsite on Facebook

If you’re in search of the best places to go camping in Cork, you’ve landed in the right place.

Whether you fancy camping old-school or yearn for something a little more luxurious, Cork has a campsite to tickle every fancy.

In the guide below, you’ll discover the best places for camping Cork has to offer, from luxury tents pitched by the sea to campsites that have stood the test of time.

Our favourite places to go camping in Cork

Chléire Haven camping
Photo via Chléire Haven

The first section of this guide tackles our favourite places to go camping in Cork. These are places that:

  • One or more of our team have stayed in and would recommend
  • Have exceptional reviews on Google at the time of writing

1. Eagle Point Camping

eagle point camping
Photo via Eagle Point Camping on Facebook

This 4-star West Cork caravan and camping site is perfectly situated on 20 acres at Bantry Bay in Ballylickey. It comes with 125 pitches and plenty of space for 65 tents and 60 caravans.

This is a popular spot for holidaymakers as it’s right on the water with plenty of pebble beaches and rock pools to keep the kids (or the big kids) entertained.

If you don’t have kids, don’t stress, there are Adult Only pitches in “The Meadow”. At the park entrance, there is a Centra Supermarket, Hot Food Deli and an off Licence. 

The park also comes with a basketball court, football pitch and tennis court to keep you busy. This is widely regarded as one of the best campsites in Cork for good reason.

2. Chléire Haven

Chléire Haven camping
Photo via Chléire Haven

You’ll find the stunning Chléire Haven campsite is situated on Cape Clear Island which is 8 miles from the mainland and also the southernmost inhabited part of Ireland.

This site is as rural as they come with 25 well-kept pitches along with yurts and tipis, fully-furnished with wood-burning stoves and a huge double bed.

At night, you can gaze at the stars by the fire pit after a long day exploring the 5km-long island.

This is hands-done one of the most beautiful places to go camping in Cork and it’s arguably one of the most scenic places to go glamping in Ireland.

3. The Hideaway Camping & Caravan Park

best cork campsites
Photo via Google Maps

This 2 hectare, touring only campsite in Cork is located only 10 minutes from the market town of Skibbereen and surrounded by lush preserved marshland.

The park comes with 60 pitches and it’s divided by shrubs and low hedges, with lovely views across the fields and hills.

For kids, there is an adventure play area and a Lidl is down the road in case you need anything. Lough Abisdealy is only a 2 minute drive from the campsite, a real hidden gem, and one you will likely have all to yourself.

Related read: Check out our guide to the best places to go camping in Ireland (unique campsites and family favourites) 

3. Glengarriff Caravan and Camping Park

Glengarriff caravan park
Photo via Google Maps (this isn’t the campsite)

Now – a quick disclaimer – the photo above isn’t Glengarriff Caravan and Camping Park. We couldn’t find a photo that we could use for this one.

Located under the mighty Caha Mountains and adjacent to the beautiful Bantry Bay, is Glengarriff Caravan and Camping Park. It’s only 2km from the sleepy village of Glengarriff, an excellent base for exploring the Beara Peninsula.

The park has 90 holiday homes available for rent, 90 motorhome pitches, 90 tent pitches and 90 touring pitches, so there’s plenty of space, especially if you want some privacy.

The park also has an on-site lounge bar with live music but there are plenty of nearby attractions too (see our guide to the best things to do in Glengarriff for info).

More popular places for camping in West Cork and beyond

Kilcully Scout Campsite
Photo via Kilcully Scout Campsite on Facebook

Now that we’ve got our favourite places to go camping in Cork out of the way, it’s time to tackle the other, equally good, Cork campsites.

Below, you’ll find some gorgeous waterside campsites, like Hungry Hill Lodge, to places to camp right next to the home of the Blarney Stone

1. Blarney Caravan and Camping Park

Blarney caravan site cork
Photo via Blarney Caravan and Camping Park on Facebook

This 4-star family-run campsite is located 8km from Cork City and 3km from Blarney village. The campsite is right in the heart of the Irish countryside, with plenty of open space for ball games or a game of golf (and a play area for the kids).

There are also wonderful views of Blarney Castle from the campsite. Blarney Caravan and Camping Park has hard standing and grass pitches with 10 amp electric hookup for caravan and motorhomes.

There’s also 20 hardstands with a tap for water as well as a waste water drain. There is also a separate camping area if you wish to go camping in Cork with your own tent.

2. Inch Hideaway Eco Sustainable Campsite

Inch Hideaway camping
Photos via Inch Hideaway Eco Sustainable Campsite on Facebook

Next up is one of the most unique places for camping Cork has to offer – Inch Hideaway Eco Sustainable Campsite.

This eco-sustainable campsite is only a 15 minute walk to the idyllic Inch Beach and offers so much more than simply a spot for camping.

They offer a selection of unique Yurts, each one tailored in a unique way. All the Yurts come with a private garden space, picnic table and a BBQ.

The campsite also offers a diverse selection of unique treatments such as holistic massage and group yoga classes.

You can also take a guided walk where you learn how to forage for berries and herbs. You’ll find few campsites in Cork that pack a punch as mighty as this place.

3. Kilcully Scout Campsite

Kilcully Scout Campsite
Photo via Kilcully Scout Campsite on Facebook

Kilcully Scout Campsite is a 12 min drive from Cork City and is located by an old farm house that was taken over by the scout groups of Cork back in 1970.

The scouts developed the 4.5 hectares of land into what it is today, with an additional accommodation building for showers and toilets.

The site comes with table tennis and indoor soccer nets so you don’t need to worry about ball games and at night, you can enjoy telling ghost stories by the campfire circl.

4. Garrettstown House Holiday Park

Garrettstown camping
Photos via Garrettstown House

If you’re in search of family-friendly places to go camping in Cork, look no further than the brilliant, family-run Garrettstown House.

You’ll find the campsite here situated on the grounds of an 18th century Manor house. The park comes with an extensive playground and playroom for any age while the adults can play in the lounge or snooker room .

During high season, there is a daily activity program though there is a sandy beach only a short walk from the park too (perfect for surfing). The park is also less than a 5 min drive from Kinsale and it’s nice and close to Garretstown Beach, so it’s an ideal base if you want to explore.

5. Hungry Hill Lodge and Campsite

Hungry Hill camping
Photo via Hungry Hill Lodge and Campsite on Facebook

This holiday park is right in the middle of the Ring of Beara in a corner of Cork that boasts some of the most incredible scenery in Ireland.

The site is family-run, with a particular emphasis on personalised recommendations’ to make sure you get the most out of your trip.

There are a few little pubs and restaurants nearby as well as two golf courses, riding stables and bike hire available from the site.

There are 32 hookup points with some pitches hard standing and most perfect for awning. There is also the log cabin if you prefer glamping over camping.

Places to go wild camping in Cork

Since first publishing this guide late last year, we’ve received a flurry of emails asking about wild camping in Cork, and whether or not it’s allowed.

The quick answer is yes, wild camping in Cork (and in many places in Ireland) is allowed, but you need to know what’s OK and what isn’t before picking a spot to pitch.

  1. Leave no trace: If you bring it with you, you take it home – no exceptions
  2. Avoid private land: Some landowners will be OK with you camping on their land, but you need to ask for permission in advance
  3. Coillte land: Coillte have several designated wild camping spots in Cork, each of which is located near a waymarked trail. You can find the spots on this handy map.

Here are some recommendations on places to go wild camping in West Cork and across the county.

1. The Beara Peninsula

ring of beara
Photo by LouieLea (Shutterstock)

The stunning Beara Peninsula is 200+ km of unspoiled coastline, so you can expect plenty of amazing views of the Atlantic and plenty of space to find a remote camping spot.

It can get a little breezy since it’s next to the sea so do plan ahead. Because of the maritime influence of the Atlantic ocean, there are lots of subtropical trees and shrubs that grow on the peninsula.

The peninsula is also home to many Bronze Age remains like stone circles, standing stones and wedge tombs. So make sure to not set-up camp on some ancient burial ground.

2. Barleycove Beach

Barleycove Beach in cork
Photo left: Michael O Connor. Photo right: Richard Semik (Shutterstock)

Barleycove Beach is one of the more popular places for wild camping in Cork (the fact that it’s one of the best beaches in West Cork helps!).

It was created in 1755 when 15ft waves from a huge tsunami that originated from an earthquake in Portugal permanently displaced all of the sand, creating the beach.

The Blue Flag beach is big enough for long walks or a wee dip in the crystal clear waters. It’s also surrounded by a special conservation area, so you will see a whole manner of critters and creatures.

3. Sherkin Island (near Silver Strand Beach)

Beach on Sherkin Island
Photo by Sasapee (Shutterstock)

Sherkin Island is situated very southwest of Cork and a perfect location if you want to go camping without getting disturbed, especially since the island has a population of around 111 people.

To get to the island, you can take a 10 minute ferry from Baltimore harbour. Silver Strand tends to be where people pitch up for a night.

The beach here is beautiful and, if you visit during the quieter months, you’ll have the whole place to yourself. 

4. Inchydoney Beach

Inchydoney Beach guide
Photo left: TyronRoss (Shutterstock). Photo right: © The Irish Road Trip

Inchydoney Beach is one of the more popular beaches in Cork and it tends to attract swimmers, surfers and walkers by the boat load.

However, Inchydoney is also a popular spot for wild camping in West Cork and, thanks to its sheer size, there are plenty of spots to pitch up.

The blue flag beach is divided into two separate sections by a huge rocky peninsula known as the Virgin Mary Headland. 

Cork camping: Where have we missed?

I’m sure that we’ve unintentionally left out some great places to go camping in West Cork and beyond in the guide above.

If you know of any campsites in Cork (or any places to go wild camping in Cork) that you’d like to recommend, shout away in the comments below!

FAQs about camping in Cork

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from what are the most scenic places for camping in Cork to which are the most unique.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

What are the best places to go camping in Cork?

I’d argue that the best Cork camping spots are Eagle Point Camping, Chléire Haven, The Hideaway Camping & Caravan Park and Glengarriff Caravan and Camping Park.

What are the best spots for wild camping in Cork?

Places like the Beara Peninsula are best suited for wild camping in Cork, although you can wild camp by beaches, once you do so safely and in a spot sheltered from the water.

What are the most unique places for camping in West Cork?

If you’re after unique campsites in Cork, you cant go wrong with Chléire Haven. It’s located on Cape Clear and the views you’ll be treated to as you camp next to the water are out of this world!

Originally from County Tyrone, Johnny's yearning for new experiences and cultures has taken from Bundoran to Bangkok and everywhere in between!

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