Want a nice camping getaway close to Sydney?
You don’t need to drive far from Sydney to get a fantastic camping site. Here on the Central Coast, we really are blessed with stunning lakes, bushland and beaches.
Whether you set up in the bushland near the beach or deeper in the bush, you’ll find great things to do. Hike, kayak, swim, surf or fish.
There are a few nice places to camp on the Central Coast. These 9 spots below are the best places I know.
Patonga Camping Ground is located at the mouth of the Hawkesbury River in Patonga and it’s considered one of the best campsites near Sydney. It has a creek on one side and the beach on the other and it’s surrounded by Brisbane Water National Park.
Kids love swimming in the creek and you can kayak upstream. Bring fishing rods, it’s a must. Walk along the beach to Patonga Pub and bushwalk to Warrah Lookout.
Read more: Patonga
Facilities at this camping site include a kids playground, tennis court, showers, barbecues, boat ramp, laundry facilities. Campfires are permitted in an enclosed and elevated (20 cm above ground) fire pit from April-August. Many people camp there to so it gets pretty busy especially in peak times.
If you like bushwalking, Putty Beach Campground in Bouddi National Park is surrounded by top walking tracks. Put on that backpack and walk the 8 km Coastal Walk, or head to Putty Beach, which is beside the campsite.
Facilities at this camping site include drinkable water, flush toilets, cold shower, picnic tables and barbecues. The campsite is accessible by car and is wheelchair accessible.
Read more: Putty Beach
Sleep with the sound of the ocean at Little Beach Campground in Bouddi National Park.
Six campsites sit in a secluded cove surrounded by littoral rainforest. Little Beach Campground is one of the most popular camping spots on the Central Coast so remember to book ahead.
Read more: Little Beach
There is no vehicular access – you must carry food and water and walk 750 m along a walking trail. Or sleep overnight while walking the 8 km Coastal Walk.
There is a picnic table, barbecue and non-flush toilets at the camping site. The beach is popular for surfing and fishing.
If you are looking for a remote camping site, Tallow Beach Campground in Bouddi National Park is the place to go. Access to the campsite and surfing beach is a 1.2 km walk-in through a steep but easy walking trail.
Enjoy fishing, surfing and bushwalking in Bouddi, and retreat to the serenity of nature while listening to the waves crashing on the beach.
Read more: Tallow Beach
There is no vehicular access to the camping site, no drinking water, and no amenities except non-flush toilets.
Camp in a tent-only campsite in the bushland of Munmorah State Conservation Area.
Frazer Campground is a mere 50 m walk to Frazer Beach, a popular beach for surfing and swimming. The beach is patrolled during Christmas and Easter school holidays. The camping site is also close to walking tracks: Palms circuit track and Mooney Beach trail. Read more on Frazer Campground.
Read more: Frazer Beach
Read more: Frazer Campground
The campsite is accessible by car and facilities include showers, toilets, barbecue and picnic table.
Camp and wake up to a new adventure in the wilderness of Glenworth Valley Outdoor Adventures on the Central Coast. Try horse riding, squad biking, abseiling, laser skirmish, kayaking, and pony lead riding for children.
Bring your tent, hire a tent or a tepee, or sleep in an Eco Cabin. The camping sites are unpowered, and they are scattered on the edge of Popran Creek, in which you can have a dip. You can bring your kayak.
Facilities include hot showers, toilets, picnic tables and wood-fired barbecues. Bring your own firewood or buy at their shop.
Freemans Campground is in the bushland of Munmorah State Conservation Area near Birdie Beach.
Surf or enjoy nude bathing at Red Ochre Beach on the northernmost section of Birdie Beach and swim at Lakes Beach between the flags. Walk the Moonee Beach trail or Palms circuit track.
The camping site is accessible by car. Facilities include toilets, showers, drinking water, barbecues and picnic tables.
Tucked in Dharug National Park and 2 km from the Hawkesbury River, Mill Creek Campground is a perfect base for bushwalking and cycling.
Walk the 1.6 km Grass Tree circuit loop with your children, the longer 11 km walking track or visit parts of the Old Great North Road. Wake up to wildlife and see wombats.
The campsite is accessible by car. There are barbecue facilities and toilets and the camping site is fully wheelchair accessible. You need to bring your own drinking water and food supply.
Ten Mile Hollow Campground is a welcome overnight campsite for those walking the World Heritage-listed Old Great North Road in Dharug National Park and wanting to rest their weary legs after a day’s walk. It’s a remote camping site and there is no vehicular access.
Facilities include barbecues, drinking water and toilets. No need to book, the campsite is free.
A couple of readers have asked me to add pet-friendly options to the list above. So here are plenty of pet-friendly options.
I recommend that you call these campsites directly in case they change their pet policy without me knowing.
Budgewoi Holiday Park is in a nice location beside Munmorah Lake. The sites are spacious, and visitors enjoy the relaxing location of the campsite by the lake. Kids enjoy the jumping pillow and the small playground. You can walk to Birdie Beach and cycle on the bike path along the river and the lake. Dogs are welcome on powered sites (1 pet per site). (02) 4390 9019
Canton Beach Holiday Park is on the edge of Tuggerah Lakes. It’s family-friendly – It has a jumping pillow and playground. You can go for walks along the lake. The lake is great for fishing and boating. Norah Head and Soldiers Beach, a great surfing and swimming beach, are a short drive away. (02) 4396 3252
Norah Head Holiday Park offers great facilities for families including a jumping pillow and a pool. It’s located near the beautiful Soldiers Beach. This campsite contains cabins and powered and unpowered sites. They allow 1 pet per site. (02) 4396 3935
Two Shores Holiday Village is located close to The Entrance and a short walk to North Entrance Beach. Try to get a lakefront site or cabin. Falling asleep to beautiful sunsets and waking up to Tuggerah Lake is the highlight here. Facilities include a swimming pool, fridge, microwave and barbecue. Pets are allowed in the camping sites only. (02) 4332 2999
Dunleith Tourist Park only accepts pets outside the school holidays. This camping site is located beside The Entrance channel and Tuggerah Lake. Enjoy swimming, fishing, prawning and kayaking. Walk across the bridge to The Entrance. The Entrance has great family attractions and restaurants. Gaze at the most beautiful sunsets. Children can play in the shallow water. (02) 4332 2172
Ingenia Holidays Lake Macquarie is a lovely campground with spacious sites beside Lake Macquarie. A great place to go for a quiet holiday surrounded by ducks and rabbits and a beautiful lake. Pick a waterfront site and go for relaxing walks along the lake. Facilities include a jumping pillow and shallow pool. 1800 359 455
Toowoon Bay Holiday Park contains powered and unpowered sites. Kids will have a great time on the jumping pillow and in the pool. Dogs are welcome here and there’s a dog-friendly beach down the walking path. The campsite is located between the family-friendly Toowoon Bay Beach and beautiful Shelly Beach. If you like golfing, head to Shelly Beach Golf Club and enjoy the views of the Pacific Ocean. (02) 4332 2834
Note: all these Central Coast campsites can get busy during the peak season so remember to book ahead.