While it’s all about the journey and not the destination, it’s always nice for the destination to be worth it too! Traveling around in a VW Bus has its challenges, but one of the best parts of Buslife is being able to have the most beautiful scenery in the world right outside your front door. We’ve compiled some of our top scenic campsites all around the world with the most spectacular views. Also, it’s totally legal to camp at these spots, some are even free. If you’ve ever experienced one of these amazing places make sure to share your experience with fellow Buslifers!
Of course, it is always good to check the rules and regulations before camping somewhere. While at the time of writing this article it is possible to camp at these locations, the rules can always change. Part of the reason free scenic campsites become restricted is because they become too popular and get mistreated. When visiting these area, remember to tread lightly and act politely!
1. Grand Canyon National Park, USA
We know that this might be a given, but you just can’t beat this beautiful canyon at sunrise. It has campsites that actually place you right at the edge of the canyon so you’re able to brew your morning coffee, step out of your door, and bask in the glory that is the Grand Canyon. You’ll start to realize why it is so grand. Some campsites are connected to some amazing trails that take you to different points around the canyon for even more views.
2. Shojiko, Japan
If you find yourself road tripping around Japan at all there is a free campsite on Shimo Lake in Japan. This site will have you waking up to an astounding view of Mount Fuji across the gorgeous lake. Mount Fuji is Japan’s largest volcano and the second largest on an island in Asia. Its snow-capped peak stands at 12,389ft! The view stuns you a little at first, especially if you’re taking a glance before your first cup of coffee, you might not want to look away.
3. Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica
Campsites around here will bring the adventure and scenery right outside your back, or side, door. It’s known for the wildlife you might encounter and the park is filled with beaches, waterfalls, lagoons, and rainforest. If you actually want to stay inside of the park you will have to head in on foot. There are no roads and the forest is pretty much untouched, so you are able to actually see wildlife in their natural habitat. There is plenty of hiking around and it is the only place in Costa Rica that you have the chance to see four different species of monkeys.
4. Great Sand Dunes National Park, USA
Known for its humongous sand dunes, in this national park in Colorado, you’re able to camp right in the thick of them. These are the largest sand dunes in the United States! You can try your hand at sand sledding or sandboarding. Another popular thing to do here is to experience the park in the night. The combination of high elevation and low light pollution offers night sky views as you’ve never seen. If you are lucky enough to stay a night that there is a full moon you won’t even need a flashlight!
5. Jasper, Canada
This national park is surrounded by breathtaking views of aqua marine lake water at the foot of beautiful mountains. You’ll get to breathe in the fresh pine scent from the surrounding trees and there are many campsites to choose from. You can choose to spend your days canoeing across the lake or hiking the trails, or even just laying in your VW Bus gazing over the scenery surrounding you.
6. Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand
Even the drive into this park will take your breath away. There is one road in and out and it’s one of the most scenic roads you’ll ever take. The hikes around this park are what makes it worth going for. There are many different routes you can take and each with its own amazing photo opportunities. You’ll have a hard time prying yourself away from the landscapes around this park, and it’s trails will keep you busy for a while. It can feel like an out of body experience at times.
7. Lake Myvatn, Iceland
No Buslifer’s life is complete without a trip to Iceland. Whether you’re there to chase the Northern lights, hike a glacier, explore ice caves, or experience waterfalls you’re going to feel like you’ve stepped onto another planet. You’ll come across rocky, lava fields around part of the lake and a little further on you’ll find vibrant green landscapes. The area was actually created from a lava eruption and is still an active volcano spot. There are endless thing to do surrounding the beautiful lake and you’ll find yourself wanting to explore the entire island.
In Iceland wild camping is still allowed, but it can be a little confusing to figure out exactly where you can camp. This guide to wild camping in Iceland is a really helpful resource if you are thinking about doing it. However, there are numerous beautiful campsites where you can pay to stay if this feels better for you.
8. Arches National Park, USA
This incredible park is home to over 2000 natural sandstone arches, living up to its name. The desert landscapes will you make feel like you’ve left Earth. Take a day and switch out your VW Bus for an ATV tour, try out rock climbing or go river rafting. The landscapes and naturally made sculptures will have you gawking for hours.
9. Lake District National Park, U.K.
Home to the highest and most scenic mountains and lakes in England there aren’t many more perfect places to settle. The greenery will have you in awe as you decide where to set up camp. It’s a magical place to wake up and spend your mornings and plan out your day.
Most of the Lake District is actually private property, so if you want to wild camp, it is a good idea to get permission from a land owner before doing so. Otherwise, use one of the many paid campsites in the area.
10. Sardinia, Italy
Two words: beach camping! The insanely beautiful turquoise waters and sandy beaches will have you waking up in a refreshed and vibrant mood. There are numerous campsites surrounding the area. Wild camping is illegal in Sardinia, so try to stick to paid campsites where you can. The main issues with wild campers has been forest fires, so be extra careful with having fires or cooking.
That wraps up our list of 10 scenic campsites around the world. I bet you are tingling to get going now! If you want some more inspiration why not check out our other article, The Most Remote Places to Visit With Your VW Bus.