From the jungles of Colombia to Turkey's Mediterranean coast, camping is even better when you have a breathtaking waterfront view. After picking 10 gorgeous campgrounds on lakes, rivers, and beaches in the United States, we start our international tour in New Zealand, where thoughts of kayaking secluded coves will help keep Northern Hemisphere-dwellers warm through their winter.
What's your favorite place to camp by the water? Let us know in the comments section.
1. Abel Tasman National Park (New Zealand)
Exploring by land or by sea are equally rewarding in this gem of a park perched at the northern end of New Zealand's South Island. Kayaking along the rocky coast and into its secluded coves allows for close encounters with seals, while trampers on the Abel Tasman Coast Track can stop off at swimming beaches and explore tidal estuaries. Both can be done -- separately or together -- as single- or multi-day adventures, staying at designated huts and campsites along the way. The large Totaranui campsite at the north end of Abel Tasman National Park is a perfect jumping-off point for track hikers, while The Barn at the southern end caters to a more festive crowd with its movie nights, hot outdoor baths, WiFi, and "cold beer and sea views."
2. Great Ocean Road Tourist Park (Australia)
The natural limestone stacks dubbed the "Twelve Apostles" (now only eight are standing) are a major draw to the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia, one of the world's most scenic drives. The Great Ocean Road Tourist Park's sheltered, grassy campsites on the banks of the Curdies River Inlet make the perfect base for exploring this and other area attractions, including bird watching, beach combing, cycling, estuary canoeing, fishing, and hiking opportunities. Thrill-seekers can dive the Shipwreck Coast, where some 700 vessels are said to have met their end.
3. Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona (Colombia)
You won't even need a tent to stay at this beautiful spot on Colombia's northern Caribbean coast, where most campers rent a hammock to sleep in, though cabanas and tent sites are also available. If you tire of the stunning beaches, the Tayrona National Nature Park area is surrounded by lush jungle that's home to black howler monkeys, red woodpeckers, iguanas, and jaguars. (Don't worry, the big cats mostly slink out at night.) Explorers can even trek to nearby archaeological sites, including the ruins of the pre-Columbian town of Pueblito, also known as Chairama.
4. Parque Nacional Corcovado (Costa Rica)
Dubbed the "most biologically intense place on Earth" by National Geographic, Corcovado National Park is home to a truly astounding variety of wildlife, including four monkey species, giant anteaters, sloths, scarlet macaws, tiger herons, spectacled caimans, ocelots, pumas, and (much less pleasantly) a number of venomous snakes. This remote park on Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula offers camping at each of its entrances, as well as at the Sirena ranger station, which makes a good base for exploring its desolate beaches, waterfalls, cloud forest, mangrove swamps, palm groves, lagoons, and the world's largest tropical primary lowland rainforest.
5. Boya Lake (Canada)
Formed by glaciers 8,000 years ago, the clear waters and numerous islands and bays of Boya Lake in Canada's British Columbia are just calling out to be explored by canoe or kayak. Amazingly, given how far it is north, the lake is even warm enough for swimming -- during the summer months, of course, when the long days last well into the night. The 4,597-hectare Boya Lake Provincial Park includes hiking and mountain-bike trails. Wildlife-watchers can keep an eye out for moose, beaver, mountain goat, and Osborne caribou, as well as a variety of waterfowl and songbirds. Just don't forget your mosquito repellent!
Find more breathtaking waterfront campgrounds around the world on page 2.