Devon has long been a popular camping and caravanning destination, and the fantastic beaches, charming coastal villages and mild climate here are all big pulls. It's a friendly and welcoming county, home to both the Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks, and with an immense variety of attractions on offer.

From family days on some of the UK's best beaches (Woolacombe is a regular award winner), to wild walks on the South West Coast Path and moorlands, there is plenty to keep allcomers amused while camping in Devon.

Our favourite things to do in Devon

Devon's highlights include:

  • Relaxing (or not) on the amazing beaches
  • Exploring Dartmoor National Park
  • Salcombe

Beautiful coastline and incredible beaches

Benefiting from two fantastic coastlines, Devon is home to some of the UK's best beaches. And that's no exaggeration - several of the beaches here are award winners.

Highlights on the south coast include Bantham, Beer, Blackpool Sands, Hope Cove and Slapton Sands, while the north coast has its own big hitters - Croyde, Putsborough, Watermouth Bay, Westward Ho! (with the exclamation mark!) and Woolacombe.

There are beaches here for every water sport imaginable, from surfing, kitesurfing and windsurfing to canoeing, sailing and coasteering. There are also beaches to suit every taste, from wide safe and sandy family-friendly beaches to remote and rugged coves.

Or if lazing on the sand, rock pooling and water sports aren't for you, stroll across to Burgh Island from Bigbury-on-Sea and catch the sea tractor back!

Charming towns and villages

Devon is full of unique little towns and villages. The enchanting town of Dartmouth occupies a stunning setting on the banks of the Dart Estuary, while the vibrant market town of Totnes is known for its alternative community, quirky shops and lively cafes. The seaside villages are perhaps the real stars though, with Clovelly, Croyde and Salcombe being some of our favourites.

It's not all sleepy villages though, you'll find fun aplenty too. For family breaks with more oomph, head to one of the holiday parks clustered around Ilfracombe and Combe Martin on the north coast, or Paignton and Brixham on the south coast.

And then there's Plymouth - a vibrant city by the sea which has enjoyed some serious regeneration in recent years. There is an interesting nautical history to explore, a good arts scene and some stunning views on offer, particularly from the Hoe across Plymouth Sound.

Epic scenery

The Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks both offer incredible settings for outdoor activities. Walking, cycling, horse riding, climbing, canoeing, and fishing are popular pursuits - and both parks are home to a wide variety of camping sites.

Dartmoor's wild moorlands are rich in myth and legend. Full of great scenery, the park is also home to a large number of mysterious prehistoric stone circles and settlements. Grimspound is a highlight. Elsewhere, Lydford Gorge (National Trust) makes for a very pretty walk, with White Lady Waterfall and Devil's Cauldron on view.

On Exmoor, it's the jaw dropping vistas in the Valley of Rocks that are the must-sees.

The South West Coast Path runs along both of Devon's coastlines and can easily be enjoyed in shorter sections for day walks. The more adventurous might like to try the Coast to Coast cycle route, which includes the Tarka Trail.

RHS Rosemoor, Cockington Country Park and Burrator Reservoir are all excellent days out too.

Local delicacies

Thanks to the mild climate, Devon has a diverse agricultural industry. However, no visit would be complete without enjoying a pasty (which may have been invented here rather than in Cornwall!), a cream tea with Devonshire clotted cream (cream first, jam second!) and a visit to one of the cider farms to sample the local scrumpy.

There's more to Devon than cider, pasties and clotted cream though - you'll find everything from chilli farms and micro-brewers to coffee roasters and blueberry farms. Two highlights are Sharpham Vineyard which offers tours of their vineyards and wine and cheese making processes, and a tour of the world famous Plymouth Gin Distillery.

Being a coastal county, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the seafood is excellent. There are plenty of food festivals throughout the year and Salcombe Crabfest and Clovelly's Herring Festival are both a good catch.

Other attractions

Animal lovers are spoilt for choice in Devon. Highlights include the fantastic Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth, the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth, Paignton Zoo, Pennywell Farm and - an unusual combination perhaps - Buckfastleigh Otter Sanctuary and Butteryfly Farm.

For something a bit wilder, head to Lundy Island for the puffins and basking sharks, or visit Berry Head National Nature Reserve - a great place for dolphin spotting. Even if you're unlucky with the wildlife, the cliff-top views at both are spectacular.

Devon has a fantastically rich history too. Impressive Buckland Abbey has superb grounds to wander through, Castle Drogo was the last castle to be built in England, and Powderham Castle hosts a variety of events throughout the year. And don't miss a trip to Greenway, Agatha Christie's family holiday home.

Families looking for all-out fun will enjoy a trip to one of the county's popular adventure and theme parks, including Crealy Great Adventure Park, Woodlands Family Theme Park, Milky Way Adventure Park and The Big Sheep.

And it wouldn't be Devon without something a bit quirky. Unusual attractions to look out for include the Babbacombe Model Village, Bygones Victorian Museum and the Kents Cavern cave system.

For more ideas, please visit our things to do in Devon pages.