Exploring the High Coast of Sweden

Summer 2020 camping! New challenges -vs- wanderlust.

We finally made it to summer 2020 – time to stay safe, keep your friends and family circle small and get outside.

Filling the head and heart with happy sun is the best medicine.

Camping in Sweden means that your landscape might vary from farm and field along backroads, near lakes, forest or mountains. It depends how far north you travel. For us the journey by car, while towing our own private quarters, is the best option.

Our plan was to head to the High Coast and of course, we were not alone. The camping sites in Sweden vary, but the best options for us are campgrounds with fewer than 100 parking spots. They were booked up to capacity – every spot was filled with a tent or camper. Many people here take the month of July off to get the most out of the incredibly short summer weather.

The average summer temp is 65-70 degrees, though in the past couple of years, we had a few weeks with 80-90 degree afternoons – what a gift!

We booked three campsites up the coast, that were close to World Heritage sites. The plan was to pull the camper, park and set up homebase. Then we could go on all types of adventures or siteseeing by car. It felt good to have a temporary home to come back to.

Soderhamns skärgård map
A map of the Southern Archipelago in the Baltic Sea.

Today’s post is about our first stop along the route:

campground sign

Stenö Camping & Havsbad (Stone Island Camping & Harbor Swimming) in Sandarne, 4.5 hrs. north of our home (@2 hrs north of Stockholm).

Entrance to Stenö Campground
Stenö Campground entrance

It turned out to be a good size campground along the coast of the Baltic Sea. Located on an inlet, this provides was an interesting water habitat for both wildlife and explorers.

It took about a half an hour to set up our camper and our new canopy-tent. Since our camper has such a small dining and hang-out area, we bought a tent that attaches to the side of the camper. This allows us to be outside, even when we have stormy weather or on cool nights. We set up a table and chairs inside with the beer cooler.

Solifer camper + Campout tent

After the long drive in the sun, I was anxious to get to the beach and swim. This was also the first beach we have seen in a while, so it didn’t take me long to dive in. We enjoyed that sun, lounging late into the day until it was grilling-time.

We had a great meal under the tent with the zipper flap open, watching the sunset over the water. We took an evening walk, to have a look around the facilities – 3 buildings with public washrooms and showers, a restaraunt and bar, mini-golf, a boat rental shack and reception area with a small store.

Stenö restaurant and boat rental

Day 2 – good morning camping paradise! I headed right back to the beach for a cold wake-up lap around the docks. The freedom of being next to the beach is the best reason to camp!

Stenö Beach / Stenö stranden
Can you see me out there?

After breakfast, we dropped our kayaks in beachside and headed out into the unknown. We checked the map before leaving, just to get an idea of how far the sea was from us in terms of paddling. We headed to the back of the lake we were in and explored every corner and creek we could find.

Kayaking in the Baltic Sea
Paddle adventure, Höga Kusten #1

Paddling around each corner, we witnessed so many dazzling moments – a family of four swans swimming together, and two seagulls trying to protect their young by nose-diving into us. There was a rocky area you could only paddle through with a small boat. There are hidden cabins and tiny paradise lots on the coasts of the many scattered islands.

Kayaking in Sandarne

Being out in the middle of nowhere gives you such a strong sense of curiosity, with endless options for exploring. I used our waterproof Fuji camera for capturing moments to share (thanks to Alena & Chris).

kayaking in Baltic Sea
A view of the Baltic Sea from the reeds.

We decided not to paddle to the sea our first day. On a perfect day like this, we crossed the paths of many larger boats – which can be dangerous, though our bright orange kayaks keep us visible from far away. We will have plenty of chances over the course of the next week.

We had a tasty dinner at the campground’s restaurant complete with local Höga Kusten beer. We took another stroll and found an area across the street, with small cabins. They are prepping the area for more camping sites and there is a small dog beach and a fishing area.

On our way back, We found the boat docks and public part of the beach. I spotted a sign tacked to a tree advertising a metal-art installation by local artists. As we walked up the hill, we found it hidden in a clearing inside the forest. How inspiring!

Artists: Göran Strandow and Kent Wahlbeck

The people here mostly kept to themselves, but we did meet another couple traveling around in a huge, top-of-the-line RV that parked next to us. They were traveling a similar route, but were on their way back from the North. They shared some comments and stories and we went our separate ways. We are still hoping to meet friendly campers that want to sit and chat, or get to know each other over a drink or two.

We headed back in our tent for the evening due to rain (intense humidity with all this heat!). We spent a cozy evening playing Skip-bo and listening to great music.

@rivalsons @reignwolf

We were sad to leave after 2 nights, but happy to get out on the road and see more as we headed to the designated High coast area.

Another awesome view of the beach!

Stay tuned for another installment of our Road Trip. There are more more details to come, as I paw through the photos of the High Coast of Sweden.

Have you ever taken a trip like this?

Please share – I welcome your comments and ideas!

adventure graphic
arrow graphic by Gina Hildinger

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