North York Moors

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Children having fun by Chris J ParkerChildren having fun by Chris J Parker

What to do in summer

Summer in the North York Moors kicks off in June, and really gets going in July and August. It's a time for getting outdoors, enjoying long lazy days at the Yorkshire Coast.

The sun doesn't set until after 9.30pm here at the height of summer, and daylight hangs on for another hour, so there's no excuse not to manage to pack a lot in. As we're the driest upland area in the country, we've plenty of ideas for sunny days too.

That fabulous National Park coast and amazing countryside also means there's lots to do with the kids as well. Find out what wildlife is around right now with our nature calendar, full of tips, seasonal walks and ideas on the best places to spot birds, animals and wildflowers.

Top 5 summer experiences

1. Outdoor adventures

The North York Moors' doors are thrown wide open at this time of year for all sorts of outdoor adventures for all ages and abilities. Summer is the perfect time to try surfing, biking, sea kayaking, gliding, horse riding or go skimming through the treetops with Go Ape! and Tree Top Junior, perfect for little monkeys (6 years and over or more than 1m tall).

For those who prefer their feet firmly on the ground, then there's miles and miles of paths to choose from, 1,408 miles to be precise… but don't worry we've made it easy for you by pulling together a fantastic series of downloadable walks covering every corner of the National Park. It’s all here and ready for you to hit the trails.

2. Coastal fun

You'll find sandy beaches at Runswick Bay, between Sandsend and Whitby, at Scarborough, Cayton Bay, and Saltburn's seemingly endless beach, eight miles of golden sand in fact. But there's a lot of fun to be had on our rocky outcrops too. We're not known as the dinosaur coast for nothing... Fossil hunting, rock pooling, beach combing, fishing, secret picnic spots, boat trips, rock hopping, the list is endless. Check out our Top 10 coastal experiences.

3. The North York Moors' heather

In late summer the heather flushes purple creating a truly magnificent sight, a bright pink and mauve carpet that stretches for mile after mile. Unenclosed and unsurpassed, and rare on a global scale, it's well worth a special trip at this time of year. Slow down and take the time to inhale its sweet smell. Lie in the sun and listen to the skylarks and sheep. You'll come across plenty of gorgeous stone-built moorland villages on your travels too, where wandering sheep roam freely on the village greens amongst the many great tearooms and traditional pubs. Don't forget to pick up some heather honey from one of the many farm shops in the area.

Much of the moorland is Open Access land which means you can enjoy miles of spectacular moorland on foot, without having to follow a defined path or track. This is a wonderful opportunity but as the moorland is home to wildlife and to sheep, it's important to act responsibly and observe any restrictions. There’s more information on our Open Access page.

4. Glamping and camping

For fresh air, relaxation and experiencing some of the North York Moors' most spectacular views, it's hard to top a night under canvas. Not much beats the pleasure of sitting around a campfire on a clear-night with the silence broken only by the sounds of nocturnal wildlife, the waves on the sea or tinkling becks.

There's an ever expanding number of glamping sites, from camping pods to tipis, yurts, bell tents and vintage gypsy caravans. Check out our glamping map to find some of the special camping and glamping options in the North York Moors.

You'll find a good range of quality, independently run caravan and camping sites across the North York Moors including Caravan and Motorhome Club and The Camping and Caravanning Club sites, plus the Cleveland Way National Trail website has a good range of camping sites, just tick the camping box.

5. Festivals and outdoor events

From the traditional agricultural, country and village shows to the hippest contemporary music and arts festivals, summer is a great time to visit the North York Moors. For a taster of what to expect, see this year's Major festivals and events.