My previous time on Öland was with my parents about 30 years ago. Going there now camping with my family was nostalgic, and both trips are now full of good memories. The island is beautiful and I certainly could have spent more time on the Swedish island than the 3 nights and 2+ days we had.
We drove to the island on the 6kms long impressive bridge from Kalmar. The island is quite flat, still has a lot of stone walls dividing the paddocks, and has a narrow but long shape (one drived 2-3hrs from north yo south but maybe 30minutes across from east to west). There are a lot of nature reserves with many walk and and bike options, they range from short and easy, accessible with wheelchair, to full day ones. The world heritage area, the stora alvaret, covers most of the south half of the island. It is a formation of land only to be found here with a peculiar mix of plants.
Our campsite was about 10 kms from the the famous castle ruins of Borgholm from the 12th century. Free for kids, 95sek/adult. Kids loved exploring it! Almost next to is Solliden, the summer residence of the Swedish royal family, where one can also enter the garden by paying another 95sek. Actually there are many costly activity options on the island such as driving box cars, riding camels, visiting a zoo and theme park etc. but with a rich nature there are cheaper options too.
We chose to drive up to the north end, paid a couple of euros to climb the 138 steps up to the top of the lighthouse Långe Erik (Långe Jan at the south tip of the island) to have spectacular views. And we enjoyed the dunes and the beach of Böda for free. Borgholm was a cute little town, and there were a number of small harbours to inspect boats in.
When it was time to leave, our kids wondered when we’d come back. Öland is highly recommended by all of us!