From the shores of Cape Hatteras to the ancient mountains of Great Smoky Mountain National Park, North Carolina is a state that is as beautiful as it is diverse in natural wonders. Whether you fancy a day of surfing in the waves of the Atlantic Ocean or a climb up Mount Mitchell, the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi, there’s an outdoor adventure waiting for you. So grab your bathing suit or your hiking poles (or both!) and find the best camping in North Carolina.
The pristine beauty of North Carolina’s Outer Banks have always drawn vacationers looking for a respite from the hustle and bustle of their daily lives. Fortunately for those that like sleeping under the stars, camping in North Carolina at one of the state’s many beaches is a great way to experience the sun and sand without the expense of a vacation rental. With over 300 miles of coastline, there are dozens of state and private campgrounds to choose from.
If pitching your tent in coastal sand dunes isn’t your cup of tea then pack your bag and head to the mountains of Western North Carolina—a region known throughout the southeast for its abundant opportunities to recreate outdoors. Whether you’re rafting down the Nantahala River that winds through the beautiful and remote Nantahala National Forest or hiking on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, a 1,175 mile footpath that spans the width of North Carolina, you won’t run out of reasons to be outside.
North Carolina has 40 mountains that rise above 6,000 feet (aforementioned Mount Mitchell is the tallest, clocking in at 6,684 feet) and 100 that stand more than 5,000 feet. Camping in the shadows of these peaks is just one thing that makes camping in North Carolina so special. And with 2.1 million acres of public land in the state, finding a campground is as easy as pulling out a map.
Whether it’s saltwater waves, pristine peaks or rushing rivers that excite you, let The Dyrt help you discover the best camping in North Carolina.
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I stayed for 3 nights on Loop 5. I would definitely stay again, but only during the week. I like to camp to find a bit of solitude and quiet. The first night I was there, the loop was fairly empty, only a few campers. It was very peaceful and we were able to see a ton of stars. I even heard a pack of coyotes running through the mountains that night.
The next two nights were a Friday and Saturday, and all the site were booked for those nights. You could hear generators running in the distance and lots of dogs barking. The site right next to ours had people up playing music and singing until midnight.
The bathrooms were clean and you had plenty of water pressure. The bathhouse on loop 5 had two stalls, one with a toilet and large shower and the other with just a toilet. Bathrooms in the other loops were all private, (separate area for toilet and your own shower room).
First thing - this is a RV CAMPGROUND and it will not be for everyone. There is no bath house so only vehicles with a toilet are allowed (yes, you will have to poop in your trailer). The roads are also very tight so anything bigger than a 30' may be tough (you actually cannot follow Google/Waze maps or you will get stuck, follow the host directions).
So with that out of the way, this is by far our favorite spot in our RV adventures so far. While the campground is up near a mountain development, you wouldn't know it when you are in the campground. The sites are nice and spread out, yet we ended up meeting most of the campers, and they were all great (we even exchanged contact info for future camping adventures with another family). There is a garden on site you can meander around, grab an apple to snack on, and hang out with the butterflies. It is very dog-friendly; we were explicitly told we should keep our well-behaved dog off leash. You are practically between Canton GA, Highlands, NC and Franklin, NC so there is no lack of things to do - NC's biggest zip line is just down the road (we did not partake) but we did lots of hiking (waterfalls everywhere), star gazing (milky way was visible even during a full moon), and sitting around the campfire (cool mountain nights).
Finally, cannot review this site without mentioning the amazing and interesting host Peter who is very friendly and has a ton of insight on what to do in the area. He can give you directions on the best waterfalls, shops, etc. Plus he was kind enough to show our kids the garden while we got setup.
We weren’t sure what exactly to expect as it had no reviews. BUT we loved it. Small campground with level sites. Plenty of space and areas to walk our dog. They even have an off lead dog area with water available and poop bags.their was a lake on the property to walk around and adds to the beauty of a walk. The bath house was older but very clean. Two shower stalls with dressing area and two bathroom stalls. The laundry had a washer and dryer for $1.50 per load. Also immaculate. We have definitely found our Hendersonville campground for the future.
We were looking for someplace to stay near Hickory and we stumbled upon Indian Springs. I was a little nervous about making a reservation because they only take cash or check, and my research indicated the campground is hard to get to. However, this campground seemed to be the best location for the weekend and they had a site available, so we decided to stay.
I'm not going to lie, Indian Springs is not easy to get to. The road to the campground is easy to get to from I40, it's the turn onto Whitener Drive off of Costner Road that is not easy. Whitener Rd is fairly steep, but it starts off paved so it's not too bad. However, as we approached the campground's gate the pavement turned to gravel. When we got to the gate, we called to obtain an access code (we used the same code throughout the weekend). After going through the gate, we headed down the gravel driveway, toward the campground. At the bottom of the driveway, the road levels out and you turn into a flat, secluded valley in which the campground lies.
Check-in was simple and the pull-through gravel site was easy to get to. The site was fairly level, and the electric, water & sewer were well maintained and easy to access. Verizon cell service was excellent because there is a tower close-by. I wasn't sure about WiFi because the Indian Spring's website warns you not to expect much because it is free. That said, the WiFi was the best service we have experienced in the last 3 months on the road. It was fast & reliable, probably because the campground was not overcrowded, and it seems the people who live their full-time have their own service.
The campground was quiet and well maintained. You can tell the owners really care about their property. Also, there is a path to the nearby river and the dog loved spending time in the water.
Exiting the campground and driving up the steep hill with the camper in tow was a little challenging, but we made it out without trouble.
If you can handle driving up and down the gravel road, you will love this campground. It is definitely a hidden gem, and one of the best experiences we have had. We will definitely stay at Indian Springs the next time we are in the area.
Stayed one night in site 002. which had hookups (water/ electric) but no lake view. Beautiful small campground, very quiet. Lakeside campsites didn't have electric but were beautiful, would be worth trying to book. I like lots of privacy, site 2 had a lot of privacy, site 1 probably had the most of any I saw. Very nice check-in person at the gate, very helpful.
This is THE prime camping area for Bryson City. Tubing is within walking distance, train station is just a few miles away, breweries & restaurants are just a few miles away as well.
Spots aren't that big, as another review noted. If you can check out which spot you think you want before your actual stay, that would be ideal.
My daughter needed to move out of her dorm at ECU and this was the closest campground that had a site available over Labor Day weekend. We were happy to be as close to her as we could get, and we appreciated being able to stay at this campground for 2 weeks.
This KOA is taking COVID serious, so during check-in they had us stay in the vehicle and call the office. A couple of minutes later, someone came out with paperwork and directed us to site number 2. When I got out to check the site, I noticed there was no sewer hook-up, so I asked one of the grounds crew guys who was nearby. He told me I was not on a full hook-up site.
I was pretty sure I had booked full hook-up because we planned to be there for 2 weeks, so I went to the office and asked. The owner proceeded to give me a lecture by about how I need to be more careful when booking on-line because their computer showed I only needed power and water. I asked the owner why he thought I would book a site with no sewer, if I planned to be there for 2 weeks. I had more I wanted to say about his attitude, but I bit my tongue because this was the only campground near where we needed to be. Fortunately, they had a full hook-up site available, so I was able to pay a few dollars more a night to ensure a comfortable stay. When I asked which site I was going to, the dude wouldn't answer me. Thinking he hadn't heard me, I asked again and he huffed. Then he said, "Don't worry about it, just follow my sister and she'll take you to the site." Again, I bit my tongue.
The sister took us to site 25 and after she gave us instructions concerning their very specific traffic pattern, she said, "I'm sorry about my brother." After reading other reviews of this campground, I'm pretty sure that was not the first time, and won't be the last time, she had to apologize for her brother's rudeness.
When we got to the site, we were happy to see it was extra long, so there was plenty of parking for the truck, the rig & my wife's car. The site was relatively level and the water and power were well maintained, clean & easy to access. The sewer hook-up, on the other hand was not ideal, as the pipe was nearly touching the leg of our neighbor's picnic table. I checked and sure enough the site on the other side of us had their sewer pipe right next to our picnic table. That said, the gnats were so bad at the campground that we didn't spend much time outside, so we barely noticed our neighbor's sewer line.
Cell service was excellent, which was good because WiFi was not ideal. They have satellite internet, so it was slow and barely accessible. They gave us passcodes for two devices, and the code is good for 3 days. So if you are there longer, you need to request additional codes.
The campground had one section for people who are there for extended stay - mostly construction workers doing nearby highway work. They were quiet and did not bother anyone. The rest of the campground was used by people passing through. The campground is close to I95 (there was no highway noise), so we seemed to have new neighbors every night.
All things considered, it was a decent campground and met our needs. I am not sure I would stay here for an extended time again, but if you're passing through or looking for a weekend getaway, the Enfield KOA will work.
We stayed with friends at Kimsey Creek Group campground, part of Standing Indian Campground, Site A. This was a beautiful, secluded spot for a small group with a rushing creek right beside it and its own bathroom(no showers right there but showers weren't far). We were able to pull our travel trailer easily into the parking area, while our friends tent camped. Other sites- Group sites B and C are on the other side of the creek and require a drive over some running water. C was much more isolated(back of the campground area) than B. Those two sites share a bathroom(again, no shower). Driving around, through the other campground part I really liked loop 1 as it seemed to have the most private sites with large trees.