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.
We did a quick weekend trip and it was a very relaxed time. Very peaceful. We could hear the ocean at night. We were able to go four wheel driving on the beach. We were warning of biting bugs and flies during the summer, we really didn’t have a problem off season. They were still present but not a bother, if we stayed longer we would have put our screened dinette up. Already planning next year.
I've stayed at this park many times but it has been a few years and this is my first visit since joining Dyrt. The park is nice and clean. The bathhouse was well kept. The staff had decorations throughout the park for Halloween which is something I dont remember them doing in the past. There is a nice playground for the kids. Beautiful sun rise over the lake.
If you have a chance, definitely check out Goose Creek State Park. My husband, son, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and myself stayed at the park this past weekend, and we had a wonderful time. We stayed at campsite 11, and we had plenty of room for our two tents, two vehicles, a pup, a toddler, and the supplied picnic table, fire pit, and additional charcoal grill. The one negative about spot 11 is there’s a hiking trail that run directly behind the campsite, so it feels like people are constantly walking through your campsite. Spots 1-10 were definitely a bit smaller, and spots 11-14 are larger. If we were to stay again, I believe we’d try to stay at site 13.
The fishing dock is quite small, but it was fun to fish from with a few people. Be sure to bring bug spray! The worst for me was the biting flies. There is one outhouse-type bathroom near the dock with a spigot and dumpster nearby. There are about 10 steps leading up to the one-person, non-flushing bathroom.
There’s a wood station at the campground that uses the honor system. It’s $5 per bundle. We visited the visitors center in the hopes that they would have live bait for sell, but they sell nothing of the sort (no ice, bait, fishing rods, etc). So bring everything you need other than wood!
Overall, I’d give the campground 4.5/5, and I certainly recommend it! Try to stay in sites 11-14 if possible.
We abandoned plans to stay at place in Old Fort (see listing for Catawba Falls) and ended up here as a last chance before having to hit a hotel to turn back around to CLT. Boy, were we happy with our choice. Nice bathhouse w/ heated showers, super nice semi-primitive sites, half of them alongside a creek, the others are mere steps away. Lovely homes line the drive up and you are on land owned by Montreat College, a private Presbyterian-affiliated liberal arts college you hope your grandkids are smart enough to get into. Stately buildings, a lake, hiking and walking paths galore. Just the right amount of civilization - wood to purchase, flush toilets. Spotty cell service - if you have T Mobile forget it, if you have Verizon you're golden. I saw trailers in several spaces but it looks like a TIGHT squeeze in many sites. Tent sites are plentiful and lovely. Check in down the hill at the stately Assembly Inn hotel. Like the campground and the surrounding area - the people are total class and you cannot get a better price and location this close to Asheville.
Let's be honest. There's campgrounds and there's places that wish they are something other than what they are. This place reeks of old school charm - if you can look past the lines of semi-permanent RVs, the millimeter wide spacing between the tent sites and the express lack of parking on site. We paid for our site, arrived, looked at the disaster that awaited us, and wisely moved up the road to a real campground - Montreat Campground. Avoid this place unless it is your only option.
Great little gem in the area to avoid the chaos and calamity with the other Uwharrie area campgrounds. Very quiet and peaceful. Spacious lots in a wooded setting, includes a pool, walking trails, and access to Lake Tillery. Ice and firewood available onsite. Bath-houses are dated. Campground staff is super friendly and eager to make your stay comfortable.
For a weekend that just started out wrong (double conjunctivitis, sinus infection, son didn’t seat the camper correctly on the ball hitch… yep, we dismounted my friends!) The campground was a terrific place to get some much needed rest and relaxation. The secluded spots are a friendly distance from your neighbors and the water was peaceful and serene.
This was a nice campground. A creek ran along one side and a small stream on the other side. The camp sites were nice and consisted of a fire pit, pic-nic table, and raised bed for your tent. There was only one bathroom but the campground was small enough that it wasn’t too far of a walk. The bathrooms had a sink in the middle for washing dishes. The campground included a water pump as well. The campground was an extremely short walk to a trail head and less than a 2 minute drive from where you could see elk and Turkey from your car. The only negatives were you were next to a road, and while you couldn’t see the cars, you could hear them but there was very little traffic, and you were at least 20 minutes from any store in case you needed ice, or something of that nature.
We loved our stay! Glad to finally find a nice campground just over an hour away from Charlotte. Easy trek for a short weekend trip. We exhausted ourselves hiking and canoeing and much more stuff to do! Nice sites with electric hookups. Firewood available. Will definitely be back!
We decided to rent a camping cabin for the weekend. The cabin was fine for what we needed for the weekend. I didn’t feel like the people that worked there were very friendly and I didn’t get the sense that they took a lot of pride in the campground. The bathrooms could have been swept and cleaned a lot better. There was trash around the campground that I felt would have been picked up at other campgrounds we have visited. We camp a lot…This campground has so much potential. It just needs a more welcoming staff and a little more attention to details. I’m usually a tent camper, so I’m not very picky. I might return for a quick weekend trip if I can’t find another place, but I can’t see myself staying there for a week.
A couple buddies and I went camping on table rock, found a cave, crawled through it for about 100 feet and found the most beautiful camping spot we have ever seen. 10/10 would never tell the spot
This campground is located along the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway. We saw wildlife when we woke up in the mornings and before we went to bed in the evenings. The bath house in the tent only loop has private bathrooms with showers. The bath house is also cleaned daily.
I visited Moonshine Creek Campground with a group of friends. There had been mudslides over the winter so there were renovations going on. The sites are close together BUT so skillfully incorporated into the architecture that you really don’t notice. Cute cabins to rent and secluded tent sites, all with a stream running through the middle of the campground. My site was right next to the stream and little covered bridge. It sounded like it was always raining. We used the pavilion for get togethers, it has a nice kitchen area with a grill. Right outside the pavilion is a pit campfire for groups. There are cabins and sites up along the hillside which have a view and a little more privacy. Town is close by and window shopping is a must. There are several hiking opportunities in the area.
The views are extraordinary, the staff are very helpful and work hard to maintain the beauty of the park and the bath houses and laundry facilities were extremely clean. If you do not stay here, you are totally missing out on some amazing views! Getting to the top has some steep roads so just go slow. Highly recommend this campground, we will be back.
Nice and quiet campground. They have security that rides through frequently. It is family friendly, has laundromat and a game room. Very clean campground, friendly staff, and has several spaces right on the creek. The spaces have large gravel which is better suited for rv’s and campers than a tent.
Camping was located closer to the trailhead than expected. Some sites looked quite crowded but we reserved one further in the back.
The hike was challenging but definitely doable. The view was worth it (as you can see in the pictures). We first went down to the falls and then to the peak. Was around 6 miles in total.
The first time we stayed at Curtis Creek Campground, we had a great overall experience. We have a Jeep with a rooftop tent, and our friends have a pop-up camper. We shared site 11, and that was really the only site we would consider at this campground as the sites were close together and have no privacy between sites. We parked our jeep on the tent pad, and the pop-up between the jeep and site 10. That way, we had privacy as we were at the end of the loop where one side was wooded. The sites come with a nice fire pit and picnic table, there is water available and the pit toilets were immaculate on that visit. There is good access to Curtis Creek for fishing or hanging out, and the little bit of traffic on the adjacent road was not obtrusive. We liked it so much we returned a second weekend. We gave it a 5 star rating as a group for that site and our experience.
The camp hosts had changed between our first and second visits, and the second time it wasn't quite as pleasant. The amenities had not changed, but the cleanliness of the pit toilets had. They were not filthy, but were not being maintained as well as previously. There was a foul odor that would frequently come from the vents for the pit toilet, making it unpleasant to be at our campsite. I don't know if we were just down wind and it was at the end of its cycle and needing maintenance, but it changed our mind on coming back again as sewer odors just didn't mix with our camp dinners well. We gave it a 3 for that weekend.
It is a small campground, with good parking and RV sites. The road going in was rutted the first time, but had been graded by the time we went the second time - there were a couple of one lane bridges and a turn or two that might be tight for a large RV. Make sure you bring firewood, there is none sold at the site and we couldn't find any to purchase in Old Fort, we had to go to a larger town in order to find some. Overall, it is a good site but not quite our style if we weren't camping with friends as we would have felt like there was no privacy.
Falls Lake State Recreation Area is huge, with seven access areas (4 of which offer camping). We stayed at Holly Point, which offers both tent and RV camping on large, wooded lots. Our campsite, 57, backed up to a finger of Falls Lake for fishing. It was just a short walk to a clean swimming beach. Best of all, it was a great place for the kids to explore!
Sites had their own trash cans. A nice grocery store, some gas stations, and some restaurants were just a short drive out of the park. We'd love to return.