The #1 Camping App
Search 500,000 listings, reviews & tips from anywhere in the US. Our free app is the top-rated camping app on Apple and Android.
We stayed at Mcdowell Park Campground over a long weekend and really enjoyed it. The park is located southwest of Charlotte off of hwy 49 near Lake Wylie, SC. The hwy is busy and neighboring Lake Wylie is also busy. however, once you pull off the road and back into the nature preserve, all of the noise (except for airplanes) falls away.
Our camp spot was level and plenty big enough to accommodate our 12x17 tent. We had our own power and shared water with the next campers. We were close to the bathhouse which was really clean. We loved the laid back atmosphere. We even had a couple of families in a group camping next to us and across from us. And while their kids were "active" it didn't affect our easy weekend.
We were able to buy ice and firewood at the camp office. The staff were very nice and accommodating.
Others mention that there is not much to do. In the campground, there is a playground and not much more. However, the overall Mcdowell nature preserve has plenty to do with Lake Wylie, playgrounds, nature trails, fishing, and more. You can be as busy or as chill as you choose.
We are headed back in March 2020 to kick off our camping season.
This seems to be a real nice campground. We stayed when the amusement park was closed so it was very quite and hardly anyone there. It had just rained a bunch so it was a bit muddy but it looked like all the spots are blacktop to park on so it was alright. Nice friendly staff too.
We stayed on site 16 right on the lake. Beautiful views. Our site was very steep, so took a lot to get level, but it was ok. The rangers we're very nice and helpful. Took a walk on the nature trail and it was a nice, short hike and then we looked at the museum and schoolhouse. The only downside is that you could hear the traffic at the campsites. Other than that it was a great spot.
This campground is off the beaten path, literally. It is out in the country, and without a GPS, I would have had a difficult time finding it. I had written the directions down from the website, but at night, it takes some maneuvering to look at directions and find country road signs in the dark. The campground is close to its namesake town of Hiddenite, which is a famous gem mining area known for gemstones such as hiddenite (spodumene), emeralds, sapphires, etc. I didn’t realize when I got to the campground that it also was a place for people to come watch their Christmas lights display. All of the mobile homes and RVs were lit for a beautiful display. When I first tried to book a reservation, I had to fill out an online request. After two days, I hadn’t heard back and I was going in that direction on my way home. I decided to take a chance. I stopped at the entry to what I think was the campground/Christmas lights display entrance. After a few minutes, a gentleman came out to ask me if he could help me. I told him I had contacted the campground two days ago, and after that I followed his golf cart to where he showed me a few places I could park my teardrop for the night. It had water, electricity, and sewer, as most of the sites do, and it was close to the creek. It had rained quite a bit a few days ago, so the grassy site was soft with ruts. They do allow tent camping, which is good to know for future reference. It appeared to me that most of the other campers here were permanent residents. When I went to the bath house, I was told the ladies’ bathroom was not working, so if I hear a woman in there I would know why. Most of the campers, however, would be using the facilities in their own RVs/trailers. During the summer, the bath house wouldn’t be so bad, but it was cold and there was no heat. The concrete walls made it feel even colder. There was hot water, however, but I chose not to take a shower there since I was only three hours from home and I would be leaving the next morning. The floor needed sweeping and somebody left beard hair all over the one sink. The host was very nice, and the campground served my needs for an overnight stay. There are a swimming pool and a playground for children. The road coming into the campground is dirt as was the road within the campground. There are shady spots in the campground with pull-through and back-in sites. Although the Christmas lights were on until I went to sleep, it didn’t seem to bother me that much, and other than the synchronized Christmas music, it was quiet. It would be interesting to see how the campground is during the summer.
Uwharrie National Forest-Badin Lake Campground, New London, NC.
Campground Overview: 34 sites, two loops…upper loop and lakeside loop. Relatively large sites with vegetation that blocks constant view of neighbors.
Each site has a gravel parking pad and separate gravel tent pad, a standing charcoal grill, firepit with adjustable grate, a picnic table and a metal pole for hanging lanterns, etc. I would advise securing online reservations, but they do have an Iron Ranger to drop your payment in should you find an empty site. Note: There are warnings that online reservations take precedence, so if you use the Iron Ranger payment drop chute and someone reserved the same campsite…you will be required to move to a different location when the online reservation campers arrive. Just so you know.
Oddly, no firewood for sale…although scrounging produced plenty of things and fallen branches to keep a fire going.
I preferred the lower loop as nearly every outer site was on the lake with great views and lake access and sites are spread out. The inside sites of the lower loop are pretty spacious and deep. Water spigots were spaced out around the loop, so a short walk as we were equal distance between two.
Restroom/showerhouses were quad door buildings. Separate men’s and women’s restrooms and two separate shower rooms. Facilities were kept clean and stocked by resident hosts.
With Verizon, I never lost signal…a plus for a National Forest!
The upper loop appeared to offer a little more solitude than the lower lake loop…but no lake views.
The lake loop trail crosses the main campground roadway between the two loops. This trail is relatively flat and meanders around the lake and it’s many fingers…offering lovely lake views and some nice fishing locations.
During my midweek visit it was quiet day and night. The sunset across the lake was gorgeous and relaxing. Loud powerboat noise was minimal as only a couple bass boats thought it essential to travel at high speeds from location to location. Next visit my canoe and mountain one will accompany me.
What I enjoyed: as much as I dislike tree rats, I was entertained by two feuding squirrels that chased each other relentlessly and knocking each other out of tree tops. Woodpecker and Turkey wake up calls.
For a National Forest, I was surprised by the level of daytime industrial noise nearby.
Overall, a fantastic location relatively close to Raleigh/Durham and Fayetteville for a great camping getaway. I was only able to stay one night as the campground was booked, all reserved in advance. So plan ahead.
Uwharrie National Forest-Arrowhead Campground
Uwharrie National Forest is fairly vast, but several camping areas are located in one general area. Equestrian campgrounds, hunting camps and then Arrowhead and Badin Lake campgrounds, along with the boat launch area. Arrowhead Campground has had a bigger budget compared to its lesser sibling Badin Lake Campground.
Campground roadways are paved, as well as the campsite parking pads, The restrooms are newer, larger and offer paved parking for users.
Sites are reasonably large and offer a picnic table, firepit, charcoal grill and metal hanging pole for lanterns, etc. some foliage exists between Campsites, but you still have a visual of your neighbors.
It appeared during my visit that most users were off-roaders with either 4x4’s or quads. The onsite host advised that it is very popular with the off-road enthusiasts. Enclosed and flatbed trailers filled most of the sites.
Caution: During hunting season, the National Forest is open to hunters…wear brightly colored or hunter orange clothing especially dawn and dusk.
Reserve well in advance if you desire a site…these campgrounds fill quickly.
Arrowhead also offers an inner-campground paved walk/bike/stroller trail…and the drive down to the boat launch(which has a fairly sizable paved parking lot and latrines). You can also pick up the lake loop trail by the Boat Ramp.
Being located so closely to the Raleigh/Durham area…and the Fayettville area…I can see this being filled to capacity most days and definitely weekends. Mid-week it was filled.