RV Sites
Tent Sites
Fires Allowed
Pets Allowed
Drinking Water
About Lake James State Park

Lake James Camping offers a full menu of activities. Along with boating, swimming and fishing in the beautiful, clear waters of the 6,812-acre lake, there are 25 miles of trails, 15 of which are open to mountain biking. Trails vary from the short, educational Holly Discovery Trail with child-friendly activities, to the more adventurous, historic section of the Overmountain Victory Trail. There are three campgrounds. The Catawba River Area has 20 walk-in campsites, many of which offer lake views. The Paddy’s Creek Area has 33 drive-to, family-friendly campsites. The remote boat-in campground on the Long Arm Peninsula offers a true outdoor adventure for those willing to paddle or steer their canoes, kayaks or powerboats to their own slice of heaven. Boat ramps at Hidden Cove and Canal Bridge on NC 126 are located between the park’s two day-use areas. And, canoe, kayak and paddleboard rentals are available at the Paddy’s Creek Area concession stand from May through September.

$23.00 - $161.00
Drive In
Walk In
Hike In
Boat In
ADA Accessible
Drinking Water
Fires Allowed
Firewood Available
Pets Allowed
Phone Service
Picnic Table
Trash Available
Lake James State Park is located in North Carolina
35.732 N
-81.907 W
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13 Reviews of Lake James State Park
Some of the best camping in the state!

The facilities here are some of the best. The bathhouse was immaculate and the campsite large enough for two tents to share comfortably. Would definitely recommend.

Simply beautiful

Lake James is one of North Carolina’s most desolate locations. Hike in, hide your food, and wait for the bear. Right on the water way, the picturesque scenery of the lake is beyond compare.

A beautiful place to disconnect

A lot of effort was put into remodeling the bathhouses, making them surprisingly welcoming. Many variations of tent sites available and sites are easily located.

Paddy's Creek campground

We stayed at a drive-up site at the east end of the Paddy's Creek campground. Sites were spaced apart well at the end. It was a rainy weekend, and I thought there were not enough trees close enough to our site to help with tying out a tarp for rain cover. There is a bear locker at each site for food that also came in handy for keeping firewood dry. Short walk across cul-de-sac for a water pump. Long walk to the bathhouse, easier to drive when daughter really had to go. Shower was nice, it just needed another shelf in the dry area or some more hooks. Had to drive a few miles each day for bags of ice. The lake was great, nice for swimming and kayaking. Overall, the negatives were minor and we had a good stay.

Incredible campground, semi private camp lots

We camped here with our new born daughter and son, with that being said the campground was very quiet and accommodated our family very well! We enjoyed that large bathhouses and the large tentpad spots!

Beautiful lake views

The view from our campsite was amazing. Right at the lakes edge with a view of Short Off mountain across the lake. Only thing is the camp site is a quarter mile from the parking lot so you have to carry everything to your site.

Beautiful walk-in campground.

We spent one night with our dogs at the walk-in campground at James Lake. It is a wonderful piece of nature. The campsites are far away from each other. Everything was very clean and taken care of. Our tents were very close to the lake so the dogs had fun and enjoyed swimming. Hiking trails are near by as well. It's quit a walk to the campsites but they provide wheelbarrows to bring your stuff in. We would definitely recommend this campground.

Nice, If I Doesn't Rain

Paddys Creek Drive-in Tent Camping 

I know you can't control the weather but the night we tried to stay here, it POURED! I'll get to why it is an issue in a bit. The park and campground are one of the newest in North Carolina. The facilities are nice, new and clean. The campsites are big but on a hill with parking below the sites. The camp pad is surrounded by a wood frame. That is the catch - the wood frame! When it started to rain, the water pooled up in the camp pad area since it had no where to drain. In a matter of minutes, our tent was floating in 6 inches of water. We could have toughed it out but at this point it was early enough in the night to just pack up, mud, wet tent, wet dog and all. I would try again but I hope it doesn't rain.


went camping at long arm 3 campsite 26 which you have to boat into. We loaded down our kayaks and headed out. The boat in camp sites are about a mile and a half. Not far at all but a good distance for beginners if u haven’t done this sort of thing before. Had a great view with plenty of shade. Another plus is there was an outhouse that was immaculate. Cleanliness of the park was great. I would definitely recommend.

Very clean and peaceful

We visited the Paddy Creek campground at Lake James last year. The campsite was impeccably maintained with the cleanest bath/shower house I have ever experienced camping. The swimming area on the lake is a short drive away (costs a small fee when the lifeguards are on duty in the summer). All the tent pads except for the ranger seemed to have one or two stairs from the parking spot, so I'm not sure it could be managed with any kind of camper. We went just prior to the official summer dates and never saw a camp host, which would have been nice to help explain the trails and swimming area.