The best TENT SITES camping near
Kerns , VIRGINIA

183 Reviews93 Campgrounds

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Most Recent Kerns Camping Reviews
Clean

We were only here for one night in the rain but it was quiet and the bath hall was spotless! Conveniently located close to highway 81 and town!

Family Campground on the Nolichucky River

Riverpark is a privately owned campground situated at the classic Big Rocks rapid on the Nolichucky river.  The top part of the campground is where you will find the camp store that has a nice selection of local crafts and goods for sale, as well as firewood, ice and many other camping necessities that you may need.  Also, the bath house, which is probably the cleanest bathroom you will ever find at a campground is up top.  In the lower section of the campground there are pull through sites, back in sites and of course the wonderful river front sites.  There are no life guards on duty and the river is wild so use at your own risk.  That said, depending when you visit the water maybe suitable for swimming, other times not so much. If you are into whitewater kayaking, be sure to bring your play boat. However, there is no day use available for anyone who is not staying at the campground, unless you are visiting someone who is staying at Riverpark. So no park and play available here.  The prices vary depending on the site, but all sites have full hookups including premium cable television. Base Wi-Fi is available as part of your site fee, but if you plan to stream videos or need faster internet, it is available for an additional fee that can paid for through following the prompts with no trip to the office necessary.

Family but Permanent

This campground is clean, right on SOHO Lake. This is a permanent set campground, not one for weekenders. We have stayed here with friends who have a lot leased. The same people are there year after year and it is like a huge family. It is quiet, but fun. The only reason I don’t give it 5 stars is that I can’t stay here just for the week when we visit.

The location is reVirginia Creeper!

This campground is small and no bathrooms, but it is directly on the Creeper so that makes up for it! Great location also because it is close to restaurants and the center of the small town. It does have water and power and a picnic table. Being right on a little river is great too. Gave it 4 stars because no bathrooms/showers.

Easy Access, Close to Town

Just across the Virginia state line, this national forest offers multiple dispersed camping areas along Beaver Dam Creek. Opportunities for hiking, cycling, fishing, and paddling are abundant. Most of campsites are large, very shaded, along a beautiful treelined road, and surrounded by mountains. 

There is no drinking water, picnic tables, or even pit toilet, so come prepared. The only major problem is that folks tend to leave a ton of trash around, so we often spend about 20-30 minutes cleaning these sites upon arrival. Please Leave No Trace! Our site had a good fire ring, and was on the edge of a creek that we could filter water from with ease.  Would not recommend for any vehicle larger than 20 feet as the potholed road and the tight turns to get up to the camp from the road would be tough.  4WD highly recommended, especially in mud season or winter.

We stayed at this camp for 10 days during the pandemic shutdown and it was a lovely place to ride out this crazy storm.  Some road noise from the motorcycles that cruise the road, but only occasionally. The closest town is Damascus, VA, about 5 miles away. The town is small, but draws thousands of tourists each year who are either hiking the Appalachian Trail or cycling the famous Virginia Creeper bike path. It is equipped with a decent sized grocery store, gas, and couple of restaurants, and a cute downtown area. There is absolutely no cell service at this camp, you have to go into town or hike a local mountain to get service up high.

Beautiful & Free but Lots of Road Noise

Just on the edge of Watauga Lake sits this free dispersed camping area that is perfect for tent camping only. This is a park outside the gate and walk your gear in type of place, some bring your IKEA bags or a wagon. Opportunities for fishing and boating are abundant. Most of campsites are large, very shaded, and have at least one fire ring. A handful of sites have direct water access, and are more private. 

There is no drinking water, picnic tables, or even pit toilet, so come prepared. The only major problem is that folks tend to leave a ton of trash around, so we spent about an hour cleaning the entire campground. Please Leave No Trace! Also, we would not recommend camping here on a busy weekend because the road is very close and the trucks are very loud! 

The nearest town is Butler, which is small but offers the basics such as groceries and gas.

Very Nice State Park

This park is right on the banks of the Nolichuckey river. It had nice trails for hiking. There is river access for fishing or launching a water craft. We were there in December when the weather was chilly and practically had the place to ourselves. The bathhouse was exceptionally nice and there was also laundry and wifi available.

Excellent Primitive Camping

Stayed here with a group and had an awesome time. So many hiking trails in this area, the river, then there’s “The Snake” US 421 motorcycle route and the Virginia Creeper hike/bike trail nearby. Basic campground, picnic tables, huge fire rings and a pit toilet. The river runs the back of the campground. There’s a cool rock formation falls that you can sit at or wade. Then there’s the natural arch that’s right over the road. Dark and quiet at night, so relaxing with the water. There’s a big pavilion and picnic area at the end of the campground. Loved camping here.

Lakeside sunsets for days

You really can’t pass this one up. If you are road tripping from Great Smokey to Shenandoah this is the perfect one or two night way point. We opted for two nights and were stunned with the views from the hemlock loop. We booked before the site filled up and got the best site of the loop — site 006. I don’t know if we’ll ever be back because it was a bit out of the way for us.

It is primarily a boat/fishing recreation area in Cherokee National Forest, but it works as a perfect get away. Similar to other NF campgrounds the sites are huge and offering full or partial shade. We lucked out and got there during peak autumn colors. Being that we booked a month out we didn’t realize the campground would close the other loops our weekend causing our loop to be full the whole weekend. The atmosphere was respectful.

We did a day trip to Asheville, NC since we are not boat ppl and got to experience a great day in the city.

These are largely primitive sites, but offer some great amenities regardless. Very big picnic tables, shared water, bathrooms, and a boat ramp.

Alcohol isn’t permitted but it seemed like everyone ignores that rule. Bring your own firewood as what they were offering needed to be chopped. We didn’t bring our axe so we had to run out for some wood at a gas station.

Also the road into the campsite has several switchbacks and blind turns. Locals breeze through it, but if you are hauling an very large trailer/RV be prepared. It would be tough to make some of these turns in a vehicle the size of a greyhound.

Sunset is worth it. If we can come back, we will.

Beautiful

Didn't have the issues others had here. Our site was secluded, very clean and quiet. In fact, all facilities were clean and well maintaned. Lots of trails to hike, nice camp store, friendly employees. And, everyone was social distancing. This will definitely be on our "do it again" list!

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