North Carolina’s best features are seemingly always on display. From the brilliant peak of Mount Mitchell—the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi river—to the state’s shimmering coastal banks and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the country’s most visited national park, one might think there aren’t any corners of the state left to find natural beauty in.

Those who have camped in south-central North Carolina’s Cane Creek Park, however, would say otherwise.

Located just an hour away from the busy metropolitan area of Charlotte, Cane Creek Park is a family-friendly lakefront park and campground. The park has no shortage of things to do, from fishing, boating, and swimming to disc and mini golf, and for families, that means an all-in-one vacation camping trip.

Make a weekend of it and reserve one of the 108 campsites for tent and RV campers–all of which have water and electricity and a limited number of which have sewer hookups. The park also offers nine wilderness campsites for walk-in tent campers, as well as 11 group camping sites and six rustic cabins.

5 Camping Tips For Your Next Family Vacation to Cane Creek Park

The Dyrt campers have provided their feedback and thoughts on camping at Cane Creek Park. We’ve collected their most helpful advice below, to help you make the most of your trip.

1. Bring Your Kayak, Canoe or Fishing Boat

a Kayak floats on a lake in cane creek park

Image from The Dyrt camper James C.

One of the major draws of Cane Creek Park is the sprawling lake that’s popular with fishermen and boaters. The swimming beach is open during the summer months and is a great place to cool off during those sweltering southern summer days.

Take note that if you plan on fishing, a state fishing license is required and can be picked up in the park’s operation center in the day-use area. Night fishing is permitted from the bank of the lake only and night boating is not allowed. All boats must be registered at the camp store.

“You can launch your kayak, canoe, or fishing boat at the lake. If you like Bass fishing, Cane Creek Park ranks as one of the best spots around. There are swimming areas for both day users and one for campers. This really is a gem within Union County, North Carolina.” —The Dyrt camper James C.

2. There’s Just As Much To Do On Dry Land

Cane Creek Park’s best offerings don’t just lie in the water. For those looking to keep their feet dry, the park has a number of fields and courts for sports, playgrounds, a disc golf course, as well as some top-tier hiking trails along North Carolina’s piedmont region. Mountain bike and horse trails are all available on-site and open year-round.

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, campers can find access to an on-site mini-golf course. While some people consider a relaxing weekend of camping curled up around the campfire, those that like to stay busy will not be disappointed (or bored!) during their time at Cane Creek Park.

3. Make Your Reservations Early

an RV at a wooded drive-in site at Cane Creek Park

Image from The Dyrt camper Rick B.

Like many other campgrounds, camping at Cane Creek Park tends to fill up fast. Because of it’s popularity, reservations are recommended and are only accepted for the current calendar year. Reservations must be made for a minimum of two consecutive nights so plan to stay for a few nights or longer.

“This campground is owned by Union County, NC with a good rate for residents. As such, it can be difficult to get in at times and usually requires a reservation well in advance.” —The Dyrt camper Rick B.

4. Stretch Your Legs on the Hiking Trails

When you want to take a break from the water, stretch your legs on one of the 11 hiking trails in Cane Creek Park. The trails are located in both the day use area of the park and the campground and range in distance from 4 miles to less than half a mile. The trails take hikers around the lake and through dense forest and are the perfect way to escape the sun after a long day on the water.

“The hiking trail is beautiful and takes you around the whole lake. Watch for horses, as this is a great place for riders too.” —The Dyrt camper James C.

5. Be Sure to Snag a Tent Site

Campsites at Cane Creek Park are well spaced, heavily wooded, and private with lake access for good fishing and paddling. The restrooms and shower facilities are within walking distance and there’s a small store on-site that is stocked with necessities.

Campers report that the walk-in tent sites at Cane Creek Park are the way to go, offering more peace and beauty than the car camping and RV sites.

“Walk-in sites are a simpler and quieter camping opportunity than the drive-in sites. In fact, no one else was in this section of the campground on this fine autumn day, yet the weather was beautiful and the setting so peaceful. I would recommend this campsite location for fall camping.” —The Dyrt camper Janet R.

Kim Dinan

Kim Dinan

Kim Dinan is an author and adventurer. Endlessly curious about the world, she has backpacked to over twenty-five countries on five continents and has called India, Mexico and numerous campgrounds around the USA home. Her love of the outdoors landed her a coveted job on Backpacker Magazine’s Get Out More Tour and has compelled her to climb mountains in the Himalayas, raft frigid rivers in Patagonia, and walk five hundred and fifty miles across Spain on her own. She lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina with her family.