Theres plenty of places to camp around GSMNP, we backpacked up to Mount LeConte which was an exhausting 8 miles. Certainly make the trip out in the fall, but make sure you mind the rainy weather.
We stayed here before spending the day in Asheville and continuing north, but we had to set up camp in a pinch at a KOA because of a car issue. I would have loved to come back to this site that night. We didn't need any of the hookups but each plot was spacious. enough for a pair of 2 man tents with some room between them. The plots were separated by trees which added privacy.
Koa's aren't my favorite because of the insane prevalence of RV's and inefficient spacing. But if you have a smaller group/ vehicle and head towards the back, you can avoid most of the crowding. that being said, Koa's have solid amenities generally and the proximity to asheville is fine.
Wonderful and open during a summer weekday. a little buggy in August but nothing that was too bothersome! Saw lots of bonfires at night along the Rodanthe coast and had to join in :)
It was easy to get from here to any of the good surf spots in ocracoke. you can hear the ocean so clearly at night. During the day it was easy to take the tent to the beach to shield us from the sun.
It's only 6 minutes from the park via Wolfes Neck road. When we camped we stayed in the Middle Bay Area for primitive tents only. It wasn't crowded and we had adequate space for 4 people, a fire, and a quiet night!
Super easy for small tents, we had a pair of 2-person ones that fit the sites just fine.
Easy to ride paved roads into the site. fire pits to use at night were really fun, and we met lots of great company.
When we went the shuttle was down, but the roads into and around Acadia are super easy to navigate.
Stopped here for a few hours just to set up camp for dinner. It was pretty bare bones but well-defined. I can see how the lack of privacy and proximity of the sites would be problematic on crowded nights.
We had to navigate out of the campground in the rain, which isn't so far out of the way that it was difficult. we were happy with the facilities and the proximity to the town.
had a few wild elk sightings and had to hike through plenty of mud to get to a camping spot. The trail system is well marked, but theres a lot to see and it's tough to move quickly.
Riding through the country on this one was half the fun. Lots of rolling hills, herds of cattle, and a really fun windy drive. The seashore was awesome and we saw lots of elephant seals having a noisy morning.
We spotted about a dozen sights, we settled on the very last one. It's a well maintained site and it was nice and quiet. Some decently shaded areas as well.
I don't know what it is, but this place just has the most insane light during the sunrise.
There's a lot to see and lots of places to stay in this state park. The summer was busy but you can find something thats available last minute. I was just there for the pictures, which I was able to get a great big wealth of.
Came here on a June weekend and it was pretty rife with people. It was pleasant getting up around sunrise to take in the view unobstructed, but we did have a tough time finding a quiet moment at night during that particular weekend.
The whole of Sol Duc was incredible. This is a good place for backpackers to set up after a day out there. The whole way was pretty damp/muddy on a relatively clear June Day so rain pants and a few pairs of socks are recommended.
We came here on a weekday with hardly anyone staying near us and rose around sunrise to catch the light over the rocks. it was such an easy and short distance to get there.
In terms of free sites, i havent had trouble dealing with the grounds being busy like i have in WV. I've only visited here twice. We had an issue with a tick or two, but otherwise it was comfortable and well placed primitive spot.
Definitely nab one of the free grounds early in the day, especially on weekends. Its a dirt road drive to the main sites and it's a little dodgy at night. the lot we picked had 6 campsites, with sand, fire pits, and a dock by the river. The community of people out there was great, friendly, and sociable. We learned that playing instruments is also very welcome!
i took a route recommended to me by one of the Rangers which differs slightly from the maps.
You'll want to start at the Backpackers lot near Massie Gap, Take the Rhododendron trail northbound until it intersects with the Horse trail. Keep going north until it meets the AT going northbound toward mount Rogers. The whole stretch is a bit of a hike but I'm sure you'll see them pretty early on.
It's about 6 miles to mount Rogers from the lot but the scenery is well worth it. Huge meadows, vast vistas above the valley. Very magical! Also, If you decide to hike out of the park and onto the AT, there's a herd of longhorn bulls that graze on the federal land. There's like 30-40 of them. Kind of scary if you aren't expecting to run into them, but worth a few photos for sure.