I can't get enough of Jordan lake. This place is excellent for walking, hiking, boating, canoeing, fishing and more. I've been here on multiple occasions during the summer to beat the heat.
They don't like to have too large of groups though, just FYI
I would highly recommend this campsite/park for fishermen, boaters, and families looking for a fun time near the water. The park offers cultural and nature based events on a regular basis. There are picnic tables, primitive campgrounds right near the water, campsites with electrical/water amenities, and cabins in the park.
Stopping at Smith Mountain lake was well worth it during my mini road trip through VA. Pros: huge lake with tons of outdoor activities (trails for running/walking, boating activities, kayaking). There is a cool brewery nearby (Sunken City Brewery). I Cons: It's super popular, so you'll see a ton of people. Depending on where you are it may feel too crowded.
Overall, I enjoyed kayaking, relaxing and visiting the brewery. It wasn't the most backcountry or stereotypical wilderness experience, but if you don't mind that, go visit!
You can get the best views of Roanoke from Roanoke mountain! You can take pictures and walk around the huge Star and see why they call Roanoke "Star City". Apart from the huge star, there are excellent walking/running trails. I managed to do a good 7mile run on the different trails right there near the parkway. I would highly recommend visiting Roanoke Mountain if you are in Roanoke or near the area!
The Asheville East KOA is an interesting campground. Very much an RV park with tent sites and cabins, but it's nice because the Swannanoa river runs right by it. There is a nice pool, and the playground area may be a bit old, but there are plenty of kids who use it. I would only recommend camping here if you were looking to stay cheap and go into Asheville. It's not the best "outdoor" experience, but still nice!
I visited this park to go for a run while I was visiting DC. The trail around the lake is a bit under 5 miles, but it's all trail. There is almost no elevation gain, and it is not very technically rigorous. The park is definitely more geared toward day use than overnight camping, though there is a small camping area that has pretty good facilities. Watch out for XC runners in the fall though-- they have a course at the park that gets used for races on Saturdays in the fall.
I first visited Montgomery Bell State Park as part of a large group outing with my church. We had a huge space just for our community for the big BBQ we had, but it was the rest of the park that really impressed me. There were tons of nice walking trails and a beautiful lake. I enjoyed renting paddle boats for the first time ever and cruising around the lake.
High recommendation particularly for large groups looking to get away from Nashville without traveling too far.
Jordan lake has so much opportunity--from walking trails to great water activities. There are public and private beaches, and Crosswinds has great beach access. You could be camping just yards from the beach and lake. Though the pictures are from a gloomier day, I've had so many great sunny days at Jordan Lake--including the first time I was ever able to get up on some water skis!
I would recommend this campsite to college students looking to get away from the Chapel Hill/Carrboro area… particularly during the summers when it gets hot and early fall.
I stumbled upon Hungry Mother State Park a few summers ago traveling through VA and visiting parks and breweries. I could not have been more impressed by the facilities and beauty of this park. It's tucked away in a light mountain range and there is a beautiful lake for swimming. They even have an old-school dock in the middle of the lake with platforms and boards for diving.
I'm a big runner, and so I enjoyed jogging the 5-6mile loop around the lake. Though exhausting, it was such a fun and scenic run switching back and forth up and down the mountains and having the lake to my side.
A couple of yearas ago, I stayed in Sapphire, NC, for a trip and had the opportunity to visit the beautiful falls and scenic overlooks in and around Gorges State Park. There are trails fewer than 2 to over 10 miles, and I did a short one to view some of the biggest falls I've ever seen (I'm not a falls chaser or anything, but I've seen a decent amount).
My girlfriend took all the falls pics with her nice camera, but I've attached a few of the overlooks right in/outside the park!
Hagan stone is a great park! I've been there multiple times for races, and the facilities are excellent and the trails through the woods would have you thinking that you were miles from civilization. If you decide to go for a jog though, be careful not to slip into one of the ponds-- the grass does get very slick, and I've seen it happen a few too many times. In terms of camping, there are quality grass sites and sites for individual tents with a more wooded feel.
Pros: -Camp right next to French Broad River (and you can rent tubes for a discount from SkyTubing b/c you stay at Wilson RV) -Less than 10min to downtown Asheville -In River Arts District
Cons: -$20 to camp in a field with no specific site… you could almost stay in an Airbnb for as cheap -Too many other people nearby who were noisy late when I was there -Woman in charge was overbearing, and I felt like she was watching me the entire -Not enough parking when campsites are full
Recommendation: Honestly, it wasn't worth $40 for two night and being that close to downtown. I would have rather camped for free (roadside camping in Pisgah national forest) or camped at Lake Powhatan a little farther away.
My first visit to Carolina Beach State Park was an excellent one. It was May a few years ago, and even though the water wasn't quite warm enough to swim in yet, the trip was still an awesome one. The ocean beach isn't actually in the park, but there is access to Cape Fear River. I didn't have a boat (and I still don't), but people keep there boats at the marina and they make strolls through the park a bit more exciting. Campground had nice bathrooms and showers. There was plenty of space to stretch out and throw the frisbee around our campground.
I would recommend walking by the marina around sunset for cool views of the water with the sun setting in the west.
I first stumbled upon Lake Powhatan during a run through the NC Arboretum. The trails connect Lake Powhatan to the Arboretum and they go on for miles. The Campground itself has a good walking trail around the small lake and trails emanate from the campground for biking and walking/running. The facilities are nice, and the campsites even have picnic tables and grills. I would recommend this campsite to anyone-- it's in a great location near Asheville and the Blue Ridge Parkway, and if you're adventurous enough, you can hike to the Arboretum. One note though- I did see warnings for Black Bears having been spotted recently, though I did not see any myself.
I enjoyed my visit to Paris Landing state park. I was there with a large group of people from UAB, Vanderbilt, and Fisk for a Developmental Biology retreat. The hotel has great rates and is perfect for large groups, though it has a 1980s feel to it. The park itself is huge with miles of trails and basketball/tennis courts and volleyball courts. There are pavilions available for cookouts and BBQs, and our group had a catered dinner to one of the pavilions. I did not use the lake at all, but it looked very nice.
I've been to this park over a dozen times to run, and every time seems better than the previous one. Depending on where you park, you can access excellent 8-14 mile loops on the main gravel paths. The single track trails will keep you entertained for quite some time. Consider bringing your bike with you too!
Awesome summer/fall spot for boating, swimming picnicking! Such a nice and remote location to really let you find yourself. There is a nice campground nearby too.
So beautiful outside of roanoke-- definitely recommend visiting mill mountain park while you are there
I would recommend visiting this park and potentially camping with the hopes of visiting Duluth one of the nights you are there!
Duluth has great outdoor spaces, craft breweries, and an excellent marathon to run.