The first time we stayed at Curtis Creek Campground, we had a great overall experience. We have a Jeep with a rooftop tent, and our friends have a pop-up camper. We shared site 11, and that was really the only site we would consider at this campground as the sites were close together and have no privacy between sites. We parked our jeep on the tent pad, and the pop-up between the jeep and site 10. That way, we had privacy as we were at the end of the loop where one side was wooded. The sites come with a nice fire pit and picnic table, there is water available and the pit toilets were immaculate on that visit. There is good access to Curtis Creek for fishing or hanging out, and the little bit of traffic on the adjacent road was not obtrusive. We liked it so much we returned a second weekend. We gave it a 5 star rating as a group for that site and our experience.
The camp hosts had changed between our first and second visits, and the second time it wasn't quite as pleasant. The amenities had not changed, but the cleanliness of the pit toilets had. They were not filthy, but were not being maintained as well as previously. There was a foul odor that would frequently come from the vents for the pit toilet, making it unpleasant to be at our campsite. I don't know if we were just down wind and it was at the end of its cycle and needing maintenance, but it changed our mind on coming back again as sewer odors just didn't mix with our camp dinners well. We gave it a 3 for that weekend.
It is a small campground, with good parking and RV sites. The road going in was rutted the first time, but had been graded by the time we went the second time - there were a couple of one lane bridges and a turn or two that might be tight for a large RV. Make sure you bring firewood, there is none sold at the site and we couldn't find any to purchase in Old Fort, we had to go to a larger town in order to find some. Overall, it is a good site but not quite our style if we weren't camping with friends as we would have felt like there was no privacy.
We discovered Riverbend Lodge through AirBnB while looking for a new place to camp. We had been to a number of larger campgrounds this year, and wanted to find a spot where we weren't competing with dozens - or hundreds - of other campers for a good site. Someplace with some privacy and quiet. Riverbend Lodge fit the bill.
Riverbend Lodge is a unique mix of lodge, restaurant, bar, and campsites. The owners are working on renovating the lodge and restaurant, and they have cleared some spots on the Middle Fork French Broad River to accommodate campers. They have tent sites right on the river (more of a creek, great small falls and peaceful sounds). We have a jeep with a rooftop tent, and the site we had was spacious and felt secluded. There was a firepit at the site, and a trash can. The owners live in an RV on-site, and said that they have a second site that has power and water hook-ups for a pop-up or RV. Most of the sites are primitive. There are picnic tables at a couple of areas on the property, but our site did not have a table.
There is a bathroom for campers with a flush toilet, sink, and tub/shower. They also have a hot tub and sauna, and the use is included in the camping fee - a real bargain! Both looked new and were immaculately maintained.
We did not view the lodge rooms for rent. We did enjoy the restaurant the night we got there, the food was very good and reasonably priced for what we got. We also had breakfast the last morning there, it is only served on weekends but it is only $10 for all you care to eat, and it is served to you - not buffet style. The staff were friendly and provided good service. The owners are a young couple, working hard to improve the lodge and offer a great experience. We will definitely return to Riverbend Lodge.
We had a riverside camp site at Hot Springs campground. The site was huge, our friends have a pop-up camper and we have a jeep with a roof-top tent and we shared one space. We had room to spare and didnt feel at all crowded. All sites have fire pits and picnic tables. The bath house and bathrooms wer very clean - the staff checked on them many times a day and kept them well stocked for the Labor.day holiday weekend. There are lots of outfitters nearby that offer rafting, tubing, an kayaking on the river, or you can bring your own and put in the t one of the many access points. We will definitely go back!
This was our first time at Bear Den Campground. The sites were well laid out and semi-private, close together but there were trees and shrubs that helped to form a natural separation between many of the sites. There was power and water at the tent camping sites, a nice touch, and every site had a fire pit and picnic table. If you want to cook, you need to bring your own grill or a grate to put over the fire pit - we came prepared with a grill and camp stove.
We visited during Memorial Day weekend, and it seemed as though the campground wasn't prepared for the holiday weekend crowd. The store was very low on some basic items at the beginning of the weekend and ran out of those items quickly. The bathrooms were not kept well stocked or clean. The men's room nearest our site ran out of soap sometime on Saturday, and it wasn't replenished until Monday late morning, according to my husband. The ladies room experienced toilets not working well, and at least one eventually overflowed according to one of our fellow campers. They did have ice for the whole weekend, and the firewood that we purchased here was superior to a lot of other wood we have bought camping, a bundle would actually last a whole night - the pieces were larger and more dense than normal.
There are a lot of amenities geared towards children - there is an arcade, but the games that had the prizes that could be retrieved by a grapple hook were nearly empty early in the weekend, and were not replenished. The pool and air hockey tables have definitely seen better days, but with the size of the campground, they likely see a lot of use. The pond was separated into two sections, one half for fishing and the other for swimming, and both areas stayed busy. I also saw a basketball court, and cornhole boards. There was a great bluegrass band on Sunday afternoon, and a food truck to provide an easy, fast meal if you didn't feel like cooking.
This campground is great for families with kids. We had cell service, which is unusual in many areas we camp in. The campground also offers cabins and RV sites, which we did not take advantage of. Overall, it was a good experience, but if you are looking for peace and solitude when you camp you should look at a smaller campground.