Kirsten J.
Greensboro , NC
Joined July 2018
My partner and I enjoy camping with our kids and traveling as much as possible!
Well equipped - a little for everyone - close to several beaches!

Brunswick Beach Camping Resort is easily found - just off highway 17 in Sunset Beach NC.  This campground has RV sites, tent sites and even little cabins.  

As you pull off the road, it is set far from the road - which we liked!  This made for quieter nights without being able to hear passing traffic on the road.  You pass by the tobacco field on the right and pull into the campground.  This road is very skinny and I had to pull off several times to let a car pass.  As I pulled in there was a store immediately to my right where i went in to register.

I could see the swimming pool, volleyball court and horseshoes from just outside the store.  As I walked around the store, i noticed the laundry room and a bathroom attached to the back.  

I like some of the scenery out back - a bit of water - some trees.  Yet there were many RV's and the sites were so close together.  Many activities for our kids - yet not one where we would be able to spread out and let them be free without worrying we were disturbing someone.  

We had great cell phone service and free wifi while here - so if that is something you are looking for - look no further!  The little store sells a bit of everything you might need - and grocery stores are located within a few minutes down the road.

Small campground near sunset beach

Wishing Well campground is located off Sunset Beach in NC. It is a smaller campground, and much of the shared ground is a storage facility for boats and RV's that are not in use.  There are about 10 or 15 RV sites in the loop and the bathhouse is at the back of the loop.  Behind the bathhouse are about 10 tent sites, with electricity at most.  It was nice that the picnic tables were covered in the back of the property - yet the approach from the road, and the initial entraceway would turn some people away from this campground.  

The people (and owners) were very friendly and I did like the privacy that this campground held.  It was close enough to easily drive to the beach, without being in the middle of craziness.  

The bathhouse - very clean - but dated.  The showers were small - changing areas were provided, which was nice.  This is a nice campground - and very affordable!

Ranger Review: Morsel Spork XL at Carolina Beach State Park

Campground Review:

Carolina Beach State Park is located just over the bridge in Carolina Beach NC.  It is close to many restaurants and grocery stores, but offers a bit of seclusion with the large trees and overgrown shrubbery between sites.  

We enjoy the short hikes at Carolina Beach State Park, and the visitor center!  The visitor center has fantastic exhibits of venus fly traps with hands-on activities for the kids, explaining about the different kinds of carnivorous plants that live in the park.  We found both pitcher plants and venus fly traps on one of our hikes!  

This campground has 2 large loops - with affordable cabins scattered throughout.  It is a fairly large campground - almost 100 sites, with bathhouses, showers, spigots and trash through the park.  Camping costs around $26 a night for a tent site, or you could reserve one of their cabins (double bed and desk in the front room and bunks, or 2 bunk beds) for $58 - what a steal!!  

One of our favorite sites is number 45 - it backs right up to the river - and is slightly elevated, allowing beautiful views (while it isn't raining!).  This campground also has a marina - where boats can be rented as well as put in.  There are hiking trails, both short and long - the shortest being the venus fly trap trail - where you can see both venus fly traps and pitcher plants.  We hiked Sugarloaf - down to the private beach -  and hung out for several hours.  It was wonderful!  

Product review:

As a ranger for The Dyrt, I get to review items.  I reviewed the morsel spork XL while at Carolina Beach with my family. https://morselspork.com/products/morsel-spork

  I have had several sporks while hiking the Appalachian Trail, yet this spork exceeds expectations.  

First of all, the spork itself is sturdy, but pliable.  Secondly, the spatula feature on the side makes it easy to scrape every last bit of food out of your container or food pouch - and on a long hike - we don't want to leave one bite behind!  I have used this spork both with standard tupperware containers and also in dehydrated food pouches - and the XL is perfect! Lastly,  I dislike getting food on my hand when reaching in a pouch and the length of the spork is perfect! I can get a bite (with either the fork end, or the spoon end) and remove the utensil without getting slimy/sticky food on my hands.  I would highly recommend this spork for hiking/camping and my family is planning to use these in our lunches for the upcoming school year!

Ranger Review: Mountain House Chicken Noodle Casserole at Profile Campsite

Campsite Review:

About 20 minutes from Boone NC, a new parking area and approach trail begin the Profile hike.  This parking area has been in the works for years and we were excited to finally see the new bathhouse and extension of the trail.  

We parked near the bathhouse and filled out our slip (required of all campers and hikers) before climbing grandfather mountain.  Several additional campsites have been added in this area, as well as some being closed due to black bear activity.  

We hiked about 3 miles, past the creek, through rhododendron tunnels and through grassy gatherings of stinging nettles.  Our son told everyone we passed not to touch them, but that they could eat them!  

We made it to the Profile campsite - about a mile from the top, but a great campsite.  There are several great trees for hanging hammocks and two good tent pads sites.  This site also has bear cables for hanging food and items that the bears would deem interesting.  We were only here for half an hour before additional campers joined us.  They entered as loud, cursing college students, but changed their language upon seeing our youngest and were very friendly.  

We enjoy the campfire pit here best as it is surrounded by rocks that block the wind and make a fire possible at this elevation, but this trip ended in a severe thunderstorm and lots and lots of rain which made that impossible this time.  There are no facilities at this campsite - but this is a great intro to backpacking site to use as the hike is reasonable, both in length and elevation.  

Product Review:  

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get to test products.  At this campsite, I tested the Mountain House Chicken Noodle Casserole which was delicious!!  https://www.mountainhouse.com/m/product/homestyle-chicken-noodle-casserole.html

We most commonly carry our own dehydrated concoctions or more basic meals, but I was pleasantly surprised by both the texture and taste of the Chicken Noodle Casserole.  2 adults and 1 child shared this meal (listed as 3 servings) and were pleasantly satisfied.  We rehydrated 2 pouches, but ended up eating the second pouch the next morning.  There were lots of vegetables and enough flavor (and salt) to satisfy the post hiking cravings.  Our son was especially pleased with this meal, as he said it tasted like chicken pot pie, one of his favorites!  

We boiled water at the beginning of our hike so we could refill waterbottles before heading up.  We usually hike to the top after setting up camp but with the weather looking chancy, we weren't going to risk hitting the spring.  I carried the rehydrating pouch up in my pack and ate about 2 hours later and it was NOT a mushy mess.  I added exactly 2 cups of water and it was perfect.  I can't stress that enough.  I have eaten so many mushy rehydrated meals on the Appalachian Trail, I nearly expect all freeze-dried meals to do the same.  

I would strongly recommend this meal, especially if you like chicken pot pie!

Campground on a lake, in the midst of suburbia

Oak Hollow Campground is located in High Point NC.  It is immediately off the highway and just a couple turns through neighborhoods and you arrive at the campground.  You turn left off the main road, across from the golf course and pass by both the tennis center and the gazebo with the covered picnic tables.  You can hear both the highway and neighborhood traffic from the campground.  

When we pulled up, the first thing we noticed was the campground sign, with the electric gate with a key code.  We also were immediately greeted by a man on a golf-cart - which made us feel like they take care of who is in and out of their campground.  

Pulling in, all registration and fees can be paid in the little brown building on the right.  There were many signs on the door giving us all the info we needed, seeing as the attendant was out. 

We pulled through loop A and could hear music - we guessed from the lake, but soon realized it was from a house in the nearby neighborhood.  Several of the sites in loop A were crooked, but an RV could level acceptably.    

Loop B was an RV loop - consisting primarily of a gravel parkinglot and RV's stacked one after the other.  The lake was an easy walk from this loop - and also had a gazebo with picnic tables underneath and 2 swings, doggie pick up stations, recycling and trashcans. 

Loop C was the tent sites - many with interesting platforms that gave us a good view of the lake.  This view came at a price though - the sites were just off the road - meaning 4 or 5 feet from the road.  We parked strategically so the kids would always be between our van and our site - but there was no room for exploration on their own.  

Continuing on down the road, we came to Loop D which was another RV parking lot.  There was a semi-permanent gate separating the neighborhood from this parking lot - but people could easily walk in and out in this area.  

There was coin laundry, vending machines and a sink for washing dishes at the bathhouse.  Toilets, showers and changing areas were provided inside and a fenced in pool just behind the bathhouse.  

This is not a campground we would frequent - but I could imagine people staying here if visiting from out of town or if they needed to crash for a night.  The views were beautiful down by the lake - but it was clear we were in suburbia.

Campground for the whole family!

They don't call this the Cape Hatteras KOA Resort for nothing!!  This family friendly campground has SOMETHING for every interest!  

We have several family members/friends who would never camp tent - which makes this is the campground for this purpose!  We are not normally KOA campers, but to be able to stay in the same space as family - and for them to have beds and Aside from tent/RV sites, there are "deluxe cabins" or tiny homes, log cabins, raised cabins etc.  This is a KOA - so the spaces are tight and close together, but for this trips' purpose, it was fine.  

Similarly, if you have people who would never swim in the ocean - they have you covered!  There is a large pool - a double waterslide, a hot tub, a kids pirate playground, 2 enormous jumping pillows, volleyball, horseshoes, basketball, tetherball, etc.  

This KOA is directly on the beach - you never have to get back in your car if you don't want to!  There is a super boardwalk with a bathhouse right off the beach, outdoor shower area (which is SO nice) and even a fish cleaning station for the fisherpeople in your life.  Your four-legged friends are not left out - they have a dog pick up station too!  

The ocean front campsites even offered covered picnic tables - which for us is always a big win!  We love having an extension of our tent because OBX weather is a little unpredictable and summer - well, we can expect an afternoon thunderstorm.   We also liked the choice of camping on the ocean side or the sound side.  There are benefits to both choices - is it more important to you to camp with the shortest walk to the beach?  Is it more important to camp where you can watch the most beautiful sunset from your tent?   

We had wonderful weather and were so thankful for the proximity to the beach.  We caught a beautiful sunrise one morning - and usually we are the sunset chasers!  Our weather was excellent and the ocean water was about 74 degrees - refreshing - yet warm enough to play in!  A strong recommendation if you need some amenities for your camping experience!   

Side note - my ECLIPSE EQUINOX hoodie was amazing as a wet sunshirt this trip.  Not only did I wear the shirt on the SUP but my brother in law loved it as well! I actually prefer this shirt as a swim/sun shirt rather than for hiking now that I tried it in the water.  I did not like the way the hood came over my face when I fell in.  It took me a minute to figure out how to get it off my face.  Yet, my brother in law loved the sunshirt and wore it with a hat on the SUP - said the hood was his favorite feature!!

Beautiful, HUGE, clean, wooded sites!

Fort Hamby is located near Wilkesboro NC.  This campground is operated by the Army Core of Engineers and is a well kept campground on W Kerr Scott Reservoir.  We were most excited about disc golf, the deer we saw and the swimming beach.  The little kids also loved the playgrounds and horseshoe pits that were along the road.  

I loved the large campsites!  In fact, not being able to see any of our neighbors made us feel so much more remote than we were!  I liked being able to go into town if we needed something (or wanted real food) and come back to wilderness. 

Aside from the beautiful sites, we loved the group camp area and thought about bringing our school children back here for a camp-out.  Being less than 2 hours from home, with private bathhouse and basketball court and large shelters with cooking grills etc. - this could be a very fun end of the year celebration!

Beautiful, friendly, clean campground!

We were curious about this site - being 5 miles off the road - so we took the ride to inquire for more information and wow were we in for a surprise!  This campground was beautiful!  The ranger explained to us that they have 3 loops, C (for RV's) B (for tent campers only) and A (prime lake front sites).  She said in order for us to get a lake front site, we needed to make reservations 6 months in advance.  

We were feeling lucky - so we asked her for a pass to ride through and see what was available.  She gave us a 15 minute pass and we rode through - and WOW did we see prime camping!  First of all, this lake is BEAUTIFUL!  The color reminds me of Canadian glacier water in areas and you can see the bottom everywhere!  Secondly, the beach was clean, maintained and offered life jackets for kids who needed them.  Thirdly, the sites were well layed out, flat, and gorgeous!  We quickly figured out that if there was a reserved tag on the post, it was reserved - we needed to find an OPEN tag!  Which we did!  In fact, we found 3 of them - which made it hard to decide.  We liked the site on the inside of the loop so kids could play at the playground without crossing the street.  Yet, being so close to this lake, we wanted to be able to sit (or swing) and enjoy the beauty and peace.  

The bathhouse was immaculate - in fact, it had just been cleaned when we walked in for the first time!  Stalls, running water and shower stalls with private changing areas.  This campground lacks for nothing.  We will surely be back!

Ranger Review - Stream2Sea sunscreen at Fairy Stone State Park

Campground Review - 

We pulled into this campground the long way!  We followed dirt roads through hollers and through cow pastures, passing turkey's and all kinds of creatures along the way!  We learned upon arrival - there is a much easier trek between Floyd VA and Fairy Stone - note to self!  

We started at the camp office and met the kind camp workers.  They were friendly and helped explain the layout and set up of Fairy Stone Park.  About a year ago, this park became half first come first served and half reservation only.  Each site has a yellow or red tag on it - the yellow tags have to be reserved by site number.  The red tags can be walk up sites.  

We met Ron, the camp host immediately.  He was making his way around campsites in his golf cart - as friendly as can be!  The rangers said he was the best camp host they ever had - and they were right!  He was wonderful, kind and helpful.  

We learned about the mysterious "Fairy Stones" and went to the hunt site to see for ourselves.  Sure enough - we found several fairy stones and the kids were very happy!  We came back to the visitor center and learned about the different types of fairy stones and how they form.  There is also a very cool bee hive at the visitor center - check it out!  

We camped at site #5 this time - at the top of the hill because the sky was rather ominous.  We had a bit of daylight and decided NOT to set up because the sky looked looming.  We picked our site though and then hung out at a shelter near the yurts.  The shelter was fantastic!  It was dry and the kids could play games and we cooked dinner and the dog hung out while we waited for the thunderstorm to pass.  Afterwards, we trekked back across the park to the campground and pitched our tent and uncovered our firepit and had a campfire!  

It poured - for hours - but our site stayed dry for the most part.  The tent pads at this campground are excellent and drain well - making that possible!  The fire flies were happy during one of the rain breaks - and the kids were happy in the tent with a light up balloon I found in our camping box!  (Hooray!!  Score one for the adults!) We had a great night sleep listening to the patter of rain on our tent and woke up to beautiful blue sky the next morning.

We went swimming down at the beach in the morning - $3 per person, but free for campers - just bring your pass!  There were beach volleyball courts - a kids water area and a free swimming water area open while we were there.  There was also a diving board off in some deep water - but that was not open this time. 

We would definitely be back to this site - but I recommend stronger bug spray.  We all left with more bites that we usually do camping!  

Side note:  There is an equestrian camp just outside the park gates - see pictures below! 

Product Review:

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get to review items.  I got to review Stream2Sea sunscreen while we were at Fairy Stone State Park.  https://stream2sea.com/ Stream2Sea is a mineral sunscreen that is reef safe and does not contain oxybenzone.  We have been using mineral sunscreen for several years and truly prefer it.  There is such a difference when you put it on your skin and you don't feel slimy!  On the other hand - if you use to much, you end up looking like a ghost, or slightly purple! 

We used just a small amount and rubbed it in really well.  Even the bottle is ecofriendly - made from sugar cane instead of plastic!  We were big fans of the company - really supporting what they stand for and glad to help a company that is trying to help protect the environment.  

After a couple hours of beach play - we had no burned faces and only exhausted children to pack into the car.  I am a big fan of the suncreen and love what the company stands for!

Ranger Review - Red Ledge Raincoat at Why Be Square?! Yurt

Campground Review:

Why Be Square?! Yurt is found in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, about 25 minutes from Floyd VA.  This yurt was simply spectacular in every way!  My family has never stayed at a yurt and I repeatedly told our children that this was NOT a normal yurt -this was a castle yurt and no other yurt that we ever stayed at would look like this yurt….yet I think they will simply be disappointed in any future yurt stay for their lives!  

Why Be Square?! Yurt was down a long dirt road - as are so many magical spaces we find!  We were excited as soon as the pavement stopped and the dirt road started - leading to the green gate. We pulled past the green gate and noticed beautiful flowers and wild blueberries - which were delicious!  We pulled around the circle, passing the fenced in dog area (with a heated dog house - with dog beds!) and passed the yellow yurt parking in front of our turquoise/maroon yurt.  We were very excited by the homey feel from the driveway and eclectic artwork found outside!  

Upon entering, we saw the full kitchen to the right, with a gas stove, sink and full sized fridge.  Condiments were left in the fridge, and cabinets (like sugar, tea, spices, etc.) and there was even an honor system beverage bar in the fridge!  Opposite the kitchen was a desk and coat rack and the first bedroom with bookshelves full of diverse books.  On this level was also the living room, the bathroom (with clawfoot tub) and the stackable washer/dryer.  We walked outside on the porch and it felt like we were in a tree house!  We could see nothing but leaves and tree trunks in all directions - such peaceful beauty!  

We continued exploring by walking upstairs in the loft.  The loft consists of a futon (sleeps 2) and an extra extra large bean bag (happily slept 1 kid) and several keyboards and a rainstick.  The kiddos loved playing up here with the huge skylight above.  Walking down the stairs, we knew there was another floor to discover, so we walked down to the basement.  Walking down the stairs felt like entering a castle, with brick walls and a large closet.  There was a bed and desk with a beautiful tree house view from this level as well.  Walking out from the basement was the entrance to the "guest yurt" which had a large extra comfy bed, a dresser, closet, fireplace and the biggest sitting chair you have ever seen - at least 6 feet tall - that sat 2 or 3 adults with feet hardly touching the ottoman - felt like the magical chair from Alice and Wonderland!  We immediately all felt like kids sitting in this oversized chair and enjoyed the view from this yurt as well.  

Our weather was less than great - but as soon as the electrical storm passed, our kids wanted to try the zipline.  So one kid would pull the zipline to the platform, where another kid would be waiting at the top on a chair.  That child would sit on the wood and hold on to the rope and zip away!  Hours of fun - one of our kids said they wanted to come back for their birthday!  

We had the most delightful time at this yurt.  We agreed that we would need to stay here four nights and sleep in all four beds as each magical room presents a new perspective and such different feel.  We will surely be back - and we can easily see how this yurt stays booked!    

Product Review:  

As a ranger for The Dyrt, I get to test products.  At Why Be Square!? Yurt, I was able to test my new Red Ledge women's free rein jacket https://www.redledge.com/.  I loved the feel of my waterproof jacket while having a long sleeve shirt on.  I liked the adjustable cuffs and hood options.  I was out at one point having completely zipped my jacket but not flapped the velcro and my shirt was damp when I came in.  Later, I completely zipped my jacket and used the velcro to my chin and my shirt stayed dry.  This jacket fits a bit longer than my old rain jacket and I was very pleased with the sizing.  This is an afforable, waterproof option that I am thankful to have!

Large campground on both sides of Hwy 12 - sound front and ocean front!

Camp Hatteras is a gated campground in the Outer Banks of NC.  this was a very large campground with level pads for RV's, picnic tables at every site, a bathhouse near a covered picnic area and a beautiful board walk to the beach.  

They had many fun amenities our kids loved, like shuffleboard, tennis a playground, basketball court, game room, putt-putt  and more!!  There was a fishing pond for catch and release fishing (on site) and even bike parking! There was even a dog obstacle course would be quite an experience for any family with four legged friends!  There is a laundry room on site and even a conference center on the sound side of Hwy 12.  

We also liked that we could choose a site on the ocean side or on the sound side.  We have had such beautiful sunsets on the Outer Banks - we couldn't resist the sound side!  The sites are close together - just hope for good neighbors!   

Our biggest disappointment was that there were no fire pits - although we did have a bonfire on the beach (after acquiring a permit) - not the same as at your site!

Close to the beach, smaller, family friendly campground!

Ocean Waves Campground is located on the Outer Banks of NC.   The campsites are slightly larger than some of the other sites we looked at around the area - and this campground is smaller, and family run, which we liked better!  

Ocean Waves has some nice shady spots and picnic tables at each site.  There is a small swimming pool, a bathhouse with hot showers (exposed plumbing, but it worked all the same!) and a camp store on site.  

There is also a small gated dog run, which is nice, because we haven't seen another one while being at the Outer Banks!!  There is also a swingset - perfect for younger kids - to be able to play on just a walk away from our site!  

I would recommend one of the perimeter spots for sure - they seem a bit shadier and quieter.  They back up to houses immediately behind, but for the beach - this campground will do perfectly!

Remote, riverfront, primitive, FIREFLIES!

Twin rivers campground is located in Crumpler NC on the river.  It is a primitive campground with both RV and tent sites.  The tent sites are found by following a dirt road around the base of the mountain, at river level, which left us a little wary that the road could wash out.  We followed the path a bit to a private site down a ways, just past a porta potty.  There is a bathhouse up in the RV section of this campground, but we were camping in primitive tent land. 

The site we were on was fantastic!  It was steps from the river, we had a flat, grassy spot with shrubs creating some privacy between us and our neighbor.  Our next neighbor was as far down as we could see!  

The campfire was perfect, our site was superb and we had a great night sleep!  

(PLEASE NOTE!  THE CAMPGROUND HAS SINCE CHANGED OWNERSHIP AND SITES ARE NOW MUCH MUCH CLOSER TOGETHER)

Remote, starry, wilderness abundant!

Rio Grande Village Campground is located within Big Bend National Park.  This park is HUGE and we were thankful to have a spot to camp for a few days. 

We saw unique wildlife while we were here - Javelina, donkey, otter, etc.  The otter lived in the pond, which was in walking distance.  We walked down to the Rio Grande and sat with a foot in the hot spring and a foot in the river, which was awesome! (Hot Springs Trail)

We also walked down to a canyon - Boquillas Canyon - we ran into people who cross the river to sell items they make daily.  

Nothing could prepare us for the stars here though!  Being so far from civilization, the stars were phenomenal - which left us wishing we had packed a telescope.  We did however pack a spot light to see animals at night - but we learned rather quickly from a ranger that they were not allowed!!  Apparently people use spot lights to capture wildlife - so after a brief car search - we were allowed to leave - and that was the end of the spot light!

Pristine, friendly, communal, peaceful campground on the river!

This campground was pristine - from the moment we turned the corner, until the moment we left!  

We met Kimberly within seconds of pulling on the property.  She was incredibly kind and made us feel at home immediately.  As tent campers, she told us our best choices were a 30 amp site on the river ($50) or a 30-amp site off the river ($44).  These prices are steep for tent camping, but include 2 adults, kids and pets.  Additional adults come with a fee, but we were happy the kids were included.  Not only were the pets included, but they have a dog park area that they can run free and stretch their legs!  

We came into the cute little office where Kimberly gave us a campground map (which was painted by a resident camper glass blower) and told us about her property. Several items were on sale inside the store, including many shirts, sweatshirts, hats, etc. They also sell kids fishing poles, stickers and even a fresh coffee cup machine.  They have recently renovated the bathhouse (wait until you see it!) they have a library with books and games, an outdoor sink to wash dishes etc. and even a laundry room that operates on the honor system.  How great is that!  I thought it was wonderful that we could wash a wet sleeping bag or a quick load of stinky hiking clothes if necessary!  Kimberly explained that they have a pretty good mix of short and long term campers (primarily RV's) and even a cute little cabin that can be rented.  

Kimberly said that they choose not to allow on-line bookings to maintain the atmosphere that they desire.  You can call, or submit a request, but they want to have a conversation with you before booking.  The campground was calm, friendly and so so clean.  Campers were friendly, the campground host was as kind as could be, and so proud about her new bathrooms.  (See below).  This is the kind of campground we would feel good about our kids biking around in the evening as they chase fire flies and meet new friends!  

The campground was located on the river, but the slope was challenging from several sites.  With kiddos, I may prefer a site closer to the road because it was nearly a flat walk out to the river.  We will surely be back!

Beyond beautiful riverfront site on the North Toe River!

Buck Hill Campground is located near Newland NC.  The family owned, Buck Hill campground has been with the same owner for the last 10 years.  We spoke with both husband and wife while on this trip - both as friendly as could be!  

Upon arrival, we were a bit confused because there was no office to check into.  After riding around and exploring the (TOTAL) available 5 or 6 tent sites, we chose the one we wanted and asked around for the owners.  We easily found the family working near the gathering room and they immediately made us feel welcome.  They informed us about laundry, bathhouses, the playground and gathering room etc.  

We chose the only tent site on the water - which was phenomenal!  The site had a fire ring only, but we were ok without a picnic table, in exchange for the view!  We had water and greenery surrounding us on 3 sides.  We positioned our tent just right and blocked the RV's from behind us - leaving us feeling like we were on a private peninsula.  It didn't take long for kiddos to be playing in the shallow river water (finding a snake) and us to have camp set up. 

The campground has 2 bathhouses, both containing toilets, sinks, showers and a deep sink for washing.  We needed firewood - and upon suggestion from an RV neighbor, looked for the blue topped golf cart - which was up at their house - on site.  We pulled into their driveway and the owner told us he would bring us wood to our site.  

We enjoyed a calm, quiet evening in this campground.  The views were fantastic and the fireflies beyond words!  With so much darkness, the other side of the river looked like a sparkling Christmas tree with the fireflies dancing their magic!  We would come back again just for this site!  

The tiny homes and cabins looked enticing, but the other tent sites were a bit rough.  There were several platforms, which are so helpful for wet camping trips.  There were workers actively building a new cabin as we were there!   We would surely come back for the riverfront site - it was beyond beautiful!

Soundfront, smaller, quiet campground

St. Clair Landing Family Campground is a family owned campground in the Outer Banks of NC.  We visited this campground during May and it was quiet and peaceful - with very the regular sound of ducks and windsurfers in the sound.  

This campground is soundfront - only a small fence between us and the sound - but both the ocean is walkable from this campground if you prefer!  The shower house was clean, hot water was included and the owner was very friendly!  

Our kiddos particularly liked the horseshoes, though were disappointed there were no firepits at this campground.  We were able to get a permit to have a bonfire on the beach so that was a solution.  We missed the campfire at our site - BUT the sunset made up for it!  The sunset over the sound is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen.  This campground would be a good choice in comparison with some of the surrounding - due to the sites being a little larger and the campground being a bit quieter!

Gorgeous open space, music venue, great views - tough road!

Jomeokee Campground is located in Pinnacle NC, near Pilot Mountain NC - and has a great view of Pilot Mountain from many of the campsites.  This campground is set back off the road, quite a ways, which makes it nice and quiet from road traffic, though you can hear trucks rumble in the night on 52.  

The fields and the grassy areas are goregous - leaving the kids to run and explore and watch fireflies.  Yet many of the campsites are uneven and picnic tables are in need of repairs.  You can find a nice campsite (shown below) when you pull through the one way road which left us wondering about our alignment!  

The campground owner was very friendly and kind - and the sunset was fantastic!  Hiking in Pilot Mountain State Park is just minutes away and the views from the top can't be beat!

Ranger Review: Eclipse Sunshirt @ Pilot Mountain State Park

Campground Review:  

Pilot Mountain campground is a smaller loop campground with 2 bathhouses (toilets and showers - with FREE hot water!).  Located not far from Winston Salem NC, Pilot Mountain has great hiking and beautiful views from the top.  We enjoy hiking, camping and enjoying the views, while others enjoy bouldering, rock climbing and mountain biking  - an outdoor adventure for all people!  

We camped at site #5 this time - on the inside of the loop, though we usually prefer perimeter sites.  We were excited to get out there and hike in the morning before it was too hot.  This campground is sloped, with rolling hills, which makes for a nice loop to walk dogs etc.  Our tent pad was perfectly flat, and dry and we slept with no fly - which made for a gorgeous morning sunrise!  

Our tent pad was also much lower than our campfire, which meant we could lay IN our sleeping bags and look out at the fire - which was awesome!  We did check out some other sites for next time - as we prefer flatter sites where we can walk more easily at night without tripping (so often) over rocks.   We also saw deer early in the morning!

We hiked to the top on the Grindstone Trail (about 2 miles) to the top and enjoyed an early morning view of the surrounding communities.  

Product Review:

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time.  Today I am reviewing Eclipse Sunshirts ( https://eclipseglove.com/collections/all-eclipse-sun-products).  I often dress my kids in long sleeve hiking shirts to protect their skin and was excited to try a unique sun shirt that I could wear - that wasn't skin tight!  I tested the Equinox hoodie and was pleasantly surprised with the results.  I was hesitant that their products were one size fits all - but we have a medium, large and an XL in our family and we all wore the shirt and one point or another and  LOVED it!  (See how it fits us all in the pictures below!) 

The design is like a large sweatshirt - only their are holes under your arms and on your sides to allow circulation (and a little breeze!).  I especially liked the shirt when we were at the top of Pilot Mountain because there is limited shade, depending where you are standing.  I could see this shirt being useful on other hikes when we hike on balds and cross many peaks.  

This shirt was especially beneficial in direct, HOT sun (and it was a 97 degree day - so perfect opportunity!).  In the shade, I prefered to take it off, to allow more breeze and have less fabric touching my skin.  Without a doubt, moving back into the sun, I was cooler WITH the shirt ON than with the shirt off.  I have since used the Equinox hoodie when gardening, walking the dog and even at my school's field day!  For sun protection that does not involve chemicals, I cannot recommend it enough.

RV settlement - minimal available camping

Lazy Days campground is located right off highway 12 in the Outer Banks, located right behind a self-storage unit.  It has a handicapped accessible bath house.  There were only RV's here when we came in April, with a maximum of between 15-20 sites.  

Due to flags and signage, my family would never stay at this campground.  We like to check out options for the summer months when we want a beach get-away.  This would not be it.