Kirsten J.


Greensboro , NC

Joined July 2018

My partner and I enjoy camping with our kids and traveling as much as possible!

Very quiet, clean, close to Stone Mountain!

Sandy Creek Family Campground is located in Traphill, NC near Stone Mountain.  This is a great overflow campground from Stone Mountain.  In fact, you can even walk to the falls from this campground!  

Sandy Creek Family Campground has both tent and RV sites.  The tent sites on the tree line were our pick.  Lots of shade on a big grassy field, with both a play set for the kids and a volleyball court.  All sites had nice picnic tables (that we saw) and easily accessible water.  The bathhouse was clean and well maintained.  Extended family was staying in an RV site while we were there and they had some problems with their power staying on….

Sandy Creek Family Campground has one incredible site that has a firepit just feet from the creek!  This site was taken while we were there - but we have it in mind for our next visit!

Large, spacious and clean with lots of hiking/creek play!

Stone Mountain was a new spot for our family this month!  Just north of Wilkesboro NC, Stone Mountain is on the eastern side of the mountain range that we usually summit heading towards Jefferson and Boone.  

As we pulled in to Stone Mountain, a huge afternoon thunderstorm was brewing, so we were happy to have a chance to set up rain free!  This campground is huge - in fact there are 3 separate loops - each with their own personality and varying amenities.  The visitor center was closed (due to Covid) but we drove through to find our perfect site.  Take a ride around and decide for yourself, but for us - we surely picked the field sites - a bit of shade, while backing up to an enormous field (which had GREAT fireflies!) 

The bathrooms and showers were clean (yes, hot water too!)  Butterflies were abundant and we enjoyed our hike up Stone Mountain.  Good to know - there is a service road just below the summit of Stone Mountain - so if you have a family member who cannot do a 5 mile hike - they can drive to the top and take about 200 steps to see the homestead instead of staying behind!  We love this option for our parents!

Friendly owner, simple, small and quiet

Cedar Rock Campground is located near Traphill NC.  We had hiked Stone Mountain and this is a great over-flow campground if Stone Mountain is full!  

Cedar Rock is a quiet campground located within 15 minutes of Stone Mountain.  The owner lives across the street - we actually pulled in his driveway first before finding the campground!  He was very friendly and re-directed us across the street.  

As we pulled in, the campground was clearly labeled and alcohol was clearly labeled not allowed.  The campsites are right on the creek and a nice grassy hill is across from each site.  The sites are reasonably spaced, but a bit close for our comfort.  

The bathhouse was clean, trashcans were taken care of and tidy and this was one of the cleaner campsites we have been to.  The kids loved the playground found in the middle of this campground.   The babble of the brook was nice for sleeping and the field was great for rolling - the sites were a bit smaller than we like and the driveway was very close to each site.  In a pinch, this campground works!

This is not a campground, just stables!

We attempted to visit Serenity Stables and Campgrounds while tubing on the Yadkin River this month.  Serenity Stables and Campgrounds is not a campground.  Please see attached pictures.

Remote, riverfront, private with fireflies!

We stayed at Dusty Trails Outfitters (in Crumpler NC) last week and it was fantastic! He was recommended to us by a nearby campground and we were thrilled with our new riverfront go-to! 

We met Dustin as he was packing up near his boat launch area. If you drive down Garvey Bridge road (past the bridge), you will easily see the shuttle bus labeled Dusty Trails Outfitters. Dustin rents out single canoes and kayaks, tubes and luxury fishing kayaks as well. We paid for our site and drove a few miles to get to a beautiful, spacious, quiet, remote campsite- our favorite kind! 

As we pulled down the gravel road, we noticed each site had their own port-a-potty, hand washing station(with soap), campfire ring, picnic table and trash can. The port-a-potty was very clean- not even spiders inside! Dustin delivered our firewood to our site, did a quick once over to make sure everything was set and reminded us that we were in bear country and bears had been spotted on this road days earlier. As we unpacked, the only other group we could see over 150 feet away- at a site 2 away from ours. It was fantastic. We never heard them and could hardly see them through the brush that separates the campsites. The dogs were happy wandering around our site, the kids were happy playing in the babbling brook through our site and the river was GORGEOUS! Our site was both shaded and sunny- so if you were wet from river play, you could warm up and dry easily. Yet our tent was in the shade and we stayed nice and cool. 

Aside from the great breeze off the river, the darkness with no artificial light and the size of our campsite- nothing could beat the fireflies. As darkness set in, the fireflies across the river began to light up, like festive lights. Not just a few hundred, but thousands of them, in the most amazing natural light show I have ever seen. This is our new solid go-to spot!!

Advice for this spot:  Bring water(or a pump) - and camping chairs.  The picnic table is perfect - but we like to sit around the fire and being so close to the river, the terrain is uneven as the area suffers from periodic flooding.  

This is my ideal campsite - even with your own port-a-potty for social distancing!  The firefly show and the sunrise over the river were breathtaking - I highly recommend it!   (Please keep in mind all of these photos are JUST from our campsite :)  It is that awesome!)

Clean, quiet, dog friendly campground with pool!

VanHoy Farms is a campground near Harmony NC, just off I-77.  There were no tent campers while we were there (though it is available), but many RV sites, both seasonal and nightly available.  

VanHoy Farms runs parallel to the highway, but with the large trees and brush, highway noise was not an issue (from the second loop).  This was a dog-friendly campground for sure - several pups were running around without leashes on, but all with owners.  

Great views of rolling green hills and the pool were added benefits!  Several families were using the pool while we were there.  We would like to come back for one of their music festivals - they have several scheduled.

River front - RV sites only (long term campers only due to COVID)

Campground is only currently open to RV campers.  It is river front camping away from it all.  Electric and hook ups are available - no tent camping due to flooding in the past few years.  

I called after seeing the sign on the gate - and after the phone rang 5 times, I hung up.  A restricted number called me back a few minutes later to "leave me a nasty gram" about not letting the phone ring enough times.  So if you call to make your reservation - be patient if you want to have a friendly interaction!

Creekside, clean and quiet with many camping choices!

Grandfather Campground is located about 15 minutes south of Boone NC and less than 10 minutes from the trailhead to Grandfather Mountain.  

There is a new sign for the Grandfather Campground directly off HWY 105.  Pulling in, you drive over a bridge with a beautiful view of the creek and immediately see an office to your right and a large grassy area and private gazebo to your left (I do not think the campground owns this gazebo).  

RV's and tents occupy the first loop past the office.  On the left side of the road are several tent sites (too close for our preference - but in a pinch - it works!) On the right side of the road are RV sites that back up to the creek.  A bathhouse is centrally located for this loop.  As you continue on, you pass several simple camping cabins and then a variety of different sleeping arrangements depending on the size of your group.  There is  fishing and a playground but to us, the most valuable amenity of this site is the proximity to Grandfather Mountain.  We can be at the trailhead within 10 minutes for a great hike to the top of Grandfather Mountain!

Clean, quiet with a beautiful lake!

Raccoon Holler Campground is located just off of Hwy 16 near Jefferson NC, north of Wilkesboro. It is a beautifully maintained campground with single lane paved access throughout the campground. 

As you pull in, you see the lake on the right and pass the playground/teatherball area on the right as you approach the office. Just past the office is an additional building used for church/bingo etc. The tent campsites are thoughtfully away from the RV sites, yet most are closer to the road. Next time, we would choose to camp in the tent area inside the pine trees, near the disc golf course! 

This is a very clean campground that has everything the kids want! Basketball and volleyball courts, fishing, horseshoes and lots and lots of open space. The sites tend to be closer together than our family prefers, but for RV campers, or a last minute overnight, it would be ok. There are multiple bathhouses located throughout the campground and trash cans located at the entrance. Dumping trash was an issue while we were here- none on the ground, but the bins were overflowing- possibly due to high weekend traffic.

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.

  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!!

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. 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!

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!