Just like the other campgrounds in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Oregon Inlet is such great campground. The bathrooms and campground are clean. And so are the showers! Recreation.gov states that this campground has “heated showers.” I checked the water temperature in the shower by B28 and the water sure as heck is…lukewarm. I’ll take it! The outside temperature is mid-60s in the mornings right now (April) so the lukewarm water isn’t a shock to the system! We didn’t have to shower in the van at this campground! Also a change to this campground from the others is the availability of water and power hookups at certain sites. Ours was not one of them. Although to dump you still need to go to the dump station across the street from the campground. The official map actually tells you where to find it this time. The beach is near the campground on the other side of the dune but it’s a longer walk than you might think. Also beware of sand spurs. They aren’t as bad as they were at Frisco but still present.
Internet. For those who work and travel like us, at 7pm on a Thursday: Verizon via iPhone 12 - 47 mbps down, 2.9 mbps up and 51 ping; T-Mobile via Nighthawk MR1100 - 10 mbps down, 39 mbps up and 69 ping.
The basics: the campground is clean, the bathrooms are clean, the sites have some privacy, and some sites have shade but most don’t. The beach is close but not right next to the campground. The campsites might require some leveling blocks, ours did. The campground is a bit hilly.
What does this campground have? Cooking grills at each site, picnic tables at each site, garbage dumpsters, free permits for beach campfires. The campground only has cold water outdoor showers with lockable doors. If you need a water fill and dump station you’ll actually need to drive over to Cape Point Campground and use it there. It’s the sister campground to the Frisco Campground. As far as I could tell this campground doesn’t have water, power or sewer hookups. At the time this review is posted there’s warning signs everywhere telling you the water in the campground isn’t potable due to high chlorine levels. So plan your water carefully.
Much like in Ocracoke, prepare for your trip. If it’s cold, you probably don’t want to use the ice cold water outdoor showers. In the summer the water might feel nice. But then it’ll be hot and you’ll need to prepare for some shade. This campground had some mosquitos and it was only about 75 at the warmest. Be careful of the sandspurs EVERYWHERE. Even at the path to the beach because people brought them over on their footwear.
I give this campground 5 stars because it fulfills every need. But to be honest we really didn’t spend much time at the campground. In this location, we stayed away most of the time doing stuff elsewhere.
Internet. At campsite P038, we had bad cell signal. As we discovered, your location in the campground dictates your cell reception because the campground is hilly. The higher in altitude your site is, the clearer line-of-site signal you’ll have. The speeds were pretty fantastic with good line-of-sight. But at campsite P038 with Verizon on an iPhone 12 we had 1.6 Mbps down, 0.4 Mbps up and 61 ping. With a cell booster I had a much better connection but I wouldn’t have been able to video chat.
The basics: the campground is clean, bathrooms are clean, the sites and roads look newly paved with asphalt, the grass is pretty and the campground is on the other side of the dune from the beach. Also, the campsites are level.
What does the campground have? Cooking grills at each site, picnic tables at each site, recycling and garbage, outdoor showers with cold water (outdoor exposed like a beach shower and outdoor sheltered private shower with a locking door). The campground doesn’t have water, sewer or power hookups in the campground. There’s a hand fill water station somewhere I saw people filing their jugs up at. You can, however, get potable water and use the dump station for your rig outside the campground across the street just past the nature trail parking. Pull up satellite view on a map and you’ll find it.
Prepare for your trip. If it’s cold, consider how you’ll manage hygiene for few days if you can’t stand the water temperature. If it’s hot, consider how you’ll keep cool and have shade. I’ve read that mosquitos are bad in the warm months. The sites are exposed with no tree coverage. I didn’t mind this part at all. I usually want more privacy at campgrounds with large RVs because of their blinding outdoor white lights and imposing nature that make me feel less like I’m camping. But this campground has a ton of tent campers and people with small camping rigs. Like people are outside doing normal camping things like cooking, eating, sitting in their chairs talking. And it’s been cold!
The sites are smaller than you might expect. Our 22 feet camper van fit just fine. I mention this as I saw another reviewer complain that the sites aren’t long enough to accommodate a 35 feet Class A. This campground simply isn’t for you. Your car and rig must fit in your spot on the asphalt. If your car can’t fit, you have to park it at the campground parking. Tents are all setup in the grass. DO NOT PARK IN THE GRASS. The grass is so pretty. Why would you do that??? And it’s not allowed anyway. Don’t be “that” camper.
How did we keep clean during our three days in the cold? We showered in the van. This did require us to drive to the fill/dump station everyday. Which is just fine since we aren’t hooked up to anything or on leveling blocks.
Late check-in? We arrived at around 7:30pm. You don’t call for a key code or anything. Each reservation is posted at each campsite. Just park in your spot and check-in the next day at normal check-in time. There’s no central office. The camp host will greet you as you drive into the campground.
I give this campground an easy 5 stars.
Internet. T-Mobile doesn’t have service on Ocracoke. At the campground for Verizon on my iPhone 12, my connection was pretty okay: 7 mbps down, 0.7 mbps up and 205 ms ping. I connected my cell booster for a stronger connection.
This campground is fantastic! Our site was right by the water. The site was clean. The water and power worked. The campground was quiet but I imagine that’s because it’s early in the camping season here and the campground was no where near capacity. We watched squirrels build nests and dig for nuts.
My only gripe is the women’s bathroom. The toilets and sinks were clean but the showers looked like they don’t get cleaned much based on the same large clumps of hair and a bandaid that remained our entire 4 day stay. Also, the shower heads are motion activated and makes drying off a little difficult as you will get sprayed while toweling off if you get near the sensor. I used the larger accessibility shower after I sprained my ankle. The stall has a handheld showerhead that is supposed to mount on a pole but the mount was broken so I ended up sticking the showerhead between the handle rails and the wall while rocking back and forth on the bench to keep the water flowing. I’m docking a star off this review for the showers alone for the fact the showers aren’t cleaned regularly, but not for the motion activated water or the broken mount as I’m sure campers are to blame for both.
On the recreational side of things, there is one hiking trail. There’s a beach for swimming. There’s fishing and any other small boat craft activity. It was relaxing to watch the boaters out on the water fishing from the campsite. But if you bring a boat make sure you don’t have a shared driveway like our campsite did with three campsites that had a partially blocked driveway due to a neighbor having a large rig, a truck AND a boat that didn’t all fit in their space.
Funny side note: There are signs everywhere saying alcohol is prohibited in North Carolina campgrounds but the recycle bin by the restroom was FULL of wine bottles.
For those who work and travel like us, on Speedtest at 8pm on a Monday–Verizon via iPhone 12: 52 mbps down and 3 mbps up with 32 ms ping; I totally forgot to test our T-Mobile speed. I worked on T-Mobile all week even with video chat.
We stayed in the southern campground, right across from the water. We needed a campsite that was inexpensive with good data connection for working. The site was clean. The cleanliness of the women’s bathroom by site 95 was split: the toilet side and sinks were VERY clean but the showers looked like they needed some grout mold control. The bathrooms never smelled like bleach but a cleaner I haven’t smelled before. So it’s possible the cleaner wasn’t a mold fighter. Also, the lake waterline/beaches were lined with small bits of trash so that kind of took away some of the magic of the park.
On the recreational side of things, there are hiking trails between the two campgrounds with TONS of geocaching! I wish I had more time to explore and find them all.
For those who work and travel like us, on Speedtest at 12pm on a Thursday–Verizon via iPhone 12: 14 mbps down and 2 mbps up with 41 ms ping; T-Mobile via Nighthawk MR1100: 22 mbps down and 2 mbps up with 96 ms ping.
In a few words, the campground has everything you need for a comfortable visit. Everything is super clean. The sites are full hookup. There is a laundry facility with 3 washers and 3 dryers, which as a full time vanlifer I really appreciate. You can buy propane for your rig here. Our site was across from the lake/pond which is very pretty. The park has lots of rabbits who will come right up to you looking for a food and will immediately scamper away when they realize you have no food. Now for the internet connectivity. For those who work and travel like us, on Speedtest at 12pm on a Wednesday: Verizon via iPhone 12 - 68 mbps down and 0.3 mbps up with 53 ms ping; T-Mobile via Nighthawk MR1100 - 46 mbps down and 6 mbps up with 268 ms ping.
For those who work and travel like us, on Speedtest at 9am on a Friday: Verizon via iPhone 12 - 28 mbps down and 17 mbps up; T-Mobile via Nighthawk MR1100 - 29 mbps down and 39 mbps up. For the campground itself, I like it. It’s different enough from State Park campgrounds. Our site was on the inlet beach. The sites aren’t private but for some reason I just don’t mind it here. Mind you, it was on a weekday and it was in the 60s midday, so summertime might be different. Showers are super clean. They must have fixed the hot water issue someone previously mentioned as us two girls took our showers directly after two other women and the water was steaming hot the whole time. There’s a naval base right across the St. John’s River. There are loud helicopters flying around a lot, which if I was on vacation wouldn’t phase me at all. Though it is something to consider if you take work calls. There’s lots of bird activity - in fact one of neighbor campers came here to go birding. Other contextual info: we are in a van, no dogs.
Verizon 5 bars 4G LTE, T-Mobile 3 bars 4G LTE