Myron C.
Maggie Valley, NC
Joined June 2018
Primitive, Dispersed Camping in a National Forest with No Modern Amenities

When you want to camp away from the crowds and do not mind being without running water, electricity, toilets, showers, or any other amenities that you find at developed campgrounds, this one is for you … maybe. I say maybe because when I stayed there, I heard and saw pickup trucks until the wee hours of the morning. Since the campsites are along a dirt road in a national forest, miles away from civilization, it can be intimidating if not scary at times. I camped by myself and felt isolated (which is a good thing), and the scenery is great. You will be beside a rushing creek, and the sound of the creek is relaxing. If you want a little more security, you can camp a tenth of a mile away at Sunburst Campground, which is a developed national forest campground. The pros of these campsites are that they are peaceful (most times), they are in the heart of the mountains, they are only a few miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway, they are between Shining Rock and Middle Prong Wilderness, and there are plenty of trails. The cons are that previous campers have left a lot of trash and since it is dispersed camping, it is not picked up on a regular basis. Other cons are the late night cars and/or trucks, the lack of amenities, and that you have to cross a spillway to get to it. Despite all the cons, I got through it okay and really did enjoy my time there.

Small RV Park with Great Owners

Located within walking distance of restaurants and shopping, Hillbilly Campground is ideal for tourists who are looking for a basecamp for adventure. Although it is a small campground with limited amenities, it is well worth checking out. We have stayed at this campground many times. I'm not sure if tent camping is still allowed, but the first time we stayed there, it was in tents in the back behind the RVs. There was only room enough for two to three tents, but it was enough for us, and there was a picnic table. Since it was beside the creek, the sounds of the croaking frogs drowned out most of the road noise. Most recently, we stayed in a popup camper, which had water, electricity, and sewer. It is next to the main road going through Maggie Valley, but unless you are planning to stay around the campground all day, it won't bother you. The owners, Richard and Stacy, are fantastic. They are nice, and they keep the facilities clean. The bathrooms have always been clean every time I have been in them. There are also laundry facilities, and sometimes they have a "community" campfire. The main office is in their store called Maggie Country Store. They have basic necessities, and they have plenty of gifts and other items such as t-shirts, moccasins, etc. One of the best things about this campground is that it is within a forty-five minute drive to waterfalls, hiking, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Harrah's casino, the Cherokee Indian Museum, tubing, great trout fishing, and several other attractions. It does not have recreational amenities within the campground, but as I said, there are many attractions close by.

One Section of a State Recreation Area with Primitive Camping

This state recreation area deserves five stars, but I am reviewing only the New Hope Overlook area. I had stayed at this state recreation area in a popup camper before in a different area, and that was several years ago. This last time, a friend of mine and I stayed in a tent in the primitive area at New Hope Overlook. When we got to the gate, we were told there was no water, but I had a water filter. To camp, you have to backpack in several hundred feet, and select a site. When I went to the lake to filter water, the water was still brown, so we decided to go to the closest convenience store and buy bottled water. It was a great campout because it was my friend's bachelor party, and all he wanted to do for a bachelor party was to go camping with his best man. In this camping area, you have to tie your food bag up into a tree. There is a fire pit in each campsite, and there is a picnic table. The next day when we went fishing at the lake, which was s short hike through the woods, I was shocked by the amount of litter washed up on the shore and into the woods, included but not limited to, tires, oil bottles, drink cans, water bottles, and lots of everything else. The lake itself (at least at the shoreline) was nasty!!!!!!! It is a great area if you want to just be outdoors, but the best way to enjoy the full experience at Jordan Lake is to take a boat or a kayak, enjoy the swimming beach, and stay where there is potable water.

For my previous experience, I camped with my wife in a more developed campground at the lake. It has modern bath facilities, a swimming beach, boat access, etc. There are also a few trails. As I stated earlier, I would normally rate this state recreation area five stars, but the primitive camping at New Hope Overlook only deserves three stars.

A State Park with Primitive Camping, Fishing, Paddling, and Good Hiking

I would personally rate this as a four or five star campground for my taste, but since rating systems have to consider everything, I only rate it a three. Why? Many campers want the luxuries of RV sites with water, electricity, and sewer … and lots of amenities such as a swimming pool camp store, horseshoes or basketball, etc. You will not find any of that here. That's why I would personally rate it at four or five stars. I LOVE this state park because of its primitive nature. The trails take you into rolling hills and beside the Eno River, which is great for paddling a canoe or kayak. I have stayed at this campground before and revisited it several times. The park is divided into at least three sections, and to get to the primitive camping areas, you have to backpack in. The only facilities are pit toilets with no showers or running water. That is why you need to be prepared and take in your own water and toilet paper. The first time, I stayed at the Fews Ford area, but that campsite area moved to a different location in Fews Ford since then. This time I was in the Cole Mill section. The trails I took before and also this time are easy to moderate. The Cole Mill and Bobbitt Hole trails are connected, and I took both. The Bobbitt Hole trail takes you to a bend in the Eno River where some people go in to cool off. The trail beside the river is really pleasant and easy. One of my favorite sections to hike is in the Fews Ford area, and in order to get to the camping area, you have to cross a suspension bridge. For those who don't like "bouncy" foot bridges, avoid this one. There is also a group camping area and a cabin for groups during stormy weather. There are no doors--just doorways. This state park is long since it follows the Eno River, so don't expect to see everything it offers unless you are willing to spend at least a week exploring it. There are a couple of canoe access areas if you are interested, and there are picnic facilities. The most difficult trail (that I remember) is the Cox Mountain Trail. It is at least moderate. With all that said, this is not a park for RVers, but it is a great park if you like hiking, canoeing, or primitive camping.

A State Park Campground for Almost Every Type of Camper

I could easily give this campground five stars, but I am the type of tent camper that likes more wilderness. This campground actually a few "campgrounds" within the park and for almost every type of camper. Camp Burson is the first one you see upon entering the state park (as far as I know, since the park is really lonnggg! It is best suited for RVs, but there are gravel spaces for tents. Another campground in the park has pull-through sites, but there were also a couple of tents there. Since we are mainly tent campers, we went to the third camping area, which also had yurts. The yurts have one double bed but not water. The part that I didn't like, but many tent campers would love, is that you have to pitch your tent on a wooden deck. It's great for camping in the rain because the water doesn't have a chance to puddle. However, I'm the type that likes more primitive camping out in the woods, but I'm not holding that against Hungry Mother. Hungry Mother is a great state park, and the sites are wonderful (unless you are strange like me and prefer more primitive camping). As we drove around, we also saw several cabins and at least one or two lodges. I got the feel that it was almost a gated community, which for some people is not a bad thing. Again, there are opportunities for almost every type of "camper."

As far as I know, this is the first state park that had a restaurant. Unfortunately, we were there in April before it opened, so we missed out on that. The bath and shower facilities are modern with tile floors, which I find as a pleasant surprise for a state park. Camping there is April can actually be a good thing. You can avoid the crowds at the beach (although the water is cold) and there are a good number of empty campsites. This state park also has canoe, kayak, and paddle boat rentals. There is a basketball court and a playground, which is next to the beach. We didn't really stay long enough to enjoy the hiking trails or the fishing, but there are several hiking and biking trails from easy to moderate. The beauty of this park is amazing! With the background of mountains behind the lake, it doesn't get much better. I really would love to go back again and camp for more than just one night to enjoy it all.

State Park with Hiking, Water Sports, and Lots of Amenities

If you are looking for a state park with the amenities of a national franchise campground, look no further. I was surprised during our stay in this park. The sites are level and many are shaded. Although we are tent campers, RV campers WILL NOT be disappointed. While we were there, we were able to check out other sites before the season has gotten into full swing. There is even an area for group primitive camping. There is a complete marina for motor boats, and you can feel at ease launching your kayak as well. I didn't take my kayaks this time, but I plan to in the future. There is a swimming beach and group picnic shelters as well. I believe, if I am not mistaken, there is also a conference center. For the RVers, there is a dump station at the campground. The bath house was a pleasant surprise. I was expecting it to be like the bath houses at state parks I have visited before with bare concrete floors and cold water showers, if any at all. The bath house we used had tiled floor showers and marble/granite counter tops. I highly recommend Claytor Lake, and I will be back!

Small State Park with a View from the Cliffs

Although the family campground is closed until autumn, I recently stayed at this state park and have stayed at it many times before. It doesn't have as many amenities as more developed campgrounds, but there is plenty to do. For example, there are about 3-4 miles of hiking trails, one that takes you beside the 90-foot cliffs overlooking the Neuse River. There is a small nature center that describes the history and geographical features of the area. During the summer, you can swim or rent canoes and paddle boats. You can fish at the river or in the lake. Since this state park is in the middle of the country, the sounds of nature are interrupted only by occasional jets flying overhead from the nearby air force base. There is also a large picnic area adjacent to one of the parking lots. The biggest draw of this park, obviously, is the cliff view, but if you are looking for a relaxed atmosphere, this is a great place to camp.

Small Campground for Fishing, Kayaking, and Relaxing in a Country Setting

If you are looking for a small campground miles away from a big city, this is it. Although it is not a large campground, there are several things to do if you like fishing, canoeing/paddling, swimming (during the summer), and hiking. You can rent peddle boats and canoes, or you can launch your own, including jon boats. Boat motors are not permitted except for trolling motors, but it doesn't take much to get around the 69-acre lake. There are at least three islands in the lake and quite a few coves for finding a great fishing spot. There is a 2.2 mile trail that circles the lake, a playground for younger children, a picnic shelter, and two bath houses. The bath houses have concrete floors, but they have hot water showers. One drawback about the showers is that they are push button showers, meaning that you have to push the button repeatedly during your shower. There are two types of camping at this campground. In one area, there are sites that have water and/or electricity. The other area has primitive sites with only picnic tables and fire rings. At night, you will hear geese, which doesn't bother me but will bother some. Another drawback are the sounds of traffic coming from the distant highway and the occasional sounds of military jets flying overhead since this campground is centrally located between U.S. Marine and U.S. Air Force bases. Despite the negatives about this campground, I love it. I have camped here over a dozen times, sometimes with the Boy Scouts and sometimes with friends and family. The campground seems to have a laid back atmosphere, and the staff are friendly.

Great Park for Outdoor Activities

For being a state park, Lake Anna is one of the best I've been to. Although we only tent camped, I noticed a lot of things about the campground that would welcome RVs as well. There were large back-in sites as well as pull-through sites. There was also a dump station. Campers can choose sites with or without electricity. This campground is ADA accessible with the lantern hangers having lower hooks for those in wheelchairs, and at least one of the cabins has a wheelchair ramp. The bath house was clean, and I especially liked the privacy of individual shower rooms. Since it is a state park, it lacks some amenities that privately owned campgrounds have, but camping in a state park is about enjoying the natural features of the park, There are opportunities for motor boating, kayaking, swimming, hiking, fishing, etc. The only downside I found was that the grass really needed mowing. Even though there had been a few rainy days, the grass at our campsite was knee high and higher.

Remote Campground with Plenty of Wildlife to See

After a steep, curvy road of about 10 miles from a main road, you will get to this campsite. The good thing about it is that you really feel as if you are experiencing nature at its finest. The bad thing is that you will be far from the nearest town or store. The road is single lane access at times, but the drive is WELL WORTH IT. Early in the morning or late in the afternoon, you can drive about a mile, and sometimes less, to see elk and lots of them. There are few amenities--no access to electricity, no on-site water, no showers, etc., but the sites are large enough that you don't feel crammed in. As far as the amenities, if you are prepared, water and electricity is not a huge factor. If you like hiking, there are miles of hiking trails, especially since this campground is located in a national park. There are also several historic structures in the area--a school, a church, barns, old houses, etc.

Campground with Roomy Sites by the Lake

Our campsite was roomy and by the lake although we did not have running water or electricity. However, we knew that in advance and were prepared for it. Since we were by a sandy beach, we could put our kayaks in right there at the campsite. The bath house was quite a walk from our campsite, but it did have hot water and showers. We chose to drive to the bath house, especially during the night. I would give it five stars, but without water and electricity, and the fact that the bath house was so far away, I had to give it only four stars.

Remote campground with few amenities but GREAT for getting away from it all

One thing I like about this campground is that the sites are not so close together that you feel packed in. Another nice feature of this campground is that it is remote but is also near lots of hiking, a couple of nice waterfalls, and close to the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is a small campground, so it is great for not feeling like you are in a tent city or RV park. Smaller RVs are allowed since the pull ins are not that long, and about half of the sites were taken up by RVs. With that said, tenters do not feel as if they are unwelcome. I enjoyed my stay. The only downsides (not for me but for others possibly) are that there is no electricity, and you have to walk to get water. Additionally, there is a shooting range a short distance away, and you will hear shooting during the day, except on Mondays and Sundays. For a national forest campground, the restrooms are nice (tile floors), but there is no shower. However, if you are truly prepared, the lack of showers, electricity, and on-site water are not problems at all. At $15.00 per night, this campground is just what I needed to get away for a couple of days. I only gave it 3 stars because of the lack of amenities, but as I said, that didn't bother me.