Where to Camp in the Tar Heel State
North Carolina is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful states in our union. Whether you prefer mountains for hiking, rivers for fishing, or just relaxing close to the Atlantic Ocean, you're sure to find what you're looking for on a North Carolina camping trip.
Here are our picks for the best places to camp in NC.
1. Standing Indian – Franklin
Whether traveling with an RV or tent, Standing Indian Campground is a prime place to stop for a night or spend several days in the picturesque Nantahala National Forest. The campground's many amenities provide a comfortable home base for exploring this fun and historic section of the forest. Standing Indian is located within a 20-minute drive of Franklin, North Carolina. Learn more.
2. Carolina Hemlocks – Burnsville
Stay at Carolina Hemlocks and experience some of the best camping in NC! The South Toe River runs alongside the campground, creating a great place to swim, trout fish and tube. The campground has sites available for both tents and RV’s, some sites with river views. Located in the Appalachian District of the Pisgah National Forest, Carolina Hemlocks is just a short drive from Mount Mitchell State Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Looking for a taste of the unique? Asheville is only one hour away. Escape the hustle and bustle – Charlotte and Atlanta are only a few hours away. Learn more.
3. Cape Lookout National Seashore – Harpers Island
A boat ride three miles off-shore brings you to the barrier islands of Cape Lookout National Seashore. Horse watching, shelling, fishing, birding, camping, lighthouse climbing, and touring historic villages–there’s something for everyone at Cape Lookout. Be sure to bring all the food, water, and supplies you need (and carry your trash out of the park) when visiting these remote beaches. Read More.
4. Cheoah Point – Fantana Village
Lake Santeetlah sits in the Nantahala National Forest, which covers 1.3 million acres of mountain lands. Old forests grace the hills and valleys, with some of the canyons reaching deep into the earth, providing ample hiking opportunities in the beautiful terrain. Cheoah Point is situated in a forest of mature hardwoods at an elevation of 1,760 feet. The campground covers steep terrain and campsites overlook the lake. Learn more.
5. Davidson River – Brevard
Davidson River Recreation Area offers camping and outdoor activities for the whole family. The campground boasts several loops of shaded campsites, as well as access to hiking trails, fishing spots, waterfalls, and several nearby attractions within Pisgah National Forest. It lies just four miles west of the town of Brevard and less than an hour from the city of Asheville. The facility is open year-round. Learn more.
6. Mount Pisgah Campgrounds – Canton
Mount Pisgah is part of the Appalachian Mountain Range, an area of the country with scenery that never disappoints, whether blanketed in wildflowers in the spring or bursting with orange, yellow, and red hues in the fall.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a scenic byway that follows the high crests of the central and southern Appalachians for 469 miles from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. Learn more.
7. San-Lee Park – Sanford
San-Lee Park is a 177+ acre park, located at 572 Pumping Station Road, that offers hiking trails, a mountain bike trail, a Nature Center, playground, picnic facilities, campgrounds and two stocked lakes for fishing. Paddle boat rentals are available seasonally. Learn more.
8. Lake Powhatan – Asheville
Located just minutes from the popular city of Asheville, North Carolina, Lake Powhatan has something for everyone. The campground is convenient to a variety of cultural and natural attractions, including art and music venues, shopping and dining in Asheville, scenic driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway, numerous hiking trails and lakeside recreation. Learn more.
9. Badin Lake Campground – Troy
Badin Lake Campground borders the lakeshore and sits within a shaded forest, offering a year-round retreat for swimmers, boaters and anglers in central North Carolina's Uwharrie National Forest.
Badin Lake Recreation Area is a hub for the area's outdoor activities, and the campground offers spacious, waterfront sites for both RV and tent campers. Learn more.
10. Black Mountain Campground – Burnsville
Time spent at Black Mountain and Briar Bottom campgrounds is time well spent! Located on the South Toe River, campers have a perfect place for swimming, tubing, and fly fishing. Take in the incredible scenery of the Southern Appalachians by hiking the Hemlock Nature Trail, or take a 5.6-mile hike to the top of Mount Mitchell State Park, the highest peak in North Carolina at 6,684 feet.
We’re only an hour from Asheville, NC, and only a few hours from Charlotte and Atlanta, GA. Camping in NC can make the perfect weekend getaway or family vacation! Learn more.
Do you have a favorite camping spot in North Carolina that wasn’t included on this list? Let us know in the comments!
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Editor’s Note – This post was originally published on July 6, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.