Boasting picturesque landscapes from pristine beaches and barrier islands of the Outer Banks to the rugged Appalachian Mountains, North Carolina is home to some of the beautiful terrain in the land.
In addition to the stunning natural scenery, the state also offers an array of things to see and do, such as many national and state parks, excellent campgrounds with rustic overnight cabins, and other memorable escapes from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Here are some of the best spots for camping in the state.
1. Bear Den Family Campground and Creekside Cabins
© Bear Den Family Campground and Creekside Cabins
Nestled in the Pisgah National Forest near Spruce Pine, Bear Den Family Campground and Creekside Cabins is a family-friendly campground with tent and RV pitches, and cozy log cabins and cottages. The campground offers full-service campsites with water, electricity and sewerage hookups, as well as restrooms with flush toilets, showers, and a dump station. Campground amenities include access to the lake for water-based activities, playgrounds for children, and a games room for rainy days. Activities in the area include swimming, fishing, boating, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and wildlife watching. Bear Den's Trading Post sells camping essentials, firewood, ice, and a variety of camping, hiking, and backpacking gear.
600, Bear Den Mountain Rd, Spruce Pine, North Carolina 28777, Phone: 828-765-2888
2. Black Mountain Campground
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Located on the South Toe River, Black Mountain Campgrounds is a fantastic, family-friendly campground nestled against a backdrop of breathtaking views of the Southern Appalachian mountains. Open between April and October; the campground features 46 primitive campsites, two campsites with electric hookups, modern bathrooms with hot showers, picnic tables, tent pads, and fire rings, and six group campsites for up to 50 people each. Campsites have river access, and a variety of recreational activities can be enjoyed from hiking and mountain biking to fishing, swimming, kayaking, and enjoying weekend programs at the Black Mountain Campground amphitheater.
50 Black Mountain Campground Road, Burnsville, NC 28714, Phone: 828-675-5616
3. Carolina Beach State Park
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Carolina Beach State Park in New Hanover County, North Carolina is a 761-acre state park on Pleasure Island that is part-owned by the state and part leased by the Department of the Army. Located in an area rich in history and natural diversity, the park is a popular coastal attraction and features secluded camping areas with beach access, miles of hiking trails that wind through a variety of distinct habitats, a marina offering access to some of North Carolina's best fishing spots, and a wealth of local fauna and flora, including the famous Venus flytrap. The park is open year-round and offers primitive and RV camping with water, electricity and sewerage hookups, as well as restrooms with flush toilets, showers, and a dump station.
1010 State Park Rd, Carolina Beach, NC 28428, Phone: 910-458-8206
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4. Carolina Hemlocks Recreation Area
Nestled amidst the scenic mountains of Pisgah National Forest, the Carolina Hemlocks Recreation Area that is shaded by a dense hemlock forest of deciduous trees and rhododendrons and rests next to the South Toe River. The area boasts 35 primitive campsites equipped with tent pads, picnic tables, campfire rings with grills and lantern posts, and modern restrooms have hot showers and flush toilets. Campers can purchase camping essentials such as firewood and ice and rent tubes from the camp store, and a variety of recreational activities can be enjoyed in the area, including swimming, fishing, kayaking, climbing, wildlife watching, and hiking on several popular trails.
6000 NC-80, Burnsville, NC 28714, Phone: 828-675-5509
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5. Croatan National Forest
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Set on the Atlantic coast of North Carolina, the Croatan National Forest is a U.S. National Forest administered by the United States Forest Service and one of four National Forests in North Carolina. The only real coastal forest on the East Coast, the 160,000-acre forest is bordered by tidal rivers on three sides and the Bogue Sound and is home to a diverse range of ecosystems, including saltwater estuaries, pine forests, marshes and raised swamps called pocosins. The water provides a variety of recreation such as kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and boating and attracts an array of wildlife from alligators and osprey to black bears and turkeys. The forest has several day-use areas and campgrounds that offer primitive campsites equipped with tent pads, picnic tables, campfire rings and firepits, and modern restrooms with showers and flush toilets. More North Carolina day trips
Havelock, NC 28532, Phone: 252-638-5628
6. Davidson River Campground
© Davidson River Campground
Nestled just inside the Pisgah National Forest and only a few miles away from the beautiful town of Brevard, Davidson River Campground is an excellent spot for a quiet getaway for the whole family. Set along the banks of the Davidson River, the campground features 144 shady campsites for both tents and RVs with water, electricity and sewerage hookups, picnic tables, tent pads, fire rings and lantern poles, and modern restrooms with hot showers and flush toilets. Several campground loops offer river access, and recreational activities include swimming, fishing, hiking, tubing, mountain biking, and wildlife watching, and firewood and ice are available on-site, as well as a dump station.
1 Davidson River Cir, Pisgah Forest, NC 28768, Phone: 828-785-5337
7. Grandfather Mountain State Park
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Home to the iconic Grandfather Mountain, Grandfather Mountain State Park is a 2,456-acre park based 75 miles north of Asheville that offers spectacular natural scenery and a wealth of recreational activities such as world-class hiking and backpacking. Renowned for having some of the South’s most challenging terrain, as well as incredible vistas, unrivaled ecological diversity, and the famous mile-high swinging bridge, the park attracts outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers from all over the world. Top attractions in the park include the family-friendly, Mile High Swinging Bridge, America’s highest suspension footbridge, and Forrest Gump Curve, where Tom Hanks' character runs in the movie Forrest Gump. Activities include camping, picnicking, hiking, backpacking, climbing, and wildlife watching.
9872 N.C. 105 S., Suite #6, Banner Elk, NC 28604, Phone: 828-963-9522
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8. Hanging Rock State Park
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Hanging Rock State Park is an 8,605-acre state park in the Sauratown Mountain Range in Stokes County that is named for the unusual rock formations in the park formed by years of wind and water erosion, including famous knobs and ridges such as Devil's Chimney, Moore's Wall, Wolf Rock, and Hanging Rock. The park has a 73-site tent and trailer campground and ten rustic overnight cabins, modern restrooms with flushing toilets and hot showers and bathhouse on the lake, which is open seasonally and offers boast rentals and swimming. Rock climbing is allowed at Moore's Wall and Cook's Wall, and a visitor's center and museum are open daily.
1790 Hanging Rock Park Rd, Danbury, NC 27016, Phone: 336-593-8480
9. Jones Lake State Park
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Jones Lake State Park is a 2,208-acre state park in Bladen County that includes the Carolina bay lakes of Jones Lake and Salters Lake. The park offers year-round recreation, including boating, fishing, swimming, camping, picnicking, and environmental and historical education programs. The seasonal campground features 20 first-come-first-served campsites that are open for family camping and have picnic tables, charcoal grills, and access to a park bathhouse with flushing toilets and hot showers. Jones Lake is open to recreational fishing and is home to catfish, chain pickerel, and yellow perch, and several hiking trails, including the five-mile Bay Lake Trail, circumnavigates the lake.
4117 NC-242, Elizabethtown, NC 28337, Phone: 910-588-4550
10. Kerr Lake State Recreation Area
Spanning Vance and Warren Counties, Kerr Lake State Recreation Area is a state park near Henderson that is spread over 3,376 acres along the shores of the 50,000-acre human-made Kerr Lake and features pristine woodlands and other spectacular natural landscapes. The area is made up of seven access areas scattered around the shoreline of the reservoir and is home to hundreds of campsites that offer a range of camping options from RV hookups and tent campsites to group camps. Two private marinas provide boat access, and the lake is renowned for excellent fishing and swimming with several safe swimming beaches in the recreation area. The area also has a community building for community gatherings.
269 Glass House Rd, Henderson, NC 27537, Phone: 252-438-7791
11. Lake James State Park
Spread across Burke and McDowell Counties, Lake James State Park is a state park near Nebo that spans 3,707 acres and borders the 6,510-acre Lake James. The park is home to three campgrounds, catering for all needs from 20 walk-in campsites with lake views at the Catawba River Area and 33 drive-to, family-friendly campsites at the Paddy’s Creek Area to a remote boat-in campground on the Long Arm Peninsula for water-lovers. The park offers a wealth of recreational activities ranging from boating, fishing, swimming, kayaking, and powerboating to mountain biking on 15 miles of trails, backpacking, and hiking on over 25 miles of trails.
7321 NC-126, Nebo, NC 28761, Phone: 828-584-7728
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12. Morrow Mountain State Park
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Located near Albemarle in the heart of the Uwharrie Mountains, Morrow Mountain State Park is a 4,545-acre state park in Stanly County with four camping areas that cater for all camping needs. A Family Camping area is available for tent and RV camping and has sites with or without electrical hookups, while six Group Campsites are located on a hill near the Tillery shoreline in the eastern section of the park. Remote primitive campsites can be reached via the Backpack Trail and have one latrine with no running water, and six overnight cabins have modern conveniences such as makers, microwaves, refrigerators, coffeemakers, pots and pans, and flatware along with outdoor pedestal grills. Recreational activities include swimming, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, and wildlife watching, and firewood and ice are available on site.
49104 Morrow Mountain Rd, Albemarle, NC 28001, Phone: 704-982-4402
13. Mortimer Campground
Situated north of Brown Mountain Beach in Mortimer, the Mortimer Campground is a beautiful, primitive, pet-friendly campground operated by the US Forest Service and features RV and tent camping with water, electricity and sewerage hookups, as well as modern restrooms with flush toilets, showers, and a dump station. There is a picnic shelter on-site, and recreational activities in the area include hiking, mountain biking, swimming, waterfalling, wildlife watching, and picnicking. More unique weekend trips in North Carolina
Highway 90, Collettsville, NC 28611, Phone: 828-652-2144
14. Mount Mitchell State Park
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Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Western North Carolina, Mount Mitchell State Park is a 1,996-acre state park in Yancey County that is named for the famous Mount Mitchell, which rests at an elevation 6,684 feet and is the highest point east of the Mississippi River. Just 35 miles northeast of downtown Asheville, the park features RV and tent camping with water, electricity and sewerage hookups, as well as modern restrooms with flush toilets, showers, and a dump station. There is a picnic shelter on-site, and recreational activities in the area include hiking, mountain biking, swimming, waterfalling, wildlife watching, and picnicking.
2388 NC-128, Burnsville, NC 28714, Phone: 828-675-4611
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15. Mountain Stream RV Park
© Mountain Stream RV Park
Nestled in a narrow valley in the middle of the Pisgah National Forest and resting at an elevation of 1800 feet, Mountain Stream RV Park is a picturesque campground surrounded by mountains on all sides and the glistening Buck Creek, which flows through the valley. The park features numerous RV sites with water, electricity, and sewerage hookups, as well as modern restrooms with flush toilets, showers, and cable television, and there is wireless Internet access available to purchase. Pets are welcome, and firewood and ice are available at the campground’s reception.
6954 Buck Creek Rd, Marion, NC 28752, Phone: 877-724-9013
16. Nantahala National Forest
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Established in 1920, the Nantahala National Forest is a national forest named for the Cherokee word meaning ‘Land of the Noonday Sun.’ The 528,000-acre forest is one of four managed by the United States Forest Service and is nestled so deep within the high mountain wilderness that it only gets direct sunlight at mid-day. The Nantahala National Forest is home to three designated Wilderness Areas and two Wild and Scenic Rivers and offers world-class kayaking, canoeing, and whitewater rafting, as well as boating, water-skiing, fishing, swimming, and camping. Miles of developed hiking trails include the Bartram Trail and the Appalachian Trail and horseback riding, and mountain biking are also popular recreational activities.
Nantahala, NC 28734, Phone: 828-257-4200
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17. New Bern KOA Holiday
© New Bern KOA Holiday
Nestled on the banks of the tranquil Neuse River and minutes from historic downtown New Bern, New Bern KOA Holiday is a quiet family-friendly campground that offers a peaceful retreat for the whole family. The campground features numerous RV and tent sites with full water, electricity, and sewerage hookups, as well as modern restrooms with flush toilets, showers, a children’s playground, and cable television. Other amenities include a swimming pool, a games room, a pavilion for private events, a snack bar offering light fare and drinks, a dog park, and bike rentals.
1565 B St, New Bern, NC 28560, Phone: 252-638-2556
18. New River State Park
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Located near West Jefferson in Ashe County, New River State Park is a 3,318-acre state park in the protected New River watershed. One of the oldest rivers in the United States, the New River’s placid, slow-flowing waters wind through picturesque farmlands, rugged hillsides, and grassy flowering meadows and offers year-round recreation, including fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and swimming, while land-based activities in and around the park include hiking, picnicking and camping. Designated a National Scenic River in 1976, this gentle river and surrounding state park have three river access areas with comfortable campsites and modern amenities.
358 New River State Park Rd, Laurel Springs, NC 28644, Phone: 336-982-2587
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19. Pettigrew State Park
Nestled on the shores of Lake Phelps and the Scuppernong River in Tyrrell and Washington Counties, Pettigrew State Park is a 5,951-acre state park with more than 1,200 acres of land and 16,600 acres of water. The park provides a wealth of outdoor recreational activities ranging from boating, fishing, swimming, canoeing, and kayaking to hiking, mountain biking, camping, visiting historic sites, and wildlife watching. The park has a family campground with 13 campsites boasting picnic tables and grills, tent camping in an open, grassy meadow with potable water and restrooms with showers nearby and primitive camping with tent pads, grills and pit toilets in a nearby forest.
2252 Lake Shore Rd, Creswell, NC 27928, Phone: 252-797-4475
20. Pisgah National Forest
The Pisgah National Forest is a 500,000-acre hardwood forest in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina. Home to soaring mile-high mountain peaks, thundering waterfalls, rushing whitewater rivers, and hundreds of miles of top hiking trails, the Pisgah National Forest is world-renowned for its spectacular scenery and outstanding outdoor recreation. Once the property of George W. Vanderbilt, the forest is considered to the birthplace to modern forestry in America and is home to the United States' first forestry school. Year-round recreation includes fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and swimming, while land-based activities in and around the park include hiking, picnicking, and camping.
North Carolina 28761, Phone: 828-257-4200
21. Jordan Lake State Recreation Area
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Jordan Lake State Recreation Area is an untamed, 14,000-acre that features nine access areas with more than 1,000 campsites offering a range of camping options from primitive and tent camping to luxury RV camping and self-catering overnight cabins. The recreation areas provide plenty of outdoor recreational activities from swimming at one of seven swim beaches to boating, fishing, canoeing, and kayaking, as well as hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and more. The area is home to a diverse array of wildlife, ranging from birds of prey and waterfowl to small mammals and reptiles.
280 State Park Road, Apex, NC 27523, Phone: 919-362-0586
22. Rocky Bluff Recreation Area
Surrounded by the magnificent Pisgah National Forest, the Rocky Bluff Recreation Area offers an idyllic mountain getaway that offers camping, picnicking, fishing, and hiking in a quiet and picturesque setting. Campground facilities include primitive, tent and RV camping with full water, electricity and sewerage hookups, as well as modern restrooms with flushing toilets and showers. Recreational activities include hiking on one of several hiking trails that boast breathtaking views of the surrounding natural scenery and fishing for trout and rainbow trout in Spring Creek and the nearby French Broad River.
2145 NC-209, Hot Springs, NC 28743, Phone: 828-689-9694
23. Stone Mountain State Park
Stone Mountain State Park is a 14,353-acre state park in Alleghany County and Wilkes County named after the massive granite dome known as Stone Mountain. The park is home to a family-friendly campground with 90 sites, some of which have water, electricity and sewerage hookups, and group and backpacking campsites can be found nearby. Recreational activities in the park include rock climbing, picnicking, horseback riding, fishing in more than 20 miles of designated trout waters, and hiking on more than 18 miles of trails. Rock climbing on the towering, 600-foot granite face of the landmark mountain is allowed by permit and offers spectacular views of the Hutchinson Homestead, a restored mid-19th century mountain farm from the top.
3042 Frank Pkwy, Roaring Gap, NC 28668, Phone: 336-957-8185
24. Uwharrie National Forest
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Located primarily in Montgomery County but extending into Randolph and Davidson counties, the Uwharrie National Forest is a federally designated national forest and the smallest of the four National Forests in North Carolina, spanning an area of 50,645 acres. Named after the ancient Uwharrie Mountains atop which most of the forest sits, the forest is bordered by the Great Pee Dee and Yadkin Rivers and the Montgomery County seat of Troy and provides a range of recreational activities, including hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and camping, and seasonal off-road vehicle trails.
789 North Carolina 24, Troy, NC 27371
25. Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Campground Asheboro
Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park™ Campground Asheboro is part of the Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts chain, which features over 75 family campgrounds throughout the United States and Canada. Located less than three miles from the North Carolina Zoo, the family-friendly Cabin & RV Park is set on over 100 acres of land with a wealth of activities and adventures for the whole family to enjoy. These include two well-stocked fishing ponds, children’s playgrounds, a jumping pillow, golf cart rentals, an outdoor theater, a bubble foam machine, swings, and theme weekends Memorial Day through Mid-June.
964 Crestview Church Rd Asheboro, North Carolina 27205, Phone: 336-964-0813
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