If you’re looking to explore North Carolina outdoors, why not go camping? There are so many great options to choose from, but it can be tough to decide where to set up camp. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the 20
best campgrounds in North Carolina, from top-rated spots to hidden gems. Whether you want to be in the mountains or by the coast, we’ve got you covered – so grab your gear and get ready for an awesome outdoor adventure in the Tar Heel State!
Best State Park Campgrounds in North Carolina
North Carolina is a state that offers a diverse range of landscapes to explore. Some of the best state park campgrounds in North Carolina include Jordan Lake State Recreation Area, Goose Creek State Park, Stone Mountain State Park, and Cliffs of the Neuse State Park. These campgrounds offer recreational opportunities amongst beautiful lakes and lush mountainsides. No matter which campground you choose, you can be sure to have an unforgettable experience in this beautiful state.
1. Jordan Lake State Recreation Area
280 State Park Rd, Apex, NC 27523, USA
Location: Apex, North Carolina Popularity: Busy in the summer and on weekends. Park Info: Pet-friendly, firewood available, hiking trails, paddling, swimming, fishing, picnicking, boat ramps, visitor center, beach accesses (lake), and bathhouses. All walk-up and primitive campsites are first-come, first-served, and cannot be reserved in advance. Adjacent to the Crosswinds campground, there is a privately owned marina that offers slip rentals, storage facilities, as well as rentals for fishing boats, kayaks, and paddleboards. Price: $15-$65/night.
Nestled 30 miles west of downtown Raleigh in Chatham County, Jordan Lake State Recreation Area is a treasure trove of outdoor fun, boasting seven access areas for camping, boating, and swimming. The vast lake is a favored summer home for bald eagles, easily spotted from an observation platform. With over 1,000 family campsites across campgrounds like Crosswinds, Parkers Creek, and Poplar Point, camping options are diverse. Many sites offer electric and water hookups with standard amenities like picnic tables, grills, and lantern holders. Walk-up campsites at Parkers Creek and Poplar Point cater to spontaneous adventurers, while New Hope Overlook offers 24 primitive campsites for a more rustic experience. Whether for a planned trip or a last-minute getaway, Jordan Lake welcomes all to its natural haven.
2. Goose Creek State Park
2190 Camp Leach Rd, Washington, NC 27889, USA
Location: Washington, North Carolina Popularity: Little-known hidden gem. Park Info: Showers, pet-friendly, firewood available, hiking, paddling, swimming, fishing, picnicking, boat ramp, amphitheater, visitor center, beach access (river), and bathhouse. Price: $15-$78/night.
Goose Creek State Park, located in Beaufort County just 34 miles southeast of Greenville, offers an array of coastal experiences. From the Pamlico River's wetlands to a cypress swamp accessed via a boardwalk, there's a lot to see and do in the park. Two camping areas await - a new RV loop with cabins and a primitive tent site between Goose and Flatty Creeks. RV sites feature full hook-ups, tent pads, fire rings, and more. Down Campground Road, well-spaced tent sites offer fire rings, grills, and more. The RV area also boasts six cozy camper cabins accommodating up to six people, each with beds, electric outlets, and heating/AC units.
3. Stone Mountain State Park
3042 Frank Pkwy, Roaring Gap, NC 28668, USA
Location: Roaring Gap, North Carolina Popularity: Little-known hidden gem. Park Info: Dump station, showers, firewood available, pet-friendly, hiking, horseback riding, fishing, rock climbing, amphitheater, picnic shelters, bathhouse, and horse trailer parking. Backpack camping and primitive hike-in tent campsites are first-come, first-served, and cannot be reserved in advance. Price: $12-$65/night.
In Alleghany and Wilkes counties, 60 miles northwest of Winston-Salem, lies Stone Mountain State Park, boasting a 600-foot granite dome and the historic Hutchinson Homestead. Amidst beautiful waterfalls, winding creeks, and trout streams, the park offers diverse outdoor activities, with the Mountains-to-Sea State Trail running nearby.
The family campground, home to 90 campsites catering to tents and RVs, is spread across three loops. Each site accommodates up to six people, featuring a designated tent pad, picnic table, and fire ring/grill combo.
There are also four group tent campsites, accommodating up to 35 campers each. These sites are walk-in only, with essential amenities like fire rings, grills, tables, and water.
For a rugged experience, the park offers four primitive campsites along Widow's Creek Trail. Each site hosts up to six people, with a one-and-a-half mile to three-mile hike in.
4. Cliffs of the Neuse State Park
240 Park Entrance Rd, Seven Springs, NC 28578, USA
Location: Seven Springs, North Carolina Popularity: Laidback intimate campground, can be busier on weekends. Park Info: Pet-friendly, dump station, showers, firewood available, hiking, biking, paddling, swimming, fishing, boat rental, concession stand, camp store, picnic shelter, visitor center, beach access (lake), and lake bathhouse. Price: $26-$78/night.
Located in Wayne County, 15 miles southeast of Goldsboro, Cliffs of the Neuse State Park offers breathtaking views from 90-foot bluffs overlooking the Neuse River. The park also features longleaf pine restoration zones, serene creeks, and an 11-acre lake for water recreation. The family campground includes 30 sites with full RV hookups, standard campsites, and cozy camper cabins for up to six people - each offering a picnic table and a grill or fire ring. A separate primitive camping area caters to groups with four walk-in sites, each accommodating up to 30 campers and featuring picnic tables, fire pits, and grills with water, toilets, and recycling facilities nearby.
Best Beach Camping in North Carolina
If you’re a fan of lakeside lounging, river explorations, or beachfront bliss, you’re in for a treat. North Carolina’s
water-centric campgrounds bring together the best of both worlds – epic outdoor living and endless aquatic fun. From casting your fishing line to paddling in serene waters, these camp spots offer a fantastic blend of relaxation and excitement. 5. Carolina Beach State Park
1010 State Park Rd, Carolina Beach, NC 28428, USA
Location: Carolina Beach, North Carolina Popularity: Busy season is from Memorial Day to Labor Day, while autumn, winter, and the beginning of spring offer temperate conditions and reduced crowds. Park Info: Pet-friendly, dump station, firewood available, hiking, biking, paddling, fishing, picnicking, boat ramp, marina and concessions, boat slips, and a visitor center. A private concessionaire in the park offers kayak, canoe, paddleboard, and bike rentals. Price: $23-$75/night.
Just 12 miles south of Wilmington in New Hanover County, Carolina Beach State Park boasts the unique carnivorous plant, Venus flytrap, and diverse habitats like Sugarloaf Dune and three distinctive limesink ponds. The park's marina grants access to the Cape Fear River and Intracoastal Waterway, attracting boaters and anglers alike.
Nestled near Snow's Cut, you'll find the family campground with 79 campsites and six cozy camper cabins. The cabins feature electrical outlets, heating and air-conditioning units, picnic tables, grills, and fire rings. The campground also has amenities like a bathhouse, potable water spigots, and trash and recycling bins. For organized groups, two reserved camping areas along the Swamp Trail include picnic tables, grills, and pit toilets, though water and shower facilities are not available.
6. Lake James State Park
7321 NC-126, Nebo, NC 28761, USA
Location: Nebo, North Carolina Popularity: Though finding a camping site shouldn't be a problem, the summer season is the busiest, so plan accordingly. Expect crowds enjoying the lake during this time. Park Info: Hiking, biking, paddling, swimming, fishing, boat ramps, boat rentals, concession stand, amphitheater, picnic shelters, visitor center, beach access (lake), and pet-friendly. Price: $15-$26/night.
Situated 50 miles northeast of Asheville, Lake James State Park in Burke and McDowell counties offers picturesque access to a pristine lake for boating, swimming, and fishing. With two entrances, Catawba River and Paddy's Creek, the park provides lakeside camping opportunities, some reachable only by paddling. Trail options include bike paths, the family-friendly Holly Discovery Trail, the historic Overmountain Victory Trail, and the Fonta Flora State Trail.
At Paddy's Creek, 33 drive-in sites cater to families with ample camping gear. The Catawba River access features 20 shoreline walk-in sites - both sites have fire pits, picnic tables, potable water faucets, and a nearby 24/7 bathhouse.
For an immersive experience, Lake James State Park offers 30 paddle-in camping sites on the Long Arm Peninsula, exclusively accessible by boat. These sites feature fire pits, picnic tables, tent pads, and strategically positioned toilet facilities. Canoe and kayak rentals may be available.
7. Lake Norman State Park
759 State Park Rd, Troutman, NC 28166, USA
Location: Troutman, North Carolina Popularity: Popular in the summertime and busy on weekends year-round. Park Info: Firewood available, pet-friendly, hiking, biking, paddling, swimming, fishing, boat ramp, boat rentals, concession stand, auditorium, community building, picnic shelters, visitor center and exhibits, beach access (lake), and bathhouse. Price: $26-$75/night.
Lake Norman State Park, located 40 miles north of Charlotte in Iredell County, is renowned for the 31-mile Itusi Trail, a paradise for mountain biking enthusiasts. Encompassing 17 miles of Lake Norman's northern shoreline, the park offers serene fishing spots and paddling on Park Lake. Hosting over 25 great blue heron nests on islands, it's a natural marvel.
The campground, nestled between Lake Norman and Hicks Creek, features 44 campsites accommodating up to six people each. Amenities include a bathhouse, potable water, and a dump station. All sites provide picnic tables and fire rings.
Additionally, six cabins offer electricity, heating, and air conditioning. Adjacent to a bathhouse, each cabin includes a picnic table, fire ring, and lantern hook.
8. Merchants Millpond State Park
176 Mill Pond Rd, Gatesville, NC 27938, USA
Location: Gatesville, North Carolina Popularity: Hidden gem. Park Info: Pet-friendly, showers, firewood available, hiking, biking, paddling, fishing, boat ramp, boat rentals, auditorium, picnic shelter, visitor center, and bathhouse. Price: $12-$24/night.
Merchants Millpond State Park, situated 10 miles south of North Carolina's border with Virginia in Gates County, revolves around a 760-acre, 190-year-old millpond. Exploration options include hiking trails and paddling tranquil, shallow waters, offering glimpses into this unique wetland. The site is home to old-growth cypress trees adorned with Spanish moss, creating an "enchanted forest," especially at Lassiter Swamp, where sightings of the American alligator, its northernmost range, have occurred.
Diverse camping experiences cater to both small and large groups. The family campground, canoe camping sites accessible by paddle, and primitive sites reachable by backpacking are available options. Two canoe camps can be reached via canoe trails from the boat ramp. Campers must bring all supplies, including water, and pit toilets are provided.
Five backpack camping sites are accessed via a side trail off Lassiter Trail. Campers must bring all supplies, including water, to the sites. These sites are available on a first-come basis, rewarding hikers with views of the "enchanted forest" and Lassiter Swamp.
The family campground, nestled in a pine forest beyond the park office, offers 20 sites for tents and trailers. Each site has picnic tables and grills, and a washhouse provides water, restrooms, and showers. Availability is first-come, first-served. Organized groups can enjoy the walk-in group camping area or a canoe camping group site, with mandatory reservations. Facilities include a small washhouse with a pay shower and nearby drinking water.
Top Glamping in North Carolina
Check out the pinnacle of outdoor luxury with our curated selection of the top
glamping experiences in North Carolina. From charming NC cabins in the heart of the wilderness to lavish tents that blend comfort and adventure, these unique accommodations offer an escape like no other. Immerse yourself in nature while enjoying modern conveniences – a win-win! 9. Asheville Glamping Location: Asheville, North Carolina Popularity: Very popular. Park Info: Pet-friendly options. Strict cancellation and minimum stay policies. There are three properties just 10 miles from downtown Asheville. Price: $275/night average
Ditch the hotel room and embrace the great outdoors like never before! Asheville Glamping in North Carolina offers the ultimate starting point for your Blue Ridge Mountain escape. Explore a variety of distinctive getaways, from family-friendly Domes featuring indoor slides to an enchanting treehouse built for two. Find your ideal launchpad for an unforgettable Asheville experience! Each accommodation comes with its own unique perks, ranging from outdoor fire pits and private hot tubs to personal bathrooms and beyond.
10. Blue Bear Mountain Camp
196 BLue Bear Mtn Rd, Todd, NC 28684, USA
Location: Todd, North Carolina Popularity: Hidden gem. Can be busier on weekends. Park Info: 30 and 50-amp hook-ups, accommodations for large groups, modern restrooms, showers, laundry room, camping supplies, charcoal, ice, firewood, on-site garbage disposal, and free dump station. Price: $35-$164/night
Whether you're into car camping, RVing, hiking, or even dreaming under the stars in charming Stargazer Domes and cozy cabins, the Blue Bear Mountain Camp has got you covered. Just a short eight-mile jaunt from Boone, NC, the campgrounds sprawl over 150 acres of pristine mountain beauty, offering hiking trails, a serene trout pond, and spacious sites designed to give you that remote, rustic feel.
The hand-crafted cabins offer a unique glamping experience. Enjoy cozy living with a fireplace, a queen-sized bed, and a well-equipped kitchenette indoors. Outside, a spacious deck with seating and a grill await, perfect for dining and stargazing.
The Stargazer Domes offer a comfortable camping experience. Perfect for romance or family fun, each dome features a queen bed with premium linens and a bistro set. Conveniently located near amenities like private bathrooms, laundry, and dishwashing, these domes offer ease and relaxation. Drive right up, and enjoy a fire ring, grill, and picnic table.
11. Rusty's Roost River Camp
1380 Hunting Dale Rd, Green Mountain, NC 28740, USA
Location: Green Mountain, North Carolina Popularity: Popular. Busy on weekends. Park Info: Mountain view, river view, indoor fireplace, kitchen, waterfront, fire pit, BBQ grill, and kayaks. Price: $66-$81/night
Discover the charm of Rusty Roost River Camp, where luxury campsites await you along the North Toe and Cane Rivers in Green Mountain. These exquisite camping rentals offer the ultimate glamping experience with spacious tents accommodating up to six people. Enjoy the comfort of cozy linens, well-appointed furnishings, and ample privacy. You'll have easy access to shared amenities on-site, including restrooms with hot water showers, fire pits, outdoor cooking stations or grills (with running water access), and more. Whether it's a romantic weekend or a family adventure, this glamping campsite is everything you could ever want.
12. Gold River | camp + cabins
43 Polly Spout Rd, Marion, NC 28752, USA
Location: Marion, North Carolina Popularity: Hidden gem. Can be busier on weekends. Park Info: Modern bath house with individual showers, open-air pavilion, communal lounge area, lawn games, horseshoes, board games, kitchenette, community picnic tables, fire pits, riverfront beach area, firewood available, and Wi-Fi. Price: $34-$232/night
From snug cabins to cozy tents, you'll find the perfect fit for your style at Gold River. And for those craving a more rugged experience, fear not – they've got you covered with four riverside tent spots and an RV site.
Join the fun around the communal fire pits, fire up the grills for a delicious feast, and soak in the serene river views from the pavilion with high-top seating. Unplug and recharge at Gold River – the adventure, the relaxation, and the memories are waiting.
Best RV Camping Sites in North Carolina
Get ready to hit the open road and experience the best of North Carolina’s RV camping sites. Whether you’re looking for a secluded spot in the mountains or a beachside oasis, there’s a campground for everyone. And if you don’t own an RV, no problem! You can sign up for an RV rental from
. Here are some of the best RV camping sites in North Carolina to help you plan your next adventure. RV Share 13. Lake Gaston RV Campground
561 Fleming Dairy Rd, Littleton, NC 27850, USA
Location: Littleton, North Carolina Popularity: Popular amongst families and busy during the summer and on weekends. Park Info: Shuffleboard, swimming pool, fishing, water frontage, pet-friendly, restaurant, store, hiking trails, mini golf, restroom, shower, laundry, boat docks, boat ramp, picnic area, playground, volleyball, basketball, horseshoes, library, and Wi-Fi hotspot. Price: $65-$76/night
Want to escape to the great outdoors in North Carolina? Lake Gaston RV Campground is it. The campground is situated in a serene wooded area on the banks of Lake Gaston. You'll have a blast with all the fun activities, like fishing, boating, swimming, and lounging in the sun. The RV park sites offer 30/50 amp service, and the atmosphere is ideal for families, with planned activities and seasonal entertainment available.
14. Carrollwoods RV Campground & Vineyard
95 Dot Ln, Tabor City, NC 28463, USA
Location: Tabor City, North Carolina Popularity: Popular and busy during the summer and on weekends. Park Info: Covered pavilion area, fenced pet area, firewood, internet access, laundry facilities, picnic area, pool, restroom, shower facilities, and TV/Satellite service. Price: $45-$65/night
If you're looking for a unique RV campground in the Myrtle Beach area, Carrollwoods Campground is the perfect destination. When you arrive, you'll drive through beautiful Muscadine grapevines to Grapefull Sisters Vineyard for check-in, where you can enjoy local art and wine tasting before settling into your campsite. The park offers oversized, pull-through full-service sites, a three-bedroom inn, glamping, and plenty of golf for those who love the sport. You'll also have access to free Wi-Fi, optional cable TV, a large dog park area, and a swimming pool. While the park is just 20 minutes from the beach, you'll feel like you're in the quiet countryside, surrounded by farmland.
15. Camp Hatteras RV Resort & Campground
24798 North Carolina Hwy 12, Rodanthe, NC 27968, USA
Location: Rodanthe, North Carolina Popularity: Popular amongst families and very busy during the summer and on weekends. Park Info: Heated indoor pool, outdoor pool, kiddie pool, jacuzzi, marina, water sports rentals, bathhouses, laundry facilities, pickleball, tennis, basketball, shuffleboard, miniature golf, playground, bicycle rentals, game room, cornhole, dog park, and fully stocked camp store. Price: $42-$175/night
Camp Hatteras RV Resort and Campground is a great vacation spot for families and beachgoers. The property is located on Hatteras Island in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, by two bodies of water: the Pamlico Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. With 50 acres of land, the campground offers a variety of accommodations, including RVs with full hookups, concrete pads, and patios. There are also tent sites and rental units as well. During the summer, there are plenty of activities at Camp Hatteras to keep you busy, including miniature golf, tennis, pickleball, basketball, shuffleboard, cornhole, a game room, three pools, and a jacuzzi.
16. Campfire Lodgings
116 Appalachian Village Rd, Asheville, NC 28804, USA
Location: Asheville, North Carolina Popularity: Best-kept camping secret. Park Info: Pets welcome, private bathrooms, laundry room, 100 acres with trails, private fishing pond, secluded picnic areas, propane available, firewood for sale, camp store, horseshoes, and Wi-Fi. Price: $35-$325/night
Are you looking for a unique and comfortable mountain lodging experience? Stay at Campfire Lodgings on Goldview Knob, 10 minutes north of Asheville, North Carolina. The 100 acres of pristine woods offer a variety of lodging options, from RV and tent sites to fully furnished yurts, cabins, and a Cliff House. They are also currently expanding the RV park to accommodate even more guests. All the campsites include 20, 30, and 50 amps and full hook-up for your convenience. The premium RV sites offer unobstructed views of the mountains and valley on concrete slabs, while the deluxe sites have well-maintained gravel pads and shade trees. Enjoy panoramic views, campfire rings, picnic tables, and Wi-Fi. Experience the beauty of the mountains at Campfire Lodgings, open year-round.
Best Primitive Tent Camping in North Carolina
Whether you’re drawn to the rugged terrains of the Appalachian Mountains or the tranquil ambiance of remote beaches, these
primitive camping sites provide a chance to disconnect from the modern world and embrace the simplicity of nature. 17. Mount Mitchell State Park
2388 NC-128, Burnsville, NC 28714, USA
Location: Burnsville, North Carolina Popularity: Limited campsites, make reservations in advance. Park Info: Bear-proof food storage box, comfort station, fire rings, fireplace grill, flush toilets, hiking trail, parking, picnic tables, and water spigot. Price: $23/night average
Just 30 miles northeast of Asheville, Mount Mitchell State Park is the pinnacle of North Carolina's state park legacy. At 6,684 feet, it claims the title of the highest peak east of the Mississippi River, granting sweeping mountain views from its observation deck on clear days. Easy trails invite you to explore the Fraser fir forest atop the summit, while a network of challenging paths, including the renowned Mountains-to-Sea State Trail, leads to backpacking opportunities in the surrounding wilderness. The park features nine walk-in backpack campsites, each accommodating up to six campers, with essential amenities like tent pads, grills, and picnic tables. For those yearning for backcountry tenting in Pisgah National Forest, vehicle parking overnight is available at the park, facilitated through a simple registration.
18. Grandfather Mountain State Park
9872 NC-105, Banner Elk, NC 28604, USA
Location: Banner Elk, North Carolina Popularity: Limited campsites, make reservations in advance. Park Info: Pet-friendly, fire rings, and free hiking permits needed, complete at the trailhead before starting. No overnight parking at the privately owned Grandfather Mountain attraction (with a swinging bridge). Use Profile Trailhead or Boone Fork Parking on Blue Ridge Parkway. Price: $15-$32/night
Grandfather Mountain State Park, southwest of Boone in Avery, Caldwell, and Watauga counties, showcases a rugged mountain famous for challenging hikes along cliffs, cables, and ladders. It's an ecological treasure recognized as a UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve. Nestled between the privately owned Grandfather Mountain attraction and National Park Service-managed Blue Ridge Parkway trails, the park allows backcountry camping.
Thirteen hike-in sites, like Hi-Balsam Shelter, are accessible, ranging from 3,800 to 5,946 feet elevation. Reservations are required and should be made in advance due to limited cell service. On-site registration is also necessary. Camping is restricted to marked areas; dispersed camping isn't allowed, including hammock camping.
19. Lake Waccamaw State Park
1866 State Park Dr, Lake Waccamaw, NC 28450, USA
Location: Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina Popularity: Hidden gem. Park Info: Charcoal grill, comfort station, fire rings, fishing, flush toilets, handicap access, hiking trail, lake access, parking, picnic tables, telephone, and water spigot. Price: $12-$17/night
Lake Waccamaw State Park, 40 miles west of Wilmington, is on the shores of a unique Carolina bay with open water. A limestone bluff supports diverse aquatic species. A bridge over Waccamaw Dam covers the 14-mile shoreline. The park offers primitive group camping sites and a yurt site with basic amenities. Campers must register, display a parking pass, and note that these are hike-in sites without water or electricity.
20. Hammocks Beach State Park
1572 State Rd 1511, Swansboro, NC 28584, USA
Location: Swansboro, North Carolina Popularity: Secluded and tranquil, hidden gem. Park Info: Bathhouse, boating, concession stand, drinking water, ferry service, fishing, flush toilets, indoor showers, kayak launch, lifeguards, outdoor showers, paddle boating, and picnic tables. Price: $12-$42/night
Hammocks Beach State Park, near Jacksonville, includes the mainland and three barrier islands, including Bear Island. Access via ferry or kayaking offers unique beachside camping.
Fourteen family campsites near the beach and inlet await on Bear Island. Sites 1-11 are reachable by ferry, private boat, or paddling. Sites 12-14 require private boats or paddling and are not hikeable. No fires are allowed, but propane or backpack camp stoves are ok. Water and showers are available from mid-March to mid-November. During winterization, water isn't accessible.
Three group campsites on Bear Island cater to organized or affiliated groups. Fires aren't allowed, but stoves are permitted. Group sites have one picnic table, and water and showers are available from mid-March to mid-November. During winterization, water isn't accessible. Campers must handle equipment transport to and from sites independently.
Have you stayed at any of these camping spots in North Carolina? Think these are the best places to camp in North Carolina? What are your favorite places for a North Carolina camping trip? Whether looking for a spot that includes miles of hiking or more of a glamping experience with hot showers, we’d love to know what you think!
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More to Explore
Best Camping In North Carolina
What are the most popular state parks in North Carolina?
The most popular state parks in North Carolina are:
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Hanging Rock State Park
Nantahala National Forest
The Pisgah National Forest
Cherokee National Forest
Linville Gorge Wilderness
What time of year is best for camping in North Carolina?
Optimal camping months in North Carolina encompass April, May, September, and October, providing pleasant temperatures, reduced humidity, and picturesque landscapes.
Where can I find secluded campgrounds in North Carolina?
The best secluded campgrounds in North Carolina are:
Badin Lake Recreation Area
Standing Indian Loop
Mt. Mitchell Trailhead at the Black Mountain Campsite
North Mills River Campground
Explore North Carolina