North Carolina has three distinct regions, which are (from west to east across the state) the mountain, piedmont and coast areas. Each one is beautiful in a different way, offering a number of campground choices. Whether you enjoy backcountry adventures, improved tent camping or RV sites, you're sure to find the perfect spot in the Tar Heel State.
Four Top Mountain Region Campgrounds
The mountainous scenery in western North Carolina provides breathtaking views of the Appalachian, Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains.
Ash Grove Cabins & Camping (Brevard)
Earning a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for 2013, Ash Grove Cabins & Camping in Brevard, North Carolina is a great place to experience the beauty of North Carolina's mountainous terrain all year long. The campground has secluded, spacious and shaded tent and RV sites that can accommodate relatively small motor homes and travel trailers. Rental cabins are also available.
Some of the tent-sites are accessible by car while others require a walk. The walk-in sites are the most secluded. They do not have electricity, water or Wi-Fi, but there is a nearby bathhouse.
The drive-in sites do have water, electricity and Wi-Fi, as do the RV sites. The RV sites will accommodate motor homes and 5th wheels up to 32 feet and travel trailers of up to 28 feet. There is an on-site dump station. Reservations are accepted, and availability is updated on the park's online reservation request form every day.
This campground is a great home base for exploring the Blue Ridge Parkway and Pisgah National Forest. There is a small waterfall in the campground, as well as ample opportunities for hiking. Guests have many positive comments, ranging from the beauty of the locations to the friendliness of the hosts and cleanliness of the bathhouse.
Standing Indian Campground (Franklin)
Located just outside Franklin, North Carolina, Standing Indian Campground is ranked among the state's top ten campgrounds on Tripleblaze.com, where reviewers describe it as a beautiful campground with both open and secluded campsites. The campground is closed from late November through the end of March.
The campground is a National Forest Service Campground with 85 campsites perfect for those who enjoy primitive camping that doesn't require a hike into the backcountry. It has flush toilets and hot showers, though it's important to be aware that electricity is not available at campsites.
There are water spigots throughout the park, but there are no water or sewer hookups at the campsites. There is an on-site pay phone, but don't expect your cell phone to work at this heavily wooded location in the Appalachian Mountains. Reservations are accepted for some sites, while some are designated as first-come, first-served.
According to Stay and Play in the Smokies, the campground is great for families who want to enjoy the great outdoors. There are ample opportunities for hiking near the campground. For example, the Wasilik Poplar Trail begins on the same road where Standing Indian campground is located and crosses over the Appalachian Trial. It's also a great home base for exploring popular tourist destinations like the Cherokee Indian Reservation and the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in Bryson City.
Yogi in the Smokies (Cherokee)
Yogi in the Smokies is a Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Camp Resort located in Cherokee, North Carolina. Receiving nearly perfect Good Sam ratings and with numerous positive Google reviews praising its kid-friendly nature, this campground is a great home base for a family getaway to the Great Smoky mountains any time of the year.
A full range of campsite options is available, ranging from primitive tent sites to deluxe RV sites with full hookups, some of which are located along the river. A number of sites offer water and electricity only and are suitable for tent and RV campers.
With the exception of primitive spots, all campsites have fire rings and picnic tables. Rental cabins are also available. There are several clean bathhouses with showers located throughout the grounds and free Wi-Fi is provided. Make your reservations online.
The campground is a perfect home base for touring the same attractions mentioned for Standing Indian, as well as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There are also plenty of fun on-site activities, including a heated swimming pool, game room, trout fishing, outdoor movie theater, crafting center and more. Bike rentals are also available on-site.
Campfire Lodgings (Asheville)
Situated in Asheville, North Carolina, Campfire Lodgings is highly rated by reviewers on RVParkReviews.com, and TripAdvisor, where one reviewer describes it as the "best campsite in the Asheville area". The year-round campground can accommodate tent and RV campers (even Class A motor homes), and also has rental cabins, yurts and a cliff house.
Many campsite options are available, including full-hookup RV sites with 30 and 50 amp power, improved tent sites with water and electricity and natural tent sites with no power or water. Cable television and free Wi-Fi is available. You'll need to specify the type of site and amenities you're interested in when making your reservation.
This campground is situated on more than 100 wooded acres and provides lovely views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. There are a number of hiking trails on the grounds, including a scenic overlook. It is just minutes away from the Biltmore Estate and other Asheville attractions.
Four Top Coastal Campgrounds
Bordering the Atlantic Ocean, it's hard to beat the beauty of North Carolina's costal region.
Ocracoke Island Campground (Ocracoke Island)
Ocracoke Island Campground is listed among Gorp.com's ten best tent campgrounds in the Carolinas. Located along the Cape Hatteras Natural Seashore, this campground takes a bit of effort to get to, as the island is accessible only by ferry or air. The campground is open early April through late October.
RV and tent campsites are available, though there are no electricity or sewer hookups. Grills are available. The campground has toilets and cold showers. There are dunes separating the campground from the beach, but all campsites are on sandy soil. See the campground's website to book your reservations.
Enjoy all types of water-related activities at this campground, including swimming in the ocean, relaxing on the beach or going clamming. Windsurfing and kayaking are also popular recreational activities. You can also walk, bike or drive to great dining and shopping establishments in Ocracoke Village.
Cape Hatteras KOA (Rodanthe)
The KOA located in Rodanthe, North Carolina is a great home base for an Outer Banks camping adventure. There are numerous positive guest reviews posted on the campground's website referencing the campground's cleanliness, friendly staff, great location and terrific amenities.
There are tent and RV sites, with options to accommodate even the largest motor homes. Private vacation suites and cabins are also available to rent. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the park, and there are clean bathhouses with hot showers. Make reservations via the Cape Hatteras KOA website.
Amenities include a swimming pool, hot tub, sauna, kiddie water slides and a jumping pillow. There is even a poolside cafe and a fee-based miniature golf course on-site. Your canine camping companion(s) will enjoy the 'Kamp K9' dog park. Be sure to visit the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and other local attractions during your stay.
Merchants Millpond State Park (Gatesville)
Merchants Millpond State Park is also recognized by Gorp.com as one of the top ten camping destinations in all of North and South Carolina. The Gatesville, North Carolina park offers family camping, hike-in primitive camping, canoe-in primitive camping and group campsites. Weather permitting, the campgrounds are open year round.
The family campground offers tent and RV sites, and bathhouses featuring hot showers and rest room facilities. Pit toilets are available in backcountry areas. Book your spot via the campground's page on ReserveAmerica.
Campers can enjoy nine miles of hiking trails, fishing and canoeing on the park's 750 acre millpond, a more than two century old swamp-like natural beauty featuring cypress and tupelo gum trees. Rental canoes are available, though you can also bring your own canoe if you wish.
New Bern KOA (New Bern)
The New Bern KOA has been recognized by KOA with the President's Award and Founders Award. On CampgroundReport.com, a visitor describes this park as "One of the best camp grounds (KOA or any other) that we have ever stayed in."
Situated on the Neuse River, this year-round campground offers tent and RV campsites along with numerous amenities. Tent campers can opt for riverside sites to make the most of the water, and RV travelers who want to enjoy the outdoors may want to select a deluxe patio site. There are clean bathhouses with hot showers, free Wi-Fi, a swimming pool, playground area and more. There is even a 'Kamp K9' dog park on-site. Make your reservations via the park's page on KOA.com.
You can really enjoy the beauty of the river when you stay at this KOA. The campground has its own boat ramp and 100-foot fishing pier, as well as a catch-and-release fishing pond. Campers can rent paddle boats and kayaks on site. You can also enjoy the attractions of New Bern, all just a few minutes away.
Two Great Piedmont Campgrounds
The central area of North Carolina is referred to as the Piedmont area. While it doesn't attract as many tourists as the mountain and coastal regions, there are some great state-operated camping destinations in the region.
Falls Lake State Recreation Area (Wake Forest)
Located in Wake Forest, just outside the North Carolina cities of Raleigh and Durham, Falls Lake State Recreation Area is a great year-round destination for tent and RV campers alike. Recognized with a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for 2013, one reviewer describes it as a "great park for camping."
This state-operated facility has more than 150 campsites at its Holly Point campground, many of which have water and electricity. There is also a backcountry area with nearly 50 hike-in sites and several group camping areas. Both Holly Point and the backcountry area feature grills, picnic tables and fire rings. Showers and restroom facilities are available. Sewer hookups are not provided, though there is a dump station. Reservations are available through ReserveAmerica.
This campground is a great destination for campers who enjoy water activities. Boat ramps are available and campers can enjoy relaxing on the beach, swimming and fishing. There are also 13 miles of mountain biking trails in the park. Those who enjoy hiking can walk the Falls Lake Trail, which is part of the state's Mountains-to-Sea trail, as well as other trails. It is also a great home base for exploring all that Raleigh and Durham has to offer.
Lake Norman State Park (Troutman)
Located in the town of Troutman, Lake Norman State Park features both a family campground and a group campground. Tent and RV sites are available. The family campground is open from March 15 through November 30. The group site closes for the winter at the same time as the family-oriented site, but does not open until April.
The family campground has just over 30 sites, each featuring a concrete pad and a grill. The group sites can accommodate up to 25 campers, making them ideal for youth groups, family reunions and more. Picnic tables are provided at all sites, and centrally located restroom and shower facilities are available. A review on Places I Traveled describes the campsites as "a nice size" and points out that you may need to make reservations several months in advance during the busy season to get a spot.
This state park has a boat ramp, swimming area and many other outdoor activities to enjoy. The park numerous positive reviews on Yelp, with previous campers commenting on the beauty of the park along with the variety of activities, including the beach, bicycling trails, hiking and more. The park's trails also get high marks on AllTrails.com, where visitors provide positive comments on the quality of trails, water views and wildlife-viewing opportunities.
Great State for Camping
There are many wonderful campgrounds in North Carolina. North Carolina offers an eclectic combination of scenery and terrain, ranging from majestic mountains filled with streams and rivers, to the beautiful beaches of the Atlantic ocean coastline. The abundant natural beauty and camping opportunities in North Carolina can easily be found in every direction.