The Ultimate Guide to Camping, Glamping, and RVing in North Carolina

tips for best camping in north carolina

So, you want to go camping in North Carolina? Well, you’ve come to the right place. North Carolina offers a wide variety of camping types, from seaside campgrounds, forest RV parks and glamping in the mountains. Read on to find out everything you need to know about camping, glamping and RVing in North Carolina.

Is North Carolina good for camping?

Yes! North Carolina is full of natural beauty and awe-inspiring landscapes. With 41 state parks and 13 National parks (one of which is the most visited National park in the country – hint: it’s great…and smoky), North Carolina is a camper’s dream. From tent camping on the beach to RVing in the Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina has some of the most exciting campgrounds in the country. Let’s dive into some of the best places to camp in North Carolina.

Best Camping in North Carolina

If you’re looking for the best camping in North Carolina, you’ll have many options ranging from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the sandy shores of the Atlantic Ocean. Hit the Blue Ridge Parkway, or pick a campground near a major city like Durham, Asheville, Raleigh, Charlotte, Greensboro and Winston-Salem. If you’re not quite sure and need a place to start, try choosing your camping style first. 

Best RV Parks in North Carolina

RVing in North Carolina is an adventure to say the least. Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway or the Great Smoky Mountains are a few fan favorites, but don’t forget the beautiful RV parks on the shores of the Atlantic ocean and the Outer Banks, too. Here are a few of the best RV parks in North Carolina.

Stonebridge RV Resort

Stonebridge RV Resort

Stonebridge RV Resort and Campgrounds in Maggie Valley, NC has been a part of The Great Smoky Mountains, providing quality vacations since 1965. It's the perfect gateway for a family vacation, so welcoming that families return generation after generation! Make Stonebridge RV Resort your next getaway destination!

Lakewood RV Resort

Lakewood RV Resort

Lakewood RV Resort is located in Hendersonville, NC, just 30 minutes south of Asheville and about an hour away from Smoky Mountain National Park. We built our RV resort with recreational vehicle lovers in mind, offering extensive facilities and everything else you could want to make your stay as relaxing and enjoyable as possible.

Camp Hatteras

Camp Hatteras

Camp Hatteras is all you could ask for in a World Class 50 Acre RV resort. With the oceanfront and soundfront location, the beauty of the dynamic Outer Banks beach is only step away from your campsite. The sunsets over the Pamlico Sound and the ocean sunrise are all part of your Camp Hatteras experience.

Best Tent Camping in North Carolina 

If tent camping is your speed, North Carolina has tons of amazing campsites. We’ll cover the National and State parks in a bit, which are also popular for tent campers, but first, here are a few of the best North Carolina campgrounds for tent camping:

Catawba Falls Campground

Catawba Falls Campground

Located in the mountains of Western North Carolina in the town of Old Fort, sits Catawba Falls Campground. Enjoy the flowing river near by to keep you cool on hot days, hit the playground, grab a cup of joe from the camp store, and so much more.

Steele Creek Park and Family Campground

Steele Creek Park and Family Campground

Welcome to Steele Creek Park & Family Campground for your camping vacation in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Steele Creek Park offers camp sites for tent camping, camp sites for RV camping and many activities on the property for all ages to have fun outdoors!

Jomeokee Campground

Jomeokee Campground

Jomeokee Park offers beautiful campsites with various amenities and an incredible view of Pilot Mountain. Jomeokee means “great guide” or “pilot” from the language of the Saura Indians, who once inhabited this scenic area.

Best Glamping in North Carolina

If you’re looking for Glamping in North Carolina, you’ve got plenty of options. Take a look at some of the best glamping options in North Carolina.

Rose Creek Campground & Cabins

Rose Creek Campground & Cabins

Secluded within a lush, serene valley surrounded by beautiful mountains and landscapes, Rose Creek Campground and Cabins in Macon County, North Carolina offers a seasonal place to relax and unwind! Open April through November.

Cherryfield Creek Group Campground

Cherryfield Creek Group Campground

Cherryfield Luxury Group Camping is only minutes from Brevard, NC. This facility is a brand new camping opportunity on the border of Pisgah National Forest that features luxurious bath houses with full power, outside showers, covered and spacious camping platforms.

Carolina Rose Campground

Carolina Rose Campground

This family oriented campground offers fun amenities like; fishing, swimming, mini golfing, and more. If after relaxing on your site, you desire heading out to explore North Carolina - within a couple hours of the park you could be hiking the Great Smokies or relaxing on a beautiful beach.

Best Beach Camping in North Carolina

Looking to camp on the beach in North Carolina? The Outer Banks (OBX) is one of the most popular beach destinations on the east coast, and it’s not just because of the Netflix show. Check out these amazing beachfront campsites.

Camp Hatteras

Camp Hatteras

Camp Hatteras is all you could ask for in a World Class 50 Acre RV resort. With the oceanfront and soundfront location, the beauty of the dynamic Outer Banks beach is only step away from your campsite. The sunsets over the Pamlico Sound and the ocean sunrise are all part of your Camp Hatteras experience.

Hatteras Sands

Hatteras Sands

Hatteras Sands Campground is located in the scenic Outer Banks area of north Carolina, set amongst beautiful canals and grassy fields we offer many amenities and great fishing! We have over 100 paved RV sites and welcome big rigs to choose a site featuring water, sewer and electric, cable hookups and wi-fi.

Rodanthe Watersports and Campground

Rodanthe Watersports and Campground

Escape the hustle and bustle of the daily grind, while camping waterfront and instilling the love of the great outdoors in your family at affordable rates. Rodanthe Watersports & Campgrounds, located waterfront on the Pamlico Sound, is the answer to your quiet, relaxing vacation dreams.

Best Mountain Camping in North Carolina

North Carolina is home to the Great Smoky Mountains, the country’s most popular National Park and a World Heritage Site. Needless to say, there is some amazing mountain camping in North Carolina. Check out these top campgrounds.

The Land of Waterfalls RV Campground

The Land of Waterfalls RV Campground

The Land of Waterfalls RV Campground is nestled in the beautiful Western North Carolina mountains. The Land of Waterfalls region is home to over 200 waterfalls that make this a top destination for adventure seekers looking to explore the numerous waterfalls, hiking trails, mountain biking trails, and fly fishing destinations.

Blue Ridge Travel Park

Blue Ridge Travel Park

Nestled in the mountains of Western North Carolina is Blue Ridge Travel Park. They offer a beautiful and unique atmosphere for anyone looking to getaway. The campground features 54 nightly, weekly, and monthly RV sites with full hook-ups.

Starlite Trailer Lodge

Starlite Trailer Lodge

This premier LGBTQ+ Campground and Tiny Home Community is a place for all to come together and revel in nature. Bask in the beauty of North Carolina while being in a welcoming community where you can be open and free.

National & State Parks in North Carolina

Camping inside a State or National park is also a great option. North Carolina has 41 State Parks and 13 National Parks, including the most visited National park in the United States – Great Smoky Mountains National Park at 12 million visitors per year. Here’s everything you need to know about camping and RVing in North Carolina’s state and national parks. 

Can you camp in North Carolina national parks?
Yes, you can. Some of North Carolina’s best and most popular campsites can be found in state and national parks. Here are a few of the most popular national parks in North Carolina for camping.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park: The Great Smoky Mountains is a great choice for camping and certainly won’t disappoint. This national park has 10 developed frontcountry campgrounds, five of which are in North Carolina. Options range from Cataloochee campground, located in a secluded valley, to Deep Creek, which is popular for tubing. Looking for great trout fishing and swimming? Check out Smokemont on the Oconaluftee River. Or for something more remote, Balsam Mountain Campground is at the highest elevation, 5,400 feet. Great Smoky Mountain National Park campground amenities include restrooms with cold running water, but no showers or electricity or water hookups. Campsites also come with a fire grate and picnic table.

Blue Ridge Parkway: The popular Blue Ridge Parkway is considered one of the most beautiful drives in the country. And guess what? You can camp right along the scenic highway! Check out Doughton Park campground and explore the 30-mile trail network (the largest along the Parkway). Or stay at Julian Price Campground and take a beginner-friendly hike around the lake. Looking for waterfalls? Crabtree Falls is a more remote campground, only a short hike to a waterfall by the same  name. And the beautiful Mount Pisgah campground sits at the top of the Blue Ridge at 5,000 feet and has showers (nice!). Note that you can only camp at designated campgrounds along the Parkway for tent and RVs (up to 30 feet). They offer restrooms, drinking water, RV dump stations and at least one wheelchair-accessible campsite. Each campsite includes a table and a fire ring.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore: There are four national park campgrounds on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, allowing tents and RVs up to 35 feet long. Oregon Inlet, Cape Point, Frisco and Ocracoke. They each have restrooms, cold showers, drinking water, picnic tables and grills. Three are on level ground if that’s your thing, or if you’re looking to camp in the sand dunes, Frisco will be your choice. The soil is sandy, so we recommend bringing extra-long tent stakes, and don’t forget the bug spray and netting. These Cape Hatteras national park campgrounds have tent, trailer and RV sites, and are open from the second Friday in April to the Monday after the last weekend in November.

Can you camp in North Carolina state parks?
Absolutely. Most state park campgrounds cost anywhere from $15 to $145, and you must make a reservation beforehand. Pets are allowed at most campsites, but not at the cabins, so plan accordingly. Here are a few of the most popular state parks in North Carolina for camping.

Hanging Rock State Park: 73 family-friendly sites, one wheelchair-accessible. Campsites include restrooms, drinking water, hot showers, laundry sinks, picnic tables and grills. Eight group sites include pit toilets and drinking water nearby, picnic tables and a fire circle. Ten rustic two-bedroom cabins can accommodate six people each (two are handicapped-accessible). Cabins are normally rented by the week in summer; and a two-night minimum in spring and fall.

Carolina Beach State Park: 83 family-friendly sites in a wooded area, including nine RV-friendly sites with full hookups and two wheelchair-accessible tent sites. Campground has flush toilets, drinking water, hot showers, dump station, picnic tables and grills. Four two-room cabins sleep up to six and have heat/ac, electric outlets, picnic tables and fire pits. Two group sites accessible by trail, one for up to 20 people, one for up to 35 people, which include pit toilets, fire circles and picnic tables.

Goose Creek State Park: 12 primitive tent sites with toilets and drinking water nearby, picnic tables and grills. One walk-in group site for up to 30 people (parking is nearby). Tables, grills, lantern hooks, toilets and water are nearby. 

Mount Mitchell State Park: Nine tent-only sites: flush toilets during warm seasons, pit toilets, picnic tables and grills. No running water in winter. Trail access to camping in Pisgah National Forest’s Black Mountain backcountry. You can leave your vehicle at the park but must register it with the ranger’s station first.

Learn more about camping at North Carolina’s state parks here

What is the best time of year to go camping in North Carolina?

Spring, summer, and fall are by far the most popular times to go camping in North Carolina, but plenty of winter camping is available for those willing to brave it. Be sure to check out our Guide to Winter Camping for Beginners if you’re not sure how to pack for a winter camping trip.

What to Pack for Camping in North Carolina

Speaking of packing, your packing list will look different depending on whether you’re tent camping, RVing or glamping in North Carolina. Either way, here are some essentials you’ll need.

North Carolina Camping Essentials

  • Sun protection: Sunscreen, hat, sunglasses and light, breathable clothing are essential. Bring all these things even if the forecast shows cooler weather.
  • Insect repellent/bug spray: Yes, there are mosquitos in North Carolina. Bringing some bug spray and maybe some citronella items for your campsite is always a good idea.
  • Water bottles: Most campsites and parks offer a drinking water supply, but you should bring appropriate containers for carrying lots of water with you at all times. Don’t underestimate the risk of dehydration whenever you’re outdoors in North Carolina, especially if you’ll be venturing off the beaten path or going for long hikes.
  • First-aid kit: This is always essential for tent camping, RVing or glamping in North Carolina. We recommend bringing a mini first-aid kit for your day pack, too. 
  • Binoculars for wildlife spotting and a camera for capturing all the gorgeous scenery.

Camping Gear
Tent campers, of course, need to bring all the typical camping gear, including a tent, climate-appropriate sleeping bag, sleeping pad, camp stove and backpack. Backpackers will prefer a minimalist approach, but don’t forget to carry plenty of drinking water. 

If you’re car camping, RVing or glamping, some additional items worth bringing on a camping trip in North Carolina include camp chairs, a hammock, a shade canopy and some recreational equipment. You can adjust your list based on the amenities offered at your particular campsite, too. 

Ready for Camping in North Carolina?

If you’ve read this far, you definitely are. The only thing left is to book your North Carolina camping trip on BookOutdoors. Did you know we never charge booking fees, and include weather protection on every eligible booking? Plus, the more you camp, the more points you can collect to unlock amazing rewards!

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