If you’re a camper looking for the best places for camping in the North Carolina Mountains, then stick with us! Not only are we North Carolinians and know the area very well, but we have camped our way in and around the Blue Ridge Parkway and beyond.
Camping in the North Carolina mountains should be on your list if you are an avid camper, or seeking a fabulous experience in the outdoors. With plenty of sites to choose from, you are sure to find the perfect spot for your next adventure. We’re sharing some of the best places for camping in the North Carolina mountains no matter what type of camper you are.
Types of Campers- Which one are you?
The camping world is a diverse one. So, sit back, roast a marshmallow, and let’s chat about the various characters you’ll bump into on your next camping escapade while enjoying your NC Mountains campground.
These folks pack like they’re ready for the zombie apocalypse. They’ve got the biceps and the know-how to start a fire with a pebble. They’ve read every doomsday book out there and believe society’s going to crumble any day. While they might seem a bit intimidating, cozying up to them isn’t a bad idea, just in case the world really does go haywire.
If you’re looking for a good time and only a good time, these are your camping buddies. They’ve got a cooler full of cold ones and a speaker that could double as a concert stage. You’ll often find them near a water source, floating by day and grooving by night. They might not be the quietest, but boy, do they know how to have a blast. Our thoughts? They are a little annoying, but we digress.
Family bonding at its finest! These guys show up with matching tents, board games, and enough snacks to feed a small army. They’re usually out hiking or teaching their little ones to catch their first fish. Yes, they can be a bit noisy, but their enthusiasm for the great outdoors is absolutely contagious. Gerry and I both experienced family camping as kids, so we can appreciate this type of camper.
It’s camping, but make it fancy. These campers bring all the high-end gear, from designer everything to top-tier gadgets. They’ve even got a generator for their air conditioner, a gourmet camp stove, and a posh camper trailer. It might seem a tad bougie, but it’s a way to savor nature while still enjoying the comforts of home. We’ll share with you some of these places, too, on our Camping in the North Carolina Mountains list.
These folks are the pros of the camping game. They venture out alone, armed with nothing but their backpack and their wits. You’ll often spot them in remote, hidden spots, reveling in the solitude that camping offers. They might seem a bit mysterious, but striking up a conversation around the campfire can be quite the adventure.
Hey, we’ve all been there. You’re new to the camping world but you are all about knowing what you need to do to start, we’ve got you covered with our Essential Tent Camping for Beginners to get you totally prepared for your first camping trip.
Whether you’re a seasoned camper or just dipping your toes into the camping pond, one thing’s for sure – the great outdoors is the ultimate escape from the daily grind.
No matter what kind of camper you are, or the fellow campers you cross paths with, you’re all there for one common reason: to savor the beauty of nature and everything it brings. Now, let’s get to the best camping in the North Carolina Mountains!
21 of the Best Camping in North Carolina Mountains
We have your list of the best campgrounds in the mountains of North Carolina. We’re sharing details about each camping area. Let’s take a few scenic drives through the mountain range area of North Carolina to show you what our state has to offer.
Linville Gorge Wilderness Area
If you’re on the hunt for a remote and jaw-dropping camping spot, look no further than Linville Falls Campground. This place is like a wild, rugged playground with some of the most stunning views of the Linville River.
There are a bunch of sweet campsites along the trail, but remember, the early bird gets the best spot. The hike might give your legs a workout, but let us tell you, those views are worth every step.
Be sure to visit Grandfather Mountain while you are in this area. From the parking lot, you can hike the mountains, and even visit the mile-high swinging bridge.
Davidson River Campground
Davidson River Campground is in the Pisgah National Forest. It is where it’s at for families and anyone seeking that classic camping experience. They’ve got a whopping 160 campsites to choose from. It’s right by the Davidson River, so you’ve got plenty of options for fishing, tubing, or just taking a refreshing dip.
And if you’re into hiking, there are some awesome trails nearby, so make sure to pack your trusty hiking boots.
Mount Mitchell State Park
Feeling adventurous and want to conquer the tallest peak in the eastern U.S.? Well, Mount Mitchell State Park is your ticket. But let us drop some wisdom – these campsites fill up fast, so booking ahead is a smart move. The views from the top? Mind-blowing.
And there’s no shortage of trails to explore. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife too; you might just spot black bears and elk. It’s also close to Asheville, so be sure to check out more of Yancey County while in the area.
Be sure to check out our adventure essentials to be prepared with the must-have items for your exciting experiences during your travels.
Mile High Campground
For those of you craving a back-to-basics camping adventure, this primitive campground is your place in Cherokee, NC. You’ve got options, too: from rugged primitive spots for that real back-to-basics experience to tucked-away sites for your tents, pop-ups, or even the grandest RVs with RV hookups.
Plus, they’ve got cozy bunkhouse cabins if you fancy a bit more comfort. And when nature calls, rest assured, they’ve got clean bathrooms and hot showers to freshen up.
Don’t worry about gathering firewood; they’ve got you covered. And for those forgotten essentials, swing by their handy camp store.
Nantahala National Forest
This place is like Disneyland for outdoor adventures. Folks who drop by can dive into a whole bunch of awesome outdoor activities, from getting their hearts pumping on thrilling whitewater rafting trips to kicking back with some good old camping.
We’re talking a whopping 600 miles of trails here, so whether you’re into hiking, tearing it up on mountain bikes, going for a horseback adventure, or even cruising around on off-highway vehicles, there’s something here for everyone to enjoy!
It is run by the National Park Service, so partiers, don’t get any ideas about alcohol at these campsites. Good news though! If you are looking for group sites, they offer that at the Nantahala National Forest.
Hanging Rock State Park
Now, this place, it’s got you covered with campsites and spots for your day-use adventures. You’ve got trails leading you to mesmerizing waterfalls and epic rock outcrops that give you a killer view of the mountains and the good ol’ Piedmont.
And if you’re all about exploring, they’ve got over 20 miles of hiking trails, and even horseback riding trails. Oh, and mountain bikers? You can use those trails, too! You will love the Hanging Rock State Park campground.
Julian Price Campground
This campground is along the stunning Blue Ridge Parkway in the lush, green beauty of North Carolina. Whether you’re up for a family camping adventure or just craving some peaceful downtime as a solo traveler, this place has it all.
They’ve got spots for tent camping, room for those RV campsites – basically, they’ve got you covered no matter your camping style. Boating, hiking, fishing, and more – this place is a one-stop shop for all your outdoor dreams.
Deep Creek Campground
This fun camping experience in Bryson City is the perfect backdrop to your Smoky Mountain adventure. We’re talking tents-only, popup, and RV sites, a super-sized camp store, and even tube rentals – all right by the serene Deep Creek, right on the doorstep of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
If you are making your way through the Great Smoky Mountains, be sure to plan a visit to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. There are a ton of adventures to be had there!
Crabtree Falls Campground
It’s all about that serene, quiet vibe that both campers and wildlife can’t resist. Known as the hidden gem of Blue Ridge Parkway, this is the place for wildlife viewing and you might spot coyotes and deer treading softly while barred owls serenade the night.
And here’s the real gem – Crabtree Falls, a jaw-dropping 70-foot waterfall that’s basically a superstar in the photo world, is just a stone’s throw away from the campground.
Sky Ridge Yurts
This is for all you glampers who are unique experience seekers! Located in Bryson City, high up on a mountain ridge with views that’ll absolutely steal your breath away. Here’s the deal: there are seven awesome yurts, all decked out and ready for you and your crew to embrace the Great Smoky Mountains in a way you’ve never seen before.
Warning: once you’re here, you might find it hard to say goodbye. And oh, by the way, there’s one more yurt tucked away in Mt. Pleasant, NC, just to keep things interesting!
River’s Edge Treehouse Resort
Again, you glampers are going to love this! Located in Robbinsville, NC on the Cheoah River, it’s not just a getaway. It’s a luxury escape from the daily grind. Imagine stepping right back into nature, where you can soak in the kind of views that photographers drool over.
Each moment is a blend of pure comfort and serene relaxation. It’s like a journey back to nature, and the best part? It’s dog-friendly, so your furry pals can join in on the adventure!
Hot Springs Campground
Easy access from those rejuvenating mineral baths in Hot Springs, NC is the Hot Springs Campground. It’s all about finding your peace with total ease and comfort. They’ve got you covered with eight rustic camping cabins and a ton of tent sites – whether you’re into the basics or prefer some partial hook-ups and even full hookups for the road warriors.
They also have group campsites. And don’t fret; their on-site comfort station comes with toasty hot showers during the season and squeaky clean bathrooms.
Whether you’ve just wrapped up a grueling hike on the Appalachian Trail or you’re simply passing through, you can’t afford to miss out on the charm and sheer beauty of the Hot Springs Resort & Spa. It’s a beautiful campground.
Mount Pisgah Campground
In Canton, NC, this campground is along the Blue Ridge Parkway. We’re all about giving you options here. This campground has tent and RV sites decked out with picnic tables and fire rings. It’s all set up for your perfect camping experience!
It is said that the best sunrises and sunsets are viewed from this campground. This place has the best hikes with a bunch of awesome trails.
Want a short hike? Got it! Want a more strenuous hike, they have that, too. There’s a little something for everyone, whether you’re up for a chill, moderate walk or craving some hardcore, sweat-inducing action.
Plus, this place is just dripping with history – it used to be part of George Vanderbilt’s stomping grounds, where he even had his hunting camp house. It’s like stepping back in time!
Pilot Mountain State Park
This is a really unique place! Located in Pinnacle, North Carolina, Pilot Mountain offers rock climbers the adventure of a lifetime. Pilot Mountain, is a big, fancy word for a rocky mountain made of metamorphic quartzite, soaring 2,421 feet above sea level.
It’s not your run-of-the-mill mountain; it’s like the rock star of North Carolina’s natural wonders. This bad boy is a leftover from the ancient Sauratown Mountains, like a living relic of a bygone era.
This is the best place for rock climbing for a truly one-of-a-kind experience. Stop by the Visitor Center for all the deets!
The Glamping Collective
Oh, you fancy, huh?! This is a great place just outside of Asheville, for the glamper who wants tons of instagrammable moments during their stay. Hot tub, fire table, and the perfect place for mountain views from your great spot for glamping, it’s no wonder this place was on the list of 50 Best Places to Go in 2023 by Travel + Leisure.
Another great campground in Cherokee, Smokemont Campground offers an unforgettable outdoor experience while providing campers with the modern convenience of flush toilets, drinking water, and sinks.
The campground provides campsites suitable for both tents and RVs, complete with tent pads, grills, and fire rings. For those looking for some group fun, there’s a spacious, flat grassy area perfect for activities like football, volleyball, or simply basking in the sun.
Stone Mountain State Park
In Roaring Gap, NC, parking your RV right here is like having a front-row seat to some seriously stunning scenery for a few nights. Now, aside from checking out that massive, world-famous granite dome – which is pretty mind-blowing, by the way – there’s a whole bunch of other reasons to plan an RV getaway to this neck of the woods.
Looking for a full hook-up? They have it for you!
French Broad River Paddle Trail Campsite
When it comes to the French Broad, there’s a whole lot of goodness waiting for you. You’ve got sections that are just perfect for camping, with scenery that’ll blow your mind, and waters that are just right for gaining some sweet experience.
Now, the French Broad near Brevard? It’s like this smooth, flat water paradise. And hold on to your fishing rod because it’s also known for some of the best Muskellunge fishing in North Carolina. You can also go trout fishing if that is your thing!
Tent campers- you’re in for a treat – we’re talking about a spot in the historic Cataloochee Valley, a hidden gem in Smoky Mountain National Park.
This place is like your own little secret getaway in the mountains. It’s got that remote, off-the-beaten-path vibe that lets you dive into a ton of cool activities like hiking and fishing, all without the usual hustle and bustle. And just so you know, it’s all about tent camping here, keeping it close to nature.
Lake Powhatan Recreation Area and Campground
This campground consistently makes the top lists for the best RV park. The campground is tucked away in the heart of a thick, wooded wonderland, right along the banks of the serene Lake Powhatan. It’s deep in the Appalachian Mountains.
Sitting at a cool 2,200 feet in elevation, you’re surrounded by towering peaks, lush forests, and some seriously jaw-dropping waterfalls. For families, there’s a sweet lake nearby with a sandy beach, perfect for some sun and fun.
Anglers, you’re in for a treat too – you can cast your line for trout in the lake or try your luck at the nearby French Broad River. Oh, and here’s the scoop for the summer season, from Memorial Day to Labor Day – they’ve got boat rentals ready to roll, but remember, personal watercraft is a no-go.
Don’t even try to use their boat ramp. Now, if you’re itching to explore, the forest’s got a bunch of hiking and mountain biking trails that practically start at your doorstep.
Backcountry Camping: Blue Ridge Parkway
Alright, here’s the scoop: if you’re planning to camp in those cool, primitive spots along the Blue Ridge Parkway, you’ll need to get your hands on a backcountry camping permit. It’s a must for any overnight stay. When you sign that permit, you’re basically saying, ‘I’m all in – I’ll follow the park’s rules and look out for my camping crew.’
Now, these permits work on a first-come, first-served basis, and you can grab ’em at the right campgrounds from June to October. But, if you’re thinking about camping from November to May, hit up the District Office. Just remember, these spots are hot, and they fill up fast, so booking ahead is a smart move.
The prime camping locations for your backcountry adventure? You’re looking at Rock Castle Gorge, Basin Cove, and Johns River Road,
The North Carolina Mountains offer a wide variety of campgrounds, from remote and rugged to traditional and family-friendly. North Carolina State Parks are all around so when in doubt, you can always check out Camping in NC State Parks.
Things to Consider While Camping in North Carolina Mountains
If you don’t know what kind of camper you are, well, you may want to ask the campground about some specific amenities if you need/want them. This is a good list for all camping, not just camping in the North Carolina Mountains.
- Have an RV with toilets? Ask if they have a dump station.
- If you have kids, are they a family campground?
- If you want to indulge in some adult beverages, you will want to look at private campgrounds since national parks do not allow it.
- Is the campground open year-round?
- Are there recreational activities if you are a solo traveler and need some socializing?
- On the road for a while and want some clean clothes? Ask if they have laundry facilities or if there are facilities that are a short drive or a short walk away.
- What about picnic areas? How do they handle bear prevention?
- Even if you are an experienced camper, check out our Tent Camping Checklist for all of your essentials.
Other Hot Tips for Campers, RVers, or Road Warriors
Just do yourself a favor, and if the campground offers a game room, rec room, or other indoor entertainment, just try to avoid it. The point of camping is to enjoy the outdoors.
Embrace some forest bathing. Explore the surrounding area. You may just find that you and your group become nature lovers after just one night of camping. The following day, you just may turn your cell phone off.
If you’re looking for the best, fun things, resources, or events to meet like-minded people in this arena, head over to Traveling Gatherings. It’s totally free. It’s a place where you can find the lowdown on all the cool local activities and events, connecting travelers like you in the best way possible!
Let’s Go Camping in the NC Mountains
Whether you are looking to hike to the highest peak of Western North Carolina, swim in a mountain region lake, or relax by the river, there is a camping spot for everyone. So pack your tent, grab your hiking boots, and head to the Blue Ridge mountains for your next adventure. Camping in the North Carolina Mountains is something everyone must do!
FAQs | Frequently Asked Questions
Oh, let’s get into that. When we first went primitive camping, we had no idea that we would have to get accustomed to no flush toilets, no showers, no running water, no nothing. We’re talking the bare minimum. Some places say primitive and they still have a bathhouse where you can flush and use a shower. Just ask before going if you want to know about primitive camping.
Linville Caverns – they’re not just your average caves. Nope, they’re hidden deep beneath the majestic Humpback Mountain, right in the heart of the picturesque Linville Valley. This destination is close to the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area, just up 221 so include it in your visit while in the area.
There are 4 National Forests: Croatan, Uwharrie, Pisgah, and Nantahala National Forests. The Pisgah, Nantahala, and Uwharrie are in the western part of the state, while the Croatan is on the east coast of NC.