North Carolina is one of the best states in the country for camping. The “Tar Heel” state has a stunning diversity of environment types, from forests to scrublands to beaches. Whether you want to rough it entirely off the grid in the wilderness or go glamping near a charming small town so you can still get brunch every morning, there’s a campsite for you.
This list includes parks and campgrounds that span the range from remote to civilized, from full of physical challenges to smooth and easy, and from forest to flatland.
Best for Hiking
The western region of North Carolina is mountainous and verdant. It includes a broad stretch of the southern reaches of the Appalachian mountain range, which provides some of the best hiking in the entire United States.
Mount Mitchell State Park includes nine campsites in all. If you’re up to it, you can try and climb all the way to the top of Mount Mitchell’s 6,684-foot peak. When at base camp, make sure you have all the creature comforts to charge you up for each day’s activities. Check out the best portable power station for camping, an all-in-one system that can power your grill, keep your devices charged, and help heat your campsite.
Best for Star-gazing
The Cataloochee campground is a beautiful little spot in the Smoky Mountains. The North Carolina State Parks and Recreation agency has an interactive trail guide on its website, which includes many beautiful paths that wind in and out of Cataloochee.
This campground is perfect for star-gazing because of its vast, flat grasslands and relative height above sea level. Just make sure to hide your food lest bears come investigating.
Best for Rafting
A beautiful park located mid-coast along the Pamlico river, Goose Creek boasts a gorgeous array of wildlife. From egrets that soar over the wetlands to all the frogs, salamanders, and snakes of the marshes, this is the campsite to go to if you love animals.
But it’s an even better place to pitch your tent if you love to raft. You can haul down the whitewater if you’re a thrill seeker or take it easy on an inner tube further down when it slows.
Best for Unplanned walkabouts
The Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve is home to some of the oldest longleaf pines in the world. To spend time in this historic site is to feel nature’s power in its most potent and beautiful form.
Thehealth benefits of camping have been proved over and over, from increasing blood flow to soothing stress and activating the creative mind. Go on free-form walks through the hundreds of miles of trails in the Sandhills and feel yourself release all the stress.
North Carolina is for the adventurous at heart. There’s a perfect spot for everyone among the many campsites and state parks stretching across the state.