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Best Dispersed Camping In North Carolina

Great Smoky Mountains Alum Cave Trail

Free Camping at Brown Mountain Dispersed Camping Area, Pisgah NF, NC

Alum Cave Trail to Mount LeConte is a 10.9 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Gatlinburg, Tennessee that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and backpacking and is best used from April until November.

The Alum cave trail starts by crossing the walker camp prong and log bridges on the alum cave creek which leads hikers through an old-growth forest. Walking through the narrow cave is the highlight of the trail. The aim is to reach a rocky outcrop known as the inspiration point 2 miles into the hike.

Length: 10.0 mi Route Type: Out and Back

Trail Highlights:

No dogs

Cabin Lake County Park Pine Hill North Carolina

Camp close to town but in a quiet, relaxing setting at Cabin Lake County Park. This public campground has RV camp sites with hookups. You also get picnic shelter rentals for family parties. And when you gather, rent pedal boats and canoe rentals for water fun on the 70-acre lake!

This park park also has great fishing, a 2.3-mile hiking trail, and a swimming area that is open from Memorial Day until Labor Day. Dont go without reservations though. This is one of the most popular RV destinations in Duplin County, North Carolina.

Best Places For Free Camping In The Southeast Usa

May 20, 2021

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When you go camping in the south, you are most likely looking for water and beaches, a place to do some fishing and take some nature hikes. So for my freebies in this post, I target some free beaches, some free parks, many with waterfalls in hiking distance. Many have excellent fishing and wildlife and some others the views arent great, but they have free hookups!

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Free North Carolina Boondocking Locations Harmon Den Dispersed Camping

AddressCold Springs Road Hot Springs, North CarolinaElevation: 2795

Management: Public Forest Service

The road in is Gravel. You may stay 14 nights at Harmon Den Dispersed Camping. Roadside camping is generally allowed beside most gravel roads. However, along Cold Springs Road in Harmon Den, roadside camping is permitted only at sites with a camping symbol.

Free Camping In Western North Carolina

Best dispersed camping in Uwharrie National Forest

Much of the free camping to be found within the broad sweep of western North Carolina can be found in the Nantahala National Forest areaa sprawling, stunning woodland encompassing more than 500,000 acres, making it the largest of North Carolinas four national forests! Within this landmark locations gorgeous acreage, youll find many dispersed campgrounds in particular, which are primitive set in designated locationsand best of all, most of them are free!

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Visiting The Newfound Gap

These low points in the mountain ranges are also known as notches or passes. The Newfound Gap is the lowest drivable notch in the pack and sits at 5000 feet. Visitors driving along this route seem to be always impressed by the beautiful mountain views. It also boasts quality facilities and easy access to trailheads making it one of the most revered trails in the The Great Smoky Mountains.

Benefits Of Free Camping

There are a lot of pros when it comes to free camping. Some are obvious , but there are a few unexpected benefits as well.

Its free! Obviously, the big draw is the cost. If youre planning on camping or traveling for an extended period of time, getting good at finding free camping is one of the best ways to bring down your trips overall expenses.

Flexibility. It is nice to not be tied down to a specific campground. If youre exploring or passing through an area with a lot of free dispersed camping it is nice to decide where you want to camp at the end of the day.

Last Minute Trips. Decide you want to go camping on Friday morning before a long weekend? Most established campgrounds will be booked solid months ahead of time. But when you go looking for free dispersed camping, you can almost always find a spot.

Seclusion and solitude. In most established pay campgrounds, youre packed in like sardines in a tin. You can hear the guy snoring two sites down from you. Free dispersed camping is often in more remote areas, which offers a true sense of peace and calm.

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Great Smoky Mountain National Park Camping & Gatlinburg Cabins

Cabins around Nashville are awesome if you want to stay close to the city. But are you looking for something different in a cabin for rent in Tennessee? A little bit farther away from Nashville than Percy Priest Lake, but more than worth the visit, lies Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Here, on the border between Tennessee and North Carolina, the Smoky Mountains are one of our favorite Tennessee attractions and is definitely one of the best places to visit in Tennessee. About four hours outside of Nashville, the Smoky Mountains are home to some pretty awesome Tennessee cabin rentals. These Smoky Mountain cabin rentals Nashville, TN offers will have you wondering why you have never visited before!

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How Many Campgrounds Are Along The Blue Ridge Parkway

Pisgah national forest -best dispersed camping

The Blue Ridge Parkway has eight campgrounds that are open seasonally for tent campers and RVers. The specific opening and closing dates are listed annually on the National Park Services website. All of the parkways campgrounds offer restrooms, drinking water, picnic tables and grills, but they do not have full hookups and only two of them have showers. Five of the parkways eight campgrounds are in North Carolina:

  • Doughton Park Campground 239.2
  • Mount Pisgah Campground 408.8

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National Forests And Grasslands

Typically you are allowed to camp for free in US National Forests & Grasslands unless otherwise marked. Each national forest has slightly different rules, so check ahead of time, but generally speaking, you are allowed to camp anywhere outside established recreation areas and developed campgrounds.

Who Its Good For: Tent & car camping, Vans, Trailers, and RVs.

What Its Like: You have a lot of options when camping in a National Forest. You can find a nice pullover, backpack into the woods to set up camp, or find an attractive spot along a forest service road.

However, youll need to be self-sufficient, as there will likely be zero amenities. No picnic table, trash, or restrooms. In some places, you are allowed to have a fire if you obtain a fire permit and there are no fire restrictions in place .

How to Find It: National Forests are well marked on Google maps, but you can use the National Forest Map Locator or search state by state to find information about the specific jurisdiction you are looking to camp in. Again, the rules are different depending on the area, so check ahead.


  • Camping must be done outside of developed campgrounds.
  • Usually a 14 day limit, sometimes more.
  • No amenities picnic table, trash, or restrooms. Practice Leave No Trace.
  • Set up camp 200 feet away from any stream or water source.

** This information does not apply in National Parksbut many National Parks are bordered by National Forests!

Camp Hatteras Rv Resort And Campground

Located on Hatteras Island and surrounded by the ocean on the east and the Pamlico Sound on the west to say the views here were gorgeous and unforgettable would be an understatement.

There are some really cool lighthouses as well as the Wright Brothers Memorial located on the Island plus the swimming opportunities are incredible with the ocean, the lagoon, and the three pools and hot tub.

Camp Hatteras RV Resort and Campground Amenities

  • Ocean Camping
  • Clubhouse
  • Guardhouse and Security

Camp Hatteras RV Resort and Campground is beautiful and lots of fun. There are planned activities during the summer and it is the perfect place for families and friends.

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Rules Of Thumb For Dispersed Camping

Some general rules of thumb to help guide your search:

  • Sleeping/camping at trailheads is generally not allowed.
  • Dispersed camping is generally free. The cost is usually minimal if there is one, and much cheaper than established car campgrounds.
  • Your best bet will be National Forest areas. Some state-managed properties may have some dispersed camping areas available. Start out by looking at an atlas. Find a big swath of green and narrow it down from there!
  • Things change. Areas that may have once allowed dispersed camping can be closed, inaccessible due to road conditions, etc. Always call or stop into a local ranger station to get the most accurate information.
  • The internet is your friend to a point . Websites like and Allstays are HUGE when looking for dispersed camping . People will generally leave reviews that will give some detail and information about what kind of vehicle is needed to access the roads, etc. Just be sure to verify before setting up camp for the night! You dont want to be stuck in an illegal spot or just plain stuck on a road not meant for Escape van travel.
  • There are TONS of free sites that you can backpack in to. If you are carrying the equipment for that, you can park the van at a trailhead for the night and hike in.
  • Ready to hit the road? Here are a few ideas to get you started in your quest for free East Coast camping!

    Free North Carolina Boondocking On The Beaches

    Free Dispersed Camping in Cherokee National Forest near Asheville ...

    Camping in North Carolina at one of the states many beaches is a terrific way to experience the sun and sand without the cost of a vacation rental, which is fortunate for people who enjoy sleeping under the stars. There are dozens of governmental and private campgrounds to select from throughout the coasts 300 miles.

    Outer Banks camping is ideal for vacationers who enjoy the great outdoors and a spirit of adventure. Campers can pick how much roughing it their Outer Banks camping experience entails, from big camping facilities with community pools and tennis courts to rugged beachside campsites with sea oats and sand.

    From the Currituck County mainland to the relatively unknown Portsmouth Island south of Ocracoke, the Outer Banks has campgrounds and campsites. As a result, visitors can choose to stay on the beach, amid the sand dunes, in the Outer Banks abundant marine forests, or right in the middle of the excitement and attractions.

    Clearly, the Outer Banks is the best place to go if you want to get back to nature, and campers will find plenty of places to park their RVs or stake up their tents and soak in the breathtaking view.

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    Great Smoky Mountains Roaring Fork Trail

    Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is a 6.7 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located in the Great Smoky Mountains near Gatlinburg, Tennessee that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for bird watching and scenic driving and is best used from May until November.

    This trail is a narrow and winding trail that invites visitors to enjoy the historic buildings and forest that make the area quite the scenic drive it is revered for. This one-way road is is popular with many people visiting the park. It is awash with mountain streams and scenes of old forests. It is closed during winter due to extreme weather conditions. The Noah bud ogle self-guiding nature trail is a walking tour of the authentic mountain farmstead and surrounding forest located just before entering the roaring fork trail. To hike this steep and strenuous trail one needs hiking gear with plenty of water to keep hydrated.

    Length: 6.7 mi Route Type: Point to Point

    Trail Highlights:

    No dogs

    Seven Points Campground East Nashville

    Who goes camping in a crowded, urban RV park? If you want a more primitive RV camping experience then choose Seven Points Campground.

    Though it lacks modern amenities, it offers more budget friendly campsites.

    Its beach access and boat ramps give you access to all your favorite water sports, including fishing, boating, and swimming.

    When you start to prune you can take the short drive over to Downtown Nashville.

    Seven Points Campground is the perfect combination between primitive seclusion and modern comforts!

    Basic Amenities:

    • Number of RV Sites: 58
    • Full Hookups: Yes

    How to make a reservation?

    Call 615-889-5198 or check availability HERE.

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    Free North Carolina Dispersed Camping Locations Fires Creek Dispersed Camping


    Elevation: 2277

    Management: Public Forest Service

    The road in is Dirt. Avery Creek Roadside Camping is open year round, weather permitted. There are 6-15 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is 25 feet. You may stay 14 days at Avery Creek Roadside Camping. Free campsites along Avery Creek, just north of Davidson River. Being close to a paved road, these campsites are very popular. Small rigs only as the parking is just pullouts along the road. The campsites are blocked by boulders. Campsite eleven is high up on a steep mountain but its totally worth it, if thats your bag.

    Campgrounds In North Carolina: Uwharrie National Forest

    Free Camping in North Carolina at Old NC 105, Pisgah NF, NC

    The Uwharrie National Forest of North Carolina is particularly well known for being a destination for off-roading, dirt biking, and ATVs. The forest is home to clearly marked trails for ATVs and other off-roading vehicles, however, there are also miles of mountain biking and hiking trails as well. Visitors can bring their horse along too, but its important to be careful as some of the ATV and equestrian trails overlap. As for camping, the Arrowhead Campground in the Uwharrie National Forest offers around fifty campsites, more than thirty of which include RV hookups for electricity.

    Uwharrie National Forest, Phone: 910-576-6391

    You are reading 25 Best Campgrounds in NCBack to Top or Amazing things to do around me & More pictures of fun cheap vacation spots

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    Long Point Boat Launch

    Located at the end of a lovely, scenic drive through pine forests to the coast, this primitive lakeside camping site offers no amenities but has fantastic access to the water for fishing and boating from the shallow boat launch. There is camping and fishing available all year round, and this location sees light use on average, making it an absolutely fantastic place for a waterfront getaway. RVs and tents are both welcomed, and campers are encouraged to bring a canoe or kayak to enjoy the fun of the water as well as the beauty of the land!

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    One of the great things about renting an Escape campervan is the ability to go anywhere. There are tons of opportunities for free camping out west, with large tracts of undeveloped national forest and Bureau of Land Management lands that you can just drive onto and set up a peaceful, secluded, and FREE camp. Dispersed camping on the east coast is less abundant, but still exists!

    The Eastern United States is full of beautiful and rugged places, with many opportunities for free camping if you know where to look. Free camping may not be quite as spontaneous and easy to find on the east coast, but with a little research and advance planning, youll find plenty of places to set up camp. I highly recommend using the website and Allstays as a guide. And of course, always check with local rangers to determine the accessibility and availability of sites. They are a wealth of knowledge about their areas its their job!

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    Best North Carolina Rv Campsites And Resorts

    If you want a beautiful and beachy vacation experience, the best North Carolina RV campsites and resorts have got you covered. I have compiled a list of eleven awesome RV camping spots in the state. Whoever you camp with, now everyone can enjoy a little slice of Carolina heaven.

    The RV campsites and resorts on this list will not only blow your mind, but will make you itchy for a great American road trip.

    Brown Mountain Ohv Entrance Road

    Best dispersed camping near Greenville, South Carolina

    This spot is another gem found in Pisgah National Forest. It is completely free and has approximately seven campsites .

    Amenities include grills, picnic tables, restrooms, and fire rings.

    According to a camper on, the nearby stream is stocked with trout making it another amazing find for avid fishermen .

    Didnt find any sites that match perfectly with your plans? There are SO many more.

    Check out the resources we covered above, or go to the USDAs list of dispersed camping sites.

    • Location: Morgantown, NC
    • Coordinates: 35.88994, -81.7369
    • Elevation: 1109

    Have you ever traveled through North Carolina? What were your favorite places to stay? Tell us about your travels in the comments below!

    Last Updated on by Aaron Richardson

    Aaron and his wife Evelyn have lived on the road since 2017, traveling the country in their Keystone Fuzion. Theyve sought adventure together for 5 years now and have done a lot of international traveling, including RVing in Mexico. Aaron is the co-founder of RVing Know How, where he shares their experiences and RV-related tips to make life better for other RV owners. If youre looking for Aaron, chances are youll find him either pedaling the backroads or hiking to sunset spots.

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