Table Rock State Park
Image from The Dyrt camper Cody S.
If you head onto South Carolinas Highway 11 for about 50 miles southwest of Asheville, youll find this gorgeous, lush state park.
Enthusiastic walkers and hikers can head out on an adventure in the miles upon miles of woodland trails in and around this park. If you have a keen interest in American history, check out the CCC-built buildings that you can find all over this landscape.
The Table Rock State Park Campground itself has a total of 94 RV and tent camping sites, another 14 renovated cabins, as well as several well-equipped picnic shelters that are perfect for day-use and group gatherings.
The bathrooms are well-kept, the camp store is handy for almost anything you need and has free wifi and laundry services.Kasey M.
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Free Camping In North Carolina: What You Need To Know
North Carolina is a state where mountains, forests, and free camping opportunities abound. When it comes to free camping in North Carolina, there tends to be a bit of confusion about what is and what isnt legally permitted.
So, where can you camp for free in North Carolina? Can you simply walk into a forest, pitch a tent and call it a day? What about a parking lot or a wildlife management area?
Well, yes…and no. Keep reading to learn more about free camping in North Carolina!
Can I Still Camp At A State Park If I Don’t Have A Camping Reservation
Campsites are by reservation only. However, you are welcome to reserve a camp onsite at the park if there is one available. At some parks, a number of campsites are set aside for onsite registration on a first-come, first-served basis.
Please be aware that without an advance reservation, you cannot be guaranteed a site for more than one night, unless you are using a site specifically set aside for onsite registration. Each state park posts a list of sites available for onsite registration and updates the list at least once daily. The lists are posted on a campground information sign that also gives instructions on how to complete onsite reservation. Specific onsite reservation procedures may vary from park to park.
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National Forests In North Carolina
One of the biggest draws for free camping in North Carolina is the abundance of national forest land. Dispersed camping is available within designated sites. These areas are primitive in nature without bathrooms, showers, electricity, or the amenities you will find at developed campgrounds.
There are four National Forests in North Carolina, with hundreds of thousands of acres to explore and enjoy. Each has designated areas where campers can take advantage of dispersed camping.
- Pisgah National Forest. This beautiful forest is filled with high peaks, waterfalls, and over 500,000 acres to explore. Choose from locations within the Appalachian Ranger District, Grandfather Ranger District, and the Pisgah Ranger District to enjoy free camping in North Carolina.
- Croatan National Forest. This national forest is a popular location for visitors as it is the only true coastal forest on the east coast. Its bordered on three sides by water and the area includes both bogs and saltwater estuaries for campers to explore.
- Nantahala National Forest. With over 530,000 acres of forest land, this is the largest forest in NC. There are plenty of spots for free camping here within the Cheoah Ranger District, Nantahala Ranger District, and the Tusquitee Ranger District.
- Uwharrie National Forest. Primitive camping is available within this national forest. Be sure to pay attention to posted signs that indicate if camping is not allowed in the area.
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Although spring and fall are the ideal times to explore Ashevilleâs breathtaking scenery, the city and its surroundings are a year-round attraction for nature lovers and outdoor adventurers. Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains and surrounded by lush woodland where flora and fauna abound, Asheville is a destination that should be added to the bucket list for sure. While the city boasts an exciting blend of hip coffee shops, breweries, and notable restaurants, itâs the outdoor activities that make it so unique. With activities like hiking, fishing, mountain biking, and kayaking, thereâs always something fun and exciting to do around the city. Of course, to make the most of your vacation, itâs best to stay close to nature, so make sure you check out the best campgrounds in Asheville, North Carolina.
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Badin Horse Camp/the Old Horse Camp
Looking for a popular, free campsite that can accommodate both RV campers and equestrians? If so, then come and camp at the first destination for free camping in central North Carolina, Badin Horse Camp/The Old Horse Camp! This is a primitive camping spot located in an open field, specifically intended for self-contained RVs and Horse Trailers .
Great Lake Boat Launch
Another great option for boaters, the Great Lake Boat Launch is located near the water, offers fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing opportunities, and has access to restrooms and a boat ramp. High clearance vehicles are recommended due to some shifting in the terrain as hurricanes and other storms pass by, but this is a great, reclusive spot for campers who love the water to retreat into the scenery of the Croatan National Forest, fish for yellow bullhead, fliars, yellow perch, and black crappie, and enjoy time out on the water!
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Free Camping In Eastern North Carolina
Along the eastern coast of North Carolina, youll find some fantastic free camping, particularly in the boundaries of Croatan National Forestanother of the four gorgeous national forests located across the state.
In Croatans beautiful 160,000 acre spread, youll encounter pine trees, bogs, raised swamps, and moreall bordered by tidal rivers and the Bogue Sound. Resplendent with diverse wildlife and perfect for canoeing and fishing, this is a great area for water-loving campers in particular, who dont mind some primitive conditions as they soak up the best that nature has to offer!
Camping Near Asheville Nc The Best Places To Sleep Under The Stars
Home to numerous state parks and national forests, theres no better way to experience the beauty of the Blue Ridge than by camping in the NC mountains. Asheville offers an abundance of natural escapes close to the city, but to truly appreciate the areas scenic beauty, plan to spend a memorable night under the stars at any one of these campsites, all within an easy drive from the city.
Lake James State ParkCamp by the lake at one of three campgrounds located in this 3,644-acre park that straddles Burke and McDowell County. The Catawba River area, the Paddys Creek area, and the remote, boat-in campground on the Long Arm Peninsula offers a true outdoor adventure for those willing to paddle or steer their canoes, kayaks or powerboats to their own slice of heaven.
Carolina Hemlocks Recreation Area and CampgroundsLocated in the Appalachian district of the Pisgah National Forest is this campground that borders the South Toe River. Enjoy swimming, trout fishing, or tubing in the river and explore the areas many hiking paths. All of this is within a short drive of Asheville and the Mount Mitchell State Park.
Lake Powhatan Recreation AreaLocated ten minutes outside of Asheville, this campground borders the 6,000-acre Bent Creek Experimental Forest. Hike along the nearby trails or take a dip in Lake Powhatan. Enjoy the fun of camping while still having access to restrooms with hot showers and flush toilets. A few sites have full hookups.
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Grandfather Mountain State Park
Location: 9872 Highway 105 South, Banner Elk, NC 28604
Grandfather Peak State Park is home to a beautiful mountain that stands at 5,945 feet and offers hikers challenging terrain along the cliffs along with excellent views of the surrounding area. Remember that the area is known for its harsh weather, so proceed with caution.
Because of its exceptional ecological diversity, the park has been designated as a United Nations International Biosphere Reserve. And if you enjoy bird watching, this state park is home to 200 kinds of birds and will quickly become one of your favorites. It also takes you to wildlife habitats where you can observe cougars, bears, and other animals.
The park has 13 miles of hiking trails ranging from mild climbs to strenuous treks. The Grandfather Trail, for example, is a difficult trail where you have to use ropes and ladders that will offer your body a solid workout.
The park also has the countrys highest suspension footbridge, positioned above sea level, that offers 360-degree panoramic views of the mountains below. Theres a fee to use the bridge.
The state park features ADA-accessible park offices, parking, and restrooms, as well as tent sites, group tent sites, and firewood for camping. It also has more than 100 picnic tables with grills distributed throughout the area for convenient picnicking for families.
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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Rv Park And Campground In Asheville North Carolina
We also provide transport, delivery, setup, take down, and storage for all your RV solutions. We offer large, level paved lots with full 30 and 50 amp hookups.
Pull Behind & Through
We have 25 pull-through sites , big rig sites, and 65 back-in sites . Large, level paved lots with full 30 and 50 amp hookups.
Mountain Stream Rv Park
- Restroom and shower service available.
Rates on this RV Park vary depending on the amenities that youre availing of. A single night at the Mountain Stream RV Park can cost as little as $41 and as high as $60. However, you can catch a decent discount if you book a whole week. The weekly prices start at around $246 and can go as high as $360.
Activities Available for RVers
Aside from the fun of living and camping in an RV park, there are some nearby attractions. The closest attraction at just 5 miles is the Blur Ridge Parkway. This is a scenic natural resort with lots of places to explore. After that, you can relax in the Quiet Reflections Retreat.
For adventurers and rock climbers, try visiting Chimney Rock, just 45 miles from the park. It has a mesmerizing view laced with a unique acrophobic thrill
What People Say About This RV Spot
People seem to like the Mountain Stream RV Park for its connection to nature. One park resident said that they had finally found peace in this park after five and a half years of adventuring.
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Asheville Bear Creek Rv Park
Address: 81 S Bear Creek Rd, Asheville, NC 28806
About: Asheville Bear Creek RV Park has level, paved campsites including pull-through and big rig-friendly options. Sites are full hook-ups with 30 and 50 amp electricity. The campground has three restrooms, showers, two laundry facilities, a clubhouse, and a seasonal pool.
Holly Shelter Game Land
Last on our list of free camping in eastern North Carolina, Holly Shelter Game Land is a public hunting location that offers camping during specific times of the year. This terrific camping spot is located near US 17, not far from Surf City, and boasts opportunities for hiking, hunting, and wildlife viewing.
Campers can enjoy the comforts of RV camping or pitch a tent for a more rustic experience in the scenic game land as it opens for the camping season this is a great location for campers who want to enjoy the outdoors but still be close to the fringes of bustling, everyday North Carolina life!
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Black Mountain And The Swannanoa Valley
East of Asheville, the wooded peaks of the Blue RidgeMountains ripple out onto the horizon, affording endless opportunities for hiking and camping. Make a pitstop to sample the craft beer in Black Mountain, hit the trail in the Swannanoa Valley, or admire the mountaintop views at Mount Mitchell State Park. For a break from the mountains, Lake James State Park has lakeside camping, where you can swim, fish, or rent a kayak.
French Broad River Campground
- Clean and well-maintained bathhouse.
The RV rates of the French Broad River Campground are pretty much fixed at $45 per night. You can also avail of a small discount by booking a weekly stay, at just $270 per week.
Activities Available for RVers
Theres a lot to do at the French Broad River Campground. Its situated along 2,000 feet of the river, making it extremely scenic and mood uplifting. The river also opens up fishing and tubing opportunities. You can also share a campfire with your friends near the river.
Apart from that, there are also horseback riding and golfing facilities nearby. You can find some mountain biking and hiking trails nearby for those who have a knack for nature. And in the winters, bring your friends along for a skiing activity.
What People Say About This RV Spot
Most people seem to love the idea of fishing in the RV Park. One particular user said that the segregation from society and their daily grind helped uplift their mood. Another user commented that the warm river water flowing over their hands reminded them of their hometown.
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Cullasaja River Rv Park
- Nearby waterfall and hiking trails.
Since the river is the main attraction here, the Cullasaja River RV Park rates increase as you get closer to the river. The daily fee for campsites on the river is $40, while those away from the river are $35. You can also book the campsites weekly, monthly, and seasonally.
Activities Available for RVers
Vacationers and adventurers can enjoy the sheer natural beauty of this site. Its close to the Cullasaja River Gorge, which is a great site for photography and sight-seeing. Even closer to the park is the Cullasaja Falls.
For dining and catering, theres the Asian King Buffet and the Willys Bar-B-Que. You can pay a visit to the Boone Thai Restaurant for some exquisite cuisine.
What People Say About This RV Spot
It appears that the scenic beauty and captivating waterfalls of Cullasaja invite more people every year. The hospitality of the accommodation particularly enthralled adventurers. Many reviewers noted how the soothing sounds of the river would quickly put you to sleep. Others marveled at just how segregated the area is from all society.
Free Camping In Central North Carolina
Home to the famous Uwharrie National Forest, central North Carolina offers a bevy of great options for free camping in the beauty that thrives at the heart of this state! One of North Carolinas four great national forests, Uwharrie lies on 52,000 acres that include designated game lands for public hunting, trapping, and fishingand for camping! There are so many beautiful, free, dispersed campsites where you can pitch a tent, park an RV or trailer, and enjoy the splendor that is central North Carolina from any one of its best spots for free camping!
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How Much Does An Rv Camp Spot Near Asheville Nc Cost
RV camping spots can cost as low as $60. Youll usually get different rates depending on the type of hookup. 50 amp hookups will cost more than 30 amp hookups. And a full hookup can cost you up to $120.
Certain campgrounds may charge you extra for camping in key scenic areas in the facility. You may also get charged extra on the weekend and for bringing extra people along.
Curtis Creek Old Fort Nc
The campground is open year-round at the site of an old Civilian Conservation Corps camp. If you camp here, youll be treated to a night in old-growth forest surrounded by rushing streams. 25 campsites are available over three loops. Reader @chariman-cheeboppa says, We like Curtis Creek in Old Fort. Theres a campground as well as sites. The dirt road it is on actually goes up and crosses the parkway where there is more camping available.
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Rocky Knob Recreation Area
Just over the border in Virginia, youll find the Rocky Knob campground off of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Its in a rural, densely forested area just down the road from the Rocky Knob visitors center and just over an hour from Roanoke, Virginia. The Rocky Knob Recreation Area has over 4,000 acres of forest, with ample opportunities for hiking and enjoying the outdoors at this campground. There is ample picnic space and the campsites are peaceful. Nearby hikes include Black Ridge, Rockcastle Gorge, and Round Meadow Creek. There are up to 28 RV sites with rates of $20/day. There are also bathrooms and facilities for hiking and boating, as well as plenty of picnic tables where you can have a meal.
Pisgah National Forest Backcountry Camping
To minimize the impact of visitors on the local ecosystem, roadside and backcountry camping in Pisgah National Forest is limited to specific areas. But it is available in all of the different ranger districts.
This is a great option for those interested in free camping in Pisgah National Forest.
In the Appalachian district, the possibilities are limited to Big Ivy Road, Cold Springs Creek, and River Road along the French Broad River.
In the Grandfather district, only Curtis Creek is open to backcountry camping.
In the Pisgah district, there is dispersed camping available along Catheys Creek, Courthouse Creek, Wash Creek, Headwaters, Yellow Gap, and Avery Creek.
For more details, call the specific Pisgah National Forest NC district offices. by Jonathon Engels lead photo by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett
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