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Free Tent Camping In North Carolina

Jones Lake State Park

Free Camping in North Carolina at the Basin Creek Camping Area

Geology lovers will find Jones Lake State Park in Elizabethtown a fascinating place to explore. Jones Lake is a prime example of a geological phenomenon scientists call Carolina bays elliptical depressions in the earth that span the Atlantic Seaboard. These bays arent connected to the sea or to rivers, and only a few hold water. In addition to being a geological mystery, the park is a favorite spot for hiking, swimming, fishing and camping. The 20 family campsites here include a picnic table and grill, with drinking water, restrooms and showers nearby.

Campgrounds In North Carolina: Croatan National Forest

Set on the Atlantic coast of North Carolina, the Croatan National Forest is a U.S. National Forest administered by the United States Forest Service and one of four National Forests in North Carolina. The only real coastal forest on the East Coast, the 160,000-acre forest is bordered by tidal rivers on three sides and the Bogue Sound and is home to a diverse range of ecosystems, including saltwater estuaries, pine forests, marshes and raised swamps called pocosins. The water provides a variety of recreation such as kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and boating and attracts an array of wildlife from alligators and osprey to black bears and turkeys. The forest has several day-use areas and campgrounds that offer primitive campsites equipped with tent pads, picnic tables, campfire rings and firepits, and modern restrooms with showers and flush toilets.

Havelock, NC 28532, Phone: 252-638-5628

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Campgrounds In Nc: New River State Park

Located near West Jefferson in Ashe County, New River State Park is a 3,318-acre state park in the protected New River watershed. One of the oldest rivers in the United States, the New Rivers placid, slow-flowing waters wind through picturesque farmlands, rugged hillsides, and grassy flowering meadows and offers year-round recreation, including fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and swimming, while land-based activities in and around the park include hiking, picnicking and camping. Designated a National Scenic River in 1976, this gentle river and surrounding state park have three river access areas with comfortable campsites and modern amenities.

358 New River State Park Rd, Laurel Springs, NC 28644, Phone: 336-982-2587

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Camping On The North Carolina Coast

The soft dunes and flat plains of this region are perfect for setting up camp and stargazing.

Some of North Carolinas most undeveloped places are along our beautiful coast. The soft dunes and flat plains of this region are perfect for setting up camp and stargazing. From state parks and national seashores to river platforms and RV parks, camping options abound.

Hanging Rock State Park Danbury

Bear Creek Hunt Camp

With sheer cliffs and peaks of bare rock, Hanging Rock State Park offers a combination of quiet forest and cascading waterfalls. With a breathtaking view of the Piedmont plateau, campers will find tent and trailer campgrounds and cabins for those who prefer a more glamping-type experience. Covering more than 18 miles, the hiking trails are here are worthy of a day trip to see the waterfalls and mountain views, while those who want to see the trails on a bike will find a single track with a view of the Sauratown Mountains. Ideal for a day of soaking the areas beauty, head to the 12-acre lake to cool off in the refreshing waters.

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Why Youll Love Lake Myers Rv & Camping Resort

For those who dont want to stay at one of the Charlotte campsites near the city, this is a great park that also has tons of amenities. Campers can enjoy downtime by playing some pickup basketball or horseshoes. There are lots of parks and trails in the area to explore, and a grocery store/restaurant is on-site.

Nps Campgrounds On The Parkway In North Carolina

Good to Know

Parkway Campgrounds are normally open from May October. Fees are charged on a per night basis, which includes two adults over age 18. Children accompanied by an adult camp free.

Reservations may be made for some sites in advance. As a general rule, demand is higher on weekends and holidays. Some first-come first-serve sites are offered at ALL Parkway campgrounds.

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Morrow Mountain State Park

Morrow Mountain is one of the highest peaks in the Uwharrie Mountains in central North Carolina. While they use to tower nearly 20,000 feet over sea level, the pinnacle is part of the remains of one of the oldest mountain ranges on the East Coast that have gradually eroded and worn away over time.

While the summit of Morrow Mountain is one of the focus points of the state park, boating and fishing are also available on nearby Lake Tillery , and an Olympic size swimming pool is open between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

The 106-site campground is one of the largest campgrounds at a North Carolina State Park and each site is rather spacious and equipped with a fire pit, grill and picnic table. One loop does have 22 sites with electric hookups but there are no water or sewer hookups at the campground. Morrow Mountain also has a primitive campground which is a two mile hike from the park office and has six rustic cabins available for rent.

Hanging Rock State Park

Free Camping at Dixon Field Landing, Croatan NF, NC

Hanging Rock State Park sits on the Sauratown Mountain Range, a separated eastern range often called the mountains away from the mountains because of their divide from the Blue Ridge Mountains nearby. This 9000-acre state park has peaks of more than 2500 feet, with the highest point being Moores Knob at 786 meters above sea level. You can hike to this point or one of many other interesting attractions using more than 20 miles of trails in this state park.

Hikers, bikers, and equestrians are all welcome in Hanging Rock State Park. In the summer season, boating and swimming are popular activities, while fishing is a big attraction all year round. On Dan River, you can go tubing if angling doesnt have the thrill youre after. This stone mountain state park also offers some fantastic rock climbing opportunities. Hanging Rock has some of the best camping in North Carolina for adventurers, with plenty of waterfalls to check out. We also recommend seeing the view over the Piedmont plateau, which stretches out all the way to Virginia.

This North Carolina State Park offers a well equipped but simple campground, with two loops of tent and trailer sites. Drinking water, bathrooms, and hot showers are provided, but only pit toilets are open in winter. If youre going in a group, Hanging Rock is one of the best places to camp in North Carolina. The primitive group sites offer a fantastic wilderness experience in this scenic state 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.

Lake Powhatan Recreation Area

Only 10 minutes away from the city of Asheville, Lake Powhatan offers all the recreation you need on a break from the busy city streets. The lake itself offers a swimming beach, and the French Broad River offers further fishing opportunities nearby. The Blue Ridge Parkway is also a short distance away, so dont miss out on this scenic drive if youre car camping. Bent Creek Experimental Forest is located close by, where mountain biking opportunities are unparalleled.

Lake Powhatan Campground offers wooded tent sites with picnic tables and campfire rings provided. Restrooms and hot showers are also located on-site, but no further amenities are on offer at this natural campground. With easy access to so many of North Carolinas premier natural areas, Lake Powhatan Recreation Area is an excellent choice for your next tent camping trip.

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Free Camping Near The Smoky Mountains National Park

One of the best things about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is that its surrounded by National Forests and Wildlife Management Areas on all sides so you dont need to spend a dime in order to stay the night for free.

West of the park is the Nantahala National Forest with tens of RV and tent camping sites. Many of these campsites come with amenities such as fire rings, and vault toilets. A few of the campgrounds located here cost just $20 per night and have showers, flush toilets, and electric hookups. Free campsites in the Nantahala National forest have quick access to the Appalachian Trail and are dog-friendly so you can bring your pet in areas you wouldnt be able to throughout the great smoky mountains.

East of the park youll find the Pisgah National Forest. Pisgah offers free dispersed camping, tent camping, and RV campsites. This is an excellent place to spend the night if you want to stay nearby Ashville, Tennessee or take a morning drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

In the greater surrounding area, you can find free camping in the Cherokee National Forest, the Chattahoochee National Forest, and in the Harmen Den Wildlife Management Area.

Winter Car Camping: 15 Year

Best Camping near Asheville NC

A sad thing about car camping in the high country of the Carolinas: come mid to late fall the campgrounds all go into hibernation. Well, not all of them, exactly. As part of our collaboration with the Great Outdoor Provision Co., weve come up with a list of 15 places to camp year-round 15 legal places, where you wont have to worry about the county sheriff rousting you in the middle of the night. In the uplands of South Carolina we didnt have to look hard: every state park campground we checked remains open year round we included four in our list. North Carolina is more inclined to close its campgrounds in the winter, but we did find two . Ditto the National Forest Service campgrounds . The rest are what are known as dispersed campsites, those found along certain remote gravel roads in our National Forests. Thought you had to take a break from car camping come winter? Think again.

Below are quick descriptions of the 15 campgrounds open year-round. For detailed information, click More info here.

1. Ammons Branch

Where: Pisgah National Forest along Bull Pen Road near Highlands, N.C.Latitude: 35.0135

2. Big Ivy Area, Coleman Boundary

Where: Appalachian Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest near Barnardsville, N.C.Latitude: 35.4532No. of campsites: not designatedCost: free

3. Blue Valley dispersed camping

Where: Pisgah National Forest, NC 28S 5.5 miles south of US 64 near Highlands, N.C.Latitude: 35.0024

More info here.

5. Davidson River

6. Devils Fork State Park

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Camping Near You Find A Free Campsite

Whether you just need to know where to camp nearby or you want to plan a free camping road trip, we’ve got you covered. You can simply use your smart phone’s GPS to find camping near you or even use our trip planner to plan your route from coast to coast.

Our community provides the best free camping information available. Free campgrounds can be hard to find. makes it easy. We give you a simple, map based search engine to find free and cheap camping areas. Community reviews and ratings provide you with up to date information and help you select the best camp site for your next camping trip.

This is a platform for sharing campgrounds and camp sites you have discovered. We are community driven, and while we will be adding many free camping spots, we hope that you will add some of your favorite camping places as well. By sharing camping information freely, we can all spend less time researching campgrounds, spend less money, and more time camping. If everyone contributes a few campsites, we’ll all have more places to go camping.

Please come back and let us know what you find!

We are not actively seeking Wal-Marts, truckstops or other parking lots and will not be adding very many of these. There are enough Wal-Mart and truck stop directories out there already. However, if a member of the community finds one of these locations to be useful for overnight RV parking and creates an entry, we may approve the listing.

Please come back and let us know what you find!

Campgrounds Near Me: Davidson River Campground

Nestled just inside the Pisgah National Forest and only a few miles away from the beautiful town of Brevard, Davidson River Campground is an excellent spot for a quiet getaway for the whole family. Set along the banks of the Davidson River, the campground features 144 shady campsites for both tents and RVs with water, electricity and sewerage hookups, picnic tables, tent pads, fire rings and lantern poles, and modern restrooms with hot showers and flush toilets. Several campground loops offer river access, and recreational activities include swimming, fishing, hiking, tubing, mountain biking, and wildlife watching, and firewood and ice are available on-site, as well as a dump station.

1 Davidson River Cir, Pisgah Forest, NC 28768, Phone: 828-785-5337

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What You’ll Find At Grandfather Mountain State Park

The 2,500-acre park itself is still very much undeveloped, with no buildings or visitor center. Its claim to fame is that rugged, wild feel of its backcountry strewn with streams, boulder fields, craggy outcrops and 12 miles of hiking trails, some so strenuous they require ladders and ropes. The park also includes some of the regions most iconic summits, including the 5,946-foot-high Calloway Peak.

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Each of the 13 primitive campsites is different some have tent platforms and fire rings, some are near creeks or mountain views, some do not allow open fires. None of the sites has car camping, drinking water, hookups of any kind or bathrooms.

That means carrying in all your tent and cooking gear, food and water, and packing out all your trash. It is also black bear country, so food should be stored in bear-proof containers or strung in trees. Bear cables are not available.

Ten of the sites accommodate up to six campers with a $15 fee, and three can hold seven12 campers for a $35 fee.

There is still no entry fee to enter the park or hike any of its trails. The state park is separate from the Grandfather Mountain attraction, which includes the Mile-High Swinging Bridge, an animal habitat, hiking trails and restaurant. It is run by the Stewardship Foundation, which does charge an entry fee, but there is no camping.

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Free Tent Camping In South Carolina

Free Camping Western North Carolina Nantahala National Forest

Tent camping is an enjoyable activity for families.

The State of South Carolina offers paid tent camping through state parks and commercial campgrounds, but it also has free camping on public lands. National forests and a national park here all offer free tent camping opportunities, both dispersed — without a set campground — and in primitive campgrounds. Tent camping offers a chance to unwind away from cities and noise, and the price of a free campground is hard to beat.

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