7 Top Spots For Tent Camping In North Carolina This Summer

tent camping in north carolina

Summer is approaching, and you know what that means: it’s the perfect time to tent camp in North Carolina! The state is entire of natural landscapes and state parks that provide the ideal environment for camping. In this article, we’ll recommend where you can go to make the most out of the season.


Why Do People Love Summer Camping?

A lot of Americans love to go camping during the summer. There are many reasons for this. For one thing, the season is warm and steady, so you don’t need to prepare for sudden inclement weather. The days are also much longer, allowing you to spend more time outside.

It’s also the best time to go out as a family, as your kids are likely on summer break. Camping is an excellent opportunity for families to create deeper bonds with each other. There are many recreational and educational opportunities for the kids! Moreover, the whole family can escape cyberspace and get a much-needed break from technology. Plus, it’s an excellent way to relieve stress and get some exercise for the adults.


Best Places for Tent Camping in North Carolina

Where is the top spot for the best tent camping in NC? Here are our top picks for families and couples.


1. Lake James State Park

best north carolina campgrounds

Camping in North Carolina state parks is one of the best ways to spend your summer vacation. Lake James State Park has over 30 paddle-in campsites with lots of hiking and mountain biking opportunities. Families and couples can head to the camping grounds on the Long Arm Peninsula using a canoe or kayak.

These campsites are breathtaking, as they overlook Lake James from coves, making for a beautiful sunset view. Families can also paddle around the lake in the early morning hours for some morning exercise. Afterward, they can make their meals over a campfire nearby.


2. Blue Bear Mountain Camp

Blue Bear Mountain Camp is the perfect destination if you want to experience camping in the North Carolina mountains. Like most other campsites, it allows you to put up a tent or camp in an RV. There are also mini cabins for folks not keen on tent camping.

Regardless, the campsite offers ample privacy and an authentic camping experience. Both the sunrise and night sky are a sight to behold.


3. Roanoke River Platform Sites

One of the best North Carolina campgrounds is the Roanoke River Platform Sites. It offers riverside camping platforms that are linked together by the Roanoke River. Each site provides varying amenities like screened-in platforms, fire pits, and group platforms.

However, the amenities are only one part of what makes the campsite unique. It’s the view of the river that makes it all worthwhile. After all, it’s not every day you wake up right next to a river surrounded by trees and plants. Take this chance to get a unique tent camping Outer Banks experience!


4.  Cape Lookout National Seashore


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There’s no better place for beach tent camping in NC than Cape Lookout National Seashore. The place offers many rustic cabins that allow you to store your shelling, exploring, and fishing supplies. However, those who eagerly want to experience the rough tent camping in North Carolina can also pitch their tents on the National Seashore.

Doing this will allow you and your family to sleep among the grasses and dunes on the island. It’s also a great way to have a private beach nearly all to yourself, as the campgrounds offer miles and miles worth of beach.


5. French Broad Paddle Trail

The French Broad Paddle Trail is a wonderful spot for tent camping in Asheville, NC. You can paddle along one of the world’s oldest rivers and set up camp at a different site every night. Starting in Rosman, there are camping grounds every 10 miles along a 140-mile section of the river.

It’s the perfect spot to experience adventure during a short trip. Rosman’s Headwaters Outfitters can also help first-time campers get started by offering transportation to and from the French Broad River and hooking them up with the right equipment.


6. Panthertown Valley

Do you want a more traditional experience? The best NC tent campgrounds might just be Panthertown Valley. Don’t worry; there aren’t any actual panthers around the 10,000-acre wilderness. The site is inside the Nantahala National Forest and has over 30 miles of trails. There are also plenty of waterfalls everywhere you go.

It’s the best place for equestrians, backpackers, and hikers alike. There are plenty of places you can set up camp. Plus, there’s all that fresh air you can only experience in the mountains! It’s undoubtedly one of the most excellent places in North Carolina to go to with your kids.


7. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park camping

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most frequented national park in the U.S. It provides many attractions summer activities like horseback riding, historical sightseeing, fly fishing, wildlife viewing, hiking, and tent camping.

There are three main established campgrounds around the area. The Balsmam Mountain Campground offers 42 sites from May to October. However, guests must make a reservation before setting up camp. It’s the perfect spot to view the Smokies mountain ranges.

Cataloochee Campground also offers good camping opportunities with over 27 tent sites. The historic valley is open from April to October, providing a more traditional camping experience. There are working toilets and water for drinking, too. However, there is a fee and reservation required.

Finally, Smokemont Campground is open year-round. It offers over 142 tent and RV sites in the forested portion of the area. The campsite is one of the larger camping grounds. Likewise, you need a reservation to pitch a tent. They also offer fire rings, tent pads, and picnic tables. Moreover, the campsite has flush toilets, safe drinking water, and grills. If you’re out of supplies, you can head to the nearby store that sells ice and firewood.


Start Planning Today!

There are many wonderful places for tent camping in North Carolina. The state has plenty of beautiful parks and peaceful places to set up camp. It’s bound to be a wonderful experience whether you’re going with your significant other or your family!


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