updated April 2023
Here are the top 7 campgrounds in the State of North Carolina for family camping in 2023. Whether you are looking for a place to bring your RV, a private tent site with running water, a primitive campground for your whole group, or a Yurt or Cabin – these campgrounds have it all! Camping with the family doesn’t have to be stressful or boring for the kids! There are many campgrounds in the state of NC that have all sorts of activities aimed to keep the whole family enjoying their vacation and experiencing quality family time together. First time tent camping with kids? Read this first.
As parents ourselves, we know what’s important for a successful family camping trip.
CLEAN BATHROOMS – so important for tent campers who rely on clean, well-maintained bathrooms and showers! Even if you have a bathroom with your RV, its essential to have nice bathrooms when you are out and about exploring the parks.
KIDS’ AREAS & ACTIVITIES. While it isn’t essential to have organized activities for children, they are nice to have as an option. In addition – playgrounds and kid-friendly hiking trails are a must.
CAMPSITE PRIVACY. No one wants to drive a couple hours from home with all their camping gear to just be crammed into a campsite practically on top of their neighbors! We know we aren’t exactly back-packing into the wilderness, but bonus points for those campsites who have a measure of privacy so you can at least pretend you are miles away from society. (Setting up a Comfortable Campsite – read here.)
With these criteria in mind, here is our suggested list of best campgrounds for families — SORTED GEOGRAPHICALLY WEST TO EAST.
- Hickory Nut Falls Family Campground – Chimney Rock, NC
- Blue Bear Mountain Camp – Todd, NC
- Stone Mountain State Park – Roaring Gap, NC
- Dan Nicholas Park – Salisbury, NC
- Hanging Rock State Park – Danbury, NC
- Jordan Lake State Recreation Area – Apex, NC
- Cape Lookout National Seashore – Harkers Island, NC
639 Main Street
Chimney Rock, NC 28720
Enjoy camping right next to the river at Hickory Nut Falls Family Campground. While tent sites aren’t super large – it’s a fun bonus being able to wake each morning to the beautiful sights and sounds of the Rocky Broad River. Chimney Rock is very close and is perfect for anyone who enjoys hiking and awe-inspiring vistas. At the end of the day, cool off with a dip in the river or relax by your campfire.
Close by is a town (you can walk in) with cute shops, coffee houses, and souvenir stands. If you are into tubing – bring good tubes (the double-lined kind) and tube from your campsite into town.
Note: Hickory Nut Falls Family Campground is open from April 1 – October 31, 2020.
Fishing (Permit needed)
Billiards & Pinball
RV or Tent Sites:
|Site features:||Full hook-up RV sites, covered tent sites, some sites on river (reservations often needed for these sites)|
|Site features||Gas log fireplace, queen-size bed, futon sofa/bed, cable TV, full kitchen, all bed and bath linens. No Pets.|
196 Blue Bear Mountain Road
Todd, NC 28684
3042 Frank Parkway
Roaring Gap, NC 28668
Stone Mountain State Park is dominated by the enormous 600 foot granite dome which looms over the surrounding areas. If you have rock-climbers in the family (or people who enjoy watching rock climbing!), the park is a big draw for climbers (park registration and permits are required).
If your family is more into hiking, they can enjoy 18 miles of trails through the park and there are also bridle trails if you are bringing horses along. Kids and adults alike will have a good chance of success fishing along the 20 miles of park streams that are designated trout waters.
For the junior rangers in your group, they’ll be able to attend all kinds of educational and interpretive programs taught by park rangers. In addition, you can walk through and visit the historic Hutchinson Homestead which features a log cabin, bar, blacksmith shop, and more! The park office has listings of other historical sites to visit for all the history buffs in the family.
|Facilities||20+ miles of park streams designated trout waters
2 accessible fishing piers with nearby accessible parking spaces at each pier
75 individual picnic sites
3 large picnic shelters (with tables, grills, water fountain & restrooms)
Rock climbing permitted in designated areas
18+ miles of hiking trails
|Site features:||Tent pad, picnic table, fire ring/grill. Drinking water & nearby bath houses. – limit 6 people per site.|
|Group campsites:||4 sites (each accommodates up to 25 people)|
|Site features:||Fire ring, grill, tables, access to water, restroom, and showers.|
|Site features:||Distance to sites is between .5 to 3 miles from trailhead. All supplies must be backpacked in. Camping by permit only. Max 6 persons per site.|
6800 Bringle Ferry Road
Salisbury, NC 28146
Dan Nicholas park has 425 acres and is located just 8 miles SE of Salisbury, NC. Families will find all kinds of fun activities to keep everyone happy and busy. A few of their main attractions are an aquarium, barnyard, water plaza, and carousel.
Lake Murtis is a 10-acre lake in Dan Nicholas Park that has fishing (bream, catfish, and small mouth bass) as well as plenty of ducks to feed. You can also rent paddle boats to explore the lake and get the best view of the bridge.
Children will enjoy the variety of Nature Center Programs which are all free to attend. Classes such as their Animal Program, Poisonous Plants/Venomous Animals, and Owl Pellets are always popular (some age restrictions apply, so make sure to check ahead with the Nature Center).
|Site features:||All sites located in the woods without sewer hookups. Pets allowed in camping sites.|
|Features:||Heat & AC, microwave, refrigerator, beds. 5 people max. Grill, table & outside water. No Pets. You must bring your own linens, kitchen utensils, dishes, pillows.|
1790 Hanging Rock Park Road
Danbury, NC 27016
If your kids like hiking and waterfalls, check out Hanging Rock State Park. With over 20 miles of hiking, mountain biking, and bridle trails, this park offers a fantastic opportunity to explore and check out the waterfalls and rock outcrops overlooking mountains and the piedmont. During the summer season swimming and boating is available on the lake, and fishing is available year-round.
Kids will also like to visit the park’s visitor center where they have a hands-on exhibit about plants and animals as well as other interactive exhibits. It’s the perfect activity if you run into foul weather!
|Facilities||Boating/Fishing (bass, sunfish, catfish)
Rowboats & canoes for rent (no private boats)
Rock climbing (by permit)
Swimming in 12-acre lake
60 picnic sites & 15 grills for picnics
Shelters for group picnics
|Site features:||Picnic table, grill, tent pad (max 6 people/2 tents). Drinking water and bath house with hot showers nearby. SOME campsites can accommodate RVs, ONE campsite is wheelchair accessible. NO hookups or dump station on site.|
|Site features:||Primitive, wilderness camping for groups of 6-16. Picnic tables, fire circle at each site. Accessible vault toilets & drinking water nearby.|
|Site features:||2 bedrooms, bathroom, living room & kitchen. 6 people max. No smoking, No pets. Kitchens have pots, pans & dinnerware. Heat & A/C, charcoal grill. You must supply bed and bath linens, blankets and pillows, paper goods (toilet paper, paper towels)|
751 Gander Gap Road
Hiawassee, GA 30546
This camping recommendation isn’t for a specific campground but rather the entire Jordan Lake State Recreation Area. There are 5 separate campground across the area with over 1,000 campsites – plenty of space for all the visitors who come to enjoy the activities and amenities of this area. Campsites range from full RV hookups to primitive tent camping and everything in between. There are swim areas, boating ramps, and over 14 miles of hiking trails (most of these are easier-type hike geared towards family hiking). Wildlife is abundant here along the shores of the 14,000 acre reservoir where visitors might spot bald eagles or osprey.
Boating (nearby are boat rentals)
Fishing (bass, crappie, catfish, pan fish)
Auditorium (accommodates up to 76 people)
Rock Climbing (permit)
|TOTAL Campsites:||1,000 (between 5 separate campgrounds at park)|
|Crosswinds Campground:||182 sites|
|Site features:||134 of the sites have water & electric hookups. All sites have: grill, picnic table, lantern holder. Showers, restrooms, trash containers and dump station are nearby|
|Parkers Creek Campground:||250 sites|
|Site features:||120 sites have water & electric hookups. All sites have picnic table, grill, and lantern holder. Showers, restrooms, trash containers, dump station located nearby.|
|Poplar Point Campground:||579 sites|
|Site features:||363 sites have water & electric hookups. All sites have picnic table, grill, lantern holder. Showers, restrooms, trash containers, dump station located nearby.|
|Backpack sites:||New Hope Overlook – 24 sites|
|Site features:||Nestled in woods, sites range from 100 yds to .5 mile from parking lot. Picnic table, grill & lantern holder at all sites. Toilets & drinking water nearby|
|Group sites:||Parkers Creek – 6 group campsites
Vista Point – 5 group campsites
|Site features:||Drinking water and showers nearby|
Group RV Camping:
|Group RV sites:||Vista Point – 50 campsites for RV groups|
|Site features:||Water & electric hookups, showers, restrooms, trash containers, and dump station nearby.|
1800 Island Road
Harkers Island, NC 28531