The Best Family Friendly Campgrounds in North Carolina
Planning a family camping trip to North Carolina? We’ve profiled the top 7 campgrounds in NC that families of all ages will enjoy. Whether you are looking for a primitive backpack campsite or full amenity RV spot, you’ll find something perfect for your next camping trip!
Here are the top 7 campgrounds in the State of North Carolina for family camping in 2020. 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
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:
Full hook-up RV sites, covered tent sites, some sites on river (reservations often needed for these sites)
Gas log fireplace, queen-size bed, futon sofa/bed, cable TV, full kitchen, all bed and bath linens. No Pets.
Families that are looking for a campground that is private and secluded, Blue Bear Mountain Camp is the answer. Eco-friendly and remote, Blue Mountain has a limited number of campsites to maximize privacy and room to explore. Blue Bear Mountain Camp provides the perfect setting for all varieties of camping families. There are Tepee and Cabin rentals for families who don’t want to bring their own lodging, RV sites that have beautiful settings along with hook-ups, and remote and rustic tent sites for the get-back-to-nature campers.
Would your kids like to try camping in a Tepee? Would you like to try camping without ‘roughing it’? then try the Blue Bear Mountain Tepees! Each tepee has a queen size bed (that means a REAL mattress!), high quality linens, and small table with chairs. Kids can either sleep on the floor or optional rental roll-away beds are available.
Blue Bear Mountain Camp is also the home of Blue Bear Music Fest. 2020’s dates are: 10-12 September. It’s a beautiful venue with a great atmosphere and musical line up.
Bathhouses & showers
Fresh natural spring water
Pets allowed on leash
Home of Blue Bear Music Fest
Car accessible tent sites:
Rock fire ring, picnic table, grill, log bench
Hike in tent sites:
Rock fire ring, picnic table, grill, log bench.
Gear delivery for a fee. Firewood is delivered.
RV sites (Tents OK):
50A & 30A power hook up (now water or sewer), water fill up upon arrival, on-site dump station (free), picnic table, rock fire ring
Queen size bed, high quality linens, bistro table + chairs. Roll-away beds available for rent. Located near bath house and dish washing station. Grill & Picnic Table. Solar powered.
Queen bed, microwave, linens, fold-out sofa, gas grill, access to private bath house, solar powered, toilet. Stone fire ring, outdoor kitchen, some kitchen equipment.
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.
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
Tent pad, picnic table, fire ring/grill. Drinking water & nearby bath houses. – limit 6 people per site.
4 sites (each accommodates up to 25 people)
Fire ring, grill, tables, access to water, restroom, and showers.
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.
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).
All sites located in the woods without sewer hookups. Pets allowed in camping sites.
Heat & AC, microwave, refrigerator, beds. 5 people max. Grill, table & outside water. No Pets. You must bring your own linens, kitchen utensils, dishes, pillows.
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!
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
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.
Primitive, wilderness camping for groups of 6-16. Picnic tables, fire circle at each site. Accessible vault toilets & drinking water nearby.
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)
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)
1,000 (between 5 separate campgrounds at park)
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:
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:
363 sites have water & electric hookups. All sites have picnic table, grill, lantern holder. Showers, restrooms, trash containers, dump station located nearby.
New Hope Overlook – 24 sites
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
Parkers Creek – 6 group campsites
Vista Point – 5 group campsites
Drinking water and showers nearby
Group RV Camping:
Group RV sites:
Vista Point – 50 campsites for RV groups
Water & electric hookups, showers, restrooms, trash containers, and dump station nearby.
Cape Lookout National Seashore
1800 Island Road
Harkers Island, NC 28531
Website: Cape Lookout National Seashore
If you are looking for a beach camping experience, Cape Lookout National Seashore is the perfect destination. All camping within the park is primitive beach camping – there aren’t any designated campgrounds which means you can stake your tent wherever suits you provided they are 100 feet from wells, shade shelters, bulletin boards, docks or other structures. As in any primitive campsite, campers are responsible for bringing in food and fresh water. Restrooms are open seasonally.
If your family is ready to tackle primitive beach camping, you’ll have the most amazing experiences – brilliant sunsets, starry nights, swimming, fishing clamming, crabbing, campfires, and falling asleep to the sound of ocean waves.
Visitor center (exhibits, park film)
Keeper’s Quarter Museum
Light station visitor center
Light house (climb to top)
Ranger guided tours
Beach Tent sites:
Primitive camping – no designated campground
Campsites must be at least 100 ft from wells, shade shelters, bulletin boards, docks or other structures. 100 yds from any house or cabin. No trash cans on the island (LEAVE NO TRACE CAMPING). No RV hookups, no roads (sand driving)
Can only be reached by boat. Hot water heater, private bathroom w/shower, table and chairs, kitchen with propane oven (propane included), bunk beds with mattresses, charcoal grill. No linens, bedding, cookware or refrigerator included.