North Carolina camping can be great along the coast,
as well as up in the mountains. North Carolina campgrounds
are well kept, clean, and generally well-priced. Camping
is at its zenith during the summer, when locals head out
into the wilderness alongside tourists who flock to North
Carolina campgrounds for their beauty, as well as the
great fishing and hiking found near many of the best campsites.
Smoky Mountains have a reputation among North Carolina
camping that precedes them. The national park that rests
partly in North Carolina and partly in Tennessee makes for excellent camping in the summer and late Fall.
While there are too many campsites to name along this
70 mile stretch of the Appalachian
Trail, note that reservations are a must between the
months of May and October. To make reservations, call
the National Park Reservation Service, which is run by
the National Parks and Recreation Service. You can actually
use this service to make reservations at National Parks
throughout the United States.
Rules and regulations for North Carolina camping in the Great Smoky Mountains include sticking to set trails when you are hiking and building fires only in designated fire rings at your campsite. Camping is not allowed in the park outside of the campgrounds, and neither are fires. Travelers don't need a permit to get into the park, but they will need to pay for their campsite. Tent camping in the Great Smokey Mountains will cost between $5 and $30 per night, depending on where and when you stay. RV camping and hookups will cost a bit more, ranging in cost from $25 to $75 per night during the height of the busy season (usually July through Labor Day).
The busy season for camping in North Carolina near the coast will also last from early summer until at least Labor Day. Cape Hatteras is one of the most popular places for camping near the coast. Cape Hatteras is home to four different campsites, all of which require reservations to get a spot. The four North Carolina campgrounds here at the cape are Oregon Inlet (Nags Head), Cape Point (Buxton), Ocracoke (Ocracoke), and Frisco (Frisco).
Nags Head campground is located on the edge of the town of Nags Head, close to the northern entrance to the Cape Hatteras Park. Here, you will be close to the Cape Hatteras headquarters and a number of great hiking trails. In Buxton, Cape Point is an excellent place to camp for campers hoping for quiet ocean views. The town of Buxton itself is a sleepy town, and the campgrounds offer little, if any disturbance for travelers who want just hang out.
Okracoke is one of the most popular campgrounds in the park, and you can only camp here if you have a reservation, which can only be made over the phone through the Reservation America hotline. You can use a credit card to pay for your reservation over the phone. The Frisco campground is toward the south of the park and offers some of the best chances to see native flora and fauna undisturbed. Check-out time for all campgrounds is noon.
Costs for these campgrounds are between $20 and $23 per night for a campsite, and all four campgrounds accommodate tents, trailers and RV's, although there are no utility hookups available at any of the sites. You can get a discounted rate (50%) on these prices if you have a National Parks and Federal Recreations Lands Card. Regulations for Cape Hatteras camping include a two-vehicle limit and six-person limit per campsite. As with all North Carolina campgrounds, if you choose to do any hiking in the area, stay on the trails and don't start any fires outside your campsite's fire ring.