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NC Coastal Campgrounds: Camping at North Carolina

Apr 22, 2024

North Carolina has many of options for beach camping, whether you're looking for sand dunes and seagrass on the Atlantic Ocean or a lakefront surrounded by gorgeous mountains close to Asheville.

Higher land in the mountains of western North Carolina is best visited in the summer when there are plenty of campgrounds and numerous rivers and lakes for boating, kayaking, swimming, and fishing. Definitely, this will be a great way to relax.

The North Carolina coast is a serene, temperate haven in the spring and fall. It has an almost limitless supply of beach camping and campsites in and around coastal state parks, on barrier islands (some of which are home to wild horses), and further inland on the Pamlico Sound's tidal waterways.

NC Coastal Campgrounds

Many beach campsites and RV parks (many with full hookups, grills, and WIFI) can be found along the Outer Banks, from Wilmington's Carolina Beach State Park to Hammocks Beach State Park, Cape Lookout, and Topsail Beach and all the way up to the barrier islands and North Carolina beaches of Ocracoke Island and Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

You may even set up a tent out on the beach at Freeman Park on Carolina Beach. When beach camping in North Carolina, there are plenty of outfitters available to provide you with tours, activities, and rentals for everything you need in the water.

Campgrounds on North Carolina’s Coast

Are you trying to find a campground along the North Carolina coast? Camping is a terrific way to enjoy the coastal side of North Carolina, however the mountains in the region are more recognized for their camping alternatives.

The coast of North Carolina has campgrounds for every kind of camping experience, whether you're looking for a rustic setting or the amenities of an RV park.

I adore going camping on the coast during the summer because I live in North Carolina. I've compiled this list of seaside campgrounds so you can explore instead of researching.

Are you prepared to choose your campground? These are some fantastic campsites on the coast of North Carolina. 

1. Outer Banks West / Currituck Sound KOA Holiday

Situated on a peninsula on the Currituck Sound, the Outer Banks West / Currituck Sound KOA Holiday is in northeastern North Carolina.

Tents and RVs up to 65 feet long can be accommodated at this franchise. There are campsites with views of the water and campsites right on the waterfront.

There's no shortage of entertainment at this all-inclusive resort, on or off the water.

With the resort's half-mile of private beach, fishing piers, picnic table, swimming pier, boat ramp, and boat rentals, campers may enjoy the Currituck Sound.

READ ALSO: Summer Camping at River Road Campgrounds

2. Cape Lookout National Seashore

Cape Lookout National Seashore

There are 56 miles of scattered beach camping available along the Atlantic coast at Cape Lookout National Seashore. And best of all, it's free to camp.

You may be able to use showers and flush toilets depending on where you are, but trash cans are not available. Camping directly on the sandy shores of the Atlantic is the best way to appreciate it.

Just a short distance away are swimming, clamming, kayaking, and fishing. Climb the Cape Lookout Lighthouse or take in a magnificent coastal sunset.

Try your hand at windsurfing or float the waves using one of the boat ramps. One of the most picturesque spots to sleep and play on the Atlantic is the Cape Lookout National Seashore. 

3. Camp Hatteras Campground

Camp Hatteras Campground

In Rodanthe, North Carolina, on the Outer Banks, sits Camp Hatteras RV Resort & Campground. There are almost 400 fully equipped campsites at this enormous RV complex.

Since the campground's land spans the entire distance between the Pamlico Sound and the Atlantic Ocean, campsites facing the sound and the ocean are both accessible.

Although they are somewhat expensive for tent camping, Camp Hatteras RV Resort & Campground also provides campsites for tents.

This RV campground lives up to its name, providing plenty of amenities to amuse the whole family.

The campsite has several swimming areas, a marina where water sports may be rented, planned events, and a number of courts where basketball and pickleball can be played.

4. Goose Creek State Park Campground

Goose Creek State Park Campground

On the Pamlico River, Goose Creek State Park is located 45 minutes southeast of Greenville, North Carolina. This riverbank park protects coastal marshes in North Carolina.

The campground in the park is divided into two sections. There's a tent area with basic campsites spaced out nicely. There is another group of campsites with full connections for RVs and trailers.

There is a riverfront beach and a boat ramp at Goose Creek State Park. Here, swimming pool, fishing, and canoeing are all very popular pastimes.

READ ALSO: Crescent City Campgrounds

5. Hammocks Beach State Park Campground

Hammocks Beach State Park Campground

Check out Hammocks Beach State Park if you're looking for a more adventurous camping experience than just driving a car. Located on Bear Island in North Carolina's Crystal Coast lies the campground at Hammocks Beach State Park.

It is not possible to drive up to this campground. To get to their campsite, campers have two options: either paddle to the island or ride the park ferry and stroll for up to a mile.

Campers will be rewarded for their extra effort with a beautiful, quiet beach free from commercial influences while they sleep.

There are 17 tent campsites on the island, including 3 group spots. Most of the campsites are set out in a line along the island's oceanside.

Campers can take pleasure in swimming and relaxing on a sandy beach beside the stunningly blue Atlantic Ocean.

6. Ocracoke Campground

Ocracoke Campground

Located east of Ocracoke on the seashore of Cape Hatteras National Seashore lies the Ocracoke Campground. Campsites up to 40 feet in length are available for tents and RVs with reservations.

Showers, flush toilets, a fire ring, and a dump station are provided, but full hook-ups are not. Bring extra-long tent stakes because the campgrounds are on sandy terrain.

With the beach just a short distance away, you have unrivaled access to some of the most amazing coastal views.

Make sandcastles, go surfing, or climb the Ocracoke Lighthouse throughout the day. The vistas of Pamlico Sound and its coastal wildlife are beautiful from the Hammock Hills Nature Trail.

One of the most iconic locations for fantastic beach camping in North Carolina is the Ocracoke Campground. Take note of this one.

READ ALSO: Spook Cave Campgrounds

7. Carolina Beach State Park Campground

Carolina Beach State Park Campground

Southeast North Carolina's Carolina Beach State Park is a great place located 20 minutes south of Wilmington, North Carolina. Snow's Cut and the Cape Fear River both abut this state park.

Despite having water all around it, the campground is deep in the forest and does not have direct access to the waterfront from camp. Campers may still enjoy a ton of water-based activities in and around the park, though.

The broad Cape Fear River and the Intracoastal Waterway are accessible from Carolina Beach State Park's boat launch and marina. For those without a boat, rentals are offered for kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards.

The well-known Carolina Beach is just a 5-minute drive from the campground at Carolina Beach State Park, which is located outside the park.

Carolina Beach State Park is able to handle all types of camping. All sizes of RVs, trailers, and tents are welcome.

While the majority of campsites lack complete hookups, a small number do. It is possible to book a campsite up to six months in advance.

8. Carolina Beach Campground

Carolina Beach Campground

Located in Carolina Beach State Park, to the east of Carolina Beach, lies the Carolina Beach Campground.

You have plenty of opportunities for fishing and water sports because the campground is close to the Atlantic, the Cape Fear River, and Snow's Cut Waterway.

They rent out cabins, RVs, and tent spots that can be reserved. Hookups, fire rings, flush toilets, and showers are among the facilities.

Hike any of the other eight paths or take the Snow's Cut Trail from the campground for lovely views of the river.

You are free to go bird watching, swim in the river, hire a kayak, or catch your meal. Several land and sea activities are conveniently close to the Carolina Beach Campground. 

9. Cape Point Campground

Cape Point Campground

At the east end of Hatteras Island, in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the largest campground is called Cape Point Campground. RV and tent campsites are available at the park, with same-day reservations.

Showers, flush toilets, and fire rings are present, but there are no hookups. To see the splendors of the Atlantic Ocean, take a short stroll down to Cape Hatteras Beach.

It is a well-liked location with adequate number of facilities for fishing and surfing. Alternatively, hike to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse via the Buxton Woods Trail. The Buxton Woods Coastal Reserve, where you may explore the verdant forest, is close to the campground.

Look out for animals, including seabirds. The campground at Cape Point is a tranquil place to take in the many natural settings.

READ ALSO: Most Visited Hayward WI Campgrounds

10. OBX Campground

OBX Campground

In Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, towards the Outer Banks, is the appropriately titled OBX Campground. For those looking for a peaceful RV park, this is the perfect place to camp.

Situated on an island to the west of the main barrier island lies the OBX Campground. Campers can easily enjoy all the activities of the Outer Banks during the day and retreat to a less crowded area at night from this position.

Furthermore, the campsite lacks some of the entertainment options that some other RV parks may find noisy. There is a playground on the property, but there isn't much more entertainment.

There are 56 roomy campsites at OBX Campground. Campers are welcome to stay for one night or for a week. Camping in a tent is not permitted here. 

11. Oyster Point Campground

Oyster Point Campground

Situated on the Newport River, Oyster Point Campground is situated on the southeast border of Croatan National Forest.

Both tents and trailers are welcome at this little park. There are lots of interesting things to do along the shore both inside and outside of the campground.

A boat launch is available at Oyster Point Campground for kayaks and canoes to access the expansive Newport River.

It should be noted that vehicles cannot access the boat launch, therefore you will either need to carry your boat or use a cart. Here, fishing is another well-liked pastime.

Once again on land, Oyster Point Campground is located at the Neusiok Trail's trailhead. Hikers can explore coastal ecosystems such as cypress swamps, bogs, and groves of loblolly pines along the 42-mile round-trip trail.

Oyster Point Campground is conveniently close to Atlantic Beach—just a 30-minute drive away—for campers who would like to spend a day at the beach.

12. Frisco Campground – Cape Hatteras

Frisco Campground – Cape Hatteras

There are several campgrounds in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, including Frisco campground. It is nicely situated on the southern Outer Banks on Hatteras Island.

The convenience of Frisco Campground's beach access is a big benefit. Situated amidst sand dunes, the campgrounds offer direct access to the seaside via a public boardwalk.

Similar to Oregon Inlet Campground, Frisco Campground accepts RVs up to 40 feet in length in addition to tents. Nevertheless, Frisco Campground does not provide electric hookups for its campsites.

Frisco Campground is subject to the same fire regulations as other campgrounds. Although campers are not permitted to light campfires within the campground, they are permitted to have them on the beach in several villages by downloading a beach fire permission.

READ ALSO: Best Campgrounds on the River

13. Oregon Inlet Campground

Oregon Inlet Campground

Bodie Island is home to the Oregon Inlet Campground. Of the four campgrounds in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, this one is the furthest north.

For campers seeking the peace and quiet of a beautiful beach, this National Park Service-managed campground is a great option. Unlike the more popular beaches in the Outer Banks, this one is not developed.

Oregon Inlet Campground welcomes both tents and RVs. The majority of campsites have electric hookups, about 50%.

Although they are not permitted within the campground, campers in several villages may enjoy campfires on the beach by downloading a beach fire permit.

To ensure the safety of beachgoers and the environment, make sure you abide by the rules specified on the permit.

There's no shortage of activities close to Oregon Inlet Campground. The Bodie Island Lighthouse and car-free Coquina Beach are all five minutes' drive north of the campground.

The Oregon Inlet, to the south, offers excellent fishing. It is possible to book a campsite up to six months in advance. 

14. Kitty Hawk RV Park

Kitty Hawk RV Park

The community of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, is home to the Kitty Hawk RV Park. The biggest benefit of staying at Kitty Hawk RV Park is that it's close to all the great things to do in this coastal town.

The beach is right across the highway from this RV park. For those who enjoy the outdoors, the Kitty Hawk Woods Reserve is just a short drive away. There are also lots of eateries and businesses in the area.

Kitty Hawk RV Park does not have an abundance of entertainment options, such as games and scheduled activities, as many other RV parks have.

But, campers won't even miss those frills because there are many of activities close by and easy access to the beach.

At Kitty Hawk RV Park, every campsite has complete hookups. You can hire a site for a single night or for a whole month. Camping in a tent is not permitted here.

Best Way to Enjoy the Atlantic Coast

The greatest way to experience North Carolina's iconic lighthouses and Atlantic coast is to go beach camping. The beauty never stops, extending from the Tidewater to the Outer Banks.

For those who enjoy the beach and the great outdoors with an entire family, it's a haven by the sea. You may enjoy some of the most immaculate beaches on the east coast up close and personal in North Carolina.

Enjoying activities such as windsurfing, hiking, or clamming, the beaches along the Atlantic coast will leave you feeling refreshed. If you want to explore the Atlantic and beyond, our beach camping is the best in North Carolina.

Advice for Camping Along the Crystal Coast

There are no on-site grocery stores and few services available to campers in the Cape Lookout National Seashore or the Croatan National Forest. Therefore, campers in these areas should pack a lot of provisions.

A lot of campgrounds can fill up months in advance, particularly the cabins inside the Cape Lookout National Seashore. Therefore, campers ought to secure a site as soon as feasible.

Tent campers need bug repellent and mosquito netting, specifically during the spring, summer, as well as  fall seasons. The Crystal Coast might have a lot of mosquitoes, especially in remote campgrounds.

Many privately owned campgrounds along the Crystal Coast may have year-round RV sites available. If you wish to stay for a longer vacation, let them know in advance.

A number of campgrounds—especially those located inside the Croatan National Forest—do not accept reservations made in advance. In order to guarantee a site, campers should arrive as early as possible.

Bottom Line

Camping is an excellent way to see the Crystal Coast because the untamed scenery is ideal for those who enjoy being outside.

This distinctive coastal area offers accommodations for all types of campers, from luxurious oceanfront resorts with the entire bells and whistles to rustic “campgrounds” spread across more than 50 miles of deserted island shoreline.

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