At times, keeping you up to speed with all the amazing outdoor attractions and just the incredible natural beauty that is accessible in North Carolina can be challenging. With so many great parks, beaches, trails, mountains, and more, it can be hard to fit all the great attractions and sights in. One area that we have not featured since you’ve settled into your new home in Rocky Mount at Belmont Lake Preserve is actually one of the most peaceful and therapeutic outdoor “getaways” of all. That area would be one of the greatest ways to connect with your gorgeous surroundings, camping. Below, we will list some of the Best Campsites in NC that can be enjoyed by all levels of experienced campers.
Now, we realize that there are some folks who when you say “camping” are thinking a bit more hardcore. Now, that’s fine, to each their own, however, our suggestions here will showcase the most primitive, to the simplest areas to camp. We will take you in this first of two posts on the Best Campsites in NC through some of the simpler sites, and those located near higher elevations and the NC mountains.
Find Your “Inner-Explorer” at the Best Campsites in NC
These days there are so many different ways and methods referred to as “camping” that early settlers or explorers from long ago may not even recognize it as the same activity. Don’t get us wrong, we are all for the modern evolution and comforts that can be had on a camping trip. However, the first two of our Best Campsites in NC will take you back to nature and connect you more with the outdoors.
Eno River State Park, Durham
Let out the true “backcountry explorer” in yourself at Eno River State Park in Durham. The classic backcountry campsites here are as close as a quarter-mile and no further than two miles from your car. This short distance from parking is especially ideal for families with young children along for the trip.
At this first of our Best Campsites in NC, we actually have three primitive sites to choose from. Two of these are at the Fews Ford Access and one at the Cole Mill Access. Regardless of which area you choose, this is the perfect, peaceful way to enjoy the natural beauty of North Carolina. Literally, unplug from the non-stop world of technology and even any electronics for the ultimate urban get-a-way and a unique slice of wilderness in the Triangle area.
Distance from BLP: 90.9 miles, 1 hour 30 minutes
Merchants Millpond State Park, Gatesville
The second entry among our Best Campsites in NC continues with our “explorer” type destinations. With the popularity of kayaking and canoeing in recent years however, Merchants Millpond State Park has seen a boost in visitors no doubt.
There are canoes for rent on site at this destination, that literally makes it feel you’ve walked back in time. Located in Gatesville on the Great Dismal Swamp, you can paddle to three canoe campsites in a 4.5 mile stretch or less. If you are a “paddler,” and like the above entry, just feel the need to get out on the water and disconnect from the hustle and bustle of every day, your canoe is waiting at Merchants Millpond
Distance from BLP: 79.7 miles, 1 hour 34 minutes
Climbing through the Cities Towards the Best Campsites in NC
From the sounds of it, camping in the mountains sounds incredible. Doesn’t it? Well, it can be amazing, but it can also be unpredictable. The uncertainty of the weather, driving challenges in getting there, can be worrisome without question. However, when we talk about the Best Campsites in NC, and more specifically, those in the mountains, luckily for you the mountains in this state are nearby its population centers and several cities in the central region of the state.
Hanging Rock State Park, Danbury
Ok, so when people think Mountains, this may not be the highest of high. However the next on our Best Campsites in NC does peak at 2,579 feet, which can certainly make for some incredible views. Likewise, whether you think it’s “high enough” or not, the park’s 12-acre lake is obviously elevated enough to give swimmers a bracing jolt, even on a hot day.
This gorgeous, elevated park has so much to offer, from rock climbing and waterfall viewing to kayaking and canoeing. All in all, the elevation adds to the natural beauty of this 73-site campground. Likewise, this is truly a great stop for groups large and small and of any camping experience level.
Distance from BLP: 182.6 miles, 3 hours
Pilot Mountain State Park, Pinnacle
Whereas Hanging Rock is the anchor of the eastern end of the Sauratown Mountain chain, at the far end to anchor the west some 25 miles away is Pilot Mountain, State Park. This is the most popular climbing destination in all of North Carolina’s Piedmont region, with routes pitched at levels that can be handled by all wanting to climb.
You truthfully get “a little bit of everything” at this member of our Best Campsites in NC. Take the challenging hike up to the 2,420 foot Big Pinnacle on the 3-mile long Grindstone Trail. Go fishing on the Yadkin River. Or hike the 6-plus miles and make your way around the base of the mountain. The views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from Pilot Mountain are truly breathtaking and really must be seen to be appreciated.
Distance from BLP: 183.7 miles, 2 hours, 48 minutes
The Best Campsites in NC: We’re Just Getting Going!
So just to get the “tens and firewood,” we made it through our first four suggestions for the Best Campsites in NC. With so many amazing sites, across the “Tar Heel State,” there is no way we could limit our picks to just four. Thus, in our next post, we will continue with the Best Campsites in NC as we will head to some iconic mountains and “back to the beach.”
For any information regarding your new home neighborhood in Rocky Mount, Belmont Lake Preserve, visit belmontlakepreserve.com.