UPDATED NOV 21, 2019
Tired of the urban hustle and want to slow things down for a weekend? Grab your tent and hiking boots, and head to one of these camping destinations within driving distance of Charlotte’s Center City!
Known for its incredibly challenging hikes and endurance races, Mount Mitchell State Park is a favorite amongst outdoor enthusiasts and endurance junkies alike. Featuring a spruce-fir forest, Insta-worthy views, and plenty of history, these grounds are for the experienced camper. Climb up to 6,684 feet of trails, and take it all in; you won’t regret it!
If you’ve ever hiked up Crowders Mountain on a Saturday, you know that Charlotteans put the crowd in Crowders. And there’s a reason we all love this place so much! Not only is there a beautiful view of the skyline at the peak, but you can also find a place to rest your head after a day of hitting the trails. These campsites are notoriously private, and a camping trip to Crowders Mountain State Park might just be the city escape you’ve been needing.
Trust us: Devils Fork State Park near Lake Jocassee is worth the two hour drive. Rent a kayak, check out one of the pristine waterfalls, or take a selfie at the Jocassee Gorges. The park is home to unbelievably clear waters and the endangered Oconee Bell Wildflower. Don’t let the name fool you — Devils Fork State Park is outdoor heaven.
Mountain views, waterfalls, and caves — Hanging Rock checks all the boxes for a unique hike! Whether you’re hiking or biking, these challenging trails aren’t for the faint of heart. You may be short of breath on the trek up, but just wait until you see the views at the summit. Once you’re worn out and ready for your sleeping roll, the park has plenty of space to stay. These campgrounds can accommodate groups of friends, families, and even your four-legged friends.
So you’re an outdoors junkie. Look no further than Nantahala National Forest, where outdoor activities reign supreme. From kayaking to zip-lining to intense whitewater rafting, there are plenty of ways to get an adrenaline rush during the day before roasting marshmallows at night. Just be sure to have cash on hand since some of the camp sites are cash only. Fun Fact: Alan Jackson’s song “Chattahoochee” refers to one of the rivers you might find yourself rafting through during your time at this park. Yeehaw!
Chances are, you’ve spent at least one summer afternoon cruising around Lake Norman, the largest manmade lake in North Carolina. But have you ever thought about camping there? With 33 campsites, this is your best bet if you’re trying to experience the great outdoors without going too far from home. Hike the 30.5 miles of trails, picnic at one of the nearby shelters, and go for a sunset cruise on a boat. Plus, there are bathrooms on site, which will be a total relief to the glampers in your group.
For those of you who think you have to trek far for phenomenal camping, think again. Often overlooked, McDowell Nature Center and Preserve is 1,132 acres of camping wonderment. Wrapped around the banks of Lake Wylie, this is the oldest preserve in Mecklenburg County that protects everything from local birds to a variety of plant life. So, bring your best hiking shoes and a pair of binoculars, and prepare to be amazed.
When it comes to camping, Kings Mountain State Park is revolutionary — literally. It’s a Revolutionary War site with miles of trails, two fishing lakes, and even equestrian facilities that appeal to more than just the history buffs. And be sure to visit the souvenir store on your way out to fully commemorate the experience!
Tucked just off of the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Linville Falls Campground is home to some of the most awe-inspiring sights in the Carolinas. There are the Linville Falls, but you can also hike up the challenging Grandfather Mountain, search for gemstones in Gem Mountain, or visit the local caverns.
What if we told you that some of the most beautiful campgrounds nearby were located a mere 90 minutes away in Roaring Gap, NC? Set up camp at one of the over 400 campsites here, enjoy fly fishing and trails, or simply contemplate the meaning of life near one of the tranquil streams. With nearly 14,000 acres of mountain terrain, trust us — there’s plenty of outdoors to enjoy.
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