IMAGE VIA CHRIS HOLDER | UNSPLASH
With Charlotte growing as quickly as it is, it can be impossible to keep up. And more than that, it can totally wipe you out. Who knew that keeping up with the Charlotteans could be so exhausting?
So, what do you do when you’re tired of keeping up and just want to slow things down for a weekend? You grab your tent and favorite hiking boots, of course, and head to one of these camping destinations within driving distance of Charlotte’s Center City!
Known best 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 most definitely for the experienced camper. Climb up to 6,684 feet of trails, and take it all in; you won’t regret it. Distance from Center City: 127 miles
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 need the city escape you’ve been needing. Distance from Center City: 31.6 miles
Devils Fork State Park near Lake Jocassee is worth the drive. Rent a kayak, check out one of the pristine waterfalls, or take a selfie at the Jocassee Gorges. It’s home to unbelievably clear waters and the endangered Oconee Bell Wildflower too. Really, don’t let the name fool you — Devils Fork State Park is outdoor heaven. Distance from Center City: 145 miles
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. Though, if you think you’re short of breath on the trek up, wait until you see the views at the summit. Once you’re worn out and ready for your sleeping roll, the park’s got plenty of space to stay. These campgrounds can accommodate groups of friends, families, and even your four-legged friends are welcome to stay the night. Don’t hang onto our words, though; see for yourself what Hanging Rock State Park has to offer. Distance from Center City: 107 miles
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. Plus, with dozens of campgrounds, the choice is yours. Just be sure to have cash on hand — some of these 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! Distance from Center City: 190 miles
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 getting too far from home. Hike on the 30.5 miles of trails, picnic at one of the nearby shelters, and, of course, go for a sunset cruise on a boat at night. Plus, there are bathrooms on site, which will be a total relief to the glampers in your group. Distance from Center City: 38.2 miles
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 along the banks of Lake Wylie, this is the oldest preserve in Mecklenburg County and protects everything from local birds to mammals to amphibians, as well as a variety of plants. So, bring your best hiking shoes and a pair of binoculars and prepare to be amazed. Distance from Center City: 15.5 miles
When it comes to camping, Kings Mountain State Park is revolutionary. Literally. It’s a Revolutionary War site. That said, with miles of trails, two fishing lakes, and even equestrian facilities, these grounds 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. Distance from Center City: 48.4 miles
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 (obvi), but you can also hike up the challenging Grandfather Mountain, search for gemstones in Gem Mountain, or visit the local caverns. Enjoy the great outdoors and really get away from it all with a trip to Linville Falls. Distance from Center City: 108 miles
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, enjoy fly fishing and trails, or simply contemplate the meaning of life near one of the tranquil streams. Whatever you want to do, you’ll have it at Stone Mountain State Park. And with nearly 14,000 acres of mountain terrain, trust us — there’s plenty of outdoors to enjoy. Distance from Center City: 91.4 miles