Renting an RV in North Carolina

It’s easy to say a place really has it all, but when you’re talking about natural splendor seen from the driver’s seat of a recreational vehicle, few places have more than North Carolina. There’s a little something for everybody in the Tar Heel State, whether you’re looking for incredible mountain views, a trip to the beach, a day in the lap of luxury at The Biltmore Estate, or deep-woods camping where the trout are plentiful and the rock climbing is world-class. With so much to see in every corner of the state, renting an RV just might be the best possible way to see what matters most to you.

Why Renting an RV in North Carolina Is the Way to Go

It’s hard to write about camping in North Carolina without also talking about the long, scenic roadways that define the many natural destinations in the state. Most of the top-visited locations in the mountainous areas of North Carolina lie along the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of America’s favorite scenic drives. The Outer Banks represent over 130 miles of barrier islands connected along North Carolina Route 12.

10 Amazing Places to See in North Carolina in Your Rental RV

Deep river gorges. Massive stone caps. Breathtaking foothill views. Hundreds of miles of barrier islands. North Carolina offers one of the most diverse collections of natural destinations anywhere in the country. All of this adds up to one simple truth: The best way to see North Carolina is by road trip. With so much natural wonder in one state, an RV gives you the control to chart your own course while always giving you a place to stay after a day of sightseeing and fun in the great outdoors.

Stone Mountain State Park

In Western North Carolina nestled into the Blue Ridge Parkway, a massive, 600-foot tone dome calls out to the most daring climbers. With a permit in hand, those who scale the rock that gives Stone Mountain State Park its name will be met with breathtaking views of the rolling countryside as well as a glimpse of a restored mountain farm from the 1800s. Those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground can enjoy 20 miles of trails perfect for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. The real draw for some will be the 90 miles of trout streams which promise a tasty dinner and close encounters with the amphibians that call the area home.

Visitors who want to stay and make the most of the trip can find excellent camping at the park’s campground. If you’re bringing your rented RV along for the journey, the 90 campsites all facilitate RVs of any size. If you want an electric hookup, though, be sure to reserve your spot in advance, as those spaces are limited.

Learn more about Stone Mountain State Park.

Linville Gorge and Falls

Located at mile marker 316.4 along the Blue Ridge Parkway, Linville Gorge and Falls is the true “Grand Canyon of the East” as it’s home to the deepest gorge in the eastern United States. Where the Linville River runs from Grandfather Mountain on its way to Cumberland Lake, it has carved a 12-mile stretch of stony cliffs and beautiful waterfalls of up to 90 feet. These falls are visible via multiple hiking trails that take visitors through rough terrain towards excellent fishing and rock-climbing activities.

Backpacking within the park is free with a US Forest Service permit and might be the way to go if you want to experience the true beauty of the largest area of untouched forest in the Appalachians. Because the park is part of a 12,000-acre wilderness area, there are plenty of opportunities to boondock with your RV or parks like Linville Falls Campground RV Park & Cabins where you can make camp for the night.

Learn more about Linville Gorge and Falls.

Town Creek Indian Mound

In Town Creek on the Little River, extensive archaeological efforts have taught historians and anthropologists much about the Pee Dee people, a unique cultural group that arose from the confluence of several native peoples local to North Carolina. The historic burial mound serves as the centerpiece of the meticulously recreated facilities of the Town Creek Indian Mound. Visitors can enjoy self-guided or, depending on the availability of staff, guided tours of the replicated townhouse, lodges, and mortuary on site. There’s also a nature trail to give you a look at the local flora and fauna.

Admission is free, making this a great day trip as part of a bigger RV tour of North Carolina. Norwood Campground is one of the closest RV-friendly parks to Town Creek, with Morrow Mountain State Park and Airport RV Park offering several options for an overnight stay. Learn more about Town Creek Indian Mound.

The Biltmore Estate

The Vanderbilt family represents one of the greatest stories of American self-made royalty in our history, and today The Biltmore Estate stands as a testament to their great wealth and also their dedication to sharing everything that made the estate a wonderful place to call home. The massive grounds are a destination for outdoor events, family fun, food & drink tours, and anybody looking to learn about American History.

With so much to do, The Biltmore Estate’s website offers a user-friendly itinerary planning tool, with specific sample itineraries available depending on whether you’re visiting to explore the grounds outside, stroll through the beautiful gardens, tour the house itself, or get your fill of exquisite food and wine from the on-site winery. The Biltmore Estate offers several opportunities to stay on-site, but if you’d prefer to make this a part of your RV trip in North Carolina, check out the nearby Asheville area for parks like Asheville Bear Creek RV Park.

Learn more about The Biltmore Estate.

Roanoke Island

Few places in the United States capture the early frontier spirit like Roanoke Island, famous as the site of the first English settlers in the New World as far back as 1585. Throughout the island, there are historic interpreters ready to transport you back in time, whether you’re visiting recreations of where the English settlers lived or checking out the American Indian Town. You can even visit a faithful recreation of the Elizabeth II, the ship that brought those early English settlers to Roanoke.

Depending on when you visit, Roanoke Island Festival Park also hosts live concerts under the stars, complete with fireworks displays. The Refuge on Roanoke Island offers 15 day-use campsites with electric hookups, so make sure to reserve your site early if you plan on staying on the island. If not, there is plenty of RV camping to be had throughout the Outer Banks area of North Carolina.

Learn more about Roanoke Island.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is headquartered in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, but stretches into North Carolina—making it a perfect destination for any RV trip through the state. There, some of America’s most diverse biology lives among the rolling hills, mountain meadows, streams, and peaks of the Smokies. Hiking is a must at the park, but be sure to stock up on pepper spray to keep safe from the many black bears that call the mountains home.

There are no electric hookups at any of the campgrounds within Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but many of the front-country campsites facilitate RVs. If you’re feeling adventurous, there’s also plenty of good backcountry camping to be had. Strap on a backpack and venture out from the RV for a night under the stars.

Sliding Rock

Few natural destinations in North Carolina are as aptly named as Sliding Rock, mother nature’s waterslide located within the Uwharrie National Forest. The rock itself is a 60-foot natural waterslide that ends in an eight-foot-deep pool at the base of the rock. Those who aren’t ready to take the plunge can watch the action from two observation platforms. The area is staffed with lifeguards, so the whole family can enjoy safe sliding and swimming.

As part of Uwharrie National Forest (more on the broader area below), Sliding Rock is a great day trip if you plan to visit the broader forest. Review the write-up of Uwharrie below for more information about RV-friendly camping in the forest and nearby RV parks and resorts.

Learn more about Sliding Rock.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Some people call RVs “campers,” but they’re vehicles just as much as they’re places to park and sleep for a night. As you start to build your perfect RV getaway in North Carolina, it’s sure to take you down some stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway, a 469-mile route through the Appalachian Highlands. The drive is a destination in its own right, offering a relaxing trek even for RV drivers complete with stunning mountain views you won’t find anywhere else in America.

Many of the best natural destinations in North Carolina are found along the parkway, which means you can build the RV trip of your dreams no matter where your drive takes you.

Learn more about Blue Ridge Parkway.

Outer Banks

The Outer Banks area on North Carolina’s Atlantic coast contains 130 miles of barrier islands in many ways untouched by time, but also filled with rich history and culture. At Roanoke Island, English settlers first made their way to the continent. At Kitty Hawk, the Wright Brothers achieved manned flight for the very first time. All along the coast, small fishing villages and old lighthouses stand as a testament to the area’s human and natural history alike—all of which comes together for a truly unmissable vacation spot.

RV-friendly campgrounds like Camp Hatteras RV Resort & Campground and Ocean Banks Campground dot the island from north to south, making it a great place to bring the RV and slowly make your way from top to bottom. Along the way, enjoy days on the beach, fishing charters on the water, and plenty of incredible seafood and local Carolina fare.

Learn more about Outer Banks.

Uwharrie National Forest

For those truly looking to get away from it all in the heart of nature, Uwharrie National Forest is a fantastic destination. As a designated Game Lands area, it offers some of the best hunting in North Carolina—though be aware that it requires a special permit in addition to your North Carolina Hunting license. Once properly licensed, Uwharrie is a great place for hunting, trapping, and fishing, and if you’re looking to work on your shooting skills, check out one of the on-site shooting ranges.

As a national forest managed by the USDA Forest Service, dispersed camping is allowed throughout the area. You’ll need permits to camp, so this is one destination where you will definitely want to get in touch with the Ranger District Office. There are trails and service roads stretching throughout the park, and the edges of these paths make for great camping, with plenty of room even for your RV—as long as you don’t mind boondocking it. Learn more about Uwharrie National Forest.

Campgrounds and RV Parks in North Carolina

There is great RV camping to be found no matter where you go in North Carolina, from the Atlantic coast all the way into the Smoky Mountains.

These campgrounds are usually congregated around attractions, but you’ll find them across the entire state. 

Asheville Bear Creek RV Park in Asheville, North Carolina is just a stone’s throw from The Biltmore Estate, Bear Creek offers concrete sites and wi-fi throughout the park. Come because it’s close to so much that Asheville offers visitors, and stay for mountain views just outside the door of your rented RV.

Camping World Racing Resort in Charlotte, North Carolina is a must-stay venue. Racing fans won’t want to miss a trip to the Racing Resort, which is located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Just two miles off Interstate 85, this is an accessible resort for a pit stop along a larger trip through North Carolina, or potentially a destination in its own right.

Brunswick Beaches Camping Resort in Sunset Beach, North Carolina is another great place. If your RV trip has you enjoying the coastline, you can’t do much better than Brunswick Beaches. Just down the road from Myrtle Beach, this resort is the perfect home base for a vacation filled with beach days and ocean fishing excursions.

These are just a few of the good campgrounds to stay at. If you’d like a full list of campgrounds in North Carolina, then you should check out Good Sam’s list of campgrounds.

Things to Know About Renting an RV in North Carolina

Things to Note About Camping in North Carolina

North Carolina has a very diverse geography, offering RV travelers opportunities to experience quaint seaside villages and great mountain ranges. Your experience level driving by RV might inform your decision when it comes to how big of an RV to rent. Looking to enjoy the Blue Ridge Parkway? A smaller vehicle might be easier to navigate in the foothills. Think critically about the right balance of comfort in your RV and the spaces you plan to visit.

Dry Camping or Boondocking in North Carolina

Boondocking, also known as dry camping or dispersed camping, refers to setting up camp outside of developed campgrounds. It’s a great way to get some free space to park your RV after a long day exploring Virginia, but it also means going without common conveniences like restroom facilities or RV hookups. In Virginia, the RV community has the best luck looking to federally managed land, which often allows and encourages boondocking away from high-traffic areas. The National Park Service, US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and US Army Corps of Engineers all manage land in Virginia, so check out their reserves and parks in the state. If all else fails, the Bureau of Land Management lands are always free to camp on, so look at Meadowood in Woodbridge if it’s on your route.