The Best Camping Near Asheville, North Carolina

The Best Camping Near Asheville, North Carolina

It doesn’t take much of a drive to find stunning campgrounds near Asheville. Find mystical mountains, tumbling waterfalls, and winding trails all within thirty miles of the city.

Asheville, North Carolina
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About Camping Near Asheville

There’s a reason Asheville is known as the Land of the Sky: mountain vistas, colorful sunsets, and beautiful views span everywhere you look. Explore the city’s street art and craft beer scene, then make the trip to your favorite campground near Asheville for natural beauty and adventures galore. Camping near Asheville means taking your pick between stand-up paddle boarding, fishing, zip lining, foraging, hiking, and so much more.

Top Campgrounds Near Asheville, North Carolina

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Asheville Camping FAQs

Asheville might be one of the best camping destinations on the east coast. Long touted as a place to heal in the mountains, Asheville, North Carolina, offers dozens of craft breweries, a mansion to rival the castles of Europe, and eco-friendly ideals that fall in line with many preservations nearby. The city’s moniker is Land of the Sky for its seemingly never-ending vistas and panoramic views. Come see how the Smoky Mountains got their name in the city of Asheville, North Carolina.

What’s the best time of year to go camping in Asheville?

Asheville enjoys a temperate climate for the most part. Winters do see snow, but never over a foot within the year. Temperatures can dip into the freezing 20s and low 30s but hover between 50° and 80° most of the year, with a consistent 3 to 4 inches of rainfall a month on average.

The best time to go camping in Asheville truly depends on what you want from your experience. While summers can be muggy and buggy, the warm weather is beautifully crisp in the evenings due to Asheville’s mountaintop location. Spring brings blooming flowers and cool temperatures, while fall is much the same with stunning autumnal foliage. As mentioned, winters can get snowy, especially in the high-altitude areas, so come prepared if you do decide to camp during that time.

What should I pack for camping near Asheville?

Camping near Asheville is an incredible opportunity to experience the Appalachian Mountains, if only for a night! Whether you’re lounging in a backcountry cabin or glamping in a yurt, here are a few things to keep in mind when packing for a camping trip near Asheville.

  • Bug spray
  • Bug net
  • Water
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Headlamps or flashlights
  • Extra batteries
  • Compass
  • First aid kit
  • Map
  • Waterproof matches
  • Multi-tool

Food Storage

Most established campgrounds have food storage lockers to help prevent bears from stealing your snacks, but backcountry campsites require you to properly store your own toiletries and food. Check in with a park ranger to get their perspective and guidance before bringing food into the wilderness overnight. Bear bags like the Ursack can be a great addition to your gear.

What are the top outdoor activities near Asheville?

There may be no better place on the east coast to get outdoors than in the city of Asheville. Here’s a small selection of outdoor activities that the Land of the Sky has to offer.


The hiking in Asheville’s surrounding wilderness and the Smoky Mountains is unparalleled. From summiting bald peaks to scrambling up to plunging waterfalls, get your fill of jaw-dropping natural wonders to uncover.

Wildflower Spotting

Spring and summer bring wildflowers to the mountain meadows. One of the best places to experience this phenomenon are the bald peaks that dot the Smoky Mountains, where the famous flame azaleas begin their stunning show in June and July.

Whitewater Rafting

Asheville is in close proximity to whitewater rafting meccas like the French Broad River and Nantahala River. Both offer Class II and III rapids and a daring adventure to your camping trip.


A sport that was actually invented in Asheville itself, bellyaking involves lying on your stomach on a bellyak while wearing webbed gloves and propelling yourself downriver. It’s all the fun of kayaking with a more up-close and personal feel, literally!


Asheville’s prime location in the Appalachian Mountains means there is a bounty of indigenous edible plants to harvest. Book a foraging guide to help you uncover all the delicious treats the wilds have to offer. Wild blueberries and chanterelles are just some of the foods you might find.

What major sights should I see in Asheville?

While there’s no doubt that the star of the show in Asheville is its mountain wilderness, there are more than a few attractions in town for those who crave civilization after a night in the great outdoors. From a 250-room mansion to dozens of craft breweries, here are a few of the major sights to see in Asheville.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway is a right of passage in the Smoky Mountains. Possibly one of the best road trips in the U.S., the parkway takes about 12 hours in total to drive with nonstop scenic views, majestic vistas, and foggy valleys.

The Biltmore Mansion

Known as America’s largest home, the Biltmore Mansion was built by the illustrious Vanderbuilt Family in 1895. It boasts over 250 rooms, a secret rooftop, and vineyards; it’s no wonder why the Biltmore has over a million visitors a year.

The North Carolina Arboretum

Manicured English gardens, mountain views, and miles of trail give rise to the North Carolina Arboretum just south of Asheville, begging to be explored.

Asheville Pinball Museum

For the children at heart, Asheville’s Pinball Museum is an utter joy. Throw it back to your youth with 70 classic pinball machines and arcade games.

Brewery Hopping

Over 50 breweries are nestled in the Asheville area, making brewery hopping a no-brainer. Try the city’s famous beers like White Zombie Ale and Ginger’s Revenge. There are also several cideries in town for those who don’t fancy traditional brews.

Riverside Arts District

Housed in former industrial buildings along the French Broad River, the Riverside Arts District is the perfect excuse to peruse local artisanal craftworks.

Are there any national parks or state parks near Asheville?

You could spend a lifetime hiking these trails and looking for waterfalls in the ancient hills. Here are a few of the best national and state parks near Asheville.

Pisgah National Forest

(27 minutes)

Pisgah National Forest is the closest dedicated preserve to downtown Asheville. Several scenic rivers run through the forest, waterfalls abound, and lakeside camping create a great place to seek the great outdoors. Come see why Pisgah National Forest is called the Cradle of Forestry.

DuPont State Recreational Forest

(50 minutes)

With three boisterous waterfalls flowing year-round, DuPont State Forest is the best place in Asheville for falls-chasers. Hooker, High, and Triple Falls are connected by a three-mile trail, a perfect excursion to see the forest’s hypnotic natural wonders.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

(50 minutes)

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a must see on a trip to Asheville. Only an hour’s drive from downtown, you’ll soon be transported to idyllic meadows studded with rustic homesteads and stunning mountain vistas. Drive through the Cataloochee Valley for a chance at seeing the iconic elk herd.

Chimney Rocks State Park

(55 minutes)

The best thing to do in Chimney Rock? Hike it, of course! Less than an hour’s drive from Asheville, Chimney Rock State Park is a great place to get panoramic, sweeping views of rivers and woodland as you make your way up. Come in fall for stunning autumnal foliage.

Cherokee National Forest

(1 hour)

Cherokee National Forest is the largest public land area in all of Tennessee and includes 700 miles of hiking trails, established campgrounds, whitewater rivers, and the beautiful Watauga Lake. Make your way to the Osborne Farm to witness bewitching views of the mountains.

Mount Mitchell State Park

(1 hour, 20 minutes)

Home to the tallest mountain in North Carolina at 6,684 feet tall, Mount Mitchell State Park might be the best park near Asheville to take on a challenge.

Where are the best places to eat near Asheville?

Asheville’s one of the premier places in North Carolina to grab some traditional BBQ, explore the exploding craft beer scene, and experience myriad unique restaurants. Fuel up for your camping trip at one of these best places to eat near Asheville.

Jettie Ray’s Oyster House

Oysters in the mountains? Jettie Ray’s blends the traditional cuisines of North Carolina’s Gullah-Geechee, Native American, Spanish, and French influences. They focus on sustainability and celebrating the bountiful Carolina coast. The gambas al ajillo, lowcountry shrimp and grits, and caviar service are particularly intriguing and equally delicious.

Chai Pani

Frequently touted as the best Indian cuisine in Asheville, Chai Pani is perfect for scratching that comfort food itch. Their slight mix of American and Indian dishes has resulted in mouthwatering specialties like the Sloppy Jai, Chicken Tikka Roll, and kale pakora.


Appalachian cuisine is humble but delicious, and Rhubarb aims to perfect the art through local ingredients and tradition. Come in for great conversation and authentic mountain meals like fried celeriac schnitzel and hoe cakes with country ham. The pimento hushpuppies are another crowd favorite.


Limones is a stunning mixture of the chef’s Mexican heritage and training in the fusion of Californian and French food. Try favorites like carne asada and short rib adobo tacos with a classic Paloma.

Luella’s BBQ

Asheville might be the pinnacle of Carolina BBQ, and what better place to taste it than Luella’s BBQ? Named for the owner’s Grandma Lue, this joint runs daily specials like State Fair Ribs and Apple Cheddar BBQ melts. They also dish up classics like Brunswick stew and pulled chicken with newbies like barbecued tempeh.

What are some camping mistakes to avoid when camping near Asheville?

Asheville’s location in the mountains makes it a gorgeous camping destination year-round, but there are some tricks to the camping trade in these hills. Here are some camping mistakes to avoid near Asheville, North Carolina.

Don’t Forget to Store Food Properly

This is incredibly important in the mountains surrounding Asheville and even close to town itself. Black bears, one of nature’s most food-curious animals, can become dependent on humans for food. Always follow posted signs and ranger guidelines on proper food and toiletry storage.

Bringing Firewood From Home

Avoid bringing firewood into protected areas like state and national parks. Pests can catch a ride on the wood and cause habitat loss and destruction. The Emerald Ash Borer, a beetle, has caused millions of acres of habitat loss throughout the Appalachian Mountains.

Winter Camping

Asheville’s high elevation also means that it can snow from December to February, with January being the snowiest month of all. For the winter months, bring along a sleeping bag rated for freezing temperatures and warm weather clothing like wool.

Ignoring Fire Safety

Wildfire safety is extremely important in the summer and fall when drought can cause dry conditions that are prone to wildfires. Most camping areas will have a fire safety meter at the entrance to let you know if it’s safe to gather around the campfire. Always strictly follow these guidelines.

Ignoring Waterfall Safety

The many waterfalls in the areas surrounding Asheville are a gorgeous addition to the natural scenery. Be careful swimming near the top of waterfalls or in rivers that are swollen with recent heavy rain.

What wild animals might I encounter while camping in Asheville?

Asheville hosts an incredible biodiversity of wildlife. Some of the animals you’ll probably spot on a camping trip nearby are white-tailed deer, black bears, wild turkeys, red foxes, coyotes, bobcats, and more rare creatures like elk and salamanders.

One of the most interesting little creatures you might encounter while camping near Asheville are the white squirrels of Brevard. Located near the Pisgah National Forest, these fluffy guys are stark white, a genetic anomaly, although locals claim that they escaped from a carnival. It’s still illegal to hunt the squirrels in the town of Brevard, and you just might see one should you make the 45 minutes drive to this little mountain town.

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