The Best Camping Near Charlotte, North Carolina

The Best Camping Near Charlotte, North Carolina

No matter your preferred camping season or your favorite activities, campgrounds near Charlotte never run out of beautiful vistas and adrenaline-pumping adventures. From backpacking in South Mountain to relaxing waterfront at Lake Haigler, find all you’re looking for near the Queen City.

Charlotte, North Carolina
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About Camping Near Charlotte

For a getaway seeped in cultural history, bustling with downtown events, and overflowing with natural beauty, it’s tough to beat camping near Charlotte. City attractions include the Nascar Hall of Fame and the Carowinds amusement park, while campgrounds near Charlotte feature stunning peaks and serene lakes. Explore Anne Springs Close Greenway or chase waterfalls at Linville Falls on your next outdoor adventure!

Top Campgrounds Near Charlotte, North Carolina

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Charlotte Camping FAQs

From camping under a canopy of Spanish moss in Congaree National Park, to traipsing the rustic and secluded beaches of the Outer Banks, Charlotte offers a wealth of outdoor adventure for the camping enthusiast. Visitors can also enjoy delicious Carolina BBQ and historic sites like the Siloam School. Pack your bags and grab the hiking boots—here are some of your questions answered about camping near Charlotte, North Carolina.

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

Charlotte’s climate is humid subtropical, which means the city sees all four seasons. Winter is a bit shorter here than in northern states. Highs in the summer reach 90° frequently and have been known to far surpass that in the months of July and August.

Spring and fall are the best months to go camping in Charlotte, although winter is also an option. Spring and fall temperatures typically range from highs in the low-70s to lows in the 50s, making the days warm albeit muggy and nights more crisp. Winter lows can reach into the 30s overnight, making camping a bit more uncomfortable. Rainfall is relatively consistent throughout the year, each month averaging between 3 and 4 inches of precipitation.

What should I pack for camping near Charlotte?

Charlotte’s mild winters and searing summers make for some crucial packing know-how. Here are just a few things you should always bring on a camping trip near Charlotte, as well as a few extras to keep in mind.

  • Bug spray
  • Water
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun shirts
  • Hat
  • Headlamps or flashlights
  • Extra batteries
  • Compass
  • First aid kit

Mosquitoes and Ticks

Ticks and mosquitoes are rampant in North Carolina. Be prepared with bug sprays, permethrin-treated clothes, long sleeves, long pants, and even a netted canopy for fighting the biters. Ticks are especially tricky in the Appalachian Mountains, so wear tall socks and long pants and check your hair and ears after a hike. Ticks carry Lyme disease and other nasty illnesses; a bite should be avoided at all costs.

Rainy Days

Rain is common in Charlotte’s subtropical climate zone. Tent campers should bring their rain fly, and otherwise you should also have rain jackets and ponchos at the ready.

What are the top outdoor activities near Charlotte?

The Queen City is a haven for outdoor lovers. Here are some of the top outdoor activities in Charlotte.

Kayaking and Canoeing

The many rivers and lakes near Charlotte make it a boating destination. Rent a kayak or canoe at Lake Haigler, less than half an hour from downtown Charlotte, and paddle your heart out.


Hike lovers are spoiled for choice near Charlotte, with trails in Charlotte’s plentiful greenways to hiking up nearby Crowder Mountain. The difficulty of the trails ranges from beginner to intense.

Biking and Running

Charlotte is well-known for its multitude of greenways, like the Little Sugar Creek Greenway and Four Mile Creek Greenway. With over 47 miles of hiking, running, and biking trails available, get some exercise without ever leaving the city.

Berry Picking

The summer months bring not only blue skies and flowers, but also strawberry season. Berry picking in Charlotte is a great way to get fresh air and secure some delicious berries for dessert at your campsite.

Freedom Park

Located in the heart of downtown Charlotte, Freedom Park is 98 acres of woodland surrounding a lake at the center of it all. Have a picnic here and breathe in the fresh air to enjoy nature while in the city.

U.S. National Whitewater Center

The U.S. National Whitewater Center is an outdoor lover’s haven only 20 minutes from downtown Charlotte. The whole family will enjoy this complex, with activities ranging from rock climbing to mountain biking and, of course, whitewater rafting and kayaking. The river that runs through the complex is the largest artificial whitewater river and gives intrepid rafters and kayakers a place to test their mettle.

What major sights should I see in Charlotte?

From exhilarating roller coasters to panoramic tunnels under the sea, Charlotte has much to offer the curious visitor. Here are a few of the best things to do on a trip to Charlotte, North Carolina.


Right on the North Carolina and South Carolina state line, Carowinds is a 77-acre amusement park with 56 rides (including 17 roller coasters) and a water park for those hot summer days. Located only 25 minutes from downtown Charlotte, this is one of the best destinations for a fun day out with the family.

NASCAR Hall of Fame

An homage to the history and individuals who make up the NASCAR sport, the NASCAR Hall of Fame features artifacts and historical exhibits from the days of racing gone by.

Concord Aquarium

Charlotte’s Concord Aquarium, also known as SEA LIFE, is a vast marine exhibit home to starfish, seahorses, cownose stingrays, and black tip reef sharks. The Interactive Touch Pool and 180° underwater tunnel are one of a kind.

Discovery Place Science

One of the best places in Charlotte to head on a rainy day, Discovery Place Science includes an IMAX theater and daily activities geared towards entertaining the kiddos.

Charlotte Museum of History

Dedicated to Charlotte’s historical background, the Charlotte Museum of History is a great way to spend a few hours learning about the city’s storied past. Walk through the Rock House, a home built in 1774, and the Siloam School, built around 1920 as a school for African-American students.

Are there any national parks or state parks near Charlotte?

There are dozens of incredible outdoor destinations surrounding the city of Charlotte. From the Great Smoky Mountains’ misty peaks to the Outer Banks’ rugged coastline, natural escapes abound in North Carolina. Here are a few of the national and state parks near Charlotte.

Crowders Mountain State Park

(40 minutes)

Only 40 minutes from downtown Charlotte, the hike up Crowders Mountain isn’t for the faint of heart. Prepare for this popular day hike with plenty of water and sturdy shoes, and keep clear of cliff faces along the trails. You’ll be rewarded with stunning wilderness views. Bouldering and rock climbing are also popular activities near Crowders Mountain’s craggy cliff face.

Congaree National Park

(1 hour, 45 minutes)

Congaree National Park is the oldest and largest old-growth hardwood forest in the southeastern U.S. Walk along the magical raised trails, surrounded by flooded forest, or kayak and canoe among one of the tallest canopies in the world. Be sure to check the water levels before arriving, as flooding frequently closes popular trails.

Chimney Rocks State Park

(2 hours)

Chimney Rocks State Park is one of the premier hiking destinations within a day’s drive from Charlotte. Climb its most popular peak, Chimney Rock, to get panoramic views of the river winding through the trees in the valley below.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

(3 hours)

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park showcases the nation’s oldest mountains and gets its name from the frequent fog that hangs in the valleys nestled between the soft rolling hills. Some of the best things to do include elk spotting in the Cataloochee Valley, exploring the rustic cabins of early settlers, and witnessing the Azalea bloom on Andrews Bald.

Shenandoah National Park

(4 hours, 15 minutes)

Located in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah National Park is a wilderness wonderland home to over 100 miles of the famed Appalachian Trail. Take a road trip along the Skyline Drive in fall, weaving along the spine of the mountains with stunning vistas, or climb up Stony Man’s crumbling peak.

Cape Lookout National Seashore

(6 hours, 45 minutes)

The Cape Lookout National Seashore is one of the most beautiful and underrated coastal destinations in the United States. With over 56 miles of barrier island to explore, hop on a Kubota and search for shells, investigate the abandoned historical village, and bask in the dense natural wildlife. The stunning lighthouse will be your guiding star back to the ferry. Cape Hatteras National Seashore is about the same distance as Cape Lookout from Charlotte if you’re looking to drive down the Outer Banks themselves, although it is less wild and pristine.

Where are the best places to eat near Charlotte?

Charlotte is known for its delicious southern comfort cuisine and award-winning Carolina BBQ. Here are a few of the most taste bud-tantalizing places to eat near Charlotte.

7th Street Public Market

Vendors focus on products created in North Carolina and feature a dumpling stand, craft cheese shop, and artisanal food store, just to name a few of the boutique merchants. Located in the Uptown neighborhood of Charlotte, this is a must-do on any foodie’s list.

Amelie’s French Bakery & Cafe

This French-influenced cafe bakes fresh pastries every day and whips up delicious craft coffee to boot. Settle in for a gourmet lunch à la Paris.


Haberdish is a cozy kitchen that dishes up locally grown and raised southern comfort food and craft cocktails. The must-try is their fried chicken, raised hormone and antibiotic free in Mt. Airy, North Carolina. This is southern food, elevated.

Sweet Lew’s BBQ

Frequently rated as Charlotte’s best BBQ joint, Sweet Lew’s pride themselves on being the “real North Carolina BBQ experience.” They specialize in brisket, smoked chicken, ribs, and their North Carolina BBQ hallmark, vinegar-based sauces. Try their boiled peanuts and NC-boiled potatoes for a real taste of the south.

Fahrenheit Charlotte

Overlooking the stunning Charlotte skyline, Fahrenheit is rooftop dining at its finest. Come for their contemporary American dishes with an Asian flare, but come back for brunch on Sunday and their signature drink, the Spicy Charlotte.

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

Camping near Charlotte has some intricacies that shouldn’t be overlooked. Here are a few things to keep in mind so you don’t make a faux pas while camping in the areas surrounding the Queen City.

Not Being Prepared for Rain

Charlotte actually sees more rain than Seattle throughout the year, with an average of 105 days of precipitation! It can also snow in the high-elevation areas of the Appalachian Mountains. Come prepared with rainproof gear like waterproof jackets, a rain fly for your tent, and possibly even GORE TEX boots if you plan to hike in rainy conditions.

Not Storing Food Properly

Black bears and other food-curious animals are common near Charlotte and the surrounding national parks and forests. Proper food and toiletry storage is of the utmost importance because it ensures that wild animals don’t become dependent on humans for food. It also ensures your safety when potentially dangerous animals like black bears come searching for food near or inside your tent. Always consult with local park rangers if you’re unsure of how to store your food while camping. Cars have also been known to be completely destroyed by black bears in search of food.

What wild animals might I encounter while camping in Charlotte?

Charlotte has the usual suspects in terms of animals that frequent America’s metropolitan areas. Opossums, raccoons, squirrels, foxes, coyotes, and white-tailed deer are all common. In the Appalachian Mountains, directly to the west of the city, black bears, bobcats, and elk are plentiful. Coastal areas to the far east have myriad sea creatures like bottlenose dolphins, pelicans, seagulls, and even whales during the winter months. Several vulnerable species call the natural habitats near Charlotte home, including Carolina Northern flying squirrels, Indiana bats, and Appalachian cottontails. Bring the binoculars to spot wild turkeys, bald eagles, indigo buntings, and the colorful painted buntings.

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