Top 10 Campgrounds Near Nantahala National Forest

About Nantahala National Forest

Encompassing over 500,000 acres of lush woodlands, serene rivers, and sublime Appalachian Mountains, Nantahala Forest is the perfect spot to escape the city. The largest of North Carolina’s 4 national forests, Nantahala National Forest draws visitors from across the Carolinas looking to fish, hike, or just get lost in nature. The name “Nantahala” – pronounced “nan·tuh·hei·luh” – comes from the Cherokee word meaning “land of the midday sun,” a fitting description as the sun only reaches the bottom of Nantahala Gorge at noon. Make the most of your next NC outdoor adventure by camping in Nantahala National Forest.

Nantahala National Forest Schoolhouse Falls
Schoolhouse Falls – Nantahala National Forest

Rose Creek Campground and Cabins

Located at the heart of Nantahala National Forest near the town of Franklin, Rose Creek is among the best campgrounds in the region. You’ll find both RV and tent sites available, all of which come with a picnic table and fire pit. There are also cabins for rent in case you don’t feel like sleeping in the great outdoors. The majority of RV sites come with full hookups and are big rig friendly. Amenities are standard and include showers, bathrooms, and laundry facilities. When you’re not exploring Nantahala National Forest, laze around the onsite pool or test your angling skills at the fishing pond. 

  • Full hookups
  • Open seasonally from April to October
  • Pets allowed
  • Free WiFi
  • Onsite swimming pool

✳️ While visiting Western North Carolina check out these campgrounds near Hendersonville, NC!

Turkey Creek Campground

Mixing modern amenities and secluded campsites, Turkey Creek Campground is an idyllic location for a night under the stars. RV and tent campers are welcome, and RV sites come with water and electric hookup that support 20/30/50 amp electricity. All sites come with a picnic table and a fire pit. The camp also provides a dump station, a modern bathhouse, and a laundry room. You won’t find many onsite activities, but you’ll have the Nantahala River right on your doorstep for hiking and watersports.

  • Partial hookups
  • Seasonal camping
  • Pets allowed
  • WiFi access

Standing Indian Campground

Surrounded by stunning mountains and dense forests, Standing Indian Campground offers superb respite from the big city. RV sites don’t have any hookups; however, the campground provides a grill and a picnic table so you can make the most of your surroundings. There are several helpful amenities around camp, too, including a dump station, spigots, bathrooms, and showers. The campground is located within the Nantahala Ranger District, meaning you’ll have access to the Appalachian Trail and opportunities to fish on Kimsey Creek.

  • No hookups
  • Seasonal camping
  • Pets allowed
Nantahala National Forest Cullasaja Falls
Cullasaja Falls – Nantahala National Forest

Smoky Mountains Meadows Campground

Positioned between Bryson City and Nantahala Gorge, Smoky Mountains Meadows Campground is a beautiful, modern campground. Tent sites come with water and electric hookups, while RV sites are fully equipped with full hookups, 30/50 amp electricity, and pull-through access for big rigs. There are also cabins available for rent. The campground provides amenities like showers, a laundry room, and restrooms. During your stay, let your kids burn off some energy at the onsite playground while you play classic campground games or head to East Alarka Creek for a spot of fishing. 

  • Full hookup sites
  • Free WiFi
  • Pets allowed
  • Open seasonally

Stecoah Valley RV Resort

Prefer to stay at a modern campground high up in the Smoky Mountains? Consider Stecoah Valley RV Resort. Perfect for exploring both the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Nantahala National Forest, this campground boasts all-weather RV and tent sites. All RV pads come with full hookups and room for big rigs. At Stecoah Valley’s clubhouse, you’ll find an array of helpful amenities like showers and laundry facilities. During your downtime, play a classic game for horseshoes or explore the nearby nature trails. 

  • Full hookup sites
  • Open seasonally from May through October
  • Pets allowed
  • Dog walking area

Van Hook Glade Campground

Another rural campsite encircled by beautiful countryside is the Van Hook Glade Campground. Situated along the Cullasaja Gorge, Van Hook Campground offers sites for RVs and tents. Like Standing Indian Campground, there are no hookups, but you are provided with a fire pit and a picnic table. Amenities include toilets, showers, and drinking water. You’ll be a stone’s throw from Cliffside Lake, which is the perfect spot for fishing and swimming. The sleepy town of Highland is also close by in case you need supplies.  

  • No hookups
  • Open seasonally
  • Pets allowed

Here’s our recommendations for portable generators for your ‘no hookups’ sites!

Ela Campground

This Bryson City campground affords campers everything they need for an exciting outdoor adventure. Ela Campground offers peaceful riverside RV, tent, and cabin accommodation. RV sites come with full hookups and access to 20/30/50 amp electricity. Onsite amenities include a dump station, laundry facilities, and bathrooms. Spend your days relaxing poolside or enjoy water sports like tubing, fishing, and kayaking on the Tuckasegee River. 

  • Full hookups
  • Pets allowed
  • Open year-round
  • WiFi access
Nantahala National Forest Quarry Falls
Quarry Falls – Nantahala National Forest

Horse Cove Campground

If you’re searching for a rural campground open year-round near the center of Nantahala National Forest, consider Horse Cove Campground. Just 13 miles from Robbinsville, Horse Cove offers RV and tent sites with water hookups. One of the biggest draws is some of the sites stay open year-round, although water is unavailable in the winter. During peak season, amenities include drinking water, bathrooms, and fire pits. The campground is within walking distance of Lake Santeetlah, perfect for fishing, swimming, and boating.

  • Water hookups
  • Year-round camping
  • Pets allowed

Nelson’s Nantahala Hideaway Campground

Nelson’s Nantahala Hideaway Campground is one of the best-equipped campgrounds in Nantahala National Forest. Situated near the sleepy community of Topton, NC, this campground offers RV and tent sites, as well as bunkhouses and cabins for luxury getaways. RV sites have full hookups with 15/20/30 amp electricity and pull-through access for big rigs. Amenities provided include laundry machines and a large bathhouse with showers. While there’s not much to do around camp, Nelson’s Nantahala Hideaway Campground is close to some local natural attractions, like Nelson’s Falls, Fidley’s Overlook, and the Betram Trail. 

  • Full hookup sites
  • Year-round camping
  • Pets allowed
  • Free WiFi

Cheoah Point Recreation Area

Looking to camp lakeside? Consider Cheoah Point Recreation Area. Cheoah Point is located adjacent to Lake Santeetlah, providing camper with plenty of water sports opportunities. You’ll also have access to the Appalachian Trail. RV and tent campers are welcome, and some RV sites come with electrical hookups that support 15/30/50 amp electricity. There are also two cabins for rent in case you don’t feel like roughing it. Amenities around camp are basic and include flushing toilets, drinking water, and a boat ramp.

  • Electrical hookups
  • No pets allowed
  • Open seasonally
Top 10 Campgrounds Near Nantahala National Forest

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