The 13 Best Blue Ridge Parkway Campgrounds to Visit

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The Blue Ridge Parkway encompasses 469.1 miles of winding scenic roadways, with 200 of the best scenic overlooks in the Eastern US sprinkled all along the way.

This incredible route connects two of America’s best national parks (Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Shenandoah National Park), and is split fairly equally between North Carolina and Virginia.

Attracting around 16 million visitors a year, the BRP borders George Washington and Jefferson National Forest in Virginia and Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina. It passes by a dozen or so state parks as well.

It’s the longest, most popular national park in the United States. And it’s a dream destination for countless hikers, bikers, anglers, cyclists, historians, horseback riders, waterfall-chasers, and all-around adventurers.

My wife and I live near the BRP and travel it fairly regularly, but out-of-town visitors will ultimately need places to stay along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Although there are many nice hotels and cabin rentals available, there’s really no better way to experience the serene beauty of nature than setting up at one of the many Blue Ridge Parkway campgrounds.

Read on for our in-depth guide to all the official campgrounds on the Blue Ridge Parkway, as well as several fantastic campgrounds near the Blue Ridge Parkway that shouldn’t be overlooked.

READ MORE: The 15 Best Campgrounds in the North Carolina Mountains

Blue Ridge Parkway Campgrounds Guide

  1. Otter Creek Campground, VA (BRP Milepost 60.8)
  2. Peaks of Otter Campground, VA (BRP Milepost 85.9)
  3. Rocky Knob Campground, VA (BRP Milepost 167.1)
  4. Doughton Park Campground, NC (BRP Milepost 239.2)
  5. Julian Price Campground, NC (BRP Milepost 297)
  6. Linville Falls Campground, NC (BRP Milepost 316.4)
  7. Crabtree Falls Campground, NC (BRP Milepost 339.5)
  8. Mount Pisgah Campground (Mt Pisgah NC)
  9. Explore Park (Salem VA)
  10. Fancy Gap KOA (Fancy Gap VA)
  11. Black Mountain Campground (Burnsville NC)
  12. Davidson River Campground (Pisgah Forest NC)
  13. Smokemont Campground (Cherokee NC)

READ MORE: The 15 Best Blue Ridge Parkway Hotels & Cabin Rentals in NC & VA


Blue Ridge Parkway Camping in Virginia

Blue Ridge Parkway Camping - Otter Creek Trail
Otter Creek Trail, photo via Facebook

1. Otter Creek Campground

BRP Milepost 60.8 • (434) 299-5125 • Official Website

Located at the lowest point along the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Otter Creek Campground has 68 campsites, of which 39 are available for reservation and 29 are first come, first served.

The Otter Creek Campground has spots for RVs and tent camping, with each campsite having a picnic table, fire ring, grill, and lantern post. The facility also has flush toilets, drinking water, and a dump station.

Recreational opportunities near the campground include hiking trails, fishing in Otter Lake, and visiting the James River Visitors Center. The Otter Creek Campground is also just 16 miles from Natural Bridge State Park.

The Otter Creek Trail takes visitors about 3.5 miles to the James River Visitor Center, where guests can view old locks along the picturesque Kanawha Canal.

Note that this lovely Virginia campground is only open from May through the end of October.

READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Lexington VA & Natural Bridge VA

Peaks of Otter Lake viewed fom the Peaks of Otter Lodge
Abbott Lake viewed fom the Peaks of Otter Lodge by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett

2. Peaks of Otter Campground

BRP Milepost 85.9 • (540) 586-7321 • Official Website

The Peaks of Otter Campground is cozied between the bases of two large mountains in the hill country of Virginia.

Its well-shaded campsites are equipped with the ubiquitous fire ring/grill, lantern post, and picnic table, and the campgrounds also have flush toilets, potable water, and a dump station.

There are 139 campsites at the Peaks of Otter Campground. Most of the sites (79) are first come, first served, but 60 are available for advanced reservations.

When camping at Peaks of Otter, the main attraction is Abbot Lake, a 24-acre mountain lake well-stocked with bluegill and small-mouth bass. There’s also a nice picnic area with a stream running through it.

Hikes in the area range from short, easy, and flat to scaling high peaks of the surrounding Virginia mountains.

Deer, black bears, and other wildlife are familiar sights at the campground, and the nearby meadows are filled with Virginia wildflowers. The autumn foliage here is spectacular.

Peaks of Otter is open from May through the end of October, and it has summer interpretive programs to teach guests about the history and wildlife of the area.

READ MORE:  The 15 Best Lakes in the Virginia Mountains to Visit

Blue Ridge mountains camping - Rocky Knob
Rocky Knob Gorge, photo via Facebook

3. Rocky Knob Campground

BRP Milepost 167.1 • (540) 745-9664 • Official Website

Located amid the rolling pastures and wildflower meadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, the Rocky Knob Campground has over 100 campsites, 44 of which are available by advanced reservation.

Non-electric RV and tent sites are available, each sporting a fire ring with grill, lantern post, and picnic table. Flush toilets, drinking water, and a dump station are available onsite as well.

This campground is part of the Rocky Knob Recreation Area, which consists of 4,000 acres of pristine forest with plenty of hiking trails, a visitor center, and Rock Castle Gorge.

The lovely, inviting town of Floyd VA is nearby. Mabry Mill, one of the most photogenic places on the Blue Ridge Parkway, is less than 10 miles away. There are also several  Virginia wineries in this area.

Primitive backcountry camping is available in Rock Castle Gorge, and free permits can be obtained at the Rocky Knob Campground office.

Like most of the other campgrounds along the Blue Ridge Parkway, Rocky Knob is open from May through October.

READ MORE:The 10 Best Things to Do in Staunton VA


Camping on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina

Camping on Blue Ridge Parkway - Doughton Park NC
View of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Doughton Park NC, photo via Canva

4. Doughton Park Campground

BRP Milepost 239.2 • (336) 372-8877 • Official Website

Straddling the BRP in the NC High Country, the Doughton Park Campground has 121 sites for RV and tent camping, only 24 of which are available for advance reservations.

Open from May through October, all campsites have fire rings, grills, and picnic tables, and flush toilets and drinking water are available to all guests.

At 7,000 acres, Doughton Park is the largest recreation area on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and it is teeming with wildlife, including deer, foxes, bobcats, and black bears.

The park also has two historic sites: The Brinegar Cabin (est. 1885) is easy to visit, with an exit right on the Parkway, while Caudill requires a long but incredibly beautiful hike.

There are over 30 miles of hiking trails in Doughton Park, some of which are also open to horseback riding (best accessed via the back entrance on Longbottom Road).

There’s also a primitive campsite at Basin Cove, which is located near the foot of the mountain. Visitors can get a permit at the Doughton Park Campground office.

Doughton Park also has a visitors center, as well as a ’50s-style diner called the Bluff Restaurant. The town of Elkin NC (where my wife and I live) is just 10 miles away, if you need additional supplies. 

READ MORE: The Ultimate Pisgah National Forest Camping Guide

Julian Price Campground by Maria Smith
Julian Price Campground, photo by Maria Smith

5. Julian Price Campground

BRP Milepost 297 • (828) 963-5911 • Official Website

Centrally located for exploring the NC High Country, the Julian Price Campground has nearly 200 Blue Ridge Parkway campsites, with 115 first come, first served sites and 75 available for reservation.

All campsites here come with grills, tables, and lantern poles, and the campground also has drinking water, a dump station, and flush toilets.

The Julian Price Campground is located next to Price Lake, which is open to fishing and non-motorized boats like canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards.

Fantastic hiking trails at Julian Price Memorial Park include the Cascades Loop and Boone Fork Trail, both of which lead to beloved Boone waterfalls. The Price Lake Trail circles around the lake, and it’s also a gem.

Just a few miles down the road, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park has over 30 miles of trails and several lakes to enjoy, and the towns of Blowing Rock and Boone are less than half an hour away. 

The Julian Price Campground is open from May through October, and there are primitive backcountry camping sites right off Johns River Road.

READ MORE: 25 Best Things to Do in Boone NC (Blue Ridge Parkway MM 291.8)

Linville Falls Campgrounds on the Blue Ridge Parkway NC
Linville Falls Campground, photo by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett

6. Linville Falls Campground

BRP Milepost 316.4 • (828) 765-7818 • Official Website

Located a short walk away from the most photographed Blue Ridge Parkway waterfalls, the Linville Falls Campground is nestled next to the Linville River just before the falls reach the Linville Gorge.

This is a relatively small Blue Ridge Mountains campground, with just 39 campsites, 25 of which remain available on a first come, first served basis.

The Linville Falls Campground has flush toilets, drinking water, and a dump station, and it’s very close to the Linville Falls Visitor Center.

Nearby attractions include the Alpine town of Little Switzerland, the Linville Falls Winery, Linville Gorge Wilderness Area, and Linville Caverns. And Grandfather Mountain State Park is just 20 minutes northeast on the BRP.

The Linville Falls Campground is open from May through October, and there are lots of free primitive campsites available in the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area. But a permit is required. 

READ MORE: The 25 Best Blue Ridge Parkway Hikes for NC Day Trips

Camping along blue ridge parkway - Sisters at Crabtree Falls
Crabtree Falls, photo by Emma Gallagher

7. Crabtree Falls Campground

BRP Milepost 339.5 • (828) 675-5444 • Official Website

One of the most under-appreciated natural wonders of the BRP (and one of our favorite North Carolina waterfalls) the 70-foot-tall Crabtree Falls crashes its way down a rough rock face into a boulder-strewn creek bed.

The Crabtree Falls Campground is located right at the trailhead to the falls, with 27 sites for reservation and another 54 sites that are first come, first served.

Campground conveniences include drinking water, flush toilets, and a dump station, and each site has its own fire ring with a grill and accompanying picnic table.

There’s a 3-mile Crabtree Falls Trail loop with lots of waterside walking, beautiful North Carolina wildflowers, and a 253-acre hunk of forest.

The Green Knob Lookout Tower is just 10 miles south on the Parkway, while Mount Mitchell State Park is about 20 away. The Museum of North Carolina Minerals is 9 miles to the north.

Note that the Crabtree Falls Campground closes for winter from November through April.

READ MORE: 15 Best Things to Do in Little Switzerland NC (Blue Ridge Parkway MP 334)

Campgrounds blue ridge parkway -Mount Pisgah Overlook at BRP MM 407.6
View of Mount Pisgah in Autumn, photo by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett

8. Mount Pisgah Campground

BRP Milepost 408.8 • (828) 684-2644 • Official Website

A hugely popular stop on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Mount Pisgah is visible all the way from Asheville. It’s famed as home to the historic Pisgah Inn, a.k.a. The Peak of the Parkway.

Located right across from the still-functioning hotel, the Pisgah Mountain Campground has 124 campsites, of which 53 can be reserved in advance.

This large campground has flush toilets on every loop, drinking water every few campsites, and dump stations for keeping the sites clean.

Guests can access the Pisgah Inn’s restaurants and stunning views via hiking trails, and there’s a country store for supplies and souvenirs.

Our favorite hikes in the area include summiting Pisgah Mountain, and climbing Frying Pan Tower to get fantastic views of Mt. Pisgah. There are also several great Pisgah National Forest Waterfalls to explore nearby.

This campground provides easy access to The Cradle of Forestry in America, Graveyard Fields, the NC Arboretum, and the Lake Powhatan Recreation Area.

Note that Blue Ridge Parkway camping in NC is only available from May through October.

READ MORE: Camping in Asheville NC: The 15 Best Campgrounds to Visit


Campgrounds Near the Blue Ridge Parkway

Campgrounds near blue ridge parkway - Explore Park
Rope Course at Explore Park, photo via Facebook

9. Explore Park

1206 Kessler Mill Road, Salem VA • (540) 427-1800 • Official Website

Located right off the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 115, Explore Park is part of the Roanoke Country Park system.  It offers hundreds of acres of forest with hiking trails and rivers to explore.

Explore Park has two campgrounds: Don’s Cab-Inns Campground and the Blue Ridge Campground at Explore Park.

Don’s Cab-Inns has pod cabins, yurts, and RV sites with no hookups. This campground, unlike most official BRP campgrounds, remains open during the off-season.

The Blue Ridge Campground offers primitive camping, group camping, and some cool raised platforms. Campsites here include a fire pit and a picnic table.

Vehicles are not permitted at the campsites, so the campground requires a 1/4-mile walk in. This campground opens from May through October.

In addition to wilderness and trails, Explore Park also has mountain biking routes, a boat launch, and a Treetop Quest with Tarzan swings, cargo nets, ziplines, and rope courses.

There is also Brugh Tavern, which houses the Twin Creeks Brewpub and restaurant (with a kid-friendly menu).

READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Roanoke VA

Campgrounds near the blue ridge parkway - fancy gap cabins and campground
Fancy Gap KOA, photo via Facebook

10. Fancy Gap KOA

47 Fox Trail Loop, Fancy Gap VA • (276) 728-7776 • Official Website

Located right off the BRP in Fancy Gap VA, this KOA Blue Ridge Parkway adventure is near tons of fun tourist attractions and offers all the classic amenities you want in family campgrounds.

The KOA in Fancy Gap VA has a swimming pool, clubhouse with games, a big screen TV with cable and a DVD player, outdoor ping-pong tables, a Kamping Kitchen, a picnic pavilion, WiFi, and more.

The campground provides easy access to the Blue Ridge Parkway, New River State Park Trail, the Mountain Road Winery Experience, and the Blue Ridge Music Center.

Other fun activities at the Blue Ridge Parkway KOA include fishing, gem mining, a playground, hay rides, and Friday night candy hunts.

READ MORE: Apple Picking in Virginia: The 15 Best VA Apple Orchards to Visit

Camping near blue ridge parkway - Black Mountain Campground in Pisgah National Forest NC
Black Mountain Campground, photo by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett

11. Black Mountain Campground

50 Black Mountain Campground Road, Burnsville NC • (828) 675-5616 • Official Website

Located in Pisgah National Forest on the banks of the South Toe River, the Black Mountain Campground is along Hwy 80, which connects with the BRP at Buck Creek Gap (BRP Milepost 344.2).

This is the best place to camp for those wishing to climb Mt. Mitchell, the tallest mountain east of the Rockies. It’s about 5 miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway, right at the base of the mountain.

The strenuous hiking trail is 13.1 miles round-trip, gaining over 3600 feet in elevation, so it takes all day. But it isn’t technical or overly steep, just very long.

This campground is also close to Craggy Gardens (17 miles) and the small mountain towns of Burnsville (20 miles) and Spruce Pine (25 miles), both of which are pleasant places to visit.

Black Mountain Campground has 37 primitive sites and 3 sites with electric hookups, all with a tent pad, picnic table, lantern posts, and campfire rings. There are also hot showers and flush toilets, as well as a shop for supplies.

READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Burnsville NC

Davidson River Campground in Pisgah National Forest NC
Davidson River Campground in Pisgah National Forest NC, photo by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett

12. Davidson River Campground

1 Davidson River Circle, Pisgah Forest NC • (828) 577-4558 • Official Website

Located near Brevard NC in the Pisgah Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest, the Davidson River Campground is a massive facility with 8 separate loops to meet campers’ needs.

There are full RV set-ups, primitive camping, and group camping.

The campground has hot showers and flush toilets in the bathroom blocks (one on each loop), as well as an awesome NC swimming hole in the Davidson River. Each site has a fire ring, table, lantern post, and tent pad.

This section of Pisgah Forest is truly primo, with dozens of incredible waterfalls, Sliding Rock, famed hiking trails (including Pink Beds and Looking Glass Rock), and the Cradle of Forestry.

It’s extremely close to the town of Pisgah Forest, which has a brewery and several restaurants, but Brevard NC is just a few miles away and hits all the marks for a tourist-friendly mountain town.

To access the Davidson River Campground from the BRP, the exit to US-276 is at Cold Mountain View (Milepost 411.9), and the drive from there is 13 miles through the forest.

READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Brevard NC & Transylvania County

10 Best NC Campgrounds - Trail at Smokemont Campground
Trail at Smokemont Campground, photo by Emma Gallagher

13. Smokemont Campground

Newfound Gap Road, Cherokee NC • (828) 497-9270 • Official Website

When the Blue Ridge Parkway campgrounds run out to the south, the BRP runs into Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The nearby Smokemont Campground offers awesome campsites in an excellent location.

One of our favorite campgrounds near the Blue Ridge Parkway, Smokemont offers some of the best opportunities for  camping in the Great Smoky Mountains.

This is a massive campground, with well over 100 sites for RVs and tent campers. The facilities have flush toilets, drinking water, and sinks, and all the sites have picnic tables, fire rings, grills, and tent pads.

We love that this campground is right by the scenic river, with great trails following creeks to cascades and waterfalls, as well as backcountry primitive camping sites.

Nearby you’ll find the Oconaluftee Visitor Center, Mountain Farm Museum, and Mingus Mill. There are also two magnificent waterfalls—Mingo Falls and Soco Falls— just a short drive away.

The town of Cherokee NC is just a few miles away, with lots of good restaurants as well as the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, Qualla Arts & Craft Mutual, and the Oconoluftee Indian Village.  –Jonathon Engels; featured image of Julian Price Campground by Maria Smith


Leave No Trace logo

We encourage anyone who loves the Blue Ridge region to learn about the Leave No Trace principles of responsible environmental stewardship. 

Stay on marked trails, take only pictures, pack out your trash, and be considerate of others who share the trails and parks you explore. 

Remember that waterfalls and rocky summits can be dangerous. Never try to climb waterfalls or get close to a ledge to get a selfie.

When you're exploring the wilderness, it's better to be safe than to be a statistic!

After visiting North Carolina for the first time, Senior Writer Jonathon Engels and wife Emma spent 2 years exploring Western NC in search of a homestead property. They first lived in Brevard, where Jonathon taught writing at Blue Ridge Community College and extensively explored the Blue Ridge Parkway and Pisgah National Forest. For the last several years they have lived just off the BRP near Elkin, Southwest Virginia, and the NC High Country. The couple also volunteers with the Surry Old Time Fiddlers Convention, the Elkin Valley Trail Association, and Reeves Downtown School of Music.