What Beaches in North Carolina Can You Camp On

Are you looking for safe and beautiful shorelines to set up camp? Then you’re at the right post! 

There are several beaches in North Carolina that you can camp on, including Surf City and Cape Hatteras as top of the list. North Carolina is located on the East coast. It boasts over 320 miles of beautiful Atlantic island beaches and each has its unique charm and attractions.

Read on to learn more about our top list of the best NC camping grounds based on things to do, camping amenities, and best time to visit. Check out our list of the top 2 NC beaches for your next camping adventure in this post!

Can You Camp on Beaches in North Carolina?

Camping car minivan on the beach at sunset Lofoten beach.

You can definitely camp on beaches in North Carolina. As long as you set up camp on designated campgrounds, you can enjoy the beautiful beaches of North Carolina.

Check out Surf City Campground or Cape Hatteras for an adventure-filled beach camping weekend on pristine North Carolina shores.

Can You Camp on the beach OBX?

Family tent on camping ground under stars

Camping on any Outer Banks beach is not allowed. However, while camping on the beach OBX isn’t permitted, you can check out designated campgrounds located behind the barrier dunes (Oceanside). 

There are a couple maintained by the National Park Service or private owners.

What Beach Can You Camp On in NC?

There are several beaches that you can camp on in North Carolina. Among these beaches, check out our top two picks for North Carolina beach camping trips: Surf City and Cape Hatteras.

Surf City Campground, Topsail Beach

Rain Storm at the Beach, Topsail Island, NC - blue beach chairs and umbrella against blue sky ocean

There’s nothing more iconic than setting up a tent in Surf City. It’s been ranked as North Carolina’s top destinations!

If you’re looking for beautiful beachfront campgrounds with endless water activities, check out Surf City!

Can You Camp in Surf City?

It’s allowed to camp in Surf City. There are campgrounds located right on the oceanfront. Beach campers will find both full-hookup RV and tent grounds just a few steps away from the shoreline.

What is Surf City, NC known for?

Surf City Campground is located in Top Sail Beach. It’s popular among vacationers for its calm beach community.

It’s a beach town for any camper! From the adventurous surfer to the sunbather, you’ll enjoy numerous boating and water sports activities in Surf City!

What Makes Surf City, NC Beach Camping Special?

Surf City Campground is an excellent choice because of its many unique attractions and activities you can add to your to-do list! 

You’ll find long shorelines on both sides of the camp. 

Atlantic waters on one side offer exciting water activities, like swimming and catching some waves on your surfboard or paddleboard.

On the other side, campers who want to relax will find a nice calm inlet. It’s perfect for fishing or kayaking or for those who want to unwind.

What Time of Year Should I Camp in Surf City, NC?

Longtail Boat Moored At Beach On Sunny Day

Top Sail Beach has nice warm weather all year round. Winter months bring temperatures in the high 50s. Enjoy hours under the sun with temperatures in the high 80s in the summer.

Each season spent in Surf City has its benefits. Houses and amenities are more affordable during the off-season. Still, the water temperature is great for surfing and other water sports during the peak season. Make sure to book in advance!

What camping amenities are available in Surf City, NC?

Coupled with a breezy beach  atmosphere, you can find all the basics that will make your stay comfortable:

  • Picnic tables
  • Complimentary showers, restrooms, and flush toilets
  • Water
  • Electric hookups
  • Wireless internet

If you want to consider checking out properties in Surf City, here are my top 5 recommendations:

Hidden TreasureCotttage2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
Pelican LandingHouse6 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms
Turtle’s NestHouse5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
BumblebeeCottage4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
Terrapin StationHouse4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms

FAQ: Surf City, Topsail Beach

Is Surf City good for surfing? 

Beginners and experienced surfers love the warm Atlantic waters and mild temperatures of Surf City.

Surf City, NC, features a sandbar break that’s close to the shore. There’s no need to paddle far! You can find consistent surf almost all year round.

If you’re looking for a fun and adventure-filled beach camping trip with friends and family, Surf City is the place for you! With all the basic amenities and expansive oceanfront campgrounds, you’ll have the best vacation in years.

Cape Hatteras

Camping in the shorelines of Cape Hatteras offers expansive views of beaches and a wide variety of water activities!

If you’re looking for award-winning camping services and amenities in North Carolina, visit Cape Hatteras.

Can you camp in Cape Hatteras?

Visitors can only set up camp in designated campgrounds along the Camp Hatteras National Seashore. There are four campgrounds managed by the National park services located in:

  • Oregon Inlet Campground at Bodie Island
  • Cape Point Campground in Buxton
  • Frisco Campground on Hatteras Island
  • Ocracoke Campground Ocracoke Island

You can also get in touch with privately-owned campgrounds in Cape Hatteras or Ocracoke.

What is Cape Hatteras, NC known for?

You can find many activities on Cape Hatteras’ pristine shores.

“Cape Point,” a beach located in Buxton, has a solid reputation as the best surf fishing beach on the East Coast! Vacationers are also encouraged to stay at least one night on the beach. It’s a fantastic spot for ghost crab hunting.

Wooden fishing pirogue on the beach in Sumbava

Cape Hatteras’ top attractions also include three lighthouses:

  • Cape Hatteras
  • Bodie Island
  • Ocracoke

A visit to the  Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum or the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station is a one-of-a-kind experience.

You can also check out the Buxton Woods coastal reserve, where you can find miles of undeveloped and pristine shorelines.

What makes Cape Hatteras, NC beach camping special?

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse seen from beach NC USA

Cape Hatteras boasts over 70 miles of pristine beaches!

Campers can choose from all sorts of water sports activities:

  • Surfing
  • Fishing and clamming
  • Boogie boarding
  • Sandcastle building
  • Beachcombing

Visitors who want to get a taste of nature can go wildlife watching. You’ll be amazed at Cape Hatteras’ 400 species of birds! There are even wild ponies that run along the shores.

To get the full camp experience, you can stay on the campgrounds over the weekend –– or maybe even for the whole week!

What time of year should I camp in Surf City, NC?

Walking on the winter beach

Cape Hatteras temperatures vary greatly depending on the time of year. Temperatures stay in the low 50s in the winter and the low 80s in the summer. Cape Hatteras is extremely windy year-round, but especially so during the winter.

Cape Point is an unforgettable fishing destination that’s especially great in the late spring or fall. This is when migrating species and prized fishes make seasonal trips along the shorelines. Who knows, you might even get lucky and score some prizes with your catch!

In the summer, vacationers love to spend all day hunting for ghost crab. The critters seem to be found everywhere!

What camping amenities are available in Cape Hatteras, NC?

Amenities and camping sites will depend on your campground of choice. 

All Cape Hatteras National Seashore campgrounds offer sites for:

  • Tents
  • Trailers
  • Motor homes

Oregon Inlet offers the least campsites (107), but they offer the only RV hookups in Cape Hatteras. Cape Point offers the most campsites (202), followed by Ocracoke (136) and Frisco (127).

All four sites offer:

  • Trash and Recycling collection
  • Flush Toilets and Showers
  • Dump stations
  • Cell phone reception
  • Potable water

FAQ: Cape Hatteras Beach

When is Cape Hatteras good for swimming? 

Swimming in Hatteras is safe and comfortable. 

Visitors love to swim in Cape Hatteras in the summer and fall because of the warm waters.

Visitors love to camp on the beaches of Cape Hatteras over the weekend to get the full NC experience! Campers can also choose from four budget-friendly and comfortable national campgrounds.

Final Thoughts

Are you planning a beach camping adventure in North Carolina?

Surf City and Cape Hatteras in North Carolina offer safe and comfortable oceanfront campgrounds for visitors. 

Campers can enjoy water sports activities like surfing, fishing, kayaking, and boogie boarding year-round.

Get your gear ready, and let the adventure begin!

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