Camping in the Outer Banks will soon be one of your new favorite camping spots. Located along a remote part of the coast in North Carolina, the Outer Banks offers world-class fishing, secluded camping spots, and access to numerous beaches. This guide will give you all the information you need to start your Outer Banks camping adventure.
Since camping directly on the beach in the Outer Banks is prohibited, we’ve provided a list of the best campgrounds with easy access to the beach, including Ocracoke Campground and Cape Point Campground. Alongside this, we’ve advised you on the best season to visit, which has to be Spring!
This guide also gives some handy camping tips, including laws surrounding alcohol and campfires. Keep reading to find out more about camping on the Outer Banks!
Camping anywhere on the beach is strictly prohibited. If you plan to camp on a beach along the Outer Banks, you must camp in a designated campground.
This is to protect the local wildlife and keep the beaches clean. Since campgrounds at the Outer Banks can get busy in summer, booking in advance is best to avoid disappointment.
Also, it might be handy to know about some beach camping laws within the US.
Since you must be in a designated campground to experience beach camping on the Outer Banks, we decided to make it easier by providing you with a list of the 10 best campgrounds.
These campsites are located throughout the Outer Banks and offer various camping experiences, from party vibes to chill and secluded.
1. Ocracoke Campground
One of the most popular campgrounds is Ocracoke Campground, located on Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
With 13 miles of beach at your fingertips, Ocracoke Campground offers breathtaking ocean views. If you need a break from the beach, you can always check out the quaint town of Ocracoke.
The campground has approximately 136 camping sites that accommodate RVs and tents. There are no electrical hook-ups available. However, electric generators are allowed.
The campground does offer running water and restrooms! The campground is usually open from April till mid-November, but double-check if you want precise dates.
2. Oregon Inlet Campground
Oregon Inlet Campground is the best spot for those who prefer a camping adventure with great fishing. South of the campground is easy access to some of the best fishing in North Carolina.
It also offers fantastic stargazing opportunities, partly due to the limited light pollution in the area.
Located in Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Inlet Campground has 107 sites available, with 47 offering hook-ups. As well as being open year-round, the campground includes flush toilets and running water.
3. Ocean Waves Campground
Ocean Waves is a good option if you’re looking for a smaller campsite. Located in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, this site offers easy access to several beaches along the Outer Banks.
The family-run campground is perfect for families and those looking for a calmer, quieter camping vibe.
The grounds offer 68 full hook-up camping sites with plenty of space and adequate restrooms with hot showers and running water.
With a swimming pool and camping store, each camping site at Ocean Waves also includes a picnic table.
4. Hatteras Sands Campground
If you’re looking for a campground that offers car access on the beach, then Hatteras Sands is a solid choice.
I have a list of some more places providing RV campgrounds access on North Carolina beaches if you’re not limited to the Outer Banks area with your camping adventures.
Located between scenic canals and green fields, Hatteras Sands is the only campground in Hatteras village. With the beach 5 minutes away, it’s a good place to stay if you prefer not to sleep directly on it.
The campground offers RV and tent camping and stays in cottages and cabins. With full hook-ups, a swimming pool, and a games room, it’s the perfect spot for families and couples.
The Hatteras Sands is slightly more expensive than other campgrounds on this list and only open between April and December.
5. Cape Point Campground
Cape Point Campground is perfect for those searching for a quiet campsite along the Outer Banks.
Located next to Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Cape Point offers easy access to the beach and spectacular coast views. The campground offers 202 camping sites with restrooms and showers.
Cape Point offers no electrical hook-ups, although RVs are allowed, and wood fires are prohibited. It must be charcoal if you want a fire at your camping site.
Cape Point Campground is usually open from April to November.
6. Frisco Campground
Frisco Campground offers easy access to several beaches along the Outer Banks and a great range of hikes. This is another rustic campground that does not offer electrical hook-ups or hot water.
That means cold showers! However, this is another great campground to check out if you want a quieter camping vibe.
The campground offers a variety of camping sites, from those on the dunes with beautiful sea views to those with more shade.
For a clean and well-maintained space, the campground offers affordable rates per night, perfect for those looking for a budget-friendly Outer Banks option.
7. Kitty Hawk RV Park
You must check out at the Outer Banks if there’s one RV park. It must be Kitty Hawk! All camping sites offer full hook-ups, which include water, electricity, sewer, and cable TV.
The RV Park is next to the beach, so you can easily catch the sunrise. The camping sites are very close, so keep this in mind if you bring a lot of camping furniture.
However, it’s a small RV Park offering only 30 sites, so get in quickly if you like the location. It’s open from May through to October.
8. Cape Woods Campground
Another quiet, family-run campground along the Outer Banks is Cape Woods. Offering a variety of sites from full hook-up, tent space, or even cabins. Most sites are under trees, so you’ve got plenty of shade.
Located a short drive or bike ride from the beach, it’s a great spot if you prefer something more secluded. The campground has a swimming pool, fire pits, restrooms, and laundry service.
Cape Woods is extremely popular and will get booked months in advance, so make sure you plan.
9. Currituck Sound KOA
The KOA resort offers half a mile of a private beach along the northwest side of the Outer Banks peninsula.
This beach offers exclusive fishing and water access, perfect for escaping the crowds on the Outer Banks beaches.
The KOA resort is usually buzzing, so it’s a great choice for those looking for a busy camping set-up.
Not only does the site offer easy access to water activities, but it also offers various camping from full hook-ups to lodging and tent sites.
It’s usually pricier than other camping options along the Outer Banks, partly due to the site’s convenience.
10. The Refuge
The Refuge on Roanoke Island offers only 15 full hook-up RV sites, the smallest of all the camping sites.
The Refuge is located within the village of Wanchese, which is famous for its fishing, so as you can imagine, the fishing offered is paramount!
It’s a quiet site with beautiful views and easy access to other beaches along the Outer Banks. If fishing isn’t your jam, you can always rent a kayak.
Beach camping in the Outer Banks is open year-round. However, there is a more optimum season to visit.
Below we predict what weather you can expect throughout the year on the Outer Banks and when it is best to camp!
Spring can be a great time to check out the Outer Banks. Temperatures usually vary between 60F and 70F, so it’s not too hot or cold. If you want to beat the summer crowds, Spring is a great time.
Most campgrounds open for Spring Break, so you can easily find somewhere to stay. This is by far the best season to visit.
The Outer Banks in summer is the busiest time, with crowds of tourists visiting the stunning beaches.
Unsurprisingly, it’s so busy when sunny days are limitless and temperatures reach 80 F. All campgrounds and activity centers are open and in full swing.
Like Spring, fall is another great time to camp in the Outer Banks. The school holidays are over, so the beaches aren’t crowded.
Temperatures can range from 50 F to 70 F. Rain and cloudy days are more frequent, but you can prepare for this by packing a rain fly.
There are several beaches that close during the winter when rainfall is heaviest, but there are many campsites that remain open all year round.
Due to the few visitors, fishing during this time can be great. Be prepared for colder temperatures with lows of 10 F. If you’re camping during winter. We’d recommend staying in an RV or cabin.
So now you know what to expect from camping in the Outer Banks, we’ve got some handy camping tips. Make sure you read through to see what the rules are on alcohol, campfires, and pets.
We’ve also added some handy pointers about which activities to prepare for and what the mosquito situation looks like.
There are some strict rules surrounding alcohol on the Outer Banks. No glass bottles are allowed on the beach for obvious reasons, but you are prohibited from drinking liquor on any beach.
It’s not all bad, though, as you can drink beer and wine on the beach, as long as they are not in glass containers.
2. Driving on the Beach
Most of the beaches in the Outer Banks prohibit vehicles from driving over the beach.
However, there are a couple of beaches that do allow it, including Hammocks Beach State Park and Cape Lookout National Park.
With that, be aware even these beaches will stop all driving across the beaches during certain months or extreme weather. So double-check it’s open before you plan to take a car or RV camping.
Campfires and bonfires are allowed on beaches throughout the Outer Banks, although they must be built below the high tide line and be at least 50 ft from any vegetation.
Fires must be no greater than 3 meters long and are only allowed from 6 am to 10 pm. Double-check which beaches allow charcoal or wood fires.
Although you’ll find beaches with different rules, fireworks are generally the same. Fireworks are prohibited on all beaches, and it is illegal to even be caught with fireworks on most beaches.
Some towns along the Outer Banks allow fireworks during holiday celebrations, but these have limits too.
Generally, you can only have sparklers, ground displays, and mountains, which must be in the town center. So nowhere near the beach!
Most beaches throughout the Outer Banks allow pets. However, depending on the time of year, your fluffy friend may or may not need to be on a leash.
For example, dogs must be on a leash at Freeman Park between April and September but are allowed off in Winter between October and March.
Along stretches of the Outer Banks are marshes that can attract serious mosquitoes. While mosquitoes are unlikely to be a problem during the day, they will get irritating in the evening and night.
Layer up on bug spray and keep your tent zipped up! You can also buy mosquito candles to burn if you plan to spend your evening outside your tent.
One of the greatest reasons to hit up Outer Banks is for the range of activities it offers. Water sports include kitesurfing, jet skis, kayaking, and flyboarding.
You can also try out a jetovator, the equivalent of a water jetpack. The Outer Banks also offers fantastic hiking on the coast surrounding the beaches and great bird watching.
If the weather is not great for outdoor activities, there are plenty of museums to check out too! Make sure you pack appropriately for what activities you wish to take part in!
8. Be Prepared for Strong Winds
The Outer Banks are fairly exposed, so be prepared for strong winds. This means anchoring your tent sufficiently and keeping all your belongings covered or inside at night.
If you fail to prepare for these conditions, the weather could damage your tent, or your belongings may be scattered down the beach.
The Outer Banks will soon become your new favorite camping spot. With campsites available for whatever vibe you’re looking for, whether quiet or buzzing and a water activity to suit any preference.
Remember that you can camp in the Outer Banks all year round, but we’d recommend visiting in Spring or fall. We hope this guide has given you all the information you need to plan your camping trip.