This coastal Carolina town boasts a plethora of beach camping.
Wilmington lures campers with its historic urban center and close proximity to nature. With dozens of parks and preserves to visit within a thirty minute drive, plus many miles of coastline, Wilmington is a top-notch spot for campers looking for a natural getaway or RV park that isn’t too far from creature comforts. Rare wildlife, clean beaches, and lush woodlands await you in this mid-sized North Carolina city.
Just five miles from downtown Wimington, Masonboro Island Reserve is an 8.4-mile long barrier island. This preserve is federally protected and features a wide array of wildlife and beach access, thanks to its pristine marshes, tidal flats, and other ecosystems. This is a nesting ground for both Loggerhead and green sea turtles. Camping is allowed, but it’s best to camp where people have already camped to reduce impact on the environment.
This family-friendly state park offers shaded campsites in the woods along with hot showers and bathrooms. This tent and RV campground has both tent sites and full hookups. Camping here will allow you unfettered access to one of the State’s most popular state parks, which has hiking trails and biking paths, two public boat ramps, and fishing—all just 20 minutes from Wilmington.
Freeman Park is a great place to enjoy old-school beach vibes and camp in seclusion year-round without getting too far away from civilization. Note that there are a limited number of tent camping campsites here, all of which need to be booked in advance. Freeman Park allows dogs and four wheel drive vehicles, and fires are only allowed from October 1 to March 31. Otherwise this is a great spot to watch the sunset and sunrise while enjoying the ocean waves.
The best times to camp on the Carolina coast are spring and fall, which avoids hot summer months and out-of-school crowds. However, hurricane season is also a factor between June and November, so be sure to stay updated with current weather reports and stick to a camping trip that occurs earlier in the spring if you’d rather play it safe.