North Carolina:

Published: Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Its name was given to honor Charles I of England for having granted the land surrounding Albemarle Sound to one Sir Robert Heath in 1629. The name Carolina was derived from the original Latin word Carolus and primarily involved the Albemarle province, which was eventually and officially called North Carolina in 1691.

Apart from its rich history, North Carolina is also one US land full of natural wonders. Its forest coverage stretches for more than a million acres while its lakes number around 1,500, each one having various sizes, the smallest of which covers at least ten acres. With these on hand, a typical RV traveler will pleasantly find the "Tar Heel State" another good American region worth exploring aboard an RV.

The "Tar Heel State" Regions

No one knows exactly why North Carolina was termed the "Tar Heel State" although a commonly held belief is that during its colonial history, the principal product being made for export was tar, alongside turpentine and pitch. These products, particularly tar, ostensibly made North Carolina a household name, earning for it its present tag.

Regardless of how it got its nickname, there is little doubt that North Carolina is a land full of exciting outdoor opportunities packed in a small and compact area. Generally, it is divided into three districts that include the Mountains Region, the Piedmont Region, and the Coastal Plains Region.

The Mountains

The region covers Western North Carolina, highlighted by a massive chain of mountains collectively called the Appalachians. The chain stretches from the east bordered by the Blue Ridge Mountains and extends down to the western side where the Great Smoky Mountains stand guard.

Needless to say, the region is a rich source of outdoor opportunities so it should not entirely be uncommon to find many RV-boarded tourists engage in such activities as hiking and fishing during summer and skiing and sledding when winter comes around.

Another popular regional activity is camping, and RVers will likely find most major cities here having several RV parks from where travelers can park in their vehicles and start exploring nearby attractions. A fine example of this is Adventure Trail Campground in Whittier City where RVs are mostly welcome and campers are afforded a wide variety of exhilarating outdoor adventures like white water rafting on the wild waters of nearby Nantahala River. For the children, the place to see is Ghost Town, a theme park set upon a mountain top from where one can see Maggie Valley flexing her muscles.

The Piedmont Region

Set in Central North Carolina, the region, sometimes called "The Heartland", comprises nearly a third of the entire state, made up mostly of rolling plains. Geographically, the area comprises those portions of land found at the base of the Appalachian Mountains, and although flat lands constitute a significant piece of the regional landscape, one can also find rivers and forest areas nearby. Additionally, in the highly-urbanized areas, golf courses are quite abundant, making the area another suitable place for exploration.

Some regional cities that are worth remembering for many RVers visiting the Piedmont Region are Raleigh, the capital city, Fayetteville, and Snow Camp. All three cities, along with several others, are certified RV-friendly with offerings of several RV parks. Snow Camp, in particular, is the host of Cane Creek Campground and RV Park, an 80-acre wide wooded RV camp site that focuses on family enjoyment. Among the attractions that RV-boarded travelers can get to see while enjoying the amenities of this campground are the Cedar Rock Park found at the Cane Mountain Range foot base where hikers are a common lot and the Dentzel Carousel, a vintage menagerie carousel circa 1906-1910 composed of three rows of carousel rides designed for the kids enjoyment.

The Coastal Plains Region

The region, nestled on the eastern tip of North Carolina, is a virtual resort paradise with its many sandy beaches and a sunny weather that pervades all across the land. From afar, though, are several wetland areas that serve as natural habitats for various wildlife and exotic plant varieties. Either way, the area should be deemed worthy of exploration by most RV riders because apart from the beautiful beaches, the coastal plains are also history rich, tracing their origins to as far back as the 16th century.

For RVers who simply love the outdoors, this particular region ought to be perfect particularly in cities like Kitty Hawk, Atkinson, and Merritt where natural attractions abound. Specifically, Merritt boasts of having the Bay River Campground under its fold. The RV park has convenient access to another regional city, Oriental, situated about five miles away. Oriental plays host to Neuse River where numerous fish species abound, including croakers, mackerels, mullets, flounders, and so much more. Meanwhile, up above, bird-watching offers an excellent alternative as the city is likewise often visited by a wide selection of native birds such as pine warblers, brown pelicans, eastern kingbirds, brown-headed nuthatches, and many others.

A View of Some North Carolina Cities

North Carolina may be generally seen as a rather tiny American state when viewed from its geographical perspective. Still, its many cities have several attractions, both natural and man-made, that should encourage typical RV-boarded travelers to give the "Tar Heel State" the needed exploration and see what these cities can offer in terms of RV accessibility.


The city rests on the extreme western corner of the "Tar Heel State" and is quite naturally a mountain area. In recent years, Asheville has steadily built a name as a venue where outdoor sports are regularly held. This is not actually surprising since among its greater attractions are various state parks, including the highly-visited Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The park, so named because of the cloudy mist that hovers over it at various periods, stretches for about 800 square miles and covers both Tennessee and North Carolina states. Nearly 100 percent of its entire area is forested, providing shelter to a diverse species of wild plants and rare animals, including rare salamander species that is believed to be the largest collection ever assembled in one place.

Various wildflowers likewise have made the Great Smoky Mountains National Park their home. Approximately 1,660 of them are settled here including seasonal types like summer flowers azalea shrubs and showy rhododendrons.

RV riders thinking of visiting the mountain park will not find the journey all too difficult as there are numerous paved highways and gravel roads set inside the park that stretch for several miles and capable of accommodating various mechanized vehicles. Over 900 miles of hiking paths have been carved here where adventurers can either take on short ventures or engage in long-term sojourns that will involve entering the deeper forest recesses.

Additionally, several campgrounds are often set up in various park areas during summer and sometimes during autumn, but for RV-boarded tourists who prefer a more convenient location for themselves and for their RVs, there are several RV parks operating in nearby city premises, notably the Bear Den Family Campground in nearby Spruce Pine, which lies directly next to what is perhaps the greatest regional attraction, the Blue Ridge Parkway.


Its prime location of being placed above the sea at a height of 500 feet and complemented by the warmth of the nearby arms of the mighty Appalachian Mountains has given Pinehurst a generally-mild climate, setting the perfect stage for holding great golf games. In fact, ten excellent golf courses are found in this town that was once a resort area ran by James Walker Tufts.

Yet, there is actually more to Pinehurst than just golf courses. Several other activities await the interested RV-boarded visitor here including tours of art museums and historic sites. State parks are also abundant here, like the Reservoir Park and the Cannon Memorial Park, both renowned for their picnic grounds and walking trails. The latter, however, covers a bigger area of about 15.5 acres although the former provides a more diverse set of outdoor opportunities since it ostensibly has a resident lake where fishing is generally allowed.

RVers who find these outdoor activities exciting, particularly golf, will also find Pinehurst to be an RV-friendly town. Village of Pinehurst RV Resort, set in the northern part of town, in fact, has 55 RV sites, each one fully hooked-up and capable of accommodating RVs as long as 42 feet.

The golf courses here are simply phenomenal, and have hosted many prestigious events such as the Men's US Open, the Senior's US Open, and the Women's US Open, among others. With such an impressive credential, it comes as no surprise that Pinehurst is presently hailed as the "Golf Capital of the World".

For RV-boarded travelers who find golf boring, engaging in other fun outdoor activities set inside the Village of Pinehurst RV Resort is an available option. They can try their skills at catching fish since the campground has a resident lake, Juniper, where anglers are regular visitors. They can also have fun at the nearby beach where sunbathers and games go hand-in-hand.

Blue Ridge Parkway

For RV-boarded trippers interested in exploring the many exciting attractions of North Carolina aboard their RVs, there is nothing better than a scenic cruise along Blue Ridge Parkway. The cruise, covering at least 469 miles, begins at MP 0 just off Shenandoah National Park and ends at MP 469 near the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and although the road tends to be winding, RVers should expect many interesting stop-over sites including about a hundred hiking paths ranging from easy walks along the Appalachian Trail to more strenuous offerings like that of the Shut-In Trail.

Wildflower viewing and bird-watching are two other activities that should catch the attention of most RVers traveling the stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Its diverse mountain topography has allowed various wildflowers to spring forth in abundance during certain seasons like Serviceberries, Redbuds, Spring Beauty, Bloodroot, and Dogwoods during spring. Meanwhile, the same mountain topography, particularly that formed by the Appalachians, has likewise enticed many migratory birds to fly by the parkway skies during their annual autumn trek.

Of course, to fully enjoy these activities, one needs to be cautious as one drives the RV past the Blue Ridge Parkway. This is actually a basic travel recommendation and in Blue Ridge, 45 mph is the maximum speed allowed, both for safety and enjoyment reasons. It is, after all, a drive that should consume at least twelve hours and this can obviously be quite tiring but nonetheless pleasurable.

Alternatively, one should take a rest during given times while enjoying the scenic drive because approximately nine camping grounds have been set up in various parkway areas where trailer sites, dump terminals, and picnic tables are available. Along with these are cabin complexes, service stations, restaurants, and many other facilities.

Uwharrie National Forest

Lying in central North Carolina, the Uwharrie National Forest is the smallest of all national forests set in the Tar Heels State. Covering only a little more than 50,000 acres, the forest attraction nevertheless makes up for its tiny coverage by having several great attractions in its midst that should be of keen interest to many RV-boarded travelers. For instance, the many trails found inside the forest grounds are meant for hikers of various types. There is the easy-to-conquer Densons Creek Nature Trail that has a loop-like trail whose end point is along Densons Creek, and there is the more challenging Uwharrie Trail that covers a long 20 miles.

Meanwhile, in the vicinity of Badin Lake, horseback riding is a popular outdoor sports because of horse paths that stretch for approximately 150 miles. There are even horse camps available here. Alternatively, RVers can opt to go bird-watching since Badin Lake also gets regular visits from various songbirds and even from endangered species like the American bald eagles.

For places to stay, RVers can check out the forest camping areas that come in two types namely primitive and developed. The latter is ostensibly meant for RV riders although amenities may be a bit limited. Nevertheless, RV-boarded travelers can expect several other outdoor activities to be available here including fishing, swimming, and boating.

A Visit to North Carolina

Temperate climate is what one can expect from North Carolina although its summer months can be quite hot and dry, except perhaps in the regions above the coast. Spring and autumn can be rather long but this is compensated by the succeeding winter season with its mild and gentle offering.

Technically, visiting North Carolina is perfect anytime during the year and it will depend on which season one is most comfortable with. If summer is simply too hot, one can opt for a spring visit, particularly at the tail-end when the weather does not exhibit bouts of extreme coldness anymore, but is not overly hot either. An autumn sojourn is likewise ideal because summer has ended so the beaches will ostensibly be less crowded with hotels usually offering cheaper rates. However, this is also considered as hurricane season so if one is bringing along an RV, other safer options should be entertained.

Sands of Time Campground

The location of Sands of Time Campground within Kinnakeet village is by itself already an attraction as the village is a fishing community where RVers who have a passion for fishing will find their ultimate pleasure. Yet, if one is not actually fond of fishing, several other campground attractions can be explored, particularly in the surrounding areas. These include the Canadian Hole, a prime spot for kiting and wind surfing set about three miles away and the celebrated Cape Hatteras Lighthouse found farther away at six miles.

In terms of facilities, the RV campground features 57 RV sites, all equipped with modern amenities like water, electricity, hot showers, restrooms, and laundry areas. Notable features include freezers for storing caught fish and a fully-lighted cleaning table.

Set on the quaint island of Hatteras, Sands of Time Campground also offers its beaches as its main attraction. With shorelines stretching for several miles, RVers checking in at this RV campground will definitely have a grand time either sunbathing or simply enjoying beautiful views.

Lazy J Campground

Perched in the quiet town of Rosman, Lazy J Campground is found along the French Broad River and features 32 RV sites. Security is ably provided here since each site is separated from one another by several areas of wooded forests. Additionally, personal protection can be enhanced by bringing along pets as these are welcome here although they need to be kept on leash while not making excessive noises.

RVs measuring as long as 40 feet can be accommodated in this RV campground despite its rather limited 15-acre area coverage. And because of its French Broad River links, RV-boarded tourists should expect swimming, fishing, and boating as among the more popular activities at Lazy J Campground. Additionally, hiking ought to be equally popular here since hovering just above the campground is the Blue Ridge Mountains where various trails await exploration.

As for nearby attractions, RV-boarded travelers who decide to settle in at Lazy J Campground can expect convenient access to popular sites like Chimney Rock, Mount Mitchell, Grandfather Mountain, Biltmore Estate, and Blue Ridge Parkway. Meanwhile, visiting Brevard town for more diverse attractions ought to be equally easy since it is just ten miles away. Ditto for Asheville which is about 40 miles away.

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