Overnight camping is one of the most adventurous and memorable ways to enjoy the French Broad Paddle Trail. Several options exist for lodging, ranging from dispersed camping on remote islands to fancy interior dwellings. Whether you're looking to spend just one night or a full week, there are dozens of places to stop along the river. Note that many of these accommodations are included on the Suggested Trips page.
These campsites are managed by the staff, volunteers, and partners behind MountainTrue's French Broad Paddle Trail team. They are located on property leased from private landowners, non-profit land trusts, and the State of North Carolina. These sites are paddle-in only, meaning that they cannot be driven into, and are only accessible to guests from the river. This is in contrast to many of the "Other Campsites" where campers can drive in from neighboring roads.
MountainTrue's campsites all vary a bit in terms of style and layout, are are generally fairly primitive, however each has a river-facing sign, river access, picnic table, fire ring, and elevated composting toilet. Some sites have additional amenities depending on their topography, surrounding land use, frequency of visitation, etc. Day use is free and welcome at these sites, however overnight stays require a reservation.
There are also several campsites managed by entities other than MountainTrue that allow paddle-in access from the French Broad River. All of these campsites are on our interactive map, which we recommend you use to see where these sites are in relation to MountainTrue's campsites and public river access points.
Some of these campsites are operated by for-profit businesses, and others are dispersed campsites on public lands. Private campgrounds range in infrastructure and amenities, with details described on their websites. Dispersed sites are on public lands, have no fee, and are first-come/first-serve, but typically do not have designated river access, tables, fire rings, toilets, etc. if you plan to camp at a dispersed site, please plan to be self-sufficient and practice Leave No Trace principles.
Please note that camping at public river access points and riverside parks is prohibited.