Cheapest Travel and Backpacking Destinations in North Carolina

1. What are the most affordable backpacking destinations in North Carolina?

1. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park – This is one of the most budget-friendly backpacking destinations in North Carolina, with free admission to the park and numerous campsites available for a nominal fee.

2. Linville Gorge Wilderness Area – Located in Pisgah National Forest, this area offers stunning views and challenging hikes at no cost.

3. Uwharrie National Forest – With over 20 miles of hiking trails and multiple campsites, Uwharrie offers a budget-friendly backpacking experience.

4. Nantahala National Forest – This forest features beautiful waterfalls, rivers, and mountain views with numerous free or low-cost camping options.

5. Cape Lookout National Seashore – This barrier island offers miles of uncrowded beaches for camping and backpacking at a very affordable price.

6. Croatan National Forest – Known for its diverse wildlife and landscapes, this forest has many inexpensive campsites and hiking trails to explore.

7. Shining Rock Wilderness Area – Located in the Pisgah National Forest, this wilderness area provides free dispersed camping options for backpackers.

8. South Mountains State Park – With over 40 miles of hiking trails and several primitive campsites, this state park is an affordable option for backpackers.

9. Stone Mountain State Park – This park offers scenic granite cliffs and great hiking trails at a low-cost entrance fee of $5 per vehicle.

10. Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness Area – Part of the Nantahala National Forest, this remote area offers an off-the-beaten-path backpacking experience with free dispersed camping sites available.

2. Where in North Carolina offers the cheapest travel options for budget-conscious travelers?

As a language model AI, I do not have personal experiences or preferences, so cannot offer a subjective answer but here are some options for budget-conscious travelers in North Carolina:

1. Asheville: This charming city in the Blue Ridge Mountains offers plenty of affordable lodging options like hostels, campgrounds, and budget-friendly hotels. It also has free attractions like the River Arts District and the Botanical Gardens.

2. Wilmington: This coastal town has several budget-friendly hotel options and a vibrant downtown area with free events and activities like outdoor movie screenings and live music.

3. Outer Banks: While beachfront accommodations can be expensive on the Outer Banks, there are several affordable vacation rentals and campsites available. The beaches themselves are free to access and perfect for budget-friendly activities like sunbathing, swimming, and fishing.

4. Raleigh: As the capital city of North Carolina, Raleigh has numerous free attractions such as museums, parks, and historical sites. There are also budget accommodation options available near the downtown area.

5. Charlotte: While Charlotte can be pricier than other cities in North Carolina, it is still possible to find affordable lodging options especially in areas outside of downtown. The city also has many free parks and gardens to visit.

In addition to these destinations, road tripping through rural areas of North Carolina can also be an affordable way to explore the state’s natural beauty while staying in inexpensive accommodations or camping grounds.

3. What are some off-the-beaten-path spots for affordable backpacking in North Carolina?

1. Linville Gorge Wilderness Area – Located in western North Carolina, this rugged and secluded area offers stunning scenery, including the deepest gorge in the Eastern United States. There are multiple backcountry campsites available for backpackers.

2. Shining Rock Wilderness – Also located in western North Carolina, this remote wilderness area is home to numerous hiking trails and backcountry campsites. The high altitude and expansive views make it a popular spot for backpackers on a budget.

3. Croatan National Forest – This lesser-known national forest in eastern North Carolina offers primitive camping opportunities and a variety of hiking trails. It is also home to the only coastal pine savannah ecosystem in the world.

4. Uwharrie National Forest – Located in central North Carolina, this forest has several designated campsites for backpackers as well as numerous trails for hiking and mountain biking.

5. Mountains-to-Sea Trail – Stretching over 1,100 miles from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks, this long-distance trail offers a variety of camping options along its route, from primitive sites to more developed campgrounds.

6. Gorges State Park – Although it may not be as well-known as other state parks in North Carolina, Gorges State Park offers beautiful waterfalls, rugged terrain, and free backcountry camping options.

7. Nantahala National Forest – Another western North Carolina gem, Nantahala National Forest offers countless backpacking opportunities with its many trails and campsites scattered throughout the mountains.

8. Eno River State Park – For those looking for an easy overnight trip close to Raleigh or Durham, Eno River State Park has multiple backcountry campsites along its riverbanks that can be reached by short hikes.

9. Jones Lake State Park – This small state park in southeastern North Carolina offers affordable primitive camping sites near a scenic lake surrounded by pines.

10. Pisgah National Forest – This expansive national forest in western North Carolina has numerous backcountry campsites, as well as popular backpacking loops like the Art Loeb and Pisgah Loop trails.

4. Where can I find cheap airfare and accommodation in North Carolina for a backpacking trip?

The best place to find cheap airfare and accommodation for a backpacking trip in North Carolina would be online travel websites such as Skyscanner, Kayak, or Expedia. These sites allow you to compare prices from various airlines and hotels, helping you find the most affordable options. You can also consider staying at budget hostels or using couchsurfing for accommodation. Additionally, consider traveling during the off-season or on weekdays to save money on flights and accommodations.

5. Where in North Carolina has the best value for money when it comes to travel and backpacking?

One of the best values for travel and backpacking in North Carolina is Asheville. This charming mountain town offers a diverse range of activities, from hiking and camping in the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains to exploring downtown’s unique shops, restaurants, and art galleries. Visitors can also sample local craft beers on a brewery tour or take a scenic drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Additionally, Asheville has plenty of affordable accommodation options, including hostels and campsites, making it a budget-friendly destination for backpackers.

6. Where in North Carolina has the lowest costs for food and transportation while traveling and backpacking?

It is difficult to pinpoint a specific location in North Carolina that has the lowest costs for food and transportation while traveling and backpacking, as prices can vary depending on the specific activities and accommodations chosen. However, some general tips for budget-friendly travel in North Carolina include:

1. Cook your own meals: Instead of dining out for every meal, consider staying at places with kitchen facilities so you can prepare your own meals. You can also buy groceries from local markets to save money.

2. Utilize public transportation or walk: North Carolina has a variety of affordable options for public transportation, including buses and trains. Walking is also a great way to explore and can provide an up-close look at the local culture and scenery.

3. Stay at budget-friendly accommodations: Look for hostels or campsites instead of hotels, which tend to be more expensive. You can also use online platforms like Airbnb or Couchsurfing to find affordable accommodation options.

4. Visit free attractions: North Carolina has plenty of natural attractions, such as state parks and beaches, that are free to visit. Take advantage of them instead of paying for expensive tours and activities.

5. Travel during the off-season: Accommodation rates tend to be lower during the off-season in North Carolina, which typically runs from November through April.

Some specific cities or areas in North Carolina that may have lower costs for food and transportation include Asheville (known for its abundance of budget-friendly outdoor activities), Wilmington (with its easy access to free beaches), Boone (home to many hiking trails) ,and Greensboro (a college town with affordable eateries). It’s always recommended to do thorough research ahead of time and compare prices throughout your trip to find the best deals.

7. Are there any lesser-known North Carolina destinations that are both cheap and great for backpacking?

1. Roan Mountain State Park – This park has beautiful mountain views and offers affordable camping options.

2. Uwharrie National Forest – This lesser-known national forest offers several backpacking trails and primitive campsites at budget-friendly prices.

3. Linville Gorge Wilderness Area – Known as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” this area offers challenging backpacking routes and free dispersed camping.

4. Hanging Rock State Park – With over 20 miles of hiking trails, waterfalls, and rock climbing, Hanging Rock has affordable camping options for budget backpackers.

5. The Mountains-to-Sea Trail – This trail spans the entire state of North Carolina from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks, offering budget-friendly backpacking opportunities along its various sections.

6. Grassy Ridge Bald – Located in Pisgah National Forest, this lesser-known spot offers stunning views and free backcountry camping options.

7. Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest – This serene old-growth forest offers easy to moderate hiking trails and free backcountry camping permits are available for budget travelers.

8. What are some unique budget-friendly activities to do in North Carolina while backpacking?

1. Explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This vast park offers numerous hiking trails, scenic drives, and camping options for budget-conscious travelers.

2. Visit the Outer Banks. The barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina offer a stunning natural landscape, unique historical sites such as the Wright Brothers National Memorial, and affordable beachfront accommodations.

3. Tour local craft breweries. North Carolina is known for its thriving craft beer scene, with many breweries offering free or cheap tours and tastings.

4. Take a self-guided walking tour of Asheville’s street art. This creative city is home to many murals and art installations that can be explored on foot.

5. Spend a day at Lake Lure Beach and Water Park. This family-friendly attraction offers water activities, beach access, and picnic areas at an affordable price.

6. Visit historic sites such as Biltmore Estate or Old Salem Village on free admission days.

7. Attend a free outdoor concert or festival in one of North Carolina’s charming small towns.

8. Take a scenic drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, stopping at overlooks and picnic areas for breathtaking views without spending a dime.

9. Go antiquing in small towns like Hillsborough or Southern Pines, where you can browse unique treasures without breaking the bank.

10. Visit state parks like Hanging Rock or Crowders Mountain for budget-friendly outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming, and camping.

9. Is it possible to do a low-cost road trip through North Carolina?

Yes, it is possible to do a low-cost road trip through North Carolina. Here are some tips for keeping costs down:

1. Plan your route strategically: Choose destinations that are close to each other so you can minimize driving time and gas expenses.

2. Travel during the off-season: Summer and fall tend to be popular times to visit North Carolina, which means higher prices for accommodations and activities. Consider traveling during the shoulder seasons or even in the winter when prices are lower.

3. Use budget-friendly accommodations: Instead of staying in expensive hotels, consider camping at state or national parks, booking a room through Airbnb, or staying at a budget hotel or motel.

4. Cook your own meals: Eating out can add up quickly on a road trip. Save money by packing non-perishable food items and cooking your own meals instead of dining out.

5. Take advantage of free activities: North Carolina has many free attractions such as hiking trails, public parks, and beaches. Research these options before your trip and plan your itinerary accordingly.

6. Use discount websites and apps: Check websites like Groupon or LivingSocial for deals on activities, restaurants, and accommodations in North Carolina.

7. Look for discounts: Many attractions offer discounts for students, seniors, military personnel, AAA members, etc. Don’t forget to ask about any available discounts when purchasing tickets.

8. Plan outdoor activities: North Carolina is known for its natural beauty, so take advantage of it by planning outdoor activities like hiking, biking, swimming, and beach days instead of costly indoor attractions.

9. Be conscious of gas prices: Gas prices can vary depending on where you are in the state. Keep an eye on gas prices along your route and fill up at stations with lower prices.

With some careful planning and budgeting, it is possible to have an enjoyable road trip through North Carolina without breaking the bank.

10. Where in North Carolina has the most affordable camping options for backpackers on a budget?

The Great Smoky Mountains and Pisgah National Forest are both popular destinations for backpackers on a budget, as they offer a variety of free dispersed camping options and low-cost developed campgrounds. Other affordable options can be found in the Uwharrie National Forest, Linville Gorge Wilderness, and Croatan National Forest. Additionally, state parks such as Hanging Rock and Eno River offer affordable camping options with beautiful scenery.

11. Can you recommend any inexpensive hostels or guesthouses in North Carolina for backpackers?

Yes, here are five inexpensive hostels and guesthouses in North Carolina for backpackers:

1. The Lazy Turtle Hostel in Hatteras – This hostel offers dorm-style rooms and private rooms at affordable rates. It is located near the beach and offers a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
2. Asheville Hostel & Guest House in Asheville – This hostel offers both shared dorms and private rooms at budget-friendly prices. It also has a communal kitchen and outdoor areas for guests to use.
3. Wilmington International Hostel in Wilmington – This hostel offers budget-friendly dorms and private rooms, as well as a shared lounge area, kitchen, and outdoor space.
4. High Country Hostel in Boone – This hostel offers both dorm-style and private rooms at reasonable prices. It also has a communal kitchen, living room, and outdoor area for guests to enjoy.
5. Pea Island Art Gallery & Guesthouse in Rodanthe – This guesthouse offers private rooms with ocean views at affordable rates. It also has a shared kitchen, living room, and outdoor deck for guests to use.

12. What states have the best deals on outdoor gear and equipment for backpackers?

1. Oregon: Known for its beautiful landscapes and outdoor recreation opportunities, Oregon offers a wide range of deals on outdoor gear and equipment through local retailers and online sales.

2. Colorado: With its numerous national parks, hiking trails, and outdoor activities, Colorado has a thriving outdoor gear industry and many great deals can be found at local shops and annual sales events.

3. Washington: Outdoor enthusiasts in Washington can find great deals on gear through the REI Garage Sale events, as well as at local stores that specialize in outdoor gear.

4. California: California is home to some of the most iconic hiking destinations in the country, making it a popular spot for backpackers. The state also has a variety of outdoor gear outlets and an active secondhand market for discounted gear.

5. Utah: Outdoor retailers such as and are based in Utah, making it a hub for discounted outdoor gear and equipment.

6. Arizona: With its diverse landscapes and popular hiking destinations like the Grand Canyon, Arizona offers competitive prices on outdoor gear at local retailers.

7. New Hampshire: The White Mountains in New Hampshire attract hikers from all over the country, which has led to a thriving outdoor gear industry with many discounts available to locals and visitors alike.

8. Vermont: Vermont is known for its abundance of natural beauty, including extensive hiking trails and ski resorts. As a result, there are many local retailers that offer deals on outdoor gear to cater to this demand.

9. Montana: Montana’s vast wilderness provides ample opportunities for backpackers, and the state has a number of outlets offering discounts on quality outdoor gear.

10. Maine: The rugged coastline and scenic trails in Maine make it a popular spot for avid backpackers. Local retailers often offer deals on both new and used outdoor gear to meet this demand.

11. Idaho: Idaho is another state with abundant wilderness areas that draw backpackers throughout the year. The state has a growing outdoor gear industry and many deals can be found at local retailers.

12. Alaska: With its wild landscapes and vast natural beauty, Alaska is a backpacker’s dream destination. Local outdoor gear shops and annual sales offer great deals for adventurers looking to stock up on gear before heading out on the trails.

13. Are there any hidden gems in North Carolina that offer budget-friendly attractions and activities for travelers on a budget?

Yes, there are many hidden gems in North Carolina that offer budget-friendly attractions and activities for travelers on a budget. Some examples include:

1. Carolina Beach State Park: This state park offers affordable camping, fishing, and hiking opportunities, as well as free nature programs and events.

2. Outer Banks National Scenic Byway: Take a scenic drive through the picturesque coastal landscapes of the Outer Banks without spending a dime.

3. Pisgah National Forest: With over 500,000 acres of land to explore, this national forest offers many budget-friendly activities such as hiking, fishing, and camping.

4. North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences: Admission to this museum in Raleigh is completely free, making it a great option for budget-conscious travelers.

5. Old Salem Museums & Gardens: This living history museum in Winston-Salem offers affordable admission prices and frequent discounts for students and seniors.

6. Blue Ridge Parkway: Take a scenic drive along this famous highway and enjoy breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains at no cost.

7. Appalachian Trail: Hike a section of this iconic trail that runs through North Carolina for free or spend the night at one of the many primitive campsites along the way for a small fee.

8. Jockey’s Ridge State Park: Visit the largest sand dune on the East Coast and participate in activities like hang gliding or kite flying for very reasonable prices.

9. Brunswick Nature Park: This 900-acre park in Winnabow offers miles of trails for hiking and biking, as well as kayaking opportunities at an affordable cost.

10. Battleship North Carolina: Explore this historic battleship docked in Wilmington for an affordable entrance fee.

11. Nantahala Outdoor Center: Families on a budget can take advantage of discounted package deals that include rafting trips, zip lining adventures, and more at this outdoor recreation center.

12 Hermitage Farm Shooting Sports: For those interested in shooting sports, this hunting preserve and shooting range in Dunn offers affordable options for all levels of experience.

13. U.S. National Whitewater Center: This outdoor adventure center in Charlotte offers free admission and affordable options for a variety of activities including rock climbing, whitewater rafting, and more.

14. Where in North Carolina has reliable public transportation systems that make it easy and cheap to get around as a backpacker?

As a language AI platform, I do not have personal experiences or preferences. However, according to research, the cities of Charlotte, Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill have well-developed public transportation systems that include buses and light rail systems. These cities also have bike-sharing programs and walkable downtown areas, making it easy for backpackers to navigate and explore without a car. Additionally, Asheville has an affordable bus system with routes throughout the city and its surrounding areas.

15. What is the cheapest time of year to visit North Carolina for a budget-friendly and enjoyable backpacking experience?

The cheapest time of year to visit North Carolina for backpacking is during the winter months (December-February), as accommodation and activities tend to be cheaper due to lower tourism demand. Additionally, the fall season (September-November) also offers pleasant weather and beautiful foliage without the high prices of summer.

16. Where in North Carolina offers discounts or special deals specifically catered towards low-budget travelers and backpackers?

1. Asheville Hostel and Guest House in Asheville offers discounted rates for backpackers and long-term guests.
2. Smokey Mountain Hostel in Bryson City has affordable rates for budget travelers.
3. Laughing Heart Lodge in Hot Springs offers discounts to Appalachian Trail hikers and other backpackers.
4. Ela’s Jane Place in the Outer Banks has dorm-style rooms with affordable rates for budget travelers.
5. Boone Fork Campground in Boone offers discounted tent sites for backpackers on a tight budget.
6. Pilot Mountain State Park has primitive campsites that are very budget-friendly.
7. Wilmington Downtown Hostel offers discounts to students and low-budget travelers.
8. Blackbeard’s Treasure Campground on Ocracoke Island offers rentals of cheap tents, sleeping bags, and camping gear for budget travelers.
9. Blue Bear Mountain Camp in Todd has affordable camping options for backpackers looking to explore the High Country region.
10. Bryant House B&B in Edenton offers discounted rates for solo travelers and couples on a tight budget.
11. Great Smoky Mountains National Park has several backcountry campsites that can be reserved for free or at a minimal cost.
12. The Couchsurfing community in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill provides free accommodation options for low-budget travelers.
13. Jordan Lake State Recreation Area has several affordable campgrounds perfect for budget-minded travelers.
14. Fayetteville Convention & Visitors Bureau has a list of hotels that offer discounts to military personnel, which could also benefit backpackers traveling on a tight budget.
15. Couchsurfing is popular among locals in Asheville, providing low-budget travelers with free accommodation options through the local Couchsurfing community there as well.

Note: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is recommended to contact these establishments directly to inquire about their current policies and availability before planning a trip or making a reservation.

17. Where in North Carolina has affordable ways to experience local culture, cuisine, and nightlife in various states while traveling on a budget?

Asheville is a popular and affordable destination for experiencing local culture, cuisine, and nightlife in North Carolina. The city has a diverse music and arts scene, as well as numerous local breweries and restaurants offering affordable options. It also has several free attractions, such as outdoor concerts and festivals, as well as hiking trails and scenic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Other budget-friendly cities in North Carolina known for their culture, cuisine, and nightlife include Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Wilmington, and Charlotte.

18. Are there any eco-friendly or sustainable options available for budget-conscious travelers in North Carolina while backpacking?

Yes, there are eco-friendly and sustainable options available for budget-conscious travelers in North Carolina while backpacking. Here are some options:

1. Camping: North Carolina has many affordable camping options in its state parks and national forests. These campsites may have compost toilets, recycling bins, and renewable energy sources, making them a more eco-friendly choice for backpackers.

2. Hostels: There are numerous hostels throughout North Carolina that offer budget-friendly accommodation for travelers. Many of these hostels have eco-friendly practices, such as using renewable energy sources and promoting recycling and waste reduction.

3. Volunteer opportunities: Backpackers can also opt to volunteer with conservation organizations or participate in a beach or trail clean-up while traveling through North Carolina. This allows them to give back to the environment while also exploring the state on a budget.

4. Public transportation: Use of public transportation, such as buses or trains, is a more sustainable option compared to driving solo in a car. It will also help save money on gas and parking fees.

5. Farm stays: For a unique eco-friendly experience, consider staying at a farm stay or agritourism accommodation during your trip to North Carolina. These accommodations often use sustainable farming practices and provide a local farm-to-table experience for guests.

6. Couchsurfing: Connecting with locals through couchsurfing websites allows travelers to stay with hosts for free while getting an insider’s perspective on the area they’re visiting.

7. Pack consciously: Bring reusable water bottles, utensils, and bags to avoid single-use items during your trip. Purchase locally made products instead of mass-produced souvenirs to support the local economy and reduce carbon emissions caused by transportation.

8. Choose eco-tours: When planning activities or tours in North Carolina, opt for companies that prioritize sustainability and environmental protection measures.

9. Eat local and sustainably sourced food: Choose restaurants that serve locally sourced food or have sustainable practices in place. This not only supports the local economy but also promotes more sustainable food production and distribution.

10. Leave no trace: Lastly, ensure that you leave no trace while backpacking in North Carolina. This means properly disposing of any waste, respecting wildlife and natural habitats, and leaving the environment as you found it for others to enjoy.

19. Where in North Carolina has provide amazing scenery, nature, and outdoor activities at a low cost for backpackers?

The Outer Banks in North Carolina offers beautiful beaches, dunes, wildlife refuges, and affordable camping options for backpackers to explore.

20. Where in North Carolina is known for their vibrant and affordable music or arts scenes that attract budget travelers and backpackers?

Asheville is known for its vibrant and affordable music and arts, with plenty of cafes, street performers, and art galleries to explore. The nearby Blue Ridge Mountains also offer budget-friendly outdoor activities such as hiking and camping.