The good news....
Camping opportunities abound in the Croatan NF. There are three pay to
camp grounds located across the forest and with the exception of the
recreation areas which are day use areas only, you can camp just about
anywhere you want.
The bad news is that much of the Croatan is a swamp and full of water
and or covered with underbrush so thick that it is next to impossible
to walk thru and it would take a bulldozer to access and even then the
bulldozer might get stuck ( it happened during the building of the trail
when a bulldozer being used to clear a path through the thick underbrush
on one section of the trail got stuck and a much larger bulldozer had
to be brought in to retrieve the stuck dozer and finish the job ).
Fortunately, along the trail there are plenty of places that make great
camp sites. and it does not cost anything to camp.
The main locations for camping will be at the three shelters.
You can fit several adults in the the shelters. There is also room for
tents and or hammocks next to and or close by the shelters. I often
set up my hammock close to shelters when spending the night in the
The Neuse River has plenty of sites suitable for hammocks and or tents
where you can enjoy a view of the river, boats and birds along with
the occasional airplane or jet.
Other than that just find a place along the trail and set up
camp for the night.
There are no restrictions that I am aware of on building a fire in the
woods. If you do so, please make sure to keep the fire contained and
make sure the fire is out before you leave. I have come across camp
fires that were left burning and no one was around. There is plenty of
dead wood around that you can burn so please do not cut down live trees
or use an ax on them.
Please practice leave no trace and pack out your trash. If you do leave
trash behind make sure it is something of value like a large stainless
steel stock pot with lid I found left at a shelter. It cleaned up nicely
and I am still using it.
Tent the wife and I used BH ( before hammocks )
Hanging with a view along the Neuse River
Unfortunately a hurricane took out this favorite hanging location