Camping at Lake Gaston RV Park (Easy 1.5 hour Getaway from Raleigh, North Carolina)

Looking for an easy camping getaway from Raleigh? We love camping on the lakes near Raleigh, and Lake Gaston is another fantastic option.

Paddle board laying on sand at beach with people swimming
Beautiful Lake Gaston

We kickstarted our summer camping last year at the Thousand Trails Lake Gaston RV Park for the weekend and loved the relaxing vibe and stunning views. 

Below is a guide to the Lake Gaston campground: where to stay, how to get there, and things you can do at the lake and campground.

About Lake Gaston

Jetty at a lake with boats docked

Lake Gaston is a picturesque reservoir located in both North Carolina and Virginia. The lake was created in 1963 because of the construction of the Gaston Dam on the Roanoke River. This impressive engineering feat was undertaken to generate hydroelectric power, provide flood control, and supply water for nearby communities. 

The lake spans over thirty-four miles, covers over 20,000 acres, and has over 350 miles of shoreline. It’s no surprise that this lake is a popular vacation destination for those seeking outdoor recreation and relaxation.

Why Visit Lake Gaston, North Carolina?

Young girl on a paddle board on a lake
Fin for the whole family!

One of the main reasons people visit Lake Gaston is for its wide range of water activities. From boating, tubing, and fishing to swimming, paddle boarding and water skiing, there’s something here for everyone. 

The lush forests and rolling hills surrounding the lake make it a great spot for hiking and biking, with several scenic trails located in the surrounding areas. In addition, visitors can enjoy golfing, birdwatching, and even hunting in the nearby forests.

People swimming in a lake
Don’t forget your floating devices!

You get to choose whether you want an active camping getaway, or if, like us, you’re in need of more of a rest, you can have that too. We spent our days swimming, paddleboarding, and roasting s’mores around the campfire.

Thousand Trails Lake Gaston RV Park

Jetty at the edge of a lake

One of the most popular, and most accessible places to camp at Lake Gaston is the Lake Gaston RV Park located in a nicely wooded area on the southern shores of Lake Gaston near Littleton in North Carolina.

The park offers a variety of amenities including full RV hookups, tent sites, laundry facilities, and a clubhouse with a kitchen and TV. There’s also a swimming pool, playground, and dog park on-site, making it a great option for families with children and pets.

Trees by the edge of a lake
Great location on the lake

If you’re curious about Thousand Trails campgrounds, I share more on that at the bottom of the post. We’ve stayed at a lot of Thousand Trails campsites during our RV trip across the US and the Lake Gaston one is a rather good one.

Tent Sites & RV Sites

People on a beach by a lake
RV sites on the edge of the lake

What’s great about the campsites at Lake Gaston is they are heavily wooded, so it will give you that true nature camping experience. There’s nothing I hate more than an RV park that’s just a parking lot. 

Most sites will have a pretty view – either woods or lake – as well as a fire pit and picnic table.

It’s important to note that while you can reserve a spot online (recommended), all sites are first come, first serve. This is typical of Thousand Trails sites. So, arrive early so you can choose a good spot. Check in time is 12pm. There will be a lot of long-term seasonal RVers taking up the spots, so you may have to settle for what’s leftover. But you’ll be granted a large dose of serenity no matter what. 

Once you check in, you’re told what sites are available and you can go and have a look before you claim a spot. You may want to be quick if there are a line of people waiting.

We were tent camping and ended up with a tiny spot cramped to the side in the woods. It was not ideal and there was no power!

People sitting around a tent at a campsite

Lake Gaston has ten shaded tent sites and at $58 a night for no power, I find it super expensive! But that’s the way the US is right now for everything. 

Thankfully, we didn’t get any neighbors during our stay as these tent sites were close to each other. We could spread out a bit which was a blessing.

Girl tasting marshmallows over a fire
S’mores over our campfire

There are a large number of RV sites, but only a little amount have shaded full hook ups. These sites for RVs up to 38′ offer water and thirty amp electric. You select your site upon arrival. 50 amp or sewer is based upon availability at check in. They start at $82 a night. 

Always check current prices before booking as they can change seasonally and may not be accurate as to when this post was published. 

Read more reviews on TripAdvisor. If you don’t have much experience with tent camping, we have lots of tips for you!

Video: Weekend camping getaway at lake gaston rV park

What is there to do at Lake Gaston RV Park?

Father and daughter playing cards
Create family memories

If you’re paying those high prices for camping, you want to ensure there are plenty of amenities for you to enjoy. At the Lake Gaston RV Park, you have a lot to choose from, and it’s a real family orientated environment.

When it comes to things to do while camping at Lake Gaston RV Park, visitors can take advantage of the park’s boat rentals to explore the lake, go fishing, or simply relax by the water. Many guests like to get around on golf carts as well so bring your own if you have it! Although, I think it’s small enough to easily get around by foot.

Swimming Beaches

Paddle board and people on a floatie

There are two swimming beaches located in the RV park area. One is better suited to water activities, the other is much smaller and a little reedier, but still adequate for swimming. 

People in the water at a lake

There were a lot of midges/sandflies on the beach so bring your repellant. There is also not a lot of shade. Our Sun Ninja Tent was too big to put up on such a small beach.

Water Activities

Young girl paddle boarding on a lake

If you have a kayak or paddle board, I suggest bringing them on your camping trip. We have an inflatable paddle boards from Body Glove and love them! We enjoyed taking ours out on the water.

I went out on my own early one morning and almost had the lake to myself. It was so calm and serene, and I paddled over to one of the picturesque coves on the other side. You will need to be careful of boats and water skiers zipping past though. 

Paddle board on a lake
View of a lake house on other side of lake

Of course, fishing is popular on Lake Gaston, and there are several piers to fish off. The lake is well stocked with game fish which include striped bass or rockfish, largemouth bass, crappie, sunfish, and several varieties of catfish. Other species of fish sometimes caught are walleye, yellow perch, and chain pickerel.

So bring your fishing gear. Many bring their own boats to the park, but you can rent boats upon arrival. It’s first come first served!

Games and Playgrounds + Pools

savannah playing tetherball

Lake Gaston RV Park has plenty of courts for you to enjoy some game time with your friends. There are beach volleyball courts, tetherball, horseshoe throwing and gaga ball courts. In fact, this was the first place we ever heard of Gaga ball.

There Is also a small kid’s playground and swimming pool. For us, if you have a lake this beautiful, why would you swim in a chemical laden pool? But each to their own!

We enjoyed sitting in the common area by the lake playing cards and enjoying the sunset.


Girl playing mini golf

We enjoyed playing a few rounds of mini golf to fill in some time when we got bored of swimming and sunbaking. It’s a small course with a pretty setting on the lake. 


Normally we’d be out enjoying the hiking trails, but on this camping trip we stuck to a small walk around the RV Park! There are many trails in the Lake Gaston area for you to enjoy.

Enjoy Sunset on the Lake

Sunset over a lake

Sunset is always a treat on Lake Gaston. So, head to the water with your cooler and snacks! 

General Store

Hold holding up a burger with a lake in the background
Burger with a view

There is a general store that sells some food, fishing gear, camp gear, drinks, ice cream etc. The girls loved the ice cream and Craig said the burgers were delicious! We found the service here to be very friendly and helpful. It was that way throughout the park. 

Planned Activities

people sitting beside lake watching the sunset

Families especially will love the wide variety of planned activities the resort puts on. So be sure to check the schedule each day. When we were there, they had bingo, arts and crafts, and a well-attended dance party at night that was well attended.

They have regular church service and special occasion events!

The nearby town of Littleton offers several shops and restaurants to explore, and there are several wineries and breweries located in the surrounding areas.

What is a Thousand Trails Campsite? Can anyone stay?

Eggs and sausages and bacon on a grill
Breakfast at our campsite

A Thousand Trails campsite is a type of campground that offers outdoor enthusiasts a unique and affordable way to experience the beauty of nature while enjoying a variety of recreational activities.

Developed by the Thousand Trails company, these campgrounds are located throughout the United States and offer a membership-based system for visitors. Members gain access to a network of campgrounds across the country, allowing them to explore different regions and enjoy diverse landscapes. 

Pool surrounded by trees
The pool area is right by the lake!

Thousand Trails campgrounds typically feature spacious RV and tent sites, as well as amenities such as swimming pools, hiking trails, fishing ponds, and community centers. 

The campgrounds are often nestled in scenic areas, providing a serene and peaceful environment for campers. Whether you’re seeking a weekend getaway or an extended vacation, a Thousand Trails campsite offers a convenient and enjoyable way to immerse yourself in the great outdoors.

We had a Thousand Trails membership (the lowest friend referral tier) on our RV trip of the USA. It saved us money as once you have membership, you don’t have to pay nightly camping fees. Again, you reserve your spot in advance, but it’s first come-first served to claim a spot.

Jetty at a lake with boats moored and people swimming
Prime lake location

It’s a high-priced membership so you do want to ensure you will camp fairly often to use it. You are restricted to using just other Thousand Trails campsites, with locations across the country.

The good news is you don’t need a membership to stay in a Thousand Trails campground. They have rates for non-members. As they have more amenities, they tend to be higher priced campsites. This may suit those wanting to a more resort style facilities, especially for families. 

How to get to Lake Gaston

Houses on the lakes edge

The lake is easily accessible by car and is a 2.5-hour drive from Raleigh, North Carolina. There are also several airports located within a two-hour drive from the lake for those flying in.

The Address is 561 Fleming Dairy Rd., Littleton, NC 27850

And if you wanted to stay in Lake Gaston, but not camp, you can use the handy map below to help you find some vacation rentals.

FAQS about Lake Gaston & the Rv Park

Here are some commonly asked questions about visiting Lake Gaston.

Are pets allowed?

Pets are allowed but must be kept on a leash and supervised at all times. They’re not permitted in common building areas, the pool or most lake areas, except designated pet zones. Clean up after your pets.

How long should you visit Lake Gaston for?

If you’re planning a trip to Lake Gaston, it’s recommended to stay for at least a few days to take advantage of all the activities and attractions the area has to offer.

When is check in/ Check out at the RV park?

Nice and easy answer for you IT’s 12pm for both!

Is there a dump station at the RV Park

Of course! Honeywagon service is also available for a nominal charge 3 times per week. Sign up is required the day before and the service is not available on your day of arrival or your day of departure.

Is lake Gaston man made?

Lake Gaston is a 20,000-acre artificial lake, created as a result of the construction of the Gaston Dam. It’s roughly 40% the size of Kerr Reservoir and 450% larger than Roanoke Rapids Lake which is situated downstream. 

When was Lake Gaston built?

The Lake Gaston dam was built in 1963 by Virginia Power and Electric Company (now Dominion Virginia Power), just south of the Virginia/North Carolina border. 

Are there alligators in Lake Gaston?

No. They have not been found that far inland in North Carolina?

Are there snakes in Lake Gaston?

The copperhead, cottonmouth, and timber rattlesnake are three venomous snake species still found in or near Lake Gaston.

Final Thoughts on Lake Gaston Camping

Paddle board on the edge of a lake

 Lake Gaston is a beautiful and exciting vacation destination that offers visitors a wide range of outdoor activities and attractions. Whether you’re looking to camp at the Lake Gaston RV Park or simply spend a day on the water, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at this stunning North Carolina Lake.

Camping in a beautiful natural environment like this can give you vast amounts of Zen benefits you need to survive the chaos of everyday life. Obviously, the longer the better! 

We really enjoyed camping here as an alternative to our favorite camping place near Raleigh: Kerr Lake

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