Davidson River is a great winter campground for several reasons. One, the gate is open late, allowing you to spend those long, cold, dark winter nights in town. Two, there’s a town, Brevard, just outside the gate. And, it’s a college town, so there are are good coffee shops, good restaurants, a movie theater, and other cultural amenities to keep you entertained (and warm). Three, right outside the gate is a Wal-Mart. Discover it’s a tad chillier than you’re prepared for? In five minutes you’ve got all the fleece blankets you could want.

Of course, what you’re really interested in is what goes on around here during the day. The 31-mile Art Loeb Trail originates just outside the campground and will take you over to the Shining Rock Wilderness if time and your legs allow. And come Oct. 15, the allotment of mountain bike trail doubles and normally hiking-only trails suddenly open up (until spring) for fans of the fat tire. And the stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway about 15 miles up US 276 becomes one of the best cross-country ski-touring destinations in the Southeast after as little as 8 inches of snow.

And good as Davidson River is in the winter, it only gets better come summer.

More info: 877.444.6777 or www.recreation.gov.

Google locator map
Address: US 276 1 mile north of US 64/NC 280
City: Brevard
State: NC
Zip: 28712
Latitude: 35.1722
Longitude: 82.4405
No. of campsites: 160 (not all open year-round)
No. with hookups: 26
No. without hookups: 134
Primitive sites: none
Reservations? 877.444.6777 or www.recreation.gov.
Cost: $20
Year-round? a portion of the campground is open year-round
Gate hours: 7 a.m.-11 p.m.
Quiet hours: same as gate hours
Stuff to do nearby: hiking, mountain biking, fishing, fly fishing.