Southern cooking gets a lot of attention, but southern camping deserves praise as well. (And combining the two is definitely a good idea!) Visit any of the southern states on your next camping adventure, and you’ll find rolling hills, lush forests, tranquil lakes, robust rivers, and even craggy peaks.
Since the region is a less popular camping destination than say, the West, there are still plenty of amazing hikes, scenic views, and adventure spots that can feel like they're all yours.
If this sounds intriguing, here are three wonderful campgrounds to check out on your next visit to the Southern U.S.
In the heart of Talladega National Forest, Cheaha State Park is one of the best places to camp in Alabama.
From the campground, you can easily access the Pinhoti Trail to take day hikes along Alabama’s stretch of the Appalachian Trail. There are several other great trails nearby as well, including the scenic hike up to McDill’s Point and the otherworldly Rock Garden Trail.
Throughout the park, you’ll find great campsites and hammock spots with plenty of well-maintained amenities. There’s even a wheelchair-accessible boardwalk up to the Bald Mountain Overlook. Cheaha State Park is a great place to visit if you love to hike—the scenery and the trails never disappoint.
This next campground in Georgia is also located near the Appalachian Trail in the section that cuts through Chattahoochee National Forest. In fact, it’s only 8 miles away from Springer Mountain, which is the famous southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.
Of course, this means that there are lots of pretty and challenging day hikes nearby, but the real draw of this campground is the waterfall for which the park gets its name.
Amicalola Falls is the highest waterfall in Georgia. Water from the Amicalola Creek tumbles 729 feet down through the lush surrounding forest. Once you’ve made it to the top of the falls, make sure to check out the Len Foot Hike Inn, one of Georgia’s only backcountry lodges.
In the heat of the summer or fall, there’s just nothing like camping next to a lake. Lake Perry in Mississippi is the perfect retreat for those looking for a serene camping experience.
Located at the northern end of De Soto National Forest, the campground at Lake Perry is pet-friendly with good amenities and plenty of charcoal grills for outdoor cooking. Nearby, you can find many enjoyable hiking trails, and there’s always lots to do on the lake, including fishing, boating, kayaking, or just enjoying the view from the dock. For a peaceful Southern getaway away from the heat and the cities, Lake Perry is the perfect place to visit.
The South is full of under-appreciated places to camp. Whether you’re hiking the Appalachian Trail or just want to experience the unique joy of Southern camping, these campgrounds are great places to start your adventure.
If you're camping in the south this summer, you can enter to win free camping gear on The Dyrt -- a website/app that provides campground reviews from all over the country -- by uploading your own reviews and photos. Check out all of The Dyrt's camping contests, and get out there!
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