Located in America’s Southeast, Georgia is a year-round camping destination, featuring seashores, mountains, and bustling cities. The southern portion of the Appalachian Mountains’ most famous southern starting point is Springer Mountain in Northern Georgia. For beaches, there are several islands to explore, with great campgrounds nearby all these natural landmarks.
Other Featured Camping in GA
Where To Go Camping in Georgia
Georgia has a lot of terrific campgrounds for travel trailers and tent campers, in a wide variety of landscapes. It’s a delightful camping destination come spring and fall, with the summer bringing high heat and winter having some freezing nights.
As an outdoor destination, Georgia is best known for holding the most popular starting point of the Appalachian Trail (AT), Springer Mountain. However, the range begins across the border in Alabama at Flagg Mountain, crossing 12 more states (including Georgia) to its North American end in Newfoundland, Canada.
Purists will inform you further that its remnants actually continue northeast over Great Britain (Scotland and Ireland), Greenland, and Scandinavia (Norway). There is also some evidence of the same range having been in Northern Africa. Rocks and strata found in these European and African countries are geologically the same as the Appalachian Mountain Range in North America.
Georgia’s camping and hiking destinations are often intertwined with the AT, but the Peach State also holds a pair of national forests, a strong state park system, and some pretty cool beach towns and islands.
Best Times to Go Camping in Georgia
Summer in Georgia tends to be hot and humid, so camping isn’t ideal from June to September. For travelers who can only visit during the summer though, heading south towards the section of Georgia on the Atlantic Coast is one of the best places to be.
There are several islands in southeast Georgia near the national wildlife refuges surrounding Savannah for warm-weather hikers. Alternatively, the national forests in the northern section of the state (near the border with Tennessee) see relatively moderate summers.
Fall and spring are pretty comfortable throughout the state, and there are plenty of destinations that see comfortable daytime temperatures in the low 70s and upper 60s. Note that the middle of spring is a very popular time to start Appalachian Trail thru-hikes, so crowds on the AT are likely to pick up, especially from mid-April to early May.
Winter in Georgia can get deceptively cold in the northern parts of the state. While not dipping too far below freezing, wintertime lows can hover in the mid to upper 20s routinely. Consider staying further south from the late fall to early spring. Those wanting to visit the national forests will likely want to avoid winter camping for that reason.
National Park Service Sites in Georgia
Georgia has 12 National Park Service (NPS) sites, and one of them offers camping. Georgia’s NPS system is mainly defined by national scenic and historic trails, national monuments, and national historical parks.
Those looking to camp in Georgia’s NPS sites can enjoy Cumberland Island National Seashore. If staying at Sea Camp Campground here, be aware that campers are required to return on the 10:15 am ferry from Sea Camp Dock.
- Cumberland Island National Seashore
National Forests in Georgia
There are only two national forests in the Peach State, jointly managed as the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. Since free camping isn’t abundant in Georgia (more on that later), the two national forests make up a majority of the free camping options here.
- Chattahoochee National Forest
- Oconee National Forest
Best Free Camping in Georgia
Only 5% of Georgia is federal land, so free camping isn’t abundant like it is in the Western States. Of the total federal land, the United States Forest Service (USFS) manages nearly half of it. The National Park Service is responsible for a very small portion of the state’s federal land.
Most of the remaining land is split evenly between the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) and the United States Department of Defense (DoD). Unlike USFS land, free camping isn’t guaranteed on FWS or DoD land. While both allow free camping in certain scenarios, don’t assume boondocking is always allowed, like it is in national forests.
FWS land is easier to find free camping on, but DoD is almost always reserved for military members, spouses, and dependents, except in occasional scenarios where civilians are allowed.
Some of the most popular free camping spots in Georgia include Springer Mountain in Dawsonville (on the AT), the Oconee Ranger District in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, and the Hickey Gap Campground, also in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest.
Georgia State and Public Parks
The state of Georgia has a robust state park system, boasting 49 state parks. Out of those 49, 46 offer camping of some sort. While most offer tent camping, some of them will only offer RV parking or some cabin and screened-in shelter options.
When making plans, double-check that the state park you’re considering provides the camping options you’re looking for because it isn’t a guarantee they will. Always check the Georgia State Parks website for the most up-to-date information. Also, be sure to consider these 10 popular state parks for your next trip.
- Tallulah Gorge State Park
- Cloudland State Park
- Fort Mountain State Park
- Red Top Mountain State Park
- Sweetwater Creek State Park
- Fort Yargo State Park
- George L. Smith State Park
- Vogel State Park
- Skidaway Island State Park
- Black Rock Mountain State Park
RV Resorts and Unique Stays
Camping in Georgia is much more than just pitching a tent on the AT or boondocking in the national forests. The Peach State showcases plenty of amenity-rich sites for campers looking to enjoy boutique glamping or resort-level RV experiences. Here are six of the best options for comfort-oriented camping stays in Georgia.
- The Glamp Inn
- McIntosh Manor RV Park & Campground
- Pine Mountain RV Resort
- Timberline Glamping (4 locations throughout Georgia)
- CreekFire RV Resort
- Camp Margaritaville at Lanier Islands
While known as a stunning spot for hikers and a starting point for the Appalachian Trail, Georgia isn’t always properly appreciated as a camping destination. Whether you’re heading to the national forests or enjoying the mild coastal weather at Cumberland Island, this is a state that deserves recognition among tent campers and RV travelers.