Ultimate Guide to Camping in Georgia State Parks (2023)

Ultimate Guide to Camping in Georgia State Parks (2023)

Georgia is home to some of the most diverse state parks and camping sites in the United States. Whether you are new to camping, or you are an experienced outdoorsman, you can find something that suits you in Georgia’s state parks.

The state has 41 parks and over 2,700 campsites. From tent-only areas to convenient RV parking to primitive camping, there is a type of campsite for all interests.

    Why Camp at Georgia State Parks?

    Living in Georgia has its pros and cons, and the state parks are definitely a pro. Aside from the diversity of accommodations you’ll find, Georgia State Parks are known for their facilities and being incredibly well-maintained. Many state park camping locations have laundry facilities as well as a place to buy camping supplies if you’ve forgotten anything.

    The state of Georgia has also done a great job of locating camp sites strategically so that you can experience more than just camping on your trip. Whether you want to visit a beautiful outlook, go for a hike, or spend time in the water, it won’t be far away.

    Georgia state parks are also very family friendly. Some parks have playgrounds near camping areas, and bathrooms are always well-lit and clean.

    Finally, Georgia State Park camping is affordable. Most overnight rates range between $25-$35.

    Types of Campsites In Georgia

    If you’ve never been camping in a Georgia state park, you’ll want to make sure to do your research. Aside from researching online, you may want to spend a little time learning about camping basics. T. Edward Nicken’s Camping Guide book on Amazon is a good place to start.

    In Georgia, there are several types of campsites, some you can drive your RV to, and some are only accessible on foot or even by boat.

    Tent, Trailer & RV Campsites

    Tent, trailer & RV campsites are developed sites that feature electrical and water hookups, picnic tables, and grills or fire rings. Some even include comfort stations with hot showers, indoor plumbing, laundry facilities, and cable TV hookups.

    These sites make it easy to park your car truck right next to your tent site so you don’t have to lug your gear around and you can store items easily in your vehicle. If you have a bigger vehicle like a trailer or RV, there are often dedicated spaces that make it easier for parking.

    Some of the most popular tent, trailer & RV Georgia state park campsites include:

    • Crooked River
    • Florence Marina
    • Fort McAllister
    • Fort Yargo
    • Mistletoe
    • Skidaway
    • Black Rock Mountain
    • Red Top Mountain
    • Tugaloo
    • Richard B. Russell

    There are many, many more parks aside from this list. You can visit the Official Georgia state parks and historic sites website to view a full list.

    Walk-In Campsites

    Walk-in campsites are just what they sound like, you can only access the site on foot. Most sites aren’t far from a parking area, but you won’t be camping overnight next to your vehicle.

    Most walk-in sites still have some facilities like bathrooms and grills. But if you need a grill, they offer portable campsite grills here over on Amazon or other outdoor stores. They are usually less busy than the car camping sites and offer an experience that is a little closer to nature.

    Staying overnight at a walk-in campsite can be a more peaceful experience since you won’t have the noise of vehicles in the site. Some campers also enjoy the cleaner air and more natural camping style.

    Backcountry Campsites

    Backcountry campsites are up a notch from walk-in sites. They require more than just a short walk from your car. Most backcountry sites are located deep in the state park and include a longer hike with your gear. Most backcountry sites do not have facilities of any kind.

    There are no bathrooms, outhouses, electricity, or water. Make sure you come prepared with equipment, like a flashlight. You can find reliable ones at most stores with an outdoor section or check out these tactical flashlights from 1TAC.

    Most sites still include a fire ring and a space for your tent, but that’s about it. If you are new to camping, be sure to do your research before you set out to one of the backcountry sites. The last thing you want is to find yourself unprepared at a remote campsite in the middle of a Georgia state park.

    There are a couple of exceptions to the no-facilities rule, like the site at The Hike Inn. The Hike Inn is accessible by a 5-mile hike through the Amicalola Falls State Park. The Inn is a sustainably-designed lodge where you can sleep indoors and eat home-cooked meals. It is a common stopping point for Appalachian Trail hikers, but also makes for a wonderful “camping†experience.

    Paddle-In Campsites

    Paddle-in campsites are sites that are accessible by water. Some can only be reached by water, and some can be reached by a walking trail as well. Most sites are small and modest, some sleeping only about 25 people with one or two outhouses.

    Some paddle-in sites are located just off the river, while some are located on an island. You can find paddle-in sites at Reed Bingham State Park, Chattahoochee Bend State Park, and High Falls State Park. And if you like Reed Bingham State Park, you should check out these other parks near Valdosta!

    While most paddle-in sites are very safe, it’s still a good idea to lock up your vessel at night. The DocksLocks anti-theft cable is an easy way to secure your kayak, canoe, or other water craft for the duration of your stay. You can find it here on Amazon or most outdoor stores. It’s also a good idea to double check your directions and maps, as some of the sites can be very easy to pass by.

    Georgia State Parks Camping Reservations

    Now that you know the different types of campsites in Georgia state parks, you can start planning your trip with a reservation. Most sites do not require reservations in advance, but you always run the risk of the site being full if you do not have a reservation.

    When you make a reservation, you not only secure a place to stay, but you can even select your spot at the site so you can be closer to the facilities, water, or playground.

    The state of Georgia takes reservations up to 13 months in advance. A 50% deposit is required to confirm a reservation for most overnight stays with the remaining balance due at check-in. If you book 14 days or less in advance, you must pay in full. Each site publishes its rules with respect to check-in times and policies.

    Also be sure to pay attention to your reservation guidelines, especially if you are traveling in a large group. Some sites only allow a certain number of vehicles or people per group due to space restrictions. You can make your reservations online or by phone.

    General Tips for Camping at Georgia State Parks

    While you really can’t go wrong camping in a Georgia state park, there are a few tips that you may find helpful, especially if you are new to camping.

    Reserve Early

    With so many different campsites, it may seem like reserving your spot is not an urgent task. However, in the spring and summer months in particular, you’d be surprised how fast sites can fill up. During peak season, you should try to make your reservation at least 3 months in advance.

    Research Park Rules

    Most state park camp sites are pretty low key and accommodating, but you should still be aware of the rules. There are rules about where different types of vehicles can be parked, policies around pets and smoking, and general rules about maintaining cleanliness and respectfulness while at the site.

    Always Stop by the Visitor Center

    If the site you are visiting has a visitor center, be sure to stop by and check it out. Visitor centers generally have great information about the site itself including the history, as well as things to do in the area.

    While you can find a lot of information online, some things are difficult to uncover unless you are actually there. If the center is staffed, be sure to get some recommendations from the employee, as they have the best tips and tricks.

    Check Out Your Georgia Campsite’s Website For Activities

    Sunset over Mistletoe State Park
    Sunset over Mistletoe State Park

    Many campsites at Georgia state parks offer much more than just facilities and a place to sleep. Many sites are near several trail heads for hiking, you can rent canoes or kayaks and spend a day on the water, or even see a concert.

    The Mistletoe State Park in Appling, GA even hosts astronomy programs and nature walks. If you are driving through Augusta, GA to get to Mistletoe, be sure to build time in to visit one of these excellent dessert spots.

    Unique Experiences at Georgia State Park Camp Sites

    There are hundreds of places to set up a tent and enjoy the traditional camping experience at Georgia state parks. But there are also an abundance of unique experiences if you are looking to do something a little outside of the camping box.


    Hiking during a camping trip may not seem like a unique experience, but it can be in Georgia state parks. There are miles of trails at any given site that cater to every type of hiker from paved trails to challenging backcountry hikes.

    If you’re willing to adventure out a little, you can even find beautiful waterfall hikes at Cloudland Canyon State Park, Fort Mountain Stake Park, Tallulah Gorge State Park, and Vogel State Park. 

    You can also make hiking a fun activity for the kids by leading them to something exciting! Fort Mountain features a hike around a beautiful lake, General Coffee hosts farm animals at a stop along the trail, Fort Yargo has an old fort area, and you can discover hidden treasure under the Watson Mill Bridge.

    Camp in a Yurt

    If you don’t think you’ve heard of a yurt, chances are you’ve seen one. A traditional Yurt is a portable, round tent with a skeleton of supports covered by skins or felts. Modern yurts feature wooden floors, canvas walls and ceilings, and temperature control.

    Yurts can sleep anywhere from two to ten people and are a great way to get an outdoor experience in comfort. Yurts are available at the following Georgia state parks:

    • Cloudland Canyon State Park
    • High Falls State Park
    • Red Mountain State Park
    • Fort Yargo State Park
    • Tugaloo State Park
    • Sweetwater Creek State Park

    Yurts for two can make for a great anniversary trip, and larger yurts are perfect for families.

    Squirrel’s Nest Platform

    For a one-of-a-kind camping experience, check out the Squirrel’s Nest Platform at Unicoi State Park. When you arrive, a guide leads you to a platform area within the park.

    Visitors climb to the top of the platform and roll out their sleeping bags for the night. You’ll sleep on an elevated surface and feel super close to the stars.

    Sleep In the Trees

    To take your sleeping arrangements up another notch, plan a trip to Panola Mountain State Park in Stockbridge, GA. After hiking to the “Naomi Ruth†– a 100-foot Southern Red Oak, a guide will help you climb up the tree, and find a place to sleep in a hammock overnight.

    Guides call the hammock’s “tree boats,†they are made of very heavy-duty waterproof canvas and are connected to the tree at four points. Sleeping in a tree is a true connection to nature.


    If you are looking to add some adventure to your Georgia state park camping experience, consider Geocaching. Geocaching is using your GPS to find a hidden cache. When you find it, you get a prize and can hide one for the next person. It’s a digital version of a treasure hunt.

    Georgia State Parks have even joined the fun and park rangers have hidden 47 caches in 44 of the state parks. They call it the GeoTour. You can even document your caches in a downloadable passport. This is a fun activity for both adults and kids.

    Final Thoughts

    With so many campsites and such a variety of activities, Georgia’s state parks are the perfect place to plan your next camping trip. Whether you want a challenging hike to a remote site or a luxurious weekend trip in a yurt, you can find it in Georgia.

    With just a little research and planning, you’ll be on your way to your next camping adventure.


    *This article contains affiliate links to Amazon and 1TAC.

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