Is there anything better than spending a night out in the great wide open underneath the stars? From sea to shining sea, America is full of incredible beauty. Plenty of people love camping in famous locales such as Yellowstone or Yosemite. But there are lots of other awe-inspiring places in this nation of ours to enjoy the great outdoors. So if you love camping, then you’re sure to love these 10 awesome places to go camping in the South.
Taladega National Forest – Alabama
Talladega National Forest is located in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains in Alabama. Talladega is a great place to spend some time outdoors. Whether you’re hiking or hunting, there are a ton of fun things to do in this park.
Ozark National Forest – Arkansas
The Ozark National Forest is located in the Ozark Mountains in Northwestern Arkansas. The forest is home to Mount Magazine, which is the tallest mountain in Arkansas. Another interesting feature of the Ozark National Forest is the Blanchard Springs Caverns. The caverns are a three level “living” cave system that are open for tours.
Fontainebleau State Park – Louisiana
Located on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain, Fontainebleau State Park is over 2,000 acres of gorgeous Louisiana wetlands. There are cabins and campsites available, as well as hiking trails, birding opportunities and historical sites. The remains of an old sugar mill still stands in the park, dating back to the antebellum era.
Everglades National Park – Florida
The Everglades National Park is the largest subtropical wilderness East of the Mississippi. Alligators, turtles and many different species of birds dwell within the park. The park is located on the Southern tip of Florida, just outside Miami.
Gulf Islands National Seashore – Mississippi and Florida
Gulf Islands National Seashore is a beautiful camping spot located on the border of Mississippi and Florida. Within the park you can spot as many as 12 species of animals listed as federally protected or endangered. There are also historical forts that were built as early as the 1700’s, during the Spanish Colonial Era. And, of course, there are the gorgeous blue waters of the gulf to take in.
Big Bend National Park – Texas
So named for its location within the big bend in the Rio Grande River, Big Bend National Park is a Texas treasure. The beauty of the West Texas desert is optimal for hiking and camping. The river creates plenty of opportunities for kayaking. Also, the park has an International Dark Sky designation, so it’s perfect for stargazing.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park – North Carolina and Tennessee
Spanning the border between Tennessee and North Carolina is the gorgeous region known as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The park is a part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and it is a recognized World Heritage site. Hiking is a popular activity here, but be sure to be on the lookout for black bears, which are native to the region.
Shenandoah National Park – Virginia
Further into the Blue Ridge Mountains lies Shenandoah National Park. Nestled in Northern Virginia, the park boasts beautiful waterfalls such as Dark Hollow Falls (shown above) and hiking trails that offer spectacular views. The park encompasses 200,000 acres a short drive outside of Washington, D.C.
Padre Island National Seashore – Texas
On the gulf coast of Texas sits 75 miles of undeveloped natural barrier island. Known as Padre Island National Seashore, this little strip of paradise is home to a plethora of bird species as well as native marine life. Every year people flock to the island to witness the hatching of hundreds of green sea turtles. This makes Padre Island a beautiful and educational place to go camping in the South.
Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest – Georgia and North Carolina
The Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest is actually two forests that join together in Northern Georgia. The name comes from the Chattahoochee River that runs through the area, as well as the Cherokee word “Ae quo nee” which means “land beside the water”. The many hiking trails and beautiful views make this forest an ideal place to camp.