Pitch a tent, start the fire and learn to live without showering. Camping season is upon us and the outdoorsman in you is ready for whatever nature presents. As with any adventure it’s about location, location, location. The best camping spots provide the best stories. With July 4th approaching, here are seven camping spots in the deep South you may want to check out:
1. Stone Mountain Park, Stone Mountain, GA
Camp at the foot of Stone Mountain which reaches 1,686 feet at the summit. Carved into the face of the Stone Mountain like a coin impression are the faces of Confederate heroes; Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis.
The Georgia landmark has ambiguous scenery and plenty of things to do other than sit around the fire. Stone Mountain Park features walking trails, one which takes you to the top of the mountain, a 1940’s era locomotive ride and 18 hole golf course.
The Geyser Tower is fun for kids and adults alike (you climb through net tunnels while being blasted with water). The SkyHike allows you to take on wooden suspension bridges that reach four stories in the air. Don’t worry, they fit you with rope and safety harness.
2. T. H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, Port St. Joe, FL
White sand beaches greet campers at this peninsula near Port St. Joe. If you ever wanted to camp and literally be in the Gulf of Mexico, this state park is one of your best options.
Bird watchers swear by this location as one of the best places in the U.S. to spot wildlife. Over 240 different species of birds can be found high above the sand dunes. You have your standard snorkeling and kayaking options to go with primitive tent camping. RV’ers are well taken care of too, with 119 kid and family friendly camp sites.
They go fast, so get in while you can. Camp sites may be rented daily for $24 and cabins are a relative bargain at $100 per night.
3. Pirate Island, Myrtle Beach, SC
Pirate Island located at wondrous Myrtle Beach is more resort than rustic campground. After all, can you really call it camping if there’s free Wi-Fi?
None the less, take your kids for the spectacular views, pirate theme and 510 foot lazy river that entertains all day.
Everything is very swim friendly, from the waterfall to Olympic size pool. You’re encouraged to stay a while at Pirate Island, where they offer discounts for extended stays during slow season and reasonable 30 to 90 day rates.
4. Tombigbee State Park, Tupelo, MS
Two 18 hole disc golf courses provide alternative entertainment at the Mississippi campground. 20 paved camp sites have all the conveniences of home, including sewer, bath houses, hot showers and a laundromat. It’s like you never left the city!
Within driving distance are two historic Civil War battlefields, the Tupelo National Battlefield and Brice’s Cross Roads. This way you can kill two birds with one stone, family entertainment with a little history thrown in.
Don’t miss this one, there is plenty of fun to be had at one of Mississippi’s most underrated attractions.
5. Cathedral Caverns, AL
This is the kind of camping that makes traditionalists proud. Zero electricity, so you’re better off leaving the plasma TV at home. You’ll have to carry your gear for some distance before arriving on site, true outdoor stuff, just like they used to do it.
The main draw of Cathedral Caverns is the caverns of course! A mammoth opening leads to almost three miles of trails that take you deep inside Gunter Mountain. The full gauntlet only costs you $15. It’s as cool as the other side of the pillow at depth, where limestone drips cool condensation into 60 degree air.
6. Lion County Safari KOA, Loxahatchee, FL
Camping here is like spending a night in the African brush. It’s not unusual to wake up to the sound of roaring jungle animals. The campsite sits near a 320-acre safari filled with 900 animals.
Accommodations are top-notch. Heated swimming pool, full service hookups, the beaches and fishing at Palm Beach are just minutes away.
The fees are a bit steep, but you’re obviously paying for the attraction. Leave the booze and firewood at home, both are prohibited.
7. Cloudland Canyon, Rising Fawn, GA
This Lookout Mountain campsite is a hikers paradise. Backpackers, bikers and horseback riders travel the gorge, where you can reach an elevation of 1,920 feet. Natural waterfalls are just part of the allure.
The Backcountry Loop will land you at a secluded campsite, the preferred destination of hikers, all of whom rave about the landscape. Located in north Georgia, Cloudland Canyon has been called the most scenic in the state and that’s saying something considering the competition.
Plenty of options for camping this summer for the southern woodsman in all of us. Grab your tent or gas up the RV. Now you have an idea of where to go.
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