Great camping might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Alabama – but, boy, does the Heart of Dixie sure have a lot of fantastic campgrounds!
Whether you prefer to rough it in a tent, live the luxurious life in your RV, or trek deep into the backcountry wilderness, Alabama camping has you covered. We’ve gathered up the best campgrounds the state has to offer so you can explore Alabama’s ancient forests, winding rivers, roaring waterfalls, white sand beaches, and extensive cave systems while simultaneously enjoying a relaxing night outside under the stars with your friends and family.
Here are 30+ of the best places to go camping in Alabama.
Best Tent Camping in Alabama
* Don’t go camping without checking our family camping checklist to make sure you have all the right gear!
Tent campers rejoice – the majority of Alabama campgrounds are perfect for tents. While some are more primitive and rustic, others come with plenty of on-site activities and amenities. It all depends on what you want from your next Alabama camping trip!
Here are the 10 best places to go tent camping in Alabama:
1. Cathedral Caverns State Park
One of the best state park campgrounds in Alabama, Cathedral Caverns State Park is most notable for its cathedral-like Bat Caves. The extensive cave systems are open to the public and consist of miles of paved and unpaved trails.
The campground itself is small with just 13 total campsites. It offers a mix of primitive tent sites and improved RV sites (with water/electric hookups). A single hike-in backcountry campsite is also available.
Learn more about camping at Cathedral Caverns State Park.
2. Dismals Canyon
Designated a National Natural Landmark, Dismals Canyon is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and unique outdoor spaces in Alabama. Spread out across a sandstone gorge that’s home to a number of waterfalls, this Nature Conservatory is best known for its abundance of “dismalites,” small bioluminescent insects that are only found in a few other places on the planet.
The camping is just as unique. The small campground consists of several private walk-in campsites with plenty of space in between. Many of these, such as the popular Sleeping Water Campsite, are located in their own small canyons and have access to private waterfalls. Two luxurious camping cabins are also available.
Learn more about camping at Dismals Canyon.
3. Cheaha State Park
Not only is Cheaha State Park the oldest continuously operating state park in Alabama, but it’s also home to the highest point in the state. Standing at 2,407 feet above sea level, beautiful Cheaha Mountain is the focal point of the park. Breathtaking views from historic Bunker Tower, an array of recreational activities, and a wide range of camping opportunities draw in visitors from Alabama and beyond.
There are five campgrounds to choose from, including two developed campgrounds, a semi-primitive campground, a primitive campground, and a group campground. Only the developed campgrounds have RV hookups while the other campgrounds are best for tent camping. Rustic cabins, the Bald Rock Group Lodge, A-framed chalets, and a small hotel are additional Cheaha State Park lodging options.
Learn more about camping at Cheaha State Park.
4. DeSoto State Park
Less than 10 miles from the town of Fort Payne, DeSoto State Park is yet another state park that boasts some of the best camping in Alabama. It’s largely located on Lookout Mountain and contains some of the most beautiful wilderness terrain in the state, including several rivers and waterfalls. Don’t miss the 0.7-mile roundtrip hike to DeSoto Falls, the highest waterfall in the state.
A huge range of camping options makes Desoto State Park such a popular camping destination. There’s an improve campground with full RV hookups, a smaller primitive campground, and a selection of backcountry campsites for backpackers. All of this in addition to a wall tent campsite, camping cabins, motel rooms, and even mountain chalets.
Learn more about camping at DeSoto State Park.
5. Deerlick Creek Park
Deerlick Creek Park is perfect for those that desire a more private Alabama camping experience. Located on beautiful Holt Lake, it’s ideal for canoeing and kayaking as well as swimming and fishing. Miles of hiking trails and a paved bicycle path make this the ideal location for outdoor recreation.
The campground is set in a peaceful forest filled with hardwoods and pines. Roughly 46 individual campsites are available. Most have water and electric. RVs are welcome in all but six of the spots. Additional amenities include on-site hot showers and a swimming beach.
Learn more about camping at Deerlick Creek Park.
6. Oak Mountain State Park
Just 20 minutes south of Birmingham, Oak Mountain State Park is the largest state park in the state. Thanks to its location and abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities (including hiking, biking, fishing, and more), it’s one of the most popular Alabama camping destinations, period.
Camping is available in several forms. There are 85 improved sites, many with full hookups, that are perfect for RV camping. There are also 60 primitive sites that are ideal for tent camping. A handful of designated backcountry campsites are also available for overnight backpacking.
Learn more about camping at Oak Mountain State Park.
7. Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park
Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park is centered around the historic Tannehill Ironworks, a major supplier of Confederate iron during the Civil War. Visit the ironworks to experience blacksmiths and other craftspeople demonstrating the trades of old.
195 improved campsites and 100 primitive campsites give RV and tent campers alike plenty of room to spread out. The beautiful forested setting makes for a relaxing atmosphere with plenty of hiking trails and other recreational activities nearby. Many of the hikes trace the remains of old railroad lines.
Learn more about camping at Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park.
8. Buck’s Pocket State Park
* Currently closed (as of summer 2019), due to be renovated soon.
Like many state parks in Alabama, Buck’s Pocket State Park boasts an impressive history filled with an abundance of local lore. For example, legend has it that local politicians retreat here after unsuccessfully losing elections. An even earlier legend is the root of the park’s unusual name. It claims that large herds of deer used to live here and that one even leapt from a cliff to escape a Cherokee hunter.
Legends and history aside, Buck’s Pocket State Park is a very beautiful, forested area set inside of a canyon. Hike up to Point Rock (the same cliff the legendary deer supposedly leapt from) for fabulous views of the surrounding landscape. A small modern campground has 24 campsites perfect for those that prefer a slightly more rustic Alabama camping experience.
Learn more about camping at Buck’s Pocket State Park.
9. Chickasaw State Park
Not to be confused with Chickasaw State Park in nearby Tennessee, Alabama’s Chickasaw State Park is an easily accessible natural wonderland. It’s convenient location to a local hunting area and a nearby water management area make it an excellent overnight camping destination for hunters.
The campground is small but it’s this small size that makes it so charming. It has just three RV campsites with water and electrical hookups in addition to a variety of primitive tent campsites. Wildlife viewing, especially birdwatching, is one of the most popular park activities.
Learn more about camping at Chickasaw State Park.
10. Corinth Recreation Area
Corinth Recreation Area is set on beautiful Lewis Smith Lake. This large reservoir is one of the best places for fishing in Alabama. The surrounding Bankhead National Forest, especially the Sipsey Wilderness, is home to world-class hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, and hunting. The immediate area is known as “the land of a thousand waterfalls.”
In addition to a day use area, Corinth Recreation Area also boasts a campground with spacious full hookup campsites. Although this popular Alabama campground is ideal for tent campers, many sites are also suitable for RVs of all sizes.
Learn more about camping at Corinth Recreation Area.
Best RV Camping in Alabama
* Want to rent an RV for your Alabama camping trip? Our handy RV rental tool can help!
RV campers have no fear – there’s plenty of great RV camping in Alabama. The best campgrounds for RVs include state parks with full hook-ups, amenities-filled KOA campgrounds, full-fledged RV parks, and more.
Here are the 10 best places to go RV camping in Alabama:
1. Wind Creek State Park
RV camping in Alabama doesn’t get much better than at Wind Creek State Park. Notable for its lakeside setting on Lake Martin, just 7 miles from Alexander City, this Alabama state park is a haven for boating, fishing, and swimming as well as hiking and horseback riding.
The campground itself has 586 total campsites. This makes the Wind Creek State Park campground one of the largest state-operated campgrounds in the United States. A handful of the RV campsites, dubbed the “Premium Section,” have full RV hookups. Their beautiful waterfront location gives them individual waterfront access. Tent camping and cabin rentals are also available.
Learn more about camping at Wind Creek State Park.
2. Island Retreat RV Park
One of the best RV parks in Alabama, Island Retreat RV Park is famous for its proximity to the beach. Located near Gulf Shores, this RV campground is not only close to the beach, but it provides easy access to everything that this bustling town has to offer, including the amusement park, zoo, and local restaurants.
Island Retreat RV Park boasts over 150 campsites. Full hookups as well as pull-thru sites are available. Additional amenities include a swimming pool, paved bicycle path, and on-site playground. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful RV campground in Alabama.
Learn more about camping at Island Retreat RV Park.
3. Meaher State Park
Meaher State Park is one of the best state park campgrounds in Alabama for RVs of all sizes. Spanning a wetlands area just north of Mobile Bay, including the Mobile Bay Estuary, it’s a prime spot for wildlife viewing, birding, and fishing.
The RV campground at Meaher Bay State Park has 61 total campsites. These accommodate RVs up to 65’ in length and have full RV hookups. Both primitive and tent campsites are also available. Another lodging option is to rent one of several cozy cabins that overlook the bay.
Learn more about camping at Meaher State Park.
4. University Station RV Resort
Located in the city of Auburn, the University Station RV Resort is a popular RV campground for those visiting Auburn University, especially among those attending Auburn University football games.
The campground boasts over 600 total RV campsites. Full hookups are available as well as pull-thru and back-in sites. Although this RV park is most popular during football season, it’s an excellent location for your Alabama RV camping trip, no matter the time of year.
Learn more about camping at University Station RV Resort.
5. Lakepoint State Park
Anglers rejoice – the campground at Lakepoint State Park gives you prime access to some of the best fishing in Alabama. It’s located on the shores of Lake Eufaula, known far and wide as “The Bass Capital of the World.”
The campground has 192 improved campsites, including a mix of RV and tent sites. The main RV loop features full hookups and pull-thru sites. The other two loops have just electric/water utilities. Cabins, cottages, and a lodge are additional lodging options.
Learn more about camping at Lakepoint State Park.
6. Fort Morgan RV Park
Quiet and peaceful Fort Morgan RV Park is the ideal RV camping location for those exploring the area around Gulf Shores, Alabama.
This is the perfect RV park for those that prefer a mellow RV camping experience. It has just 34 campsites, all with plenty of room in between them, so you’ll never feel crowded. Full hookups and back-in sites are available. The shoreside location makes this RV campground popular for fishing, birdwatching, and just hanging out on the beach. If you’re lucky, you might even see porpoises!
Learn more about camping at Fort Morgan RV Park.
7. Deer Run RV Park
Deer Run RV Park might just be one of the most popular RV campgrounds in Alabama. Not only is it conveniently located, but it boasts the traditional southern hospitality that the state is known for.
Just over 102 campsites set across 73 acres gives you plenty of space to spread out. Full hookups are available as well as both back-in and pull-thru spots. The charming campground offers a swimming pool, hot tub, free Wi-Fi, complimentary morning coffee, and a variety of other amenities.
Learn more about camping at Deer Run RV Park.
8. Johnny’s Lakeside RV Resort
Johnny’s Lakeside RV Resort is located near the town of Foley. It couples its convenient location with a peaceful setting and a huge range of amenities.
The RV campground has roughly 171 campsites total. Full hookups are available. The sites consist of a mixture of back-in and pull-thru spots. A swimming pool, hot tub, playground, game room, and clubhouse are just the tip of the iceberg as far as on-site features go.
Learn more about camping at Johnny’s Lakeside RV Resort.
9. Gulf State Park
Gulf State Park is one of the best destinations for camping in Alabama, bar none. Its location on the Gulf of Mexico in Gulf Shores is hard to beat. Although the pristine white sand beaches are the main highlight, the state park also consists of marshland, streams, lakes, forests, and more. Spend time on the beach but make sure to check out the hiking and biking trails as well. Other popular activities include fishing (both freshwater and saltwater), swimming, and golfing.
The campground at Gulf State Park has almost 500 campsites total. This includes full hookup RV campsites as well as more primitive tent campsites. Cabins and cottages are also available for rental.
Learn more about camping at Gulf State Park.
10. Ozark/Fort Rucker KOA
Ozark/Fort Rucker KOA is one of the best KOA campgrounds in Alabama. It’s located just minutes from the town of Ozark and is an excellent homebase for exploring the southern reaches of the state.
Like most KOAs, this one has a selection of RV sites with full hookups, a grassy tent camping area, and several camping cabins. Additional amenities include a walking path, swimming pool, playground, dog park, and campground store.
Learn more about camping at Ozark/Fort Rucker KOA.
Best Free Camping in Alabama
* Our guide to free camping has even more insider tips!
Who doesn’t love camping for free? Although most free campsites in Alabama are primitive and remote, they’re typically a fantastic way to experience the more rustic side of Alabama camping for those on a serious budget.
Here are 5 of the best places to for free camping in Alabama:
- McDougle Hunt Camp – One of many free campsites in Bankhead National Forest often utilized by hunters, McDougle Hunt Camp offers primitive dispersed camping in a secluded, forested setting.
- Bartram Canoe Trail – Following the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, the second largest river delta in the United States, the Bartram Canoe Trail is ideal for canoe and kayak camping. Two land-based campsites and four floating platform campsites, all free, are available for overnight trips along the route.
- Elm Bluff – Elm Bluff, one of the best free campsites in Alabama, is one of several camping areas located along the Dannelly Reservoir near the town of Camden. It’s a very primitive (no amenities or services) campground in a beautifully secluded setting.
- Hollins Hunter Camp – Tucked away in the Talladega National Forest, Hollins Hunters Camp is one of the best places for dispersed camping in Alabama. The campground is small and primitive with a rough dirt access road but the charming and peaceful setting is well worth the trek. It’s popular with hunters during hunting season.
- Blue Creek Park – Located on Holt Lake, this dispersed camping area is completely free. In addition to the quiet and peaceful setting, this free campground is notable for having a pit toilet on site – a rare amenity at dispersed campgrounds.
Best Winter Camping in Alabama
* Check out our guide to camping in the winter for more tips!
Thanks to its relatively mild winters by U.S. standards, Alabama is a great place to camp during the wintertime. Many campgrounds are open year-round, although some are better than others.
Here are the 5 best places to go winter camping in Alabama:
- Gulf Shores/Pensacola West KOA – Just minutes from Gulf Shores in nearby Lillian, the Gulf Shores/Pensacola West KOA is the only waterfront KOA on the Gulf Coast of Alabama. Best of all, it’s open year-round for RV, tent, and cabin camping.
- Barbour WMA – Head up to the Barbour Water Management Area for some of the best winter camping in Alabama. It’s dispersed camping only so make sure you’re prepared with the right winter camping gear!
- Bear Creek Lakes – Not only is Bear Creek Lakes home to some of the most beautiful camping in Alabama, it’s also a haven for fishing and hunting. It’s mix of RV and tent campsites are even open year-round!
- Bankhead National Forest – Several campgrounds in Bankhead National Forest are open throughout the winter, including above-mentioned Corinth Campground as well as Brushy Lake Campground and Owl Creek Horse Camp.
- Frank Jackson State Park – Located next to gorgeous Jackson Lake, Frank Jackson State Park is open year-round, including the winter months, to anglers and traditional campers alike.
Best Backpacking in Alabama
* Use our how to plan a backpacking trip guide for the best Alabama backpacking trip possible!
Alabama is not only home to some incredible hiking trails, but is a top-notch destination for overnight backpacking to boot. There are a ton of different overnight hikes to choose from, but a handful of destinations stick out above the rest.
Here are the best places to go backpacking in Alabama:
- Sipsey Wilderness – One of the most classic Alabama backpacking routes, the many trails of Sipsey Wilderness are littered with backcountry sites. No matter the length of your trip, you’ll enter into one of the most beautiful untouched wilderness areas in all of Alabama.
- Pinhoti Trail – The Pinhoti National Recreation Trail is one of the premier hiking and backpacking trails in Alabama. To thru-hike the trail, be prepared to traverse 171 miles of mountainous and heavily wooded terrain. The remote backpacking trail is popular with locals and visitors alike. It’s also used as a training grounds for thru-hiking the much longer Appalachian Trail.
- Skyway Loop Trail – Several backcountry campsites are located along the stunningly scenic Skyway Loop Trail, making this 17.7-mile backpacking loop trail one of the best places for backpacking in Alabama.
Find the Best Camping in Other States!
Camping in Alabama is great – but so is camping in pretty much every other state!
Use our best state camping guides to find the best camping in whatever state you live in or are visiting. Here are a few of our most popular:
- Best Camping in Arizona
- Best Camping in California
- Best Camping in Georgia
- Best Camping in Idaho
- Best Camping in Michigan
- Best Camping in Tennessee
- Best Camping in Utah
- Best Camping in Washington
- Best Camping in Wisconsin
Have more questions about how to find the best Alabama camping? Let us know – we’re happy to help answer any questions you have!
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Since 2015, Jake has been the technical heart behind our in-depth content. Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, he’s the one you’ll find crafting extensive gear reviews and detailed camping guides. With a decade of outdoor writing under his belt, Jake brings the beauty of the Sawtooth Mountains and his beloved Cascade and Olympic ranges right to your screen.