Georgia is beloved by locals and out-of-staters alike for its nature and primitive camping opportunities. Yes, Georgia is more renowned for football, peaches, and urban areas like Atlanta, but nature has always been a big part of Georgia’s makeup. Northern Georgia, in particular, is covered with state parks, forests, mountains, and all manner of the great outdoors. If you’re curious about the best spots to try primitive camping in Georgia, you’ve come to the right place.
Primitive Camping in Northern Georgia
We’ll work our way from the mountains of northern Georgia down south. When it comes to beautiful, primitive camping opportunities, north Georgia is absolutely covered. We’ll look at a few of the best options, but there are dozens more locations to choose from.
Let’s start our primitive camping journey at Cooper Creek, deep in the mountains of North Georgia. The Cooper Creek campground is located in Blairsville, Georgia, and includes 15 campsites, four of which are waterfront. There are five hiking trails in the area and ample fishing opportunities at Cooper Creek. You’ll have picnic tables, grills, and sleeping pads at each site, but that’s about it, so make sure you bring what you need from home.
Desoto Falls Recreation Area
The Desoto Falls Recreational Area is one of Georgia’s most beautiful river trail camping options. You’ll have camping options that include the dense forests of the North Georgia Mountains or riverside camping along Frogtown Creek. Make sure to bring your fishing pole and your hiking shoes as these are the two most popular activities here. Hiking the Desoto Falls Trail is an absolute must so that you can glimpse both of the famous waterfalls along the trail.
Upper Chattahoochee River
The Chattahoochee River is one of the most famous in the eastern United States due in large part to its intense beauty. The number of views and primitive camping options along the river are too many to count. However, one of the best is the Upper Chattahoochee River campground located near historic Helen, Georgia. The campground features 34 sites and offers hiking, biking, fishing, and kayaking. Even if you don’t feel like camping here, you should stop in and check out the Horse Trough Trails Foot Trail. This short 0.2-mile trail is home to the breathtaking Horse Trough Falls, and you won’t regret making the short walk to see them.
Andrews Cove Campground
Andrews Cove Campground is located near Helen, Georgia, and has ten primitive, no-reservation campsites. You’ll fall asleep to the sounds of a mountain stream each night when you pitch your tent at Andrews Cove. When you awaken, make sure to explore the surrounding terrain and trails, as they’re some of the most scenic and peaceful in Georgia.
Fort Mountain State Park
Last but not least on the list of primitive camping in northern Georgia is Fort Mountain! Situated two miles apart from each other deep in the woods outside Chatsworth, Fort Mountain State Park‘s four backcountry campsites offer visitors private and secluded campsites. While each campsite comes with a fire ring, visitors must bring all camping gear to these rustic sites. Fort Mountain’s backcountry site number 3 (Moonshine) and number 4 (Rock Creek) offer campers gorgeous autumnal views of the Chatsworth valley area. Fort Mountain State Park is a favorite for hikers, backpackers, and sight-seers looking to take in the changing leaves of fall.
Primitive Camping in Eastern Georgia
First up for primitive camping in Eastern Georgia is Tallulah River! Tallulah River is one of many rivers in Georgia that offer primitive camping options. What sets the Tallulah River campground apart from the competition is that it’s located at an elevation of over 2,000 feet into the Blue Ridge Mountains. The campground features 17 campsites with picnic tables, grills, and lantern poles. While staying at Tallulah River, fishing, paddling, hiking, and exploring the Coleman River trail and scenic area are favorite activities.
West Fork is a primitive camping favorite located in Northeastern Georgia along the Chattahoochee National Forest and within the Chattahoochee National Forest. There are only five camping sites located at West Fork, all of which have river access and relaxing views of the Chattooga. Kayaking, fishing, swimming, and canoeing are favorite activities at West Fork. Additionally, it’s also one of the best star-gazing spots in the state, thanks to the clear night skies within the forest. The sites are large and private, with enough room for multiple tents per site, and they’re all within decent walking distance of the parking lot.
Rood Creek Park
Located near Lake Eufaula, Rood Creek Park contains 30 no reservation required campsites. Make sure to bring your fishing pole, as Lake Eufaula is a local fishing favorite. Rood Creek Park is the perfect place to bring your family for a weekend of relaxation and fishing. You can optionally stay at Rood Creek for up to 14 straight days until you are forced to relocate.
Lake Rabun Beach Campground
Lake Rabun Beach Campground is our last location for primitive camping in eastern Georgia, located in the Chattahoochee National Forest. The campground is part of a larger area known as the Lake Rabun Beach Recreational Area next to Lake Rabun. The camping area consists of 80 primitive and partially primitive campsites within spitting distance of the lake. While boating, fishing, and other water activities are extremely popular, several hiking trails are also close to the campground. One of the trails even has a scenic waterfall located along the way.
Primitive Camping in Central Georgia
Panola Mountain State Park
Let’s move on to primitive camping in central Georgia! First on the list is Panola Mountain State Park, which offers treetop bivouac camping among its numerous camping options. Known as ZZZs in the Trees, the Panola Mountain Bivouac Camping program allows you to literally spend the night in the trees. Hammocks are strategically strung from branch to branch allowing for a safe and unforgettable tree-sleeping experience. For more traditional primitive camping options, Panola Mountain State Park Campground has plenty of options to choose from.
6-Mile Put-In Campground
6-Mile Put-In Campground is a six-spot, first come, first serve camping area along the Amicalola River. Camping here is primitive and unforgettable. The campground is located near a set of rapids on the Amicalola River, so make sure to bring your canoe or kayak and your life jacket. Fishing, swimming, and canoeing are among the top activities at 6-Mile Put-In Campground.
Lake Sinclaire Recreation Area
The campground at Lake Sinclaire Recreation Area is one of the most commercialized out of all the spots on this list. However, it’s located within the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest and has over 20 of the most beautiful, primitive campsites in north-central Georgia. Lake Sinclair offers any number of water activities on the over 15,000 acre-lake, as well as plenty of hiking trails to explore.
Woody Gap campground is located in Donahlega, Georgia, in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It contains 15 primitive, no-reservation campsites and is beloved for its sightseeing and hiking opportunities. There are also whitewater rafting, canoeing, swimming, and fishing options near the campground. However, Woody Gap is most famous for being the trailhead of the world-famous Appalachian Trail. For that reason, Woody Gap can get pretty crowded by anxious hikers looking to take their shot at the cruel and beautiful AT.
Primitive Camping in Western Georgia
Chattahoochee Bend State Park
Chattahoochee Bend State Park Campground is located in northwestern Georgia and offers a variety of camping options. You can choose from traditional primitive camping options within the campground itself. There are also seven paddle-in riverside campsites located along the historic Chattahoochee River. If that isn’t enough, you can also opt to spend the night within the protection of screened-in but primitive Adirondack shelters. Hiking and water activities are top options at Chattahoochee Bend State Park.
Conasauga District’s Cohutta Wildlife Management Area
No matter where you are in Georgia, Wildlife Management Areas often offer free, primitive camping options. One of the best in the state is the Conasauga District Cohutta Wildlife Management Area. There are two campgrounds in this area, both of which run along the base of the Cohutta Mountains. Both campgrounds have their own unique views and excellent primitive tent camping options. The Wildlife Area consists of over 95,000 acres of land covered in mountains, hills, valleys, and hiking trails.
Hickey Gap Campground
Hickey Gap Campground, our final location for primitive camping in western Georgia, is located in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. It’s also located in the Cohutta Wildlife Management Area and is one of the two campgrounds mentioned above. Hickey Gap Campground is located near Lake Conasauga and Mill Creek, which are frequent swimming holes during the summer months. Make sure to try them out and explore the surrounding mountains and hiking trails during your stay!
Primitive Camping in Southern Georgia
Reed Bingham State Park
Southern Georgia isn’t nearly as popular for primitive camping, and there are few options to choose from. However, one of the best is Reed Bingham State Park‘s Eagle Island. Eagle Island is large enough to accommodate up to 30 campers, and the only way to get there is by making a 15-minute canoe or kayak trip. Once you get there, you can pitch your tent anywhere along the island and start fishing!
Final Thoughts About Primitive Camping in Georgia
As you can see, primitive camping in Georgia is readily available and could make for an unforgettable weekend. Keep in mind that the spots in this article are personal favorites, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other options. Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest has tons of primitive possibilities, and there are also over a dozen state parks in Georgia. Additionally, there are over 100 Wildlife Management Areas, most of which offer primitive camping. No matter where you are, primitive camping is always an option in Georgia.
Ready for more outdoor Georgia fun? Check out our picks for 30 of the Best Places to Go Camping in Georgia!