Cruise America’s 22 Best Campgrounds in the South

RV Destinations | Road Trip


The U.S.’s southeastern corner is usually not at the top of anyone’s summer road trip or camping itinerary. The heat, humidity, and mosquitos can make it downright inhospitable for campers. However, as the leaves turn from green to gold and the air gets chillier up north, the weather is just about perfect for camping down south.

With an abundance of attractions, unbelievably diverse ecosystems, and positively affordable campgrounds, the southeastern U.S. is not to be missed. With so many options, though, the big question is where to start. Fortunately, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best campgrounds in the south to get you started with planning that next trip.

The 22 Best RV Campgrounds in the South

What constitutes the south varies depending on who you’re speaking to. At its most expansive, it covers about a third of the United States. For our purposes though, we’ll stick to states that are south of the Mason-Dixon Line (below Pennsylvania) and to the east of Texas. 

Long Pine Key Campground - Florida

Kicking things off in the most southern of states, Long Pine Key Campground is one of two front-country campsites in Everglades National Park. Beloved by birdwatchers, kayakers, and stargazers, it’s one of the best RV campgrounds in the South, and it’s within easy driving distance of Miami. It’s only from November - May, but you wouldn’t want to experience the summer humidity and mosquitos in this part of the state anyways.  

Rainbow Springs State Park - Florida

Rainbow Springs is one of the odder parks in the Sunshine State, having first been developed as a phosphate mine before transitioning to a tourist attraction in the early 20th century. Its spectacular waterfalls were built by human hands, but there’s plenty for nature lovers to appreciate, with 170 species of birds, manatees, and alligators making their home amongst the park features. 

Chicot State Park - Louisiana 

The swampy backwaters of south-central Louisiana offer an enchanting escape for RV travelers willing to venture off the beaten path. Chicot State Park is only an hour and a half from Baton Rouge but feels utterly remote, particularly when explored by boat. Majestic cypress trees flank its centerpiece lake - 2,000 acres of wetlands populated with an abundance of catfish, bass, and perch. There are also over 20 miles of hiking trails to traverse if marine exploration isn’t your cup of tea.

Cajun Palms RV Resort - Louisiana 

Wild camping isn’t for anyone, and there’s no shame in enjoying the finer things in life during your next RV trip. Cajun Palms RV Resort, just outside of Lafayette - the heart of Louisiana's Cajun Country, is an amenity-heavy experience complete with hot tubs, a lazy river, and a mini-golf course. It’s also the perfect place to experience the Cajun lifestyle at the nearby Vermilionville Historic Village or Acadian Culture Center.

Roosevelt State Park - Mississippi 

This beautiful campsite in the rolling hills of Central Mississippi is one of the best campgrounds in the South for families and those seeking bountiful outdoor recreation opportunities. Constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression, many of its buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It features a playground, picnic area, and a nature center, along with a few hiking trails and excellent fishing at the 150-acre Shadow Lake.

Plantation RV Park - Mississippi

The riverside community of Natchez might be the Hospitality State’s most enchanting town, but it also harbors a dark past. In the 18th and 19th centuries, its location on the lower Mississippi River made it a popular transfer point for slaves sent upriver to Vicksburg or downriver to New Orleans. The Plantation RV Park is only a few miles south of town and has all the amenities necessary for a pleasant vacation - full hookups, a laundromat, and high-quality Wi-Fi.  

Gulf State Park - Alabama

Florida’s beaches get all the attention, but its next-door neighbor Alabama has some sandy stretches of its own that are just as worthy of an RV road trip. Gulf State Park lies behind the popular stretch of hotels on Orange Beach, just a short drive east of Pensacola. Lake Shelby provides plenty of freshwater fun for swimmers, kayakers, and anglers while being just steps away from the Gulf of Mexico’s sandy beaches. If sun and surf aren’t for you, there’s also a butterfly garden and several miles of biking and hiking trails to explore. 

Monte Sano State Park - Alabama

At the other end of the state is a park that is the polar opposite of the Gulf’s beaches - Monte Sano State Park, a mountaintop oasis that’s popular for weddings and family reunions. An extensive network of walking trails winds its way through a dense forest surrounding this bucolic campground, providing a wealth of recreational opportunities for those visiting the Huntsville area. 

Cloudland Canyon State Park - Georgia

This hidden gem just south of the Tennessee border is one of Georgia’s largest recreation areas, and the view from Overlook Trail into the park’s namesake canyon is perhaps the Peach State’s most iconic. Cloudland Canyon has something for everyone, with hiking trails for every skill and fitness level, expansive caves,  a disc golf course, a playground, a fishing pond, and over 70 RV campsites. 

River’s End Campground and RV Resort - Georgia

The coastal city of Savannah might just be one of the most fascinating little cities in America, with its historic downtown, exquisite architecture, unique Southern charm, and diversity of restaurants. The River’s End Campground is within walking distance of the exquisite Tybee Beach and its famous lighthouse. All sites feature full hookups, and there’s even a swimming pool for the kids to splash around if you don’t feel like heading down to the beach. 

Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area - Kentucky

Southwest Kentucky’s Land Between the Lakes boasts over 300 miles of pristine lakeshore, 500 miles of hiking and biking trails, and over 240 species of birds. It’s also home to several basic campgrounds with minimal development - perfect for the RV traveler wanting to experience the primitive beauty of the region. To really explore the region, stay at Energy Lake Campground and rent a kayak or canoe and get out on the water.

Carter Caves State Resort Park - Kentucky

Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave National Park gets all the accolades, but for a more intimate caving experience head to Carter Caves State Park on the east of the state. Campsite reservations and cave tours are much easier to come by here, and the campground amenities include a pool, mini-golf course, camp store, and dump station. 

New River Trail State Park - Virginia

New River Trail State Park is the perfect basecamp for experiencing the many outdoor wonders of southwestern Virginia being near both the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Virginia Creeper Trail. The park’s campsites are primitive, but what it lacks in amenities it more than makes up for with spectacular recreational opportunities with over 40 miles of trail and canoe rentals available on the namesake river.

Big Meadows Campground - Virginia

Shenandoah National Park should be at the top of any RV traveler’s bucket list. Its central feature, the Skyline Drive, is a 105-mile tour through the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains, off of which branch hundreds of miles of hiking trails. The Big Meadows Campground is the largest front country campground in the park and the one with the longest season, usually stretching from March through October. Sites are minimally developed, but there is a dump station, and a camp store open seasonally.  

Hot Springs National Park KOA - Arkansas

Hot Springs is one of the more unique national parks, occupying only a few square miles, most of which are urban. While it doesn’t boast the wildlife or magnificent natural scenery, it has a beauty all its own. Encompassing the historic health resort of Hot Springs, its main attraction is a series of public baths From America’s Gilded Age. The KOA just outside the park features some of the best camping in Hot Springs, with excellent amenities, including full hookups, a swimming pool, and a mini-golf course. 

Lake Ouachita State Park - Arkansas

Lake Ouachita is the Arkansas largest lake and also home to one of the best RV campgrounds in the South. The lake is popular with kayakers, swimmers, scuba divers, and anglers thanks to its crystal clear waters and mild temperatures in the fall and winter season. The campground has over 50 large RV sites, each with full hookups, hot showers, flush toilets, and a camp store. 

Santee / Santee Lakes KOA - South Carolina

Congaree National Park in South Carolina is often overlooked, despite being one of the only parks in the deep south. Home to one of the last old-growth bottomland hardwood forests, it beckons visitors with over 20 miles of hiking trails, enchanting canoe trips, and even the opportunity to spot some alligators. 

Unfortunately, there are no RV campsites inside the park, so your best option will be somewhere like Santee Lakes KOA on nearby Lake Marion. It’s about halfway between the park and historic Charleston and features a swimming pool, mini-golf course, and dog park.

Huntington Island State Park - South Carolina

Located about halfway between Savannah and Charleston, Huntington Island is known for its enchantingly beautiful beachfront, abundant wildlife, and numerous recreational opportunities. It’s also near the historic town of Beaufort, the Marine Corps Air Station at Parris Island, and the Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge. The RV campground at Huntington Island offers full hookups, flush toilets, and hot showers - perfect after a long day of hiking the park’s extensive trail system.

Cades Cove Campground - Tennessee

Cades Cove is one of the most popular year-round campgrounds in Great Smoky Mountains National Park mainly due to its location near the Cades Cove Scenic Drive, an 11-mile tour of the park’s most stunning landscapes. The campground itself retains a relatively primitive aesthetic with no hookups, though flush toilets and drinking water are available. 

Natchez Trace State Park - Tennessee

The 450-mile-long Natchez Trace is one of the most scenic drives in the South, traversing three states and commemorating the historic footpath between the Cumberland and Mississippi Rivers. This 10,000-acre park lies along the midpoint of the trail and features four lakes, a few hundred miles of hiking/riding trails, and over 200 campsites with RV hookups. 

Cape Hatteras/Outer Banks KOA - North Carolina

Beachfront camping is often crowded, overpriced, and touristy. Fortunately, none of these describe the Outer Banks of North Carolina, particularly the section containing Hatteras Island and the town of Rodanthe. This tranquil stretch of sand is the perfect place to unwind, and the KOA campground offers full hookups, excellent fishing, and a great swimming pool for when you don’t feel like getting a little sand between your toes. 

Wilson’s Riverfront RV Park - North Carolina

This private RV park on the Roanoke River is ideal for campers visiting the Asheville area. It features full hookups, laundry facilities, and a bathhouse, along with incredible biking and hiking opportunities along the nearby Roanoke Canal Trail. Those preferring a more urban experience can pop over to Asheville for an amazing meal at one of its farm-to-table restaurants or experience America’s gilded age with a tour of the sprawling Biltmore Estate. 

Visit Campgrounds in the South with Cruise America

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