Best Campsites in Alabama

by Emily Morgan

College football may be king in Alabama, but the Heart of Dixie also reigns supreme for its outdoor wonders. From the Gulf Coast to the cathedral-like peaks of Cheaha Mountain, Alabama is nothing but diverse when it comes to its campsites. With over 20 state parks, 53 miles of coastline, and more inland waterways than any other state, the state is a recreational retreat for all outdoors enthusiasts.

Whether you want to head south for a beach camping spot or go north to get away from the heat, you won’t go wrong with any site you choose. Although a state like Alabama may be known for its Southern hospitality and rich history, there’s no denying that its stunning landscape makes it an ideal spot for a camping vacation. Below, we’re breaking down our preferred campsites to help you plan your next Alabama camping trip.

DeSoto State Park

For those who want to kayak near the falls

Location: Located on top of Lookout Mountain near Fort Payne, Alabama
Campground Contact: (256) 845-0051
Park Hours: Open daily from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Campground Website

Desoto State Park is perched atop beautiful Lookout Mountain in the northeastern part of the state. The natural area is also home to many rushing waterfalls, wildflowers, and other natural wonders. Opened to the public in the late 1930s, the area’s natural elements have been looked after for generations.

It’s also located only eight miles northeast of Fort Payne, Alabama; and DeSoto Falls, also part of DeSoto State Park, is located about seven miles north of the park heading towards Mentone, Alabama.

DeSoto State Park bends its way through the Southern part of the Appalachian mountain range, which creates a majestic terrain of forests, creeks, waterfalls, cliffs, and natural pools. The terrain also offers a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities including unrivaled white-water rafting, climbing, swimming, paddling, and hiking. However, make sure you give yourself a few days to explore the area so that you can take in all the preserve has to offer.

Campground Breakdown:
• 94 Improved Camping Sites: $38 per night, accommodates one RV and one tent on a site, or two tents on one site
• Two Backcountry Sites: $19.34 per night, accommodates two tents
• 18 Primitive Sites: $19.34 per night, accommodates two tents
• Seven Log Cabins: $169 per night, accommodates six people

De Soto State Park Amenities: Leashed pets allowed, picnic tables, fire rings, seasonal swimming pool, restaurant, camp store, ice and firewood for sale, bathhouses, potable water

Reserve a De Soto Campsite Here

Cathedral Caverns

For those who want a subterranean experience

Location: Kennamer Cove, Alabama
Campground Contact: (256) 728-8193
Park Hours: Open daily from 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Campground Website

Although it’s no church, Cathedral Caverns is definitely a praise-worthy location. You’ll undoubtedly be blown away as you step into the 126-foot-wide, 26-foot-tall opening of Cathedral Caverns in Woodville. While the caverns are impressive enough on their own, you will be in awe at the cathedral-like formations once inside. Indeed, you’ll be amazed at the towering stalagmites, which appear like frozen waterfalls. All in all, these magical formations make this an excellent place for your next underground adventure.

The Cathedral Caverns State Park also serves as a naturally historical preserve, recreation area, and campsite. Formerly known as “Bat Cave,” this National Natural Landmark was later given a new name for its cathedral-like appearance. The caverns were also used as a filming location for the 1995 flick Tom and Huck. Tours are available daily, or you can choose your own adventure. 

Campground Breakdown
• 25 Full-Service Sites: $33 per night
• 11 Basic Sites: $25 per night
• 5 Primitive Campsites: $10 per night
• 2 Backcountry Sites: $10 per night

Cathedral Caverns Amenities: Picnic tables, fire rings, grills, bathhouse facility, leashed pets allowed

Reserve a Cathedral Caverns Site Here

Gulf State Park

For those who want a resort-like campsite on the Alabama coast

Location: Gulf Shores, Alabama
Campground Contact:  (251) 948-7275
Park Hours: Open 24 hours
Campground Website

Nestled near the white sand beaches of Alabama’s gulf coast and surrounded by thousands of acres of protected wildlife acres, Gulf State Park is indeed the perfect choice for beach-side camping.

However, just because you’re camping on the beach doesn’t mean you have to rough it. The park also boasts 496 updated campsites and pristine bathhouses. In addition, even if you camp at one of the park’s primitive sites, you’ll have access to swimming pools, a laundromat, tennis courts, and a nature center that holds weekly outdoor-related events.

The park also has 28 miles of hiking and biking trails for you to explore and is centrally located to the Alabama Gulf Coast’s famous annual events and venues, like the Hangout Music Fest, the National Shrimp Festival, and the Wharf at Orange Beach.

Campground Breakdown:
• 496 Improved Sites
• Standard Sites: $57.05 per weeknight, $61.18 per night on weekends
• 11 Primitive Sites: $26.60 per weeknight, $29.25 per night on weekends
• Three Outpost Backcountry Sites: $64.77 per night

Gulf State Park Amenities: Heated pool, playground, volleyball, horseshoes, heated pool, splash pad, tennis courts, basketball, camp store, laundry facilities, bathhouses

Reserve a Gulf State Park Campsite Here

Cheaha State Park

For those who want 360° mountain views

Location: Delta, Alabama inside the Talladega National Forest
Campground Contact: (256) 488-5111
Park Hours: Open 24 hours
Campground Website

Located on top of the state’s tallest mountain, at 2,411 feet, the park is nestled in nearly 400,000 acres of the Talladega National Forest. It also boasts the state’s highest swimming pool, which is fed by natural, mountain spring water. In addition to the natural pool, the park has a seven-acre lake, beaches, and playground.

The park also has five mountain bike trails and six hiking trails, including Pulpit Rock and the Doug Ghee Boardwalk, which lead you to panoramic views of the nearby mountains. However, that doesn’t include the many trails located in the national forest with even more incredible views and plenty of waterfalls to chase.

If you ask us, the best time to camp at Cheaha State Park is during the Autumn months when the mountains burst with fall colors. However, it’s important to note that Fall is the busiest time of year at the park, not only because of the changing of the colors but also because thousands make the pilgrimage to the nearby Talladega 500 stock car race.

Campground Breakdown:
• 77 Modern Sites: $31 per night
• 28 Primitive Sites: $15 per night
• Five Primitive Group Sites: Each site accommodates 9 to 25 people

Cheaha State Park Amenities: Bathhouses, picnic tables, leashed pets allowed, grills, fire rings

Reserve a Cheaha Campsite He

Bankhead National Forest

For those who want options

Location: Located in Double Springs, Alabama
Campground Contact:  (205) 489-5111
Park Hours: Open from 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Campground Website

Bankhead National Forest is the perfect place for any camper if they’re looking to escape your daily grind. The area is ideal for a quick weekend getaway or a week-long getaway. With over 181,000 acres to roam, the forest will certainly keep you busy for days on end. In addition, it’s also home to Alabama’s only national wild and scenic river, the Sipsey Fork.

The forest also has two campgrounds, both of which are open from April through October each year. At Corinth Campground, you will have large paved campsites, all of which are perfect for all sizes of RVs and offer full hook-up. Onsite activities also include hiking, bird-watching, and bass fishing on the lake, with a boat ramp available for campers. In addition, we recommend the Clear Creek Campground for families, boasting large shady sites and direct access to beach access on Lewis Smith Lake.

Campground Breakdown:
Corinth Campground: 60 Sites in Total
• Basic Site: $18 per night
• Standard Electric Sites: $36 per night
• Group Shelter Electric Sites: $50 per night
Clear Creek Campground: 110 Sites in Total
• Tent Only Electric Single Sites: $30 per night
• Group Sites: $45 per night
• Nonelectric Group Sites: $75 per night
• Standard Electric Sites: $30 per night
• Standard Electric Double Sites: $52 per night
• Tent Only Electric Double Sites: $52 per night

Campground Amenities: Beach Access, boat dock, picnic tables, fire rings, grills, potable water, flush toilets, showers

Reserve a Bankhead National Forest Campsite Here or Here

Honeycomb Campground

For those who want lakeside camping

Location: Lake Guntersville
Campground Contact: (256) 582-9882
Park Hours: Open 24 hours
 Campground Website

Located near Alabama’s beloved Lake Guntersville, Honeycomb Campground is a popular camping area for families. Here, you have 141 short-term and long-term sites to choose from, most of which have water and electric hookups. In addition, it gets even better: most sites give you lakefront access.

Beyond taking in the lakefront views, visitors can also enjoy other recreational activities. The campground also has its own swimming area, beach, and picnic area with tables and grills. There is also a marina with boat rentals.

In addition, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can take off for a short hike through Honeycomb Trail Head and see the Honeycomb Natural Bridge, one of Alabama’s famous natural wonders.

Campground Breakdown:
• 37 Waterfront Sites: $38 per night
• 16 Non-Waterfront Sites: $35 per night
• Four Primitive Sites: $24.50 per night

Honeycomb Amenities: WiFi, bathhouses, camp store, picnic tables, grills, fire rings, beach access, boat rentals, leashed pets allowed

Reserve a Honey Comb Campsite Here

Noccalula Falls State Park

For those who want a historic waterfall setting

Location: Gadsden, Alabama
Campground Contact: (256) 549-4663
Park Hours: Open from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Campground Website

Cascading 90 feet into the Black Creek ravine, the mesmerizing Noccalula falls are named after a local Native American princess who once ruled over the area. According to legend, the princess threw herself from the top of the falls rather than endure an arranged marriage.

Beyond its rich history, the Noccalula Falls Park and Campground offer both tent and RV camping. Visitors can also enjoy winding trails for hiking, cycling, and running. The campground also has a friendly staff, and a security gate protects it for added safety.

Other attractions include a War Memorial and Museum, botanical gardens, hiking trails, sightseeing train, playground, carpet golf, picnic pavilions, Wedding Chapel, honeymoon cabins, as well as meeting facilities. It’s also home to several annual events, including “Christmas at the Falls.” In addition, campers can enjoy the area by hiking the Black Creek Trail, a 1.7-mile-long stone walking/biking path that runs from the Wedding Chapel down along the Black Creek Gorge to the bottom of Lookout Mountain.

Campground Breakdown:
• Full Hook-Up Sites: Stars at $25.02 per night
• Electric and Water Hook-Up Sites: Starting at $19.42 per night

Noccalula Falls Amenities: Market, firewood for sale, potable water, showers, picnic tables, leashed pets allowed, WiFi

Learn More About Noccalulua Falls Here