With over 20 state parks, more inland waterways than any other state, and multiple Appalachian peaks, more and more outdoor lovers are turning to Alabama for adventure. While football is still king in this southern state, tourists enjoy the serenity of Alabama's white sand beaches and the thrill found within its carved canyons. So lace up the boots or grab a paddle – it is time to find camping in Alabama!
Alabama's shores have always been a hot spot for southern beach bums, but with the growing popularity of events like Hangout Festival, Gulf Shores is quickly becoming a bucket list destination for many. Fortunately, coastal camping is a reality in the Heart of Dixie.
Beach camping can be one of the most challenging experiences of your life, and simultaneously, the most peaceful. Find camping in Alabama along the sandy coastline of Gulf Shores and wake up to the sound of crashing waves. Warm waters and comfortable year-round temperatures make Gulf Shores a desirable stop for locals and visitors alike.
Looking to escape the crowds? Head north to camp primitively or grab a cabin close to Dismals Canyon. Not only will you find waterfalls and natural bridges at Dismals Canyon, but you can also find "dismalites," a rare fly that emits blue-green light in its larval form. Many explorers tour the canyon at night to catch a once-in-a-lifetime glimpse of this natural light show.
Water lovers might prefer exploring the state by winding through all 631 miles of The Alabama Scenic River Trail instead. As the longest water trail in any single state in the country, this waterway takes paddlers from northeastern Alabama into the Gulf, passing through the heart of the state in the process. With The Dyrt, you can be sure to find the best camping in Alabama along the way.
The campground was clean and stayed quiet. About 40 feet between sites. Trees but no underbrush, so no real privacy between sites. The campground is geared towards RV's. It's not bad. There is water and electric at all the sites. Dont plan on playing in the lake unless you get the outer side of the loop. It's good that the waterfront sites are not reservable in that you have a chance at something. I've never been one to plan out my camping weekends 42 years in advance like everyone else seems to. Its on the far south side of bankhead national forest. We went to hike some trails in the Sispey wilderness and it was about an hour drive to get up there. Our neighbors, which I think are camp hosts are friendly enough, but they left there dozen strands of led lights on all night. It looked like the Vegas strip not the woods. I prefer the woods. But if you like the big RV culture you will probably love this place. I'll keep looking for a quiet place in the woods.
Had to go there while on hurricane evacuation and turned it into a hurricane induced 5 day vacation, best choice ever. Will go there anytime I go through AL. Friendly staff, beautiful park, beautiful pools and splash pad. Right on the river. Close to Birmingham but not too close.
Isolated yet only one hour and a half from Mobile, AL. Plenty of room at each site. Well kept facilities. Hot showers. Located on Big Escambia Creek. Tubing and horseback riding available in season. Secure campground. Well kept secret.
Definitely not a resort, but it's a good place to stop over for a night. This campground is literally 2 minutes off the I59 which makes it very convenient. There's a clean pool, a small lake, laundry, and bath house. Driveway is gravel, so it's very dusty. We were in site 24 which is a pull through.
Campground Review: My wife and I had the amazing opportunity to stay at Parksland retreat this weekend making our first campground reservation through the Dyrt. Parksland is a beautiful off the grid campground and home that is well cared for and a wonderful experience to stay at. They have set up several areas for guests depending on what your camping preference is. The owners live at the highest point of the property and have an outdoor kitchen surrounded by a garden and chicken coop with woods in every direction. If you are interested in what would typically be considered classic car camping you can stay at one of the many tent sites they have set up around the kitchen area. Many of these sites already have tents set up for you to rent or if you prefer to bring your own tent you can use one of the other available spots. All of the sites in this area are already covered with large industrial tarps so you can stay dry no matter the weather. If you are interested in a more private area they have two more primitive, trail campgrounds a short hike down the hill that each has cleared ground providing space for several tents. On this trip, we had reserved the further, more private and smaller site but ended up staying at the closer site since it was available and more convenient with the weather conditions.
We arrived at the campground on Saturday around noon and got a tour around from Dustin the owner where he showed us all of the options. We then climbed down the steep hill with all our gear and set up camp before the rain came in. Since the site was relatively large we were able to find the perfect spot for our tree tent. After a quick lunch of grilled cheese, we headed off to explore the hiking around the area. Dustin suggested we take the Ridgeline loop trail and with only a couple of wrong turns, we managed to complete the loop and finish at the swimming hole. Although the water was cold it still felt wonderful and is a much welcome amenity in the hot and humid Alabama weather. Other than the poison ivy (which you can’t really do anything about) the hike was really scenic and a good afternoon trek. Make sure to take the map though cause it helps to make the turns at the right spots. We got back before the rain began so had time to take advantage of the hot shower they have available and cooked dinner by our fire (firewood is provided). We whipped together a wonderful sweet potato and chili combo with recipe inspiration provided by Fresh off the grid. After dinner, we cleaned up around camp, moved everything under our tent, and climbed in for the night.
Although we were prepared for the rainstorm that we knew was coming overnight we were not prepared for rain inside our tent… We woke up in the middle of the night with puddles on our sleeping bags and a storm raging outside. Luckily we were able to stay warm and relatively dry but woke up intermittently. In the morning with rain still pouring we decided to just trek back up the hill with the gear and load up the car since we were already wet. We packed everything up and headed on home discussing how even with the crazy weather and unfortunate leakiness we had a fun and adventurous time and were glad we went.
Overall, Dustin was so welcoming and helpful throughout our entire stay and he has created a wonderful oasis that makes a perfect getaway. I highly suggest checking it out.
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get to try out new and interesting products at campgrounds I visit. On this trip, I stored all my food in the RovR RollR 60 Cooler to keep it cold and fresh for the weekend. My takeaways from using the durable rolling cooler are:
- Transportability: Although there are now several rollable rotomolded coolers out on the market none are designed with off-road capabilities like the RovR. With large inflatable tires, I was able to go over steps and rocks, move through waterlogged mud, and glide gently over gravel paths with minimal amounts of effort. The cooler is on the heavier side but this was barely noticeable since it is so much more maneuverable than any of the other options. On top of that, it comes with a collapsible gear bin that attaches to the top proving even more space to keep gear that needs to be moved around. Since this campground required a short but steep hike to get to over fairly rough terrain there was no possible way we were getting any other cooler to and from this campsite but with the RovR it took 1 trip. I was able to roll the cooler down all by myself with most of our cooking gear loaded in the bin on top. My wife could then carry down the tent and clothes and we were able to get camp set up much sooner and get to eating lunch. Although I wouldn’t want to backpack with a piece of gear like this (though you probably could) I can’t imagine a camping situation where the RollR 60 wouldn’t succeed in making food transport easier. I also loved the design feature with the handles on the side since I have a tendency to perpetually hit my heels while pulling things directly behind me.
- Temperature Stability: I didn’t get a chance to test this out to an extreme level since we only camped for one night but I did get a general idea of how well this cooler holds its temp. We loaded it up with ice and food on Friday afternoon to save time on Saturday and then unloaded it when we got home on Sunday and about half of the ice was still sitting in the bottom and everything felt like it was coming out of the refrigerator. The ingenious design also features a water runoff area underneath the dry bin so that you don’t have things sitting in a large pool at the bottom. This also ends up surrounding the dry bin with ice cold water turning it into a refrigerator of sorts.
- Dry bin: Speaking of the dry bin this is by far the best design I have seen for organizing a cooler yet. It has two deep sections that sit all the way in the lowest part of the cooler as I mentioned earlier. This was so helpful for 2 reasons. First, the items in the dry bin actually stay cold rather than when the dry bin sits at the top of the cooler in the warmest part making you decide whether you would rather have your frozen items in cardboard packaging either soaking in the water at the bottom or fully thawed in the dry bin at the top. The second amazing thing about this dry bin is that it is deep/tall enough to store items that need to stand straight up. We were able to put things like sour cream and open cans of olives and jalapeños without worry about them falling over when the ice melted. Take a look at the picture I included to see just how much it helped with keeping everything organized.
Overall, this is by far the best high-end cooler I have had a chance to try out. My wife and I found ourselves continuously impressed and excited about how well this cooler was designed and how much fun it was to use. If you are ready to pull the trigger and spend a little bit to get a nice cooler I can’t recommend the RovR more highly.
Desoto is near Little River Canyon on top of Lookout Mountain. Lots of waterfalls and wildflowers. Rhododendrons and Mountain Laurel were is bloom when we were there. Also a pool, cabins, a chalet and lodge. The campground is small. Water and electric.
CCC built an observation tower here in the ‘30s, with nice views. Large lake, hiking and great views. There are several camping loops, with lots of space. Water and electric and full hookups. Also primitive camping, cabins and a lodge with a restaurant. There is a small store & laundry.
This is a scenic campsite along the river. The tent sites are in a general area, not specific sites. It worked out well for me since I was the only renter but I imagine it could get very crowded. The facilities are clean and the staff were so nice. My one complaint is that they don’t provide fire pits for campers.
This RV Resort is quiet and peaceful. The bathroom/shower house is locked at night. There is a river with beautiful clear water. There is a place to grill out and to hang out. There is a deck that overlooks the river. The camp hosts are friendly and super helpful. I loved it there. It is convenient to I-10 and to the Foley Beach Express. I’m looking forward to staying there again. It was always quiet and peaceful at night and most of the time during the day as well.
This area has so many hiking trails. Trails and waterfalls. This park is the highest point in Alabama. We went MLK weekend it was busy but by Monday we had the campground to ourselves for 4 days. Great trails and waterfalls. Trails are easy to difficult. Bathrooms and showers are separate which was kind of nice to have a whole single room for each shower. Camp store was well stocked. Nearest store was 30-45 min away. Park has a lodge, restaurant, cabins, and a motel. We stayed in upper campground but there is a lower campground closer to the small lake. Alabama is finally putting money back into the parks and remodeling and improving areas. Camp sites are open and some are rocky. The views at the park are amazing!!! This is one of my favorite places!!
Our site was nothing like pictured on the website, so we were unable to set up like we wanted to. The fire ring and picnic table were not near one another so the table was useless to us (it is a cement table permanently mounted and could not be moved). Overall, it's a very nice campground. Going to ride around today to scope out other sites.
I went hiking here back in December and thoroughly enjoyed it. The ground's store is a cute little place with pretty much anything you could need, including beer, refrigerated items, snacks, stickers and T-shirts. The Japanese Garden was a little tacky, but kind of had its own cute feel to it. There's a cool clearing where you can stand on a ledge and view down the mountainside or take a group photo. The hiking trail down the mountain is so stinking sweet. We saw bugs, rabbits, deer, and so many other plants and other aspects of nature. Definitely worth a trip!
Blakeley State Park could be described as being "frozen in time". There's a lot of cool Civil War history to witness, as well as a beautiful walking path/deck along the bay. We were not expecting the $5/person charge to enter the park, so be sure to come prepared for that. No sign of trash on the ground anywhere throughout the park, so I at least know the money is actually being used for good. Map/trails are a little confusing. We had a hard time navigating the park, but the accidental detour allowed for us to watch a turtle lay eggs in the ground. We also managed to run into someone's pet rabbit-- which you can see in the picture provided. The only other thing you need to know is that there are yellow flies and they do bite hard (and can cause an allergic reaction in some people.) Definitely bring bug spray and sunscreen!
When we got to this campsite we were very excited and immediately began setting up in order to claim it early in the day. We really like how level it was and that it is removed from the trail so you still have privacy from other hikers. We ended up finding that the next site along the trail was also available and more spacious so we ended up moving there but this site is a good backup if that one is already claimed. Although it was relatively clear when we were there in early spring many of these sites off the trail can be hard to find when it starts getting more overgrown in summer. Read some of my other reviews from this area for more info about backpacking in Sipsey Wilderness.
This campground is the first you pass after coming down the road from the parking area. It is located right at the 203 trail junction near the bridge and along the water. On this trip, it was occupied by a family that had walked down the hill at the same time as us and carried in all their gear in their arms with no packs. This is an ideal site if you need an easy to find a campground that is as close as you can get to the parking area. It is on the smaller size but has a nice firepit and plenty of area to put up at least two tents. It is also high enough off the bank for you to stay dry in case of flooding. One small downside is that to access water you will need to climb down a steep slope or walk around to the bridge slightly down the trail. Another downside is that the trail passes right through the campsite so if you are a late sleeper you may get disturbed in the morning by other hikers passing through. If you are able I would suggest going a little further down the trail and checking out the 2 other nearby sites. Read some of my other reviews from this area for more info about backpacking in Sipsey Wilderness.
Joe Wheeler campground is beautiful but when we went in early June it was packed with RVs, and most of the campsites around us had multiple vehicles/people at each site. The day use lake beach is wonderful. There were several places to launch a kayak, and the views on the river are hard to beat in the area. I don’t think I’ll camp there again, but I would definitely kayak or go to the lake beach on a day trip.
- Full Hookups (Electric, Water, Sewer)
- 75 ft. Pull-Through Sites
- 30/50 Amp Sites
- Shady/Sunny Sites
- Management Available 24/7
- 2 Family-Style Bathrooms With Showers
- Laundry Facilities
- Bagged Ice
- Wi-Fi Accessible
- ATM machine on site
It's a great place to camp for a night or stay long term.
Great simple campground with a fire pit and grill, 1 table per spot, and a lantern hook. Turnip seed is a first come first serve park, using a $5 per tent honor box. However, if there are no spots available you can easily walk down one of the two trails and find a spot someone has made. This is connected to the Pinhoti Trail, and branches off to the Silent Trail where one can visit The Falls and Devil's Den.
We were there April 25-28, 2019. During Thursday and Friday it was mostly empty. Saturday night it was half full. Peaceful, clean, nice hiking. The State Park just up the road has a small camp store and restaurant if needed. Saw some snakes, evidence of bear. Has access to the Pinhoti Trail. Best for tent and van camping. Maybe a tiny RV.
Good tent and off grid camp sites. Also a few hook up sites available. Even though it’s just a few miles to grocery, restaurants, and shopping once you’re inside the park you feel like you’re in the wilderness. Very secure and good fishing, hiking, biking, and historic battlefield to explore. Super friendly and helpful staff.
Campground Review: The Borden Creek Trailhead where we started our hike used to be down at the bottom of the hill but several years ago they moved the parking to a quarter mile away to help protect some of the areas down by the river. This means that coming into this site will require a short hike down a forestry road which isn’t shown on most of the maps. We loaded up all our gear into our hiking cooler and backpacking packs and trekked the 15-20 min downhill to this site. It is the 3rd campsite you pass after turning right at the bridge. This is also listed as trail 203 on most Sipsey maps and meanders along the river a short way. The campground will be on your right and is a large cleared out area with a fire pit in the middle.
Sipsey Wilderness is a protected but unmaintained area in Northwest Alabama that is well known for its intersecting creeks, streams, and rivers that play together with the many waterfalls and magical rock faces. The wilderness area is contained within the larger Bankhead National Forest and is accessible from a variety of different trailheads many of which are only reachable on dirt roads. Hiking here you definitely get the feeling that you have left the rest of the world behind and are in complete wilderness. Different times of year provide completely different experiences whether its the exciting and boundless blooms of spring, the overgrown wild of summer, the bold and expansive colors of fall, or the high river levels and easy boating access of winter. Just make sure to always do your research and plan ahead since it can change so drastically depending on when you go. My favorite is either fall or spring since the summer can be particularly hot and buggy.
This trip we had planned to kayak down the river from the Sipsey River Trailhead to the Highway 33 Bridge take out but were thwarted by a recent lack of heavy rain and unusually low river levels for the season. Several sites online suggested over 4 feet gauge height would be fine but after talking to the Rangers we were told the only time that it was really navigable was in the winter or fall for a couple of days after a major rainfall. With that plan out the window, we decided instead to throw some packs in the car and move our gear around to make it a semi backpacking/hiking trip.
This particular campsite was where we stayed our second night and it was an amazing option. It is fairly large but buried in the trees so you are both protected in case of storms and won't boil from the sun in the morning. It also provides a nice bit of privacy from both the trail and the other nearby campsites. We were able to rig up a tarp between the trees and could still have a nice campfire and stay dry despite the rainy weather. I really liked how close we were to the river and could easily pump water and rinse off our feet and bodies after a sweaty day of hiking. Overall, I would suggest passing the first two sites on this trail and checking if this one is available since you will appreciate the serenity the close grouping of trees provide.
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get to try out new and interesting products at campgrounds I visit. On this trip, I tried out the Liquid IV Sleep drink supplement to help get a full nights rest out in the woods. My takeaways from using the powdered sleep aid are:
- Effectiveness: This drink mix knocked me out and that was after sharing it with 2 other people. Their mixture of 3 different natural sleep aids worked effectively to help me fall asleep and also stay asleep throughout the entire night. This is a tough feat when out in the woods so I was very impressed on that aspect.
- Taste: Although there was a little saltiness in the flavor due to the electrolytes the overall taste of the drink mix was very good. I wish they had more options available for the sleep version but the blueberry lavender was a great choice. It is not too sweet and none of the individual flavors are overpowering.
- Ease: Since it comes in small pouches as a dried powder it is easy to bring along on any camping trip and you should always have water available so it is no problem to add to a Nalgene. You won’t notice the weight and in general, you can keep them in your day bag or any other pack where it could be useful.
Overall, I would say this is a well-made drink mix that is very effective in helping you recover and fall asleep after a long day on the trail. I know getting a full night of deep sleep is often challenging for me out in the woods so having some extra help is well appreciated.
All camp sites have water and power and fits the needs of most all campers, including Equine campsites
Clean grounds and the largest capacity and spacious individual sites than most
Security in and out frequently.
Kids can run the area and you can see them almost everywhere they go
Quiet and peaceful
Pet friendly and LOTS of activities.
GRAND PRIZE $100 to GCI Outdoor
4 RUNNERS UP WIN $50 to Grub Stick