There is a short path from the camp sites down to the lake. If you want to go swimming there are only a couple of locations that you can hang out for the day and swim. If you want one of these make sure to get there early. There is not a true boat ramp here either, we saw several people that came with power boats trying to launch and the ramp here is more suitable for kayaks and canoes.
Make sure to wear bright colors during hunting season because there are a tong of people out deer hunting in this area. That being said there are a ton of great campsites that are private and secluded.
This campground is on the edge of Fontana Lake and is not far off the Appalachian Trail. I met some friends that were thru-hiking to bring them a resupply. They ended up taking a day off to go fishing while I was there.
This is an old fire lookout tower that was built in 1934 by the Public Works Administration. To reach the Shuckstack Fire Tower you will follow the Appalachian Trail as it heads north into the Great Smoky Mountains. The tower is about 3.5 miles from the trailhead. This is a great secluded spot for dispersed camping. Be careful if you decided to climb the tower and the boards are beginning to come loose and rot.
As another reviewer stated, there is not a ton of separation from other sites, but this is a great campground. Some sites were closed while we were there because the forest service was going through and trimming dead limbs that were overhanging.
We stayed in the squirrel's nest area during Oktoberfest in Helen, and it was a great experience. Remember that you won't have a ton of privacy there, but you can have a pretty big group.
These campgrounds are located pretty close to the falls and the climbing area. Early in the season the water is extremely cold because the snowmelt.
A long-time Alabama climbing institution, Sand Rock has had a colorful and sometimes dubious history. For many years, it seemed that lowlifes were in direct competition with climbers. Sand Rock was a destination for ATV riders, drunken late-night partiers and other examples of southern stereotypes. Broken beer bottles and overturned portapotties were common sights, and the cliffs were despoiled with spray-painted graffiti.
In recent years, the aesthetics of Sand Rock have vastly improved. Ownership of the site was taken over by Cherokee County which turned it into a county park. Sand Rock now has on-site managers, improved parking, picnic areas, a playground for kids and a nice bathhouse. Much of the litter and graffiti has been cleaned up.
Admission to Sand Rock is currently $5 per car. Camping is abundant near the parking lot and along the entrance road; be sure to register at the park office if you plan to camp.
This campground has some of the cleanest and best maintained facilities that I have encountered. There were several trails that we went hiking on in the area and lots of places to go mountain biking nearby. Check-in time is late in the afternoon though, we couldn't go directly to our site once we arrived.
The campground is dog friendly, but be aware that once you are there there aren't any trails that dogs are allowed on. There are a ton of black bears in the area, and they view dogs as a threat and will approach you if they see your dogs.
This was an awesome campground experience, but it fills up quickly for spring break. We made reservations two months in advance, and when we arrived there are only 4 designated tent camping spots. We ending up pitching our tent in a RV spot. Fire wood is available for sale from the ranger, but you have to make sure of their hours. When we were there they are closed on Sundays.
This campground is located directly adjacent to the Intercoastal Waterway, and there is a boat ramp located nearby but there is no access to go swimming here. There are lots of oyster beds lining the rocks that are serving as a perimeter to the waterway, so scrambling through can be hazardous if you go down there. The tent campsites have a good breeze, but once you get back into the trees the mosquitoes can be very bad.