Relaxing by the lake, paddling among ancient cypress trees, lounging on white-sand beaches — all of this and more awaits campers exploring the Southeast. While the coastline is seemingly endless, the inland options are plentiful with plenty of amazing hiking opportunities and a hidden gem of an RV park in wine country.

St. Andrews State Park is a Gulf Coast goldmine for camping on the Florida Panhandle and rightfully assumes its spot at the top of the 2024 Best Places to Camp in the Southeast Region list. Five River Campground in West Virginia vaulted up the rankings to No. 3 after squeezing its way into a tie for 10th last year. And returning to the Top 5 after a year off the list is Skidaway Island State Park in Georgia.

Check out these and the rest of this year’s Best Places to Camp Regional Award winners in the Southeast Region, which are based on reviews and ratings from The Dyrt’s vast community of campers.

1. St. Andrews State Park — Florida

Location: Panama City

What makes it great: White-sand beaches, emerald waters and abundant birds and butterflies keep people coming to this campground, where there’s also a network of hiking trails through pine forest and over dunes. Campsites include full hookup sites for big rigs as well as tent sites. There are well-kept bath/shower buildings, laundry facilities, picnic sites and playgrounds, and you can rent umbrellas for the beach. In summer, shuttles run back and forth to Shell Island, a pristine nature reserve with white sand beaches and the chance to spot dolphins at play. There’s also swimming, snorkeling, fishing and boating from the campground.

What The Dyrt’s community of campers has to say:

“Amazing Campground! Water views, tons of trails, both walking and biking, deer came right into our campsite a few times and we saw so many on our bike rides. Beautiful campground, well maintained! One of our favorites!” — Julie B

“Can’t say enough!! This is one of our favorite state parks! Make reservations early, they book up quick! The jetty area is perfect for young kids, it’s shallow enough for them to play and very little waves. Water is beautiful!!” — Casey L

“Amazing state park on the water.” — Ransom J

Campground details
Price: $28-$100
Number of sites: 176
RV sites: Yes
Fires allowed: Yes
Pets allowed: Yes

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2. Petit Jean State Park — Arkansas

Location: Morrilton

What makes it great: Comfort and cleanliness are big here, but the real draw is the surroundings, with hiking trails through fascinating rock formations, past waterfalls and along creeks. Each part of the campground includes a modern bathhouse with hot showers and flush toilets. The section near Lake Bailey includes sites along the lakeshore; the other campsite loops are set in the woods. There are hiking trails, built — like most of the architecture in the park — by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The trails feature plenty of scenic overlooks. The lodge includes a visitor center and restaurant, and there’s a playground for the youngsters.

What The Dyrt’s community of campers has to say:

“I found everything to be absolutely amazing!” — Zandra B

“Our campsite was perfect. It was near the lake with full hook ups. We had plenty of space and one side was woods.” — Alisha W

“This is one of my favorite camping trips! The scenery will blow you away.” — Natalie C

“What a beautiful park! Spacious level site. Clean bathhouse. Rangers were very helpful and knowledgeable about the park. Plenty of adventures to be had (Cedar Creek falls, Seven Hollows Trail, etc.).” — William M

Campground details
Price: $25-$40
Number of sites: 125
RV sites: Yes
Fires allowed: Yes
Pets allowed: Yes

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3. Five River Campground — West Virginia

Location: Parsons

What makes it great: Set along the banks of the Shavers Fork River near the Monongahela National Forest, Five River Campground is a great base camp for outdoor adventures. The campground has both full-hookup RV sites and tent sites, a central bathhouse with hot showers and restrooms, a laundromat and two dumping stations. All the facilities are spotless and well-maintained, and the owners are known for going the extra mile to make sure campers are comfortable. Though it’s conveniently near a town for getting supplies, the place is quiet and peaceful. Bicycle trails, hiking, kayaking and outdoor play areas are some of the highlights.

What The Dyrt’s community of campers has to say:

“Right on the River. Perfect for floating. Full hook up sites were amazing. Definitely want to come back.” — Brad L

“Clean, courteous, well managed. Fourth visit in three years. It keeps getting better!” — Dave S

“Our first visit to Five River Campground was great! The owners are amazing and so helpful. They go out of their way to make sure you have a wonderful time. The campground is clean and well maintained. We will definitely be visiting again!” — Beverly S

Campground details
Price: $15-$30
Number of sites: 84
RV sites: Yes
Fires allowed: Yes
Pets allowed: Yes

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4. Monte Sano State Park — Alabama

Location: Huntsville

What makes it great: Near Huntsville, this state park campground draws hikers and mountain bikers eager to explore the many wooded trails across its namesake, the “mountain of health.” There’s an impressive lodge and several rustic cabins built by the CCC, two bathhouses with showers and laundry facilities, a Japanese garden, a planetarium, and spacious campsites among thick trees. It’s a great place to see the fall colors, or the blooming azaleas in spring.

What The Dyrt’s community of campers has to say:

“The location is so nice with lots of trees and shade. It seemed way more cool here than down in Huntsville and even felt less humid which was wonderful. The bathrooms and showers were clean as well as the campground overall. Great place to stay!” — Bryce W

“The office staff were all VERY kind and VERY helpful. The camp store itself is small but had pretty much anything you might’ve forgotten. The bike trails are numerous and while we don’t mountain bike we did ride our cruiser bikes down past the rental cabins and on past the gate onto a nice wide gravel trail. It was beautiful and we saw lots of wildflowers and deer. I highly recommend this park. It was lovely.” — Rachel P

Campground details
Price: $14-$30
Number of sites: 115
RV sites: Yes
Fires allowed: Yes
Pets allowed: Yes

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5. Skidaway Island State Park — Georgia

Location: Savannah

What makes it great: This state park is part of Georgia’s Intracoastal Waterway and includes about 600 miles of maritime forest, tidal creeks and salt marshes. The live oaks, red cedars and pines drip with Spanish moss and host all kinds of wildlife. The campground features spacious sites with picnic tables and fire rings, clean bathrooms with hot and cold showers, laundry facilities, dirt or paved RV sites and a dump station. Several hiking trails start from here, many of which are also open to bicycles (rentals available). Alligators have been spotted along the Big Ferry Trail, and another trail goes to an observation tower overlooking the Skidaway Narrows, home to egrets, ospreys and the occasional dolphin.

What The Dyrt’s community of campers has to say:

“We have stayed here multiple times when visiting Savannah. Still one of our favorite state parks. Big campsites, clean, quiet. The new visitor center is really nice.” — Scott B

“This campground is beautiful, with clean facilities and hiking trails within walking distance to campground. We spent one night and loved to experience the park on top of exploring Savannah which is a 20 minute drive. We would definitely return!” — Brian and Janet S

“This is a beautiful state park close to Savannah. The sites are sufficient. The bathrooms are clean…The store is wonderful… The natural setting speaks for itself!” — Laurie H

Campground details
Price: $40-$49
Number of sites: 90
RV sites: Yes
Fires allowed: Yes
Pets allowed: Yes

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6. Lincoln Parish Park — Louisiana

Location: Ruston

What makes it great: On the shores of Lake D’Arbonne, all the campsites at Lincoln Parish Park have good views of either the lake or the surrounding forests. The main draw is the park’s famous mountain bike trails, but there are also numerous hiking trails here including a loop around the lake, as well as fishing, kayaking and swimming opportunities. Kayaks are available seasonally to rent. There is a playground and park for more outdoor fun, and clean and modern restrooms.

What The Dyrt’s community of campers has to say:

“We were looking for a place to stay overnight when we happened on this gem. We were on a deluxe double wide cement pad with full hookups on the water. Beautiful and quiet.” — James R

“I rented a tent site, perfect location under the trees but enough room to see the stars at night. Although it was full it was fairly quiet. The showers, though not fancy by any means, were a nice touch after riding the mountain bike trails all day.” — Kimberley S

“No doubt about it, this park is beautiful. Apparently it’s known for its mountain biking and other trails, but camping here was wonderful. The park staff was super friendly and took pride in the work of keeping up the park. The RV spots all had a great view of either the lake or the amazing woods. The on-site bathhouse was clean and well taken care of.” — Benjamin S

Campground details
Price: $25-$45
Number of sites: 45
RV sites: Yes
Fires allowed: Yes
Pets allowed: Yes

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7. Fort De Soto Campground — Florida

Location: Saint Petersburg

What makes it great: The park is made up of several tiny islands with white sand beaches and a long and fascinating history. The campground is located on the St. Christopher and St. Jean Keys; paved trails lead from the campground to the beaches. The wooded campground is divided into sections, and all sites have electrical and water hookups, picnic tables and grills. Restrooms and showers in each area are clean and have laundry machines available. You can rent kayaks and bicycles at the campground store and gift shop. There’s a specific area of the campground that’s dog-friendly, with a dog beach and dog run. From the campground you can take a self-guided tour of Fort De Soto and spot an 1858 lighthouse out across the Gulf of Mexico.

What The Dyrt’s community of campers has to say:

“Top notch campground in every aspect!” — John D

“I love coming here when I am in St. Pete! They have a dog beach too! It’s wonderful to have a natural beach without all the noise and crowds.” — Lexi W

“Fort De Soto county park is a fantastic park for the nature adventurer. With a huge variety of activities available it’s perfect for the whole family.” — Emily C

Campground details
Price: $36-$42
Number of sites: 236
RV sites: Yes
Fires allowed: Yes
Pets allowed: Yes

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8. Elkmont Campground — Great Smoky Mountains National Park — Tennessee

Location: Gatlinburg

What makes it great: The largest campground in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Elkmont has a river running through it, making waterfront camping and backcountry fishing about as easy as it gets. Many of the hiking trails through the national park are accessible right from the campground. The area is home to a large range of wildlife, including elk and bears. It also has a significant collection of historic log buildings. Campsites have paved driveways, gravel tent pads, fire rings, and picnic tables, and there’s a camp store for basics. There are also 20 walk-in tent sites. Restrooms have flush toilets and running water.

What The Dyrt’s community of campers has to say:

“Although it is busy, the trees make the campsites by the river feel separated. The sound of the river is very relaxing and blocks out any neighbor noise. Lots of hikes nearby, abandoned mountain houses, and even a ghost town in walking distance.” — Josh M

“Perfect for a night’s rest! Def would go again.” — Megan B

“Very clean. Very nice. We will be back.” — DJody H

Campground details
Price: $25-$30
Number of sites: 220
RV sites: Yes
Fires allowed: Yes
Pets allowed: Yes

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9. Landry Vineyards Grape Escape RV Sites — Louisiana

Location: West Monroe

What makes it great: A small campground at the edge of a vineyard, this place has a beautiful location in the middle of wine country near Cheniere Lake. There are wine tastings most evenings and live music outdoors on certain weekends. RV sites have water and electricity hookups (some also have sewer). There are also two small camping cabins. A good base for exploring the surrounding wine country or just relaxing in a pastoral setting.

What The Dyrt’s community of campers has to say:

“We absolutely loved the GrapeEscape at Landry Vinyards. The spots are level and nice, the whole property is absolutely gorgeous. We visited the winery for a tasting, bought some wine and things to make a meat / cheese tray and took it back to our RV to enjoy the music and do a little dancing! It was an amazing experience that we will definitely enjoy again!” — Jewelana T

“Beautiful location. Wine was great. Try to be there on a weekend when they have music.” — Cheryl C

Campground details
Price: $40
Number of sites: 8
RV sites: Yes
Fires allowed: Yes
Pets allowed: Yes

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10. Campground at James Island County Park — South Carolina

Location: Charleston

What makes it great: A beautiful setting in South Carolina’s Lowcountry and a great base for exploring Charleston, James Island County Park has a range of campsites from full-hookup pull-through sites to walk-in tent-only spots. Each has a picnic table, fire ring and a place to pitch a hammock. There’s a bathhouse and laundry facilities. Campers have access to lots of kid-friendly outdoor features including a climbing wall, playground with a water park, beach and fishing areas.

What The Dyrt’s community of campers has to say:

“I was so lucky to get a spot for two nights in this campground. The views are stunning every turn you take. It’s incredibly close to downtown Charleston and Folly Beach. I’m so glad I stopped here.” — Ljupka S

“Great spot for kids!” — Jessica

“Great Location, Great Campground. Among the best. Well maintained, very clean and adequate bathhouses, level gravel sites with reasonable spacing. Even WIFi! Location is very convenient to downtown Charleston and Folly Beach.” — George L

Campground details
Price: $35-$77
Number of sites: 160
RV sites: Yes
Fires allowed: Yes
Pets allowed: Yes

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