The Best Spots for Primitive Camping in Georgia 

In this guide, I am going to talk about primitive camping in Georgia. I included my favorite camping spots in the Peach State and some crucial pieces of information regarding where you can camp and who to talk to about it.

The birthplace of Coca-Cola, home to one of the largest aquariums in the world, and the spawning place for the first major US gold rush. As the famous song says, Georgia is where even the devil himself stands no chance against the local ingenuity and spirit.

The old-timey pickaxe and sieve-wielding prospectors may have had it rough up in the mountains. Still, there was one thing perpetually there to console them in their times of trouble – the gorgeous Georgian nature.

Map of Primitive Camping in Georgia

Click on any of the map icons for more information.


Tent in Georgia

The terrain in Georgia is mountainous, full of forests, with the famous Piedmont plateau in the middle and a large southern chunk being a primarily flat, coastal region.

Suppose you’re a primitive camping enthusiast who likes the idea of old-timey log cabins, ice-cold mountain streams, and charming, photo-worthy woodland path pullouts. In that case, Georgia can be the best state you can be in when forest primitive camping is concerned.

Besides its mountainous areas with endless forests, Georgia is well-known for its many lakes and winding rivers, as well as many creeks and even some breathtaking cascading waterfalls.

To account fully for all the natural beauty of their state, Georgians devised a list of the top 7 natural wonders of the Peach State:

  • Amicalola Falls
  • Warm Springs
  • Tallulah Gorge
  • Stone Mountain
  • Radium Springs
  • Okefenokee Swamp
  • Providence Canyon

The Best Free Primitive Camping Spots in Georgia

Rapid creeks with cold clear water and zippy trout navigating between the rocks and pebbles and against the current. Peaceful woodland pullouts with enough space for a small car and a tent or large grassy clearings can act as starting points for a proper hiking expedition. The Peach State has everything, and the following free primitive camping areas are proof of it.

John’s Mountain

John's Mountain
  • Map
  • Toilets: no
  • Visitor frequency: moderate
  • Potable water availability: no

With ten sites spread over a rather scenic area that you can easily access in a vehicle, thanks to the paved roads, this primitive campground is easily accessible. As such, it can be an excellent option for folks looking for an RV-based, great scenery-rich primitive camping.

These sites are well-placed because both Everett Springs Road and John’s Creek are locations that the sites follow.

Some of the more spacious sites are even accessible by RVs.

There are some pretty cool activities you can do in this same area. You can count on fishing and hiking, besides the fantastic primitive camping experience you can have here.

An essential word of notice, there is no food, water, or toilets around here. You will have to bring all your equipment with you. Plus food, potable water, or a port-a-potty or two.

Popping off to the nearby pay-to-stay campground can be an excellent way to quickly respite from your camp.

Nimblewill Creek

Nimblewill Creek
Photo by Pete Seabolt via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0)
  • Map
  • Toilets: no
  • Visitor frequency: moderate
  • Potable water availability: no (you can filter some from the creek)

‘Where there’s a creek, there must be a road nearby of the same name’ seems to be the unwritten rule of US primitive camping.

The scenic Nimblewill Creek is no exception. With its six campsites located along Nimblewill Gap Road, you will conveniently be close to the road and the creek.

This proximity of the creek can be helpful in procuring water. Drinking this water may not be the most brilliant option, so bringing along a water filter may be the best course of action. (Or, better still, the safest option is to bring along bottled water and keep stocks of it.)

Out of a couple of sites here, only a couple are large enough to accommodate an RV or a vehicle with a trailer, so make sure to approach this campground carefully. The road to this place can get quite rough, especially if you’re coming from the north, so get ready for a possible bumpy road en route to these campsites.

Probably the best thing about these sites is that they are relatively remote. What this means is low noise pollution for this entire area, as well as a reasonably private camping experience.

For more great campsites in the US, see our guide to free camping in Oregon and our guide to free camping in Utah.

Hickey Gap Campground

Hickey Gap
  • Map
  • Toilets: vault toilets
  • Visitor frequency: busy
  • Potable water availability: no

The folks in charge of this camping-friendly patch are the USFS – an organization well known for their lax camping rules, excellent mapping efforts regarding vehicle-friendly forest paths, and their uneasy and justifiably gingerly overseeing and regulation of campfires.

The USFS are also pretty good at campsite maintenance, and you can rest assured that this Hickey Gap is no exception.

The sites are pretty small and best-suitable for tenting. There is no potable water source here, but there are a couple of vault toilets.

Nowhere on this campsite is alcohol permitted, so make sure you leave your liquor fridge empty for this one.

Another restriction to pay attention to is how you pitch the tent. To preserve the soil at this campsite, you must use tent pads to place your tent. Also, the officials in charge of this campground require campers to observe the quiet hours rule from 10 pm to 6 am.

Once you’ve set up your tent, parked your car, and are ready to enjoy the local nature, you can check out some other activities. Making impromptu plans to engage in some of the activities available here, including bicycling, fishing, and hiking is a piece of cake. 

Fishing, in particular, here is big all year round, Mill Creek being the primary spot for catching rout. 

Bear Creek Trailhead Campground

Moon over Georgia
  • Map
  • Toilets: vault toilets
  • Visitor frequency: moderate
  • Potable water availability: no

This Bear Creek camping area is tucked snugly into the forest thicket. It gives you an authentic woodland camping experience you’d struggle to find elsewhere.

Suppose you’re looking for a peaceful camping experience to relax uninterrupted by the noises of civilization or other campers. In that case, this campground is where you’ll find it.

Interestingly, this camping area is not strictly a tranquil forest setting. If you want, you can engage in various excellent activities here, such as hiking, mountaineering, and mountain dirt bike riding.

In particular, you can visit the Pinhoti Trail to get fantastic views and photo ops. You can head up and down hiking tracks where you can test your grit and rock-scaling prowess.

The sites at this campground are accessible only on foot. What this means is no trailers, no RVs, and no option to bring your equipment on some vehicles. You have to haul by hand a tent, food, water and all the other portable amenities you might need. Before visiting this place, ensure you get everything you need for a great camping experience.

Another thing to check out before getting here will be if an area is temporarily closed off due to some nature preservation effort, such as a seasonal revegetation campaign.

Last but not least, if you plan to spend a weekend here, you might want to get here early, so you can get the best camping spot and avoid the midday hustle ‘n’ bustle. 

Oconee National Forest

Oconee National Forest
  • Map 
  • Toilets: no
  • Visitor frequency: Moderate
  • Potable water availability: no 

If you have an appetite for a camping experience akin to a hunting trip but with less shooting and more tenting and admiring the surrounding nature, you will like this place. The scenic brush of the Oconee National Forest can be a fantastic outdoor excursion.

There are 38 so-called ‘hunt camps’ in this area, all located within the Oconee part of the whole national forest.

You can find these 38 scattered throughout the forest, so you don’t have to worry about getting too cramped or listening to other campers’ music against your will. Here are two official maps of this area so that you can have a clearer idea of the whereabouts of these places – The north half of the forest and the south part of the forest.

An important note about this area: Some campgrounds are developed and require a special permit. For this reason, check for camp maps issued by the authorities. Only this way can you ensure that the campgrounds you’re considering visiting have an ‘undeveloped campground’ symbol. Even better, calling the ranger in charge of the office for this forest is the best course of action.

Here, you can learn what campgrounds are suitable for visiting and the forest paths’ conditions.

Last but not least, this region features no restrooms or water.

Hannahatchee Creek WMA

Trout caught in Georgia
  • Map
  • Toilets: no
  • Visitor frequency: moderate
  • Potable water availability: no

A famous hunters’ favorite, the tough-to-pronounce but gorgeous Hannahatchee Creek camping area is open for recreational camping to all holders of WMA-issued fishing and hunting licenses.

Also, you can enjoy camping here with just a general land access pass.

Other than the camping itself, there is a range of activities you can do here that you can pursue. There’s fantastic geocaching potential for avid fans of the adult version of hide-and-seek.

For those looking for the tough-to-catch, feisty creek trout, this place also has excellent fishing spots.

Other cool outdoor pursuits like hiking or easy wildlife viewing are also readily available. What’s more, combining these two represents a great way to tackle and complete some fantastic hiking trails and capture Discovery Channel-worthy photos.

You won’t find any amenities such as water or toilets. That said, a short distance from here, you can find some bathrooms near the official WMA entrance by way of Mores Store Road. 

One thing to pay attention to would be to check the current camping regulations with the authorities overseeing this area. Permits and regulations change seasonally around here.

Rood Creek Campground

Rood Creek
Photo by Rivers Langley via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)
  • Map
  • Toilets: yes
  • Visitor frequency: busy
  • Potable water availability: no

For a completely free camping experience on a patch of land that the Army Corps of Engineers oversee, the Rood Creek Campground can be quite an exciting area.

What sets this camping region apart from others is the amenities you can access if you decide to visit this place.

Perhaps only a Wi-Fi router or two shy of earning the title of an official army glamping spot, the Road Creek campground comes with some decent-looking toilets. Other niceties include multiple picnic tables and numerous fire rings where you can start a proper campfire safely and without worries.

Accessing this place by an RV is a piece of cake thanks to relatively smooth roads. Also, in terms of accessibility, this place distinguishes itself with its proximity to Walter F. George Lake and all the awesome recreational activities that come with it.

Perhaps the most rewarding attraction this campground offers is the scenic views of the nearby creek and lake water.

The only thing that can potentially leave a dent in the tranquility and beauty of this area would be the alligators that, at times, ‘patrol’ this area. That said, as long as you pay attention to this occasional reptilian hazard, you’ll have a fantastic time at any of these sites.

Ball Field Camping Area

Conasauga Recreational Area
  • Map
  • Toilets: no
  • Visitor frequency: moderate
  • Potable water availability: no

No water and no toilets around these parts, but you get breathtakingly beautiful scenery – that’s what this Ball Field camping area is all about.

This area is only a mile away from Conasauga Recreational Area. Still, these parts feel remote enough to give you a feeling of a proper distance from civilization.

That said, if you need to use the toilet badly, for a small fee of just $5, you can drop by the Conasauga Recreational Area and use their lavatories.

Multiple fire pits are available, so starting a campfire will be a piece of cake.

Pitching a tent wherever you like, as long as it’s on a grassy surface, is another perk of this camping area, but do keep in mind that getting here can be a bumpy ride. (For this reason, getting here with an SUV or a high-clearance 4×4 is the recommended course of action.)

Where Can You Camp in Georgia

Campsite in Georgia

When it comes to ‘campable’ land in Georgia, you can count on over 800,000 acres of national forest land alone. Add to that large swathes of territory under the Georgia Department of Natural Resources jurisdiction and the Army Corps of Engineers Mobile District. You get a massive choice of campground maps.

Each of these organizations has distinct rules you must adhere to and respect. In some cases, much of the land is suitable for hunting, so following these organizations’ guidelines will ensure your safety and prevent getting yourself into serious trouble.

Here are the guidelines for primitive camping for each of these organizations: 

Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest

Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest

Made up of two national forests, the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest spans a vast territory. It encompasses land from the northernmost edge of the state to the area southeast of Atlanta.

Some of the curiosities you can find here include fantastic waterfalls. Anna Ruby Twin Falls and Helton Creek Falls are excellent examples. Moreover, this area boasts some pretty cool sites of historical and cultural importance, such as the Scull Shoals Mill Village.

Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest is home to many great primitive camping options. Before you head there – checking out the local rules and restrictions would be an absolute must. Talking to the representatives at the local ranger station or forest service office is always the best course of action to learn more about the current situation regarding fire hazards and other regulations. That said before you do that, here’s a brief checklist that would be a good starting point:  

  • If you plan to make campfires, check out the current fire restrictions and regulations. The USFS technicians and forests will occasionally arrange controlled burns to secure specific forest areas and reinvigorate new trees and shrubbery regrowth.
  • USFS prohibits cutting down trees or branches for firewood. Only dried-up and downed wood are free to use for campfires.
  • No matter how clear and clean a creek appears, always filter it first if you want to drink the water.
  • If you’re bringing a pet along, you must always keep it on a leash.
  • There are all-encompassing regulations that this USFS branch issues. For example, a site-specific instruction can read: swimming in Dockery Lake is prohibited from July 25th 2022, to July 25th 2023. The others are site-specific. Acquaint yourself with both of these, especially the site-specific ones, to ensure you’ll have a pleasant stay wherever you go.
  • Adhere to the ‘Leave No Trace’ principles to minimize your impact on wildlife and the environment. You may also want to check out our ultimate guide to dispersed camping.

To get the latest pieces of info regarding the state of the campgrounds in this national forest, the best way to go would be to contact one of the four central district offices:

  • Blue Ridge Ranger District – 706-970-9776 or 706-745-6928
  • Conasauga Ranger District – 706-695-6736
  • Oconee Ranger District – 706-485-7110
  • Chattooga River Ranger District – 706-754-6221

Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources

Georgia's Department of Natural Resources
Photo by Michael Rivera via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Throughout the state of Georgia, there are some one hundred Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources oversees this area and uses it for cultural and environmental conservation, education, and for recreation.

The majority of these particular areas are primarily dedicated to hunting or fishing. For this reason, before heading there, checking the seasonal access restrictions and safety instructions for each site is a must.

Most Wildlife Management Areas have a rule allowing primitive camping only in designated spots. Some WMAs require you to purchase a special entry pass. Also, if you want to hunt, fish, or have a shooting practice – you’ll need to get a suitable license first.

A quick note: The ranger hotline for Georgia’s Wildlife Management Areas is 800-241-4113.

Army Corps of Engineers Recreation Areas

The Army Corps of Engineers recreation areas are located primarily in the western part of Georgia. Offering a wide variety of activities you can engage in, including fishing, boating, hiking, and picnicking, this region is a favorite for all kinds of campers.

For the most part, these areas represent developed campgrounds. Some of these are free campsites, but you will, at the very least, pay for the entrance to these sites.

The organization in charge of these campgrounds is the Army Corps of Engineers Mobile District. You can learn about their history and mission and how to acquire permits and passes on their official website.

Also, you can contact the officials of this organization at (251) 690-2576.


Maybe it’s winding forest paths with secretive and pristine pull outs just big enough for a small tent, lakeside clearings perfect for catching fish and taking pictures. Or, perhaps you’re after rugged mountain mini plateaus from where you can start a personal trek towards the summit. Georgia’s got it all, whether you’re a cozy camper or an adventure-seeking outdoorsman with a glint in their eye.

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