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Old 05-31-2017, 12:35 AM   #1
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Looking for free camp sites in Georgia or bordering states

I am looking for recomendations for free or very low cost camping opportunities in Georgia and bordering states (excluding Walmarts, truckstops, etc..). I am aware that you can camp in US National Forests (dispersed camping) for free but am looking for specific locations preferably on a lake, mountain stream or near the ocean/beach. Anything out there you recommend?
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Old 05-31-2017, 05:08 AM   #2
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John, I live next door in sc and I'm afraid that the opportunities for free camping are pretty limited for what you're looking for (limited is a generous description). Near the coast of SC in the Francis Marion Nationa Forest there are 2 free campgrounds (Honey Hill and Elmwood) but neither provide anything other than views of trees. As far as I know you'll need to cross old man river to find some BLM land for freebies. I'll be following this thread in hopes that someone proves me wrong.

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Old 05-31-2017, 08:44 AM   #3
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John, I live next door in sc and I'm afraid that the opportunities for free camping are pretty limited for what you're looking for (limited is a generous description). Near the coast of SC in the Francis Marion Nationa Forest there are 2 free campgrounds (Honey Hill and Elmwood) but neither provide anything other than views of trees. As far as I know you'll need to cross old man river to find some BLM land for freebies. I'll be following this thread in hopes that someone proves me wrong.

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How close is Honey Hill and Elmwood to the coast/beach?

I figured there would be some in the GA/TN/NC mountains that I just don't know about and then some scattered throughout the national forests. We have a few places locally you can camp at but unless you are a deer hunter or like just being in the woods there's not much there (no lake, river, etc).

Since I am sure others are interested I will share what I know of...there is a low cost National Forest Service Campground on Lake Sinclair, most sites have no hookups but there is one loop that does but the do have bathhouse and I think it is $7 per night to camp there and is FCFS.

Just north of Helen in NE GA mountains there is Andrews Cove a small campground on a mountain with a stream for $12/night (FCFS).

There is also a dirt road to the left headed north out of Helen that goes for miles that has some dispersed free campsites but the road is very curvy and would be difficult even with a small Boler/Scamp to maneuver but if you come in off the other end of the road you could get to those sites pretty easily but don't remember the name of the road.

Hopefully others will share their spots too...
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Old 05-31-2017, 09:37 AM   #4
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The best low cost campgrounds that we have found are run by the COE . We have stayed at several that have water ,electric , sewer , tables , fire rings and concrete pads for right around $10 / night using our seniors pass. In our area you use to be able to camp free on County Forest Land but not any more .
The days of camping for free are slowly coming to an end .
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Old 05-31-2017, 09:57 AM   #5
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I'm PM some specifics later (we're talking about camping on my trout streams here), but you've already identified the biggest issue, rugged road access.

The road you've mentioned is on the headwaters of the Chattahoochee, named River Road, and FS14 (I think) in the USFS system. And yes, easier from the top end. There are two USFS Campgrounds like Andrews Cove there, and, for the most part, I'd say anywhere the USFS has a $12ish per night campground (vault toilet and water pump in the CG), road access is probably doable, but scouting in advance is not a bad idea. BTW, there are three of those USFS campgrounds on the Tallulah River and it's paved to the first (and there are a couple of dozen permanently occupied houses way up the road, even into NC, so that road gets taken care of), and the water is big enough for swimming if trout fishing is not your thing.
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Old 05-31-2017, 10:04 AM   #6
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Florida is a neighboring state, so if South Florida is within your operating area, check out:

Southwest Florida Management District camping

South Florida Water Management District camping sites

There are quite a few COE and FWS campsites as well.
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Old 05-31-2017, 10:08 AM   #7
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I'm afraid that if people start camping out at Walmart they just may put a stop to the people that want to overnight there. Setting out chairs and Barbecuing to me would look more like camping.
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Old 05-31-2017, 10:33 AM   #8
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I'm afraid that if people start camping out at Walmart they just may put a stop to the people that want to overnight there. Setting out chairs and Barbecuing to me would look more like camping.
I have no interest in camping at a Walmart or any other similar location (truckstops, etc.). The only time I would do such would be if we were on the road on a long trip or late at night and got to tired to drive then we would prefer a rest stop with police/security just to get some sleep and get back on the road. A Camping World would be an option as I hear they welcome RVs overnight but a Walmart or similar location would be a last resort, but I do feel some abuse this as we regularly see several RVs at our local Walmarts other than late at night and even seen one where they literally setup camp, chairs grill & all ...
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Old 05-31-2017, 10:36 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
The best low cost campgrounds that we have found are run by the COE . We have stayed at several that have water ,electric , sewer , tables , fire rings and concrete pads for right around $10 / night using our seniors pass. In our area you use to be able to camp free on County Forest Land but not any more .
The days of camping for free are slowly coming to an end .
Steve I have not yet tried any COE campgrounds but there are a few I know of in Georgia on Lake Lanier and West Point and Lake Altoona I think has one. The USFS one on Lake Sinclair I mentioned is a nice small one and reasonably priced and is probably similar to a COE facility. It has a small beach, lake access, hiking trails and nicely setup.
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Old 05-31-2017, 10:40 AM   #10
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I'm PM some specifics later (we're talking about camping on my trout streams here), but you've already identified the biggest issue, rugged road access.

The road you've mentioned is on the headwaters of the Chattahoochee, named River Road, and FS14 (I think) in the USFS system. And yes, easier from the top end. There are two USFS Campgrounds like Andrews Cove there, and, for the most part, I'd say anywhere the USFS has a $12ish per night campground (vault toilet and water pump in the CG), road access is probably doable, but scouting in advance is not a bad idea. BTW, there are three of those USFS campgrounds on the Tallulah River and it's paved to the first (and there are a couple of dozen permanently occupied houses way up the road, even into NC, so that road gets taken care of), and the water is big enough for swimming if trout fishing is not your thing.
Bob, yes I have heard about the ones on the Tallulah but wasn't sure if they would accommodate a small rv or tent only. Can you PM me the names of the other two you know of like Andrews Cove? Very interested in those and on the Tallulah. BTW I understand all about wanting to protect a trout fishing hole .
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Old 05-31-2017, 10:41 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by DeBreez View Post
Florida is a neighboring state, so if South Florida is within your operating area, check out:

Southwest Florida Management District camping

South Florida Water Management District camping sites

There are quite a few COE and FWS campsites as well.
Jim I will check these out thanks for the tip!
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Old 05-31-2017, 01:01 PM   #12
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Bear Creek, Grassy Mountain/Lake Conasauga, Hickey Gap, all in the Cohuttas, all with miles of FS road to access. There are many free camping spots in north Ga, some just one-two spots between a road and creek.
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Old 05-31-2017, 01:05 PM   #13
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But some of the remote spots are a little hinky and not easily defensible. Piracy isn't confined to the seas, there are some crazies riding the roads at times.
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Old 05-31-2017, 03:46 PM   #14
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How close is Honey Hill and Elmwood to the coast/beach?
well, if you're a crow you can be to the coast rather quickly as it's a matter of a few miles.
however, if you're limited to road travel it's quite a ways. more like 30 miles or so. look at the map...it's about half way between georgetown, sc and charleston. both on the water but for a "beach" you gotta do some driving. if you can part with a tenner per night (with the geezer card) there's buck hall campground also in the national forest. that ten bucks will get you water and electricity with a dump station and kinda old but clean bath houses. it's small (14 rv sites/5 tent sites) and tends to stay pretty much full much of the time. i camp host there in march and april and truly love the place that time of year. it's on the intercoastal with a big boat launch and a small fishing pier. reservations are suggested.

i'm hoping this thread keeps going as i've grown sorta tired of driving west to find those wonderful BLM places. and yes, when i'm headed there i do find myself staying the night in wal marts, cracker barrels, rest areas and truck stops. being self contained in a small trailer is about the coolest way to travel and the safest/most affordable this old coot has found so far...

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Old 05-31-2017, 03:47 PM   #15
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But some of the remote spots are a little hinky and not easily defensible. Piracy isn't confined to the seas, there are some crazies riding the roads at times.
Trev,
Would these areas be somewhere I should be concerned about taking the Mrs. and little one to?
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Old 05-31-2017, 07:15 PM   #16
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I would NOT take wife and kid to some of the places I can think of, though some are not far from sites where I'd feel relatively safe. Most of the crime is low level trashiness, but occasionally there are beatings and disappearances.
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Old 05-31-2017, 08:08 PM   #17
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Trev,
Would these areas be somewhere I should be concerned about taking the Mrs. and little one to?
Only if you're paranoid.
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Old 05-31-2017, 08:12 PM   #18
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I guess the point is that with freedom comes self-reliance. All that mythical expanse of BLM land out west may be free, but it's also free of law enforcement and lights and 911 operators and cell service. I look forward to that challenge, YMMV.
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Old 05-31-2017, 08:32 PM   #19
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But some of the remote spots are a little hinky and not easily defensible. Piracy isn't confined to the seas, there are some crazies riding the roads at times.
After reading all your posts on this thread I think it is safe to assume you are not an employee of the Georgia Chamber of Congress or the Georgia Tourism Board. If when camping in Georgia I need to set up a perimeter and defend my campsite against invading crazies then count me out.
Paranoia strikes deep!!!
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Old 05-31-2017, 09:36 PM   #20
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John, every place I've mentioned in PM - specific and general - is one I'd feel comfortable. Pretty much everyone else you run into is just interested in their own version of fun similar to yours. Sure, they may have a different idea of bedtime but I'd more likely expect a real crazy in a grocery store parking lot. Your real problem will probably be getting solitude you might want. EVERYONE will want to know about that cool little Boler.
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