If you’re looking for camping near Atlanta this fall, look no further than Blue Ridge or Helen. North Georgia Campgrounds are the perfect “home base” for enjoying the fall color of the mountains. As we hiked this year, I made a mental note of the best campgrounds we happened upon. Here are four that we are dying to try! Have you visited any of these?
Blue Ridge Ga Camping
We discovered this Chattahoochee National Forest camping mecca when we went to hike Long Creek Falls. You’ll enter the forest on a forest service road and notice campsites along the beautiful Noontoola River. Be sure to drive the entire 5-miles to the fall’s makeshift parking area before selecting your campsite, as each site offers a more peaceful view of the river than the last.
Campsites here are all primitive, with no electricity or potable water- just a fire ring. This is truly an escape into nature. You can enjoy trout fishing in the river (get a license first!) or head out for some great fall hiking. Hike the 2-mile trail to Long Creek Falls or a longer hike along the AT toward Springer Mountain. The town of Blue Ridge is about 30 minutes away, with delicious food and fun shopping.
We are planning a visit in November, but my friends at Atlanta Trails have already camped at Three Forks so you can read their story (with great photos.)
We hiked Swinging Bridge last summer and promised ourselves we’d be back for camping along the Toccoa River. The bridge is in the Blue Ridge WMA which means camping is allowed anywhere. We saw people camped right on the banks of this gorgeous river. Again, there is no electricity or water- this is primitive camping!
This camping site is a little more challenging with younger kiddos because you can’t pull right up to the campsite; you must hike into your site. It’s a perfect beginner’s trip for backpacking, though!
Helen Ga Camping
Andrews Cove is small campground just north of Helen and Sautee, which makes it a fun way to enjoy Oktoberfest. There are camping pads here with a picnic table, lantern pole and fire ring, and almost every site is on the wide creek running through the campground. Each site is first-come, first-serve and is $12 per night. There is a centralized pump for drinking water and a flush toilet for the campground.
The cove is located off a busy road (you’re still in the mountains, so busy is a relative term.) Expect to hear motorcycles, etc during the night. There is also a trail in the campground….it doesn’t go anywhere special, but it is a fun way to explore with the kids.
I love this campground because of the old-growth trees and the stream running through the center. It makes you feel secluded, even though you are close to Helen. Be mindful that it is only open from May – Nov.
Upper Chattahoochee Campground
Just a few miles north of Andrews Cove you will find the fire service road to Upper Chattahoochee Campground. You’ll find the campground about 4-5 miles down the dirt road. Campsites here a fire ring, picnic table and lantern post. The campground also offers toilets and potable water. Each site is $12 per night. Be mindful that it is only open from May – Nov.
If you don’t mind primitive camping, then enjoy one of several spots along the road (and the river) as you head into the campground. Several of these are prime spots on the water, with gorgeous views. There is no cost for these sites (you’ll notice them because of the fire rings,) but get there early in the week to snag these best sites, especially during leaf-peep season.
You are much deeper into the woods here than at the above-mentioned Andrews Cove, so heading back into town is an adventure. Be sure to pack everything you need (and don’t forget your fishing license.)
We discovered this camping spot on our way to Horse Trough Falls. This gorgeous waterfall is only a 1/3-mile hike from the parking area at the back of the campground.
Need more camping options? Check out our post on the 52 BEST campgrounds in North Georgia.