Primitive Camping in the South Carolina Mountains

The outdoor opportunities that await you in the South Carolina Mountains are almost endless. From hiking and backpacking to fly fishing and kayaking, you can do it all here. If you’re the type that wants to be completely immersed in nature when exploring, then keep reading. We’ve got a list of some of the best places for primitive camping to check out in the South Carolina Mountains! However, this list is not exhaustive, so click here for a complete list of accommodations in our area.

Jocassee Gorges

Managed by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the Jocassee Gorges offer a truly wild experience for the outdoor traveler seeking untouched wilderness. Some campsites here require a first-come-first-serve permit, while others are open year-round and do not require a permit. Click here for more info on Jocassee Gorges camping.

South Carolina State Parks

Tent camping at a South Carolina State Park is unlike any other experience! Trailside camping is available at Keowee-Toxaway state park. Tent sites are available at Oconee, Devils Fork, Keowee-Toxaway, Table Rock, Lake Hartwell, and Sadlers Creek State Parks. Visit the state park website for more information on the specific park you are interested in.

Sumter National Forest

Located in Oconee County and managed by the United States Forest Service, the Sumter National Forest has many camping opportunities including dispersed and group camping. Some sites require a reservation. Click here for more info on Sumter National Forest camping.


If you've never heard of Hipcamp, it's similar to Airbnb or VRBO, but for camp sites! There are many great options for Hipcamps in the area that are on the lake or in the mountains. One of our favorite spots is at Table Rock Tea Company. Yes, you can tell your friends that you've camped on a tea farm before! They even won best campsite in South Carolina in 2019.

Photo courtesy of Table Rock Tea Company

We hope that you thoroughly enjoy your stay here in Lake Hartwell Country! For more information on all there is to see and do in the area, head to our website You can also find trip inspiration on our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Feel free to give us a call and stop by our Visitors Center in Pendleton or Pickens. We’ll see y’all soon!

125 E Queen St.

Pendleton, SC 29670

(864) 646-3782


222 W Main St.

Pickens, SC 29671