Recommend a place to camp in the Southeast US

I hope to spend a 7-10 days in mid March/early April (still up in the air) camping, and I’m looking for suggestions. I’ll be on a road trip, and will basically just pull off in-between stops and disappear off the face of the earth for a week. Taking into account that it’ll probably still be a bit nippy in Chicago in March, the area I’m looking at is basically everything south of Richmond and east of Kansas City.

I have 4 must haves:

  1. A spot where I won’t see or hear other people; mass campgrounds are right out.
  2. A site I can more-or-less drive to. I want to camp within a mile of where my Wrangler’s parked.
  3. Hiking trails nearby. I plan to spend most of my time either sitting and reading or else hiking. I’d love a place near the App trail.
  4. Some elevation. Mountains not necessary, but I’m sick of Florida flatlands.

An easy 4WD trail for the Wrangler would be a nice plus, as would proximity to anything else interesting (historical spots, etc.).

Hmm, my brother works in rafting around the area of Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina. Here is a web page which describes the area although it is heavily balanced towards family type vacations, there are several camping areas mentioned.

The area itself might be worth investigating as it would probably meet your criteria.

The Red River Gorge is pretty darn sweet. It might still be a little chilly in late March/early April, but otherwise it meets all your criteria.

Check out the AT in Georgia. The GA section is not brutal, the scenery is nice and there are plenty of muddy roads to get dirty on around Springer Mountain. The problem with Springer is that it is crowded. Your best bet would be to hit a FS road a little further down the trail, and hike N to the border (Neel’s Gap) or the other way.

Another option is the Art Loeb in Pisgah NF. There are several gravel/dirt roads that give access to the heart of the NF and avoid the popular trail heads. The parkway may still be closed at that point, giving you even more seculsion. For either option I would find an outfitter that had maps.

Thanks – some very good suggestions here.