25 Senior Friendly Lakeside Campgrounds in the Southeast

For many seniors getting outdoors is their best pastime with family and friends, especially when spending it around a beautiful lakeside campground. Although there may still be some restrictions at lakeside campgrounds, as long as …

For many seniors getting outdoors is their best pastime with family and friends, especially when spending it around a beautiful lakeside campground. Although there may still be some restrictions at lakeside campgrounds, as long as visitors continue to practice social distancing, there are numerous entertainment and fun activities to do at campgrounds situated around lakes. Below are 25 Senior Friendly Lakeside campgrounds in the Southeast. Many sites offer accessible parking with handicap spaces, easy to use restrooms for those in wheelchairs, and a comfortable living arrangement for disabled individuals. There may be hiking trails, boat ramps, fishing piers, and bike rentals available at the lakeside visitor center as well. In most campgrounds, it is prohibited to have a group of 25 or more at the park at any given time. There may be other National State Parks throughout the Southeast region, yet these twenty-five state parks make this list as the best parks that are senior-friendly.

1. Goose Point Park at Philpott Lake

Goose Point Park is located on Philpott Lake in Virginia, providing beautiful scenic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. There are many recreational activities at the lake, such as swimming, boating, hunting, fishing, and hiking. Goose Point Park on Philpott Lake is also an accessible place for senior visitors with mobility concerns, since many activities are accessible with walkers or wheelchairs. It is also great for those who love to take in nature views of wildlife, presenting several hiking paths such as deer, turkeys, raccoons, squirrels, songbirds, and waterfowl. Seniors who enjoy fishing, both large and smallmouth bass, bluegill, crappie, walleye, and catfish may be found in the Goose Point park. The park provides several amenities for visitors to have a welcoming visit. There are two vehicles per campsite and the park offers electric hook ups for accessibility. A dump station is also available, including showers. However, there is no alcohol allowed at the campsites. The Goose Point park is open until 10 pm.

2. Douthat State Park

At the Douthat State Park, there is a variety of activities to do while enjoying the breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The park provides boat rentals, swimming beach with snack bar, four miles of stream fishing, an amphitheater, picnic areas, beach access, tent and trailer camping, and a camp store. There is also a lake which is over 50 acres and a park restaurant. The Douthat State park is open daily from 6 a.m. – 10 p.m. However, the restaurant is closed during the 2020 season. The park includes overnight facilities for all visitors; reservations are recommended. The park has some events coming up for seniors to participate in; for instance, a Campsite Cook-Off Oktoberfest started March 21, 2021 and a Geocaching for Beginners course going on until Dec 31st of this year. The Douthat State Park provides 32 cabins and three lodges that can accommodate 15, 16 and 18 guests at a time.  Prices for cabins and lodge rentals may vary on residency and season times.

3. Bear Creek Lake State Park

Bear Creek Lake State Park is in Cumberland State Forest in Virginia, situated on a 16,000-acre landscape. The park is just one hour from Richmond, VA. The park provides many outdoor events and activities for anyone who loves being surrounded by nature and enjoys hiking, swimming, fishing, and camping. The activities center is centered near a 40-acre lake, offering boat rentals, fishing pier, and access to the beach. There are multi-use trails for hiking trails, horseback riding, and an archery range, including a playground for the little ones. Cabins and picnic areas are also available with easy access restrooms for seniors with disability concerns. There is Wi-Fi in the cabins; however limited cellphone service within the park itself. Bear Creek Lake State Park provides plenty of parking for visitors, including accessible handicap parking spaces. The park is open from 8 am until dusk.

4. Lakepoint Resort State Park

The Lakepoint Resort State Park is perfectly situated off Lake Eufaula, a 45,000-acre waterfront paradise. The lake off the park is known as “The Bass Capital of the World.” It offers many amenities for seniors and their families as they travel through picturesque mountains. Amenities include a full-service restaurant and lounge with a marina and grill, hiking trails, modern campground, swimming complex, tennis courts and playground areas for the kids. There is also a place for formal wedding events, group convention meetings, and family outings around the picnic tables. The Lakepoint Resort State Park includes fishermen cabins and lakeside cottages for comfortable sleeping arrangements. For local attractions, the park provides a fishing tournament, Eufaula Wildlife Refuge, and a Geocaching area. The park also is a pet-friendly environment.  As of recent, the Water’s Edge Restaurant in the lodge is now open to all guests.

5. Lake Louisa State Park

For seniors who love wildlife adventures then Lake Louisa State park is where to go. The Lake Louisa State Park is known for its array of wildlife, which includes deer, bobcat, gopher tortoises, fox squirrel and several types of flighted creatures such as bald eagles and osprey. The park is located just southwest of Orlando and on the northern boundary of Lake Wales Ridge. The State park itself consist of three lakes (Louisa, Hammond, and Dixie) where visitors can enjoy activities off the lakes, such as canoeing, kayaking and paddle boarding. Lake Louisa State Park also provides seven miles of paved roads and over 20 miles of unpaved trails for multi-use adventures. The Narrow-Gauge Railway that was used to haul logs to Hammond Sawmill from Lake Louisa is now the present-day swimming area.  Amenities around the park include biking, fishing, geo-seeking, horseback riding, hiking, paddling, swimming, camping, and wildlife viewing. The visitor center also provides events for special occasion such as weddings. The park is open from 8 a.m. until sundown, 365 days a year.

6. Lake Kissimmee State Park

The Lake Kissimmee State Park offers every senior and their families much excitement through special events at the park and the surrounding area. The lake itself is approximately 35,000 acres. Visitors can enjoy many amenities, such as boating, canoeing, and fishing off the lakes. In addition, those into Nature can enjoy the many hiking trails available at the park, which includes over 13 miles of trails where seniors can observe the local plant and animal life. There is also six miles of trails, open to equestrians, sixty full-facility campsites with electric and water hookups, a dump site station, and a large, shaded picnic area with pavilions.  The wildlife roaming in the park consist of white-tailed deer, bald eagles, sandhill cranes, turkeys, and bobcats; all being seen near the shores of lakes Kissimmee, Tiger and Rosalie. At nightfall occurs, that is when seniors and all visitors come out to stargaze the beautiful night sky. RVers and tent campers are welcomed! Lake Kissimmee State Park is pet-friendly; however, not all animals are allowed in every areas of the park. However, service animals are welcome in all areas of the park.

7. Vogel State Park

Vogal State Park is named by many Floridians as one of the most beloved State parks to visit. Located at the base of Blood Mountain in Chattahoochee National Forest, the park offers a variety of attractions and entertainment to all visitors who come to explore the park. Seniors can also enjoy many aspects of the park; due to the overwhelming accessibility it offers. The park offers places for visitors such as hiking trails, swimming, fishing; including sleeping areas made up of 34 secluded cottages, 90 tent/trailer and RV campsites. There is even backpacking sites.  The State Park offers Wi-Fi at the Visitor Center, museum, group shelter, picnic shelters, and cottages. Overall, the Vogal State park is a great place with many campgrounds for seniors to escape from the stress of everyday life and just rest and relax in nature. The upcoming 17th Annual Vogel State Park Tree Lighting event is scheduled for Saturday, Dec 12, 2020 at 4 PM to 7 PM.

8. Tugaloo State Park

Tugaloo State Park in Lavonia, Georgia can be found on a 393-acre park, surrounded by a wooded landscape with amazing views of the 55,590-acre Lake Hartwell at every direction. The park provides a great place to fish for large-mouth Bass year-round and a popular hangout for swimming, water skiing, sailing, and boating. The park offers campgrounds for visitors who want to tent camp, use the cottages, or use their own RV camper. There are plenty of activities to do at Tugaloo State Park. For instance, they have volleyball and tennis courts, offers canoeing and kayak rentals, a miniature golf area, and is pet friendly. The park also has an 80-seat pavilion for special events. The Tugaloo Park is open at 8 am and closes at 5 pm daily. Most campgrounds allow a maximum of 6 people per site with 2 vehicles per site. Only the Pioneer campgrounds allows for groups, with a minimum of at least 10 visitors. However, no vehicles are allowed and is designed for hiking campers only.

9. Greenbo Lake State Resort Park

The Greenbo Lake State Resort Park located in Greenup, Kentucky is an adventure’s delight. There are a huge variety of activities that young and old can enjoy while vacationing in the state park. People that visit can relax off the 225-acre lake for some swimming, fishing, or boating exertions. For those who are avid hikers, then the 28 miles of trails may interest them, along with taking up some biking or horseback riding. Some of the trails are self-guided and are marked easy to difficult. Seniors or the older population who are not as active may enjoy a short stroll while doing some bird watching.  During the spring season the park is full of colorful birds such as warbler populations, thrushes, woodpeckers, songbirds, and waterfowl. The Greenbo Lake State Park offers lodging for many types of visitors; they offer RV hookups, tent camping sections, and lodging rooms at the 36-room fieldstone lodge or stay at one of the cottages. There is also plenty of parking for the handicapped with ramps available.  

10. Jenny Wiley State Resort Park

Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, located in Prestonsburg, KY, offers a wide range of senior activities to enjoy the great outdoors. Seniors can take a tour to view the many elk that live within the borders of the park. Boating off the Dewey Lake for some fishing is also a fun event for seniors. Seniors can also stay at Dewey’s 49-room lounge and restaurant to sample mouthwatering appetizers or a taste of the best bourbon in town. For some seniors who are like to stay healthy and active, then taking an adventure on the Dawkins Line Rail Trail or the Mountain Bike Sugar Camp can be fun and exciting. In addition to all the amenities offered, the Jenny Wiley State Park is pet-friendly, so do not be shy to bring along the family dog. However, no more than two pets are allowed at a time. The park includes 18 cottages and a 121-site campground with utility hookups, a dump station, and accessible bathrooms/showers.

11. Deep Creek Lake State Park

Deep Creek Lake State Park offers over 1,818 acres full of entertainment and attractions for all ages. The state park is located on the east side of Deep Creek Lake, in Garrett County, MD. The state park lake itself provides 25 miles long shoreline, with two swimming beaches, 20 miles of hiking/biking trails, 112 site campgrounds, and a Discovery center that is 6,000 square feet. The Deep Creek Lake State Park has year-round activities for almost any event. The hiking trails are open from Sunrise to Sunset, and the lake has a depth of 75 ft. Deep Creek Lake State Park Discovery Center is temporarily closed, due to the COVID-19 pandemic; however, the park trails, beach, picnic areas, campground, and boat ramp are open to the public. During the winter months, there are still some events going on at the park. For instance, ice fishing- once the lake is frozen. Check out the website for more activities.

12. Rocky Gap State Park

Rocky Gap State Park is in the western region of Maryland’s Allegany County. The park covers over 3,000 acres of land for seniors and their families to enjoy. On the park is the 243-acre Lake Habeeb, also known as having the “bluest water in the state.” Visitors can also enjoy the Rocky Gap Run, winding itself down through a gorge that is one mile long. The Evitts Mountains are beautifully positioned in the distance of the lake and Rocky Gap State Park. At the park, there is a visitor center with accessible restrooms for those with limited mobility. The Hawk’s Nest Cafe brings many visitors offering many menu options while overlooking the lake. The park provides several programs for visitors of all ages. One program of choice is the “Healthy Parks Healthy People” program, designed to encourage physical activity and perfect for seniors who desire to stay active. The park is open from Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

13. Greenbrier State Park

Greenbrier State Park provides many amenities to keep seniors active as they pursue adventures in the great outdoors. The park is surrounded by the Appalachian Mountains and open for camping and picnicking. There is a 42-acre freshwater lake in the park offers swimming, fishing, canoeing, and boating attractions. Beach wheelchairs are available for seniors with limited mobility. The hiking trails are now open to the public and provide 11 miles of trails to walk, hike, or bike while exploring the mountain ranges and local wildlife habitats. As of recent, the Camp Store and the visitor center are closed due to the pandemic, yet there is still more to do while visiting Greenbrier State Park. Check the website for any changes or updates. Camping grounds offer pet-friendly environments, tent camping areas, and RV camping sites.

14. Clarkco State Park

Clarkco State Park offers many campgrounds for seniors to enjoy with family and friends. The park, surrounded by 815 acres of colorful woodlands, is located off the Mississippi-Alabama state line. The park provides 43 well-developed camping sites, seven primitive tent campsites, up to 20 vacation cabins, and one vacation cottage. Cabin 14 is accessibly available to the physically challenged. There are laundry facilities available to all visitors with accessible bathhouses. Off the park is the Clarkco Lake, filled with fun activities such as fishing, swimming, water skiing, and boat raunch for boating adventures. Clarkco State Park provides a zero-depth Splash Pad, perfect for the kids. There are picnic pavilions, playgrounds, nature trails, a Disc Golf area, and tennis courts! The Clarkco State Park also provides seasonal events during almost every month of the year. January- First Day Hike; February- Hike in the Park with your Sweetie; March- Bass Rodeo Tournament. 

15. Tishomingo State Park

For Seniors looking for more than a vacation, then Tishomingo State Park is the place to visit. Tishomingo State Park, filled with past remnants of the Paleo Indians, offers archeological excavations and evidence of Paleo Indian history possibly dating back to 7000 B.C. Tishomingo Park receives its name after the leader of the Chickasaw Nation, Chief Tishomingo. The state park has beautiful scenic landscapes located at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Natchez Trace Parkway flows throughout the campgrounds with amazing lookouts and scenic views, revealing the natural beauty of the mountains that was adored by the Indians hundreds of years ago. There are 62 RV campsites, six cabins, and one cottage for visitors to enjoy their stay. A group camp facility is also available. The campground area and the Haynes Lake offers several amenities for family fun, including rock climbing, canoeing, hiking trails, and fishing off the lake. Upcoming events are also fun for seniors and the whole family. In December is “Santa in the Park” a great pastime! Seniors are welcomed to come back in October for the Fall Fling for the Young-at-Heart event.

16. Lake James State Park

Lake James State Park offers activities for both the young and young at heart. The park provides many amenities, such as boating, swimming, and fishing in the 6,812-acre lake. There are boat ramps at Hidden Cove and Canal Bridge for visitors who are avid fishermen. While in the park, seniors can enjoy a walk on any of the trails, including the Holly Discovery Trail, which offers educational activities for children as you walk along with it. Altogether there are 25 miles of trails at the park, with levels from easy to moderate. Fifteen of the nature trails are designed for Mountain biking. The park also includes Paddy’s Creek, made up of 33 drive-to, family-friendly campsites, and the South Creek Vineyards and Winery down the road in Nebo, which many seniors enjoy to venture to see. The park opens at nine and closes at five, weekdays only.

17. Kerr Lake State Recreation Area

Kerr Lake State Park is off the shoreline of a 50,000-acre reservoir, reaching into the state of Virginia. The park provides hundreds of campgrounds, with five available for easy access to RV camping for seniors and group camping. There are also beaches for swimming and other recreational activities. Several boat ramps are offering 24-hour access for those that enjoy fishing, plus two private marinas. A fishing tournament at Nutbush access is another fun event for seniors and fishing professionals that is looking for some competition while on vacation. Off the road, a bit is the MacCallum More Museum and Gardens, a great place for senior citizens to appreciate nature’s beauty. The park offers a community-building, designed for special occasions.

18. Lake Wateree State Park

LAKE WATEREE STATE PARK provides many opportunities to enjoy outdoor adventures with family and friends while soaking in the natural beauty of the South Carolina Mountains. The Wateree Lake offers over 238 acres of shoreline while providing fun activities such as fishing and boating expeditions. There are even fishing tournaments that happen each year, including a publicly accessible boat ramp, tackle shop, and a refueling dock. The park provides 72 paved campsites for RVs or tents, which are easily accessible with wheelchairs. Fifteen of the campgrounds offer waterfront viewpoints. Camping areas include both water and electrical hookups and plenty of places for picnicking with friends and family. Most camping areas welcome your furry companions. The park has over two miles of biking and hiking trails. 

19. Dreher Island State Park

At Dreher Island State Park, there is always something to do that is exciting and full of adventure. The campgrounds for Seniors provide a way to get outdoors and enjoy nature. An annual fishing tournament allows for much entertainment for all spectators. The 50,000-acre lake around the park is perfect for striped and large-mouth bass fishing. The park includes three islands for vacationing and over 12 miles of shoreline of Lake Murray to watch the beautiful sunsets. Seniors can also enjoy an afternoon hiking the Little Gap Trail, which is off the lake. Many visitors come out for the Fourth of July firework display that is sponsored by park officials. Dreher Island State Park is only 30 miles from Columbia, SC, a popular spot for the national fishing tournaments. The park offers several options for sleeping arrangements with handicapped accessibility for seniors with limited mobility, including a community building for group events or family reunions with handicap access. WI-FI access is available.

20. Cove Lake State Park

Cove Lake State Park’s 606-acres sits on the panoramic mountain valley of the Cumberland Plateau. The park offers a diverse landscape of both wetlands and covered forestland, with plenty of wildlife viewing such as birdwatching. The Scenic nature trails are paved, providing easy accessibility for seniors and great for biking, hiking, and walking for any avid adventurer while having complete access to all the park facilities. Many visitors come for the fishing available at Cove Lake. There are 106 campsites for seniors and their loved ones, equipped with grills and picnic tables. Visitors can also rent the pavilions for big group outings. Cove Lake State Park is a frequently used wedding location, due to its beautiful natural scenery. The indoor pavilion accommodates up to 130 people, used for receptions and rehearsal dinners. Ten minutes down from the park is the Coal Creek Miners Museum, a popular attraction for all ages.

21. Norris Dam State Park

Norris Dam State Park offers seniors 4,000 acres of beautiful lakeside views on the Norris Reservoir. The park offers water activities such as boating, skiing, and fishing with over 800 miles of shoreline. There is a fully equipped marina with a boat ramp right off the Norris lake; in addition to fishing, houseboats and pontoon boats can be fun and are available to rent. The park has two campgrounds, including RV camping and hookups available with accessible restrooms for the physically challenged. The Lenoir Museum, a Smithsonian affiliate, is one of the best attractions for many seniors visiting the State Park. The Lenoir Museum has a diverse collection of artifacts depicting life in Southern Appalachia that are centuries old. The total acreage of the National State Park and the surrounding area is a 125,000-acre nature preserve. 

22. Rock Island State Park

Rock Island State Park provides over 883 acres of majestic woodlands located off the Center Hill lake. The park includes flowing waterfalls, a rugged gorge, and a river dam. The sites can be overwhelming to some, and visitors can overlook its beauty from the Eastern Highland Rim. Caney Fork Gorge lies below the Great Falls Dam where the water runs freely down a 30-foot drop until it settles at the foot of a 19th-century cotton textile mill. Visitors are not permitted to enter the gorge during active spilling periods due to the danger of drowning. However, visitors may take in the sites around the Great Falls, including several deep pools. There are whitewater activities in the park that are known to attract many professional freestyle kayakers. Most hiking and biking paths are easily accessible for seniors, yet some assistance may be helpful. The Fishlipz Bar & Grill is open to the public. The restaurant may provide some accessible seating.

23. Yatesville Lake State Park

Yatesville Lake, located near the Menasha Ridge Press, offers a variety of water activities for the whole family. The park borders Kentucky and Tennessee, making it convenient for visitors from both states to come together and participate in lakeside fun. The park provides accessible restrooms and paved nature trails for seniors in wheelchairs. Activities at the park consist of water skiing, pontoon boating, fishing, birdwatching, camping, hiking, and picnicking. There is also an 18-hole golf course with a fully equipped pro shop. Another attraction to visit is the Painted Cow Art Gallery and Unique Gifts shop, located on the Kentucky side of the Yatesville Lake in Louisa. There are forty-seven campgrounds for seniors and their families with a playground, nature trails, laundry room, restrooms & showers, and a dump station nearby. The campgrounds are among the best campgrounds in Kentucky and Tennessee.

24. Tygart Lake State Park

Tygart Lake State Park, located at the base of the Allegheny Mountains in West Virginia, offers a quaint vacation getaway for seniors and other visitors looking for picturesque views of the mountains and a lakeside camping experience. The Tygart Lake State Park is only four miles south of Grafton, set on a 1,750-acre lakefront. There is no excuse not to have fun when here at the lake. The park offers a variety of water activities, which include swimming, fishing, boating, water skiing, and more. The park officially opened its doors to the public in 1945; however, it was not until 1953 when a camping area added more entertainment for visitors to come from all over, making it one of two parks that first offer camping to the public. Many visitors of the Tygart Lake State Park find entertainment just outside the park’s borders at Fort New Salem, a frontier settlement with a 19th Century theme. The also includes a 20-room lodge for visitors who prefer indoor sleeping arrangements.

25. Bluestone State Park

Bluestone State Park, located in southern West Virginia, offers a lakeside escape for both seniors and their families to soak up the sun and enjoy some outdoor activities of the Bluestone Lake. The park provides camping, swimming, boating, and hiking adventures. There is a total of four campgrounds, consisting of 120 campsites available. Some camping areas offer cabins to stay in, while others may prefer tent living for a more primitive experience. Other outdoor activities, such as ziplining, mountain biking, and guided fishing tours are available at the nearby Pipestem Resort State Park to visit. Bluestone State Park offers golfing fun as well. Family get-togethers are limited due to the pandemic; however, some areas are open during specific times. Many activities are seasonal, so check the website for updates. Seniors may enjoy visiting the Hinton Railroad Museum, filled with historic artifacts and photos from the C&O steam engine era. 

Why these Lakeside Campgrounds are the best in the Southeast

For those heading into retirement or who need to find a vacation spot that is easily accessible for all your needs, then exploring these twenty-five senior-friendly camping sites will ignite your soul and keep you entertained. Plus, many offer water activities for the whole family. Some of the State parks on this list provide amenities such as fishing tournaments, boating games, and swimming areas for every member of the family, regardless of their physical capacity. Some state parks offer boat launches and rentals for extra entertainment. Many seniors will love the scenic views of the mountains at a lakeside campground. Most Campgrounds along the lakes are paved for easier accessibility to seniors or disabled individuals with wheelchairs. Some may even provide sand wheelchairs that work much better while caring for a loved one who may be restrained to a wheelchair. Many parks may provide RV camping for seniors who are taking their retirement on the road. Although not mentioned on the website, some parks may offer free or discounted pricing for seniors or disabled individuals.

Whether you are camping with family or out on your own, RV camping for seniors in the Southeast can have many perks. One thing for sure, most seniors love the warmer weather compared to colder regions up North. Although camping is fun at any time of the year, many seniors prefer the fall and winter to go camping in the Southeast. The weather is pleasant, and you can see the colorful foliage of the trees change from bright green to yellow, orange, and red. Also, touring the Southeast during the Offseason can allow seniors to claim the park as their own and have a little peace while enjoying the natural beauty around the lake.

There is also a wide range of water sports that are still available during the fall if you stay on the lake. Watching a sunset over a lake with mountains in the background is definitely a breathtaking sight to see. Most lakeside campgrounds for seniors provide smooth walkways to and from the beach or shoreline, especially for handicapped individuals. Stocking up on sunscreen is wise since you can still burn from the rays of the Sun in the winter months. Seniors should also prepare camping gear and hiking boots since the mountains in the Southeast may provide rugged terrain and can be difficult to climb if you are not well-prepared.

Another great reason to visit these senior-friendly campgrounds is the nature surrounding these beautiful getaways. Both young and old come to experience the local wildlife in its natural habitat. Sightseeing and Birdwatching is a popular attraction for avid outdoor enthusiasts. Wildlife photographer professionals and nature conservationists spend time within these state parks to observe and protect the wildlife living in the mountains or woodlands surrounding the state parks. So, come and visit these state parks and explore the nature of camping in the outdoors.