Tennessee is a state that is renowned for its natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. With its rolling hills, lush forests, and sparkling lakes, the state is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Whether you are a seasoned camper or a first-time visitor, Tennessee offers a wide range of camping options that will satisfy you.
Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat in the heart of nature or an action-packed adventure with plenty of recreational activities, Tennessee’s campgrounds have it all. This article will highlight the ten best campgrounds in Tennessee based on factors like location, amenities, and scenic beauty. From the serene forests of Roan Mountain State Park to the stunning vistas of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, these campgrounds offer a variety of unique experiences that will delight visitors of all ages.
So, pack your bags and get ready to explore the best that Tennessee has to offer!
Fall Creek Falls State Park: Experience the Beauty of the Cumberland Plateau
Located in Spencer, Tennessee, Fall Creek Falls State Park is a must-visit for anyone who loves the outdoors. This park offers something for everyone with its numerous waterfalls, hiking trails, and fishing spots. One of the park’s amazing features is its waterfalls, which drops 256 feet into a rocky gorge. You can take a short hike to get a great view of the falls from the base, or take a longer hike down to the base of the falls for an even more impressive view. In addition to Fall Creek Falls, the park is home to several other waterfalls, including Cane Creek Falls and Piney Falls.
If hiking is your thing, you’ll love the park’s extensive trail system. With over 34 miles of trails, there are plenty of options for all skill levels. The trails take you through scenic forested areas, across streams and bridges, and even up to a suspension bridge that spans a deep gorge. If you’re looking for a more relaxed experience, the park also has several fishing spots to catch trout, bass, and catfish. And for those who like to hit the links, there’s an 18-hole golf course with stunning views of the park.
Big Ridge State Park: A Perfect Blend of Adventure and Relaxation
If you’re looking for a campground in Tennessee that offers both adventure and relaxation, look no further than Big Ridge State Park. Located just 25 miles north of Knoxville, this park is a true-hidden gem that offers something for everyone. One of the park’s unique features is its beautiful lake. With crystal-clear water and a sandy beach, the lake is perfect for swimming, boating, and fishing. You can rent boats and fishing gear from the park office or bring your own and launch it from one of the park’s boat ramps.
The park is also home to an extensive trail system that offers a range of hiking options, from easy strolls to more challenging hikes. One of the most popular trails is the Big Valley Trail, which takes you through densely forested areas and past a historic cemetery. For a more challenging hike, try the 5-mile Lake Trail, which takes you around the entire lake and offers stunning views of the water and surrounding mountains.
If you’re looking for a more relaxed experience, the park also has plenty of opportunities for picnicking, birdwatching, and simply enjoying the peaceful surroundings. The park’s picnic areas are well-maintained and offer plenty of shade, and there are several strategic observation points where you can take in the beautiful views. One of the park’s unique features is the historic Norton Gristmill, which dates back to the 1820s. The mill has been restored and is now open for tours, giving visitors a glimpse into the area’s history.
Pickett State Park: An Undiscovered Gem in Tennessee
Nestled in the rolling hills of northeast Tennessee, Pickett State Park is a true-hidden gem waiting to be discovered. This park is the perfect destination if you’re looking for a peaceful and secluded camping experience.
One of the distinguishing features of Pickett State Park is its beautiful and unique rock formations. The park is home to the Pogue Creek Canyon State Natural Area, a breathtaking natural wonder that is a must-see for any visitor. The canyon features towering rock formations formed over millions of years. Several hiking trails will take you through the area and offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
In addition to the area’s natural beauty, Pickett State Park also offers a variety of recreational activities. The park’s lake is perfect for swimming, boating, and fishing, and several boat ramps and fishing piers are available. The park also has an extensive trail system that offers a range of hiking options, from easy strolls to more challenging hikes.
Lookout Mountain/Chattanooga West KOA: A Family-Friendly Camping Destination
If you’re looking for a family-friendly campground in Tennessee that offers a wide range of activities and amenities, Lookout Mountain/Chattanooga West KOA is the perfect destination. Located just a short drive from Chattanooga, this KOA offers a perfect balance of outdoor adventure and modern conveniences.
One of the noticeable features of this KOA is its wide range of activities for families. The park features a beautiful outdoor pool, a playground, a jumping pillow, and various organized activities like scavenger hunts and movie nights. For those who want to get out and explore the area, the park is located near several popular attractions like Rock City, Ruby Falls, and the Incline Railway.
When it comes to camping, Lookout Mountain/Chattanooga West KOA has a variety of options to choose from. The park offers both RV and tent sites and several deluxe cabins for those who want a more luxurious camping experience.
Natchez Trace State Park: A Peaceful Oasis in Western Tennessee
Natchez Trace State Park is a beautiful and tranquil oasis in western Tennessee’s heart. The park is situated on the state’s western edge, just a few miles from the Mississippi River, and covers over 48,000 acres of pristine natural beauty. It offers a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, fishing, camping, horseback riding, and boating, making it a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike.
The park is home to dense forests of hardwood trees, rolling hills, and lush green fields. Wildlife is also abundant here, and visitors can expect to see various animals, including deer, turkey, raccoons, and squirrels. It is also home to several lakes and waterways, including the popular Pin Oak Lake. This 690-acre lake is known for its excellent fishing. The lake is also a great spot for boating, swimming, and water sports, with several boat ramps and swimming areas located throughout the park.
Natchez Trace State Park also offers a wide range of hiking trails, ranging from easy walks through the woods to challenging hikes up steep hills. One of the most popular trails is the Pin Oak Trail, a 4.5-mile loop that winds around Pin Oak Lake and offers stunning views of the water and surrounding forests. Other popular trails include the Cub Creek Trail, the Old Trace Trail, and the Lakeside Trail.
Edgar Evins State Park: A Scenic Haven for Outdoor Enthusiasts
Nestled in the heart of the Cumberland Plateau, Edgar Evins State Park is a scenic haven for outdoor enthusiasts. If you’re looking for a camping destination that offers a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, this park is a perfect choice.
One of the main attractions of Edgar Evins State Park is Center Hill Lake, a pristine and picturesque lake that offers a variety of water-based activities. Visitors can go boating, fishing, swimming, or simply relax on the sandy beaches. The lake is known for its clear, emerald-green waters that are ideal for scuba diving and snorkeling. The park also offers a boat ramp, marina, and boat rentals for those who want to explore the lake independently.
For hikers and nature lovers, the park has over 11 miles of hiking trails that wind through the wooded hills and offer breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding countryside. The trails range from easy to challenging and are perfect for both beginners and experienced hikers. The park also has a wildlife observation area where visitors can spot deer, turkey, foxes, and other wildlife in their natural habitat.
Cherokee National Forest: An Outdoor Paradise in Eastern Tennessee
Covering more than 650,000 acres in eastern Tennessee, Cherokee National Forest is an outdoor paradise that offers a wide range of recreational activities and stunning natural beauty. Whether you’re looking to hike, fish, camp, or simply take in the breathtaking scenery, this forest has something for everyone.
One of the distinct features of Cherokee National Forest is its extensive trail system, which includes more than 800 miles of hiking trails, including portions of the Appalachian Trail. From easy day hikes to multi-day backpacking trips, there is no shortage of opportunities to explore the forest on foot. The forest is also home to several stunning waterfalls, including the 60-foot Fall Branch Falls and the towering Laurel Falls.
Cherokee National Forest has various camping options to choose from if you’re planning to stay overnight. The forest offers several campgrounds, from primitive sites to full-service RV parks, and several backcountry campsites for those who want a more remote camping experience.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park: A Must-Visit Destination for Nature Lovers
Located on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most visited national parks in the United States, and for a good reason. With its stunning mountain landscapes, abundant wildlife, and numerous recreational activities, the park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers of all ages.
One of the park’s most iconic features is the Appalachian Trail, which passes through the park and offers hundreds of miles of hiking opportunities. From easy nature walks to challenging multi-day backpacking trips, there is a hike for everyone in the park. Some popular hikes include the Alum Cave Trail, the Chimney Tops Trail, and the Ramsey Cascades Trail.
The park is also home to a diverse array of wildlife, including black bears, elk, deer, and over 200 species of birds. Visitors can often spot wildlife along the park’s many trails or during a scenic drive.
Memphis Jellystone Park: A Family-Friendly Camping Destination
Located just a short drive from downtown Memphis, Memphis Jellystone Park is a family-friendly camping destination that offers a fun and memorable outdoor experience for all ages.
The park offers a variety of camping options, including tent sites, RV sites, and cabins, all of which are well-maintained and equipped with amenities like fire pits and picnic tables. The park also has several unique lodging options, including train caboose and treehouse cabins, offering a unique camping experience.
One of the highlights of Memphis Jellystone Park is its numerous recreational activities. The park has a large swimming pool, a water slide and splash pad, a playground, a basketball court, and a mini-golf course. The park also offers themed weekends throughout the season, with activities like scavenger hunts, costume contests, and outdoor movie nights.
Roan Mountain State Park: A Scenic and Serene Camping Destination
Nestled in the heart of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, Roan Mountain State Park is a scenic and serene camping destination that offers a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
The park has various camping options, including tent and RV sites, rustic cabins, and a large group lodge. All camping options are located amidst the park’s natural beauty, and the sites are well-maintained and equipped with amenities like fire pits and picnic tables.
One of the highlights of Roan Mountain State Park is its stunning natural beauty. The park is located on the slopes of Roan Mountain, known for its vibrant rhododendron and azalea blooms in the spring and summer months. Visitors can explore the park’s numerous hiking trails, which range from easy nature walks to challenging mountain treks. The park also has a large fishing pond, a swimming pool, and several picnic areas where visitors can relax and enjoy the scenery.
In conclusion, Tennessee is a state that has something for every type of camper and outdoor enthusiast. From the serene and peaceful surroundings of Big Ridge State Park to the action-packed adventure offered by Memphis Jellystone Park, these ten best campgrounds in Tennessee offer a wide range of experiences that will satisfy travelers of all kinds.
We hope this article has inspired you to plan your next camping trip to Tennessee and explore this incredible state’s unique beauty and charm. Don’t forget to share your experiences and recommendations in the comments section, and stay tuned for more travel tips and inspiration from our blog. Happy camping!