If you’re planning on going camping in Tennessee, your adventure begins with picking the best place to camp. From picturesque waterfalls, to awe-inspiring mountains, and glorious starry skies, there’s certainly no shortage of outdoors fun in Tennessee.
With the summer season in full swing in the US, you can expect to cross paths with other adventure seekers hiking along the path. Thankfully, Tennessee is more than big enough for all to enjoy.
Our camping experts have curated a list of some of the best places to camp regardless of the time of year it is. Have a look and keep it as reference, we’re sure you’ll want to visit each place at least once. Enjoy!
Natchez Trace State Park
The Natchez Trace State Park covers an area of 10,154 acres of pristine natural wilderness. With 4 lakes, a beach, and over 200 clean and spacious campsites, Natchez Trace State Park is a great way to begin your summer camping adventures.
Although the park offers plenty of activities for campers of all ages, fishing is definitely one of its main highlights. Anglers will definitely have their hands full with 4 gorgeous lakes they can try out their fishing skills in.
If horse riding is your thing, Natchez Trace State Park is actually one of the few parks with an onsite wrangler camp, the Bucksnort Wrangler Camp. There are 250 miles of scenic riding trails through the park and forest and plenty of fine horses to choose from.
As for the campsites themselves, they all come prepared with a grill, fire ring and picnic tables. Maintenance is performed on a regular basis to keep the sites looking fresh, clean and enjoyable for its visitors.
Cades Cove Campground
Cades Cove attracts over 2 million visitors each year who come to enjoy its majestic scenery and rich historic structures. This amazing Tennessee campground features unique, historic structures like the John Oliver Cabin and the John Cable Grist Mill.
The park features a lush valley surrounded by mountains and offers some of the best frontcountry camping in the whole park. It also provides some of the best opportunities to spot wildlife in their natural habitat.
The Cades Cove Campground has over 150 campsites that remain open throughout the year. For those looking for the traditional camping experience mixed with the convenience of functional toilets and drinking water, this place has what you need.
No trip to Cades Cove would be complete without visiting Abrams Falls, named after Cherokee Chief, Abram. Standing at a mere 20-ft in height, the vast quantity of water rushing over the falls makes it one of the most powerful waterfalls in the park.
Luckily, Abrams Falls falls onto a 100-ft wide pool that is one of the most pictoresquence and destinations to visit.
We usually hesitate to repeat overused phrases like “hidden gems” when talking about campgrounds. In this particular case, however, we couldn’t be more proud and excited to talk about a true hidden gem in Tennessee: Spivey Cove.
Tucked away near the cool waters of Tellico River, Spivey Cove gives a new meaning to the phrase “off the grid”. It’s situated in a quiet and remote location surrounded by the Cherokee National Forest and promises to provide more old-fashioned camp vibes than you can handle.
For those looking to immerse themselves in an authentic and traditional camping experience, Spivey Cove provides the perfect escape. Spivey Cove features 16 campsites with trailer space and limited amenities.
Don’t let it’s unbelievably low fee of just $6 per night trick you into questioning the quality of the campground.
There’s a surprisingly wide range of activities to keep you busy including horseback riding, water sports and even winter sports when it’s snowing. When it comes to giving the true feeling of being able to connect with nature, Spicey Cove does NOT disappoint.
Fall Creek Falls
There’s a good reason Fall Creek Falls attracts more visitors than any other Tennessee state park: it’s got something to offer for EVERY type of camper. From the novice to the experienced campers, Fall Creek Falls has tons of great options you can enjoy year-round.
This popular state park provides a superb setting for a wide array of outdoors activities including hiking, fishing, biking and kid-safe natural encounters. As if that weren’t enough, there’s even a swimming pool and snackbar made exclusively for campers.
Do you prefer or need a hard roof over your head at night? No problem! There are plenty of cabin rental options to choose from.
This world-class park features over 200 standard and premium campsites fully-equipped with tables, grills, water and electricity. There are also 16 primitive sites out of which 9 are walk-ins, and 7 have park-on capabilities.
For those experienced and adventurous campers, the park also offers 3 backcountry sites along its backpacking trails.
Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg KOA
Any serious camper will admit that camping may not be for everyone. It’s dirty, uncomfortable and you can get hurt or even (gasp!) poisoned quite easily. For those looking to ease into the camping experience or just want a great place that combines the best of outdoors life with modern comforts, Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg KOA is a fantastic option.
And yes, there is Wi-Fi available throughout the park.
The Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg park is a top-rated KOA for RV camping with a serene, rustic setting. There are over 70 attractions in the town of Pigeon Forge, but the big highlight is definitely Dollywood park. Dollywood is both a theme park and water park lumped into one and promises an unforgettable experience for the whole family.
There’s a wide selection of fully-furnished cabins which include Pull-Thru RV sites. If you’re looking to camp out in a tent, you’re going to love the beautiful waterfront sites that come loaded with picnic tables and fire rings.
As you can see, the Tennessee State Parks offer an abundance of options not found in most other parts of the country. It’s a paradise for hikers and campers or for those looking to get some much-needed respite from the hustle and bustle of city life.