THE BEST CAMPING IN
Tennessee
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Camping Tennessee

Campers venturing across Tennessee have access to hiking, boating, fishing, biking, rock climbing and picnicking across 56 state parks, enough variety to satisfy any adventurer’s soul. With terrifically high Appalachian peaks and plunging caverns, Tennessee travelers can get a sense of the sublime landscape that inspired music legends from Nashville to Memphis by camping in Tennessee.

East Tennessee is home to a part of the oldest mountain range in the world, the Great Smoky Mountains. As the name suggests, the peaks are often shrouded in fog, but that doesn’t make the view from Clingmans Dome any less spectacular. At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome towers as the highest point in Tennessee and the third highest point east of the Mississippi River. Make sure to say hi to the hardcore hikers, many people hiking the entire Appalachian Trail will stop at this unforgettable lookout.

A clear day at the dome observatory provides views as far as 100 miles. But explorers camping in Tennessee should plan on hiking their way up to the point, the roadway that leads to the observatory closes during inclement weather and from Dec. 1 to March 31 every year.

If you’re camping with the kids and they’re looking for more occupation than your campsite offers, many of the natural attractions in Tennessee are also family friendly. Lookout Mountain is only minutes from Chattanooga and offers several world-famous sites like Rock City and the See Seven States point.

All the mountain peak trails may leave the heights-averse camper less than enthused. But Tennessee has something for everyone. Also at Lookout Mountain, but plummeting beneath ground level, is where you’ll find Ruby Falls, the largest and deepest underground waterfall in the nation.

Scenic views and dramatic natural landscapes are part and parcel for any Tennessee camping adventure, as long as you know where to look. Camping in Tennessee can be done right with The Dyrt to guide you along your trails!

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Recent Reviews in Tennessee
Quite private

Has nice space between sites, with great views.

Crazy cool camping PLUS a brewery!

This is a place you really need to experience! The campground is multi acres of woods, it’s first come first served, but it’s so large, I can imagine it ever being too crowded. The cost is $5 per person, paid via honor system in the mailbox when you enter. It’s perfect for tents. We were limited on site selection with our rooftop tent, and I saw a couple teardrop campers, but you can’t take anything larger. There are several structures on the property for gathering around a fire pit, if you want to be social, or just walk up to the brewery! The campground did offer a family/group camp site on the other side of the brewery, but I don’t know that this is a place for kids. It was pretty wild at night! A live band playing until the early morning hours, and drinks flowing among the thru hikers and rock climbers, bachelorette party group, and gypsies staying in the campground!

Two portable toilets were in the campground, they could use a good cleaning, but depending on the site you choose, you probably would be better off just using nature anyway.

The brewery serves beer that’s brewed on site, with hops also grown on site! Super cool! They have a food truck there too, where they serve pulled pork sandwiches, nachos, hot dogs and sausages, etc.

We will return to the Lilly Pad, but will take a tent and seek out a more secluded site, and will take advantage of the swimming hole, and the Obed River nearby!

Like no place I have ever been

This is one of the most eclectic places I’ve ever been. Almost felt like I was a traveling gypsy staying in this campground. Such a cool group of people and setup. It’s hard to even put this place into words. The campground is dispersed where you can choose anywhere you like to stay. You can find group sites or individual private sights tucked way back in the timber. The brewery on sight is a short walk from the campground and absolutely amazing. They grow their own hops on sight and have a food truck daily. The live music was awesome on Sat night. We had some added entertainment from one of the guys staying at the campground who shot flames out of his mouth while spinning a baton with flames on either end (I can’t make this stuff up)! You simply have to check this spot out because words can’t explain what you will experience. It’s only $5 per person per night and available 365 days a year and 24/7. Fires are not permitted during the summer.

Ranger Review- Wenzel Moonshine Shade at Cades Cove Campground

Campground Review- Cades Cove is one of the most scenic areas in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The 11 mile loop through Cades Cove is beautiful and full of wildlife. The road is paved, and is closed to car traffic on Saturday’s and Wednesday’s until 10am, so it is great to take a bike, or go on foot and explore! We always see lots of deer, turkeys, and sometimes bears and coyotes. Abrams Falls is a popular hike, it’s roughly 5 miles round trip, is moderately difficult, and has a beautiful waterfall at the end, but beware of swimming there, several deaths have occurred at Abrams Falls, even from strong swimmers.

The Campground at Cades Cove is heavily wooded, with lots of sites, none of them have electricity hook ups, but the B loop allows generators, the C loop does not allow them. The sites are fairly close, but each site has plenty of room to not feel cramped.
The restrooms do not have showers, but do have flush toilets, and were well maintained and clean. The campground has a nice store that has the approved heat treated firewood, ice, souvenirs, ice cream, and other things you might need. I believe you can rent bikes there too. This area is extremely crowded during summer and peak seasons, so plan accordingly!

Product Review- *Ranger Review- Wenzel Moonshine Shade As a ranger for The Dyrt, I sometimes get cool gear to test and review, so today I’m reviewing the Moonshine Shade from Wenzel. The Shade arrived on Friday morning, the day I was heading to Cades Cove, with rain in the forecast I was so pumped I got it in time to take! I have been looking for a lightweight canopy to replace the big, bulky ez up we’ve been using, the Moonshine Shade weighs in at 14lbs, and fits in a small carrying case! The first time setting it up, it was in the rain, and I should have actually read the Instructions, instead of skimming over them! Lol. But I figured it out, and in hindsight, i made it way harder than it actually is. It is really a quick 5 minute set up, and the 9x12 area actually provides more shade than the 10x10 canopy, especially with the movable side wall.

The Moonshine Shade from Wenzel is a fantastic product, and excellent for camping, or any outdoor event! Find it here- Wenzelco.com

Like no place I have ever been

This is one of the most eclectic places I’ve ever been. Almost felt like I was a traveling gypsy staying in this campground. Such a cool group of people and setup. It’s hard to even put this place into words. The campground is dispersed where you can choose anywhere you like to stay. You can find group sites or individual private sights tucked way back in the timber. The brewery on sight is a short walk from the campground and absolutely amazing. They grow their own hops on sight and have a food truck daily. The live music was awesome on Sat night. We had some added entertainment from one of the guys staying at the campground who shot flames out of his mouth while spinning a baton with flames on either end (I can’t make this stuff up)! You simply have to check this spot out because words can’t explain what you will experience. It’s only $5 per person per night and available 365 days a year and 24/7. Fires are not permitted during the summer.

Great place to stay for bike riding the loop

My wife and I thoroughly enjoy riding the Cade’s Cove Loop on Sat and Wed morning before they open it up for vehicles at 10am. You can ride right from the campground to the loop. The sights were much larger than expected and fairly spacious/private. There are no showers but adequate not special restrooms. Scenery is absolutely beautiful. Expect it to be busy at all times Fri and Sat night so book in advance. There is a camp store that has ice cream, firewood and ice. There are a number of park rangers on site most of the day with the ranger station being located at the front of the campground. I highly recommend this campground if you are wanting to ride the loop or just explore Smoky Mountain National Park.

Our Fravorite

This is our first pick when we want to relax. The campsites back next to a beautiful creek that is pure serenity. The owners are great people. Clean and quite. The perfect hideaway in the middle of everything. This is the one campground we keep coming to and will continue to do so.

Love it!

Went to visit a friend who was camping here, such a great site! We loved it and will definitely be back ourselves! 💜

Great Place To See The Stars

Most campgrounds in Tennessee are buried in the woods, but not this yurt campsite at Ray of Hope.  The yurt sets on the side of a beautiful Tennessee Hill offering almost a complete view of the nighttime sky.  We watched the moon rise over a hill directly in front of the campsite, and we even saw a brilliant shooting star blaze across the sky for what seems like an eternity.  The Ray of Hope campground is a private campground that went above and beyond our expectations.  The yurt was clean, included battery powered lights and a LED lantern, and a full sized bed that made the night pass with ease.  The campsite also offers free firewood and a large fire ring.  There are two deck chairs at the campsite which are perfect for stargazing.  The entrance of the yurt faces sunrise and the farm animals serenade you in the morning when the mist begins to burn off the valley.  There is a well stocked outside shower surrounded by sweet smelling herbs.  Water and a toilet are near the shower stall.   The campsite is near the small town of Petersburg, TN where you can find two gas stations and a Dollar Store.  If it's hot outside, you might want to bring a battery operated fan.  This place is a perfect glamping experience for an extended date or weekend in beautiful Tennessee.

Awesome campground

Quiet spot. Lots of wildlife. Great trails. Will definitely go back!

Great Place To Call Home For The Night

My son Conner and I stayed at Pickwick Landing State Park on Monday night, July 15. We arrived after dark, but thanks to a park staff member I called earlier, we had an amazing campsite(#18) waiting for us when we arrived. Campsite#18 is located near the bathrooms and shower areas. The restroom and shower building had 8 individual shower rooms with fold down benches. Each of them were big enough to allow someone in a wheelchair to use them. Both the bathrooms and the shower rooms were clean and well stocked. The park staff cleaned them thoroughly the next morning as we prepared to leave. Each campsite has a picnic table, asphalt drive, a fire ring, grill, and lantern post. These sites also have power and water, but they do not have trash cans at the campsite. Trash must be taken from the campsite to the dump station by the campers. If you’re camping here make sure to bring your own trash bags. The sites seemed well spaced and all of them probably have full shade most of the day due to the mixture of pine and hardwood trees that fill the camp. A gas station/bait shop/oyster bar is about a mile away from the camp grounds. Grocery stores and other restaurants are within 5 miles. Though this was a quick camping trip for us(we went to see the Shiloh Battlefield and Shiloh Indian Mounds), the trip was made a little easier by having an efficient, comfortable, and peaceful campsite to call home for a few hours. Be on the lookout for our nighttime visitor Lester the curious racoon. He checked out our campsite after we went to bed looking for an easy meal. Luckily, we had put all of our food securely in the car before calling it a night. This is another 5 star Tennessee State Park campground. Sidenote: We enjoyed a good lunch at a place called the Rib Cage just a few miles from camp. Conner recommends the ribs but not the hot sauce.

Great Campground

Everything you need, plus a creek runs through it. Trails go through campsite also. Highly recommended.

An amazing getaway

Very peaceful on the lake. Close to the racetrack and great fishing spots.

Beautiful and quiet

Beautiful and quiet campground on Center Hill Lake, but getting down to the lake isn’t real easy. Lots of trees between sites so they are private. Bath houses are super clean. Camped with friends, so it was a little awkward having to go from deck to deck and the fire ring wasn’t situated in an area where you could set out chairs and hang out. We were in sites 16 and 17 and would have liked to have been warned about the steep incline as you pull onto the deck (damaged bumper of rv 😬) All that being said, we were able to book these 2 sites together last minute and had a wonderful time.

Very Nice

This resort had a lot of great activities from a lazy river to GaGa ball. Most sites are back-ins and the roads are gravel. But everything is well maintained.

Nicest campground ever

This is one of the nicest campgrounds I have ever stayed at. It has fireplaces at many of the sites. The lake swimming area is fun, and the pool was great.

Nice campground

Nice and peaceful as this campground is very private. In a beautiful spot on the she of the smoky mountains. Bring extra water and bug spray!

Absolutely stunning setting.

Elkmont is set in an absolutely stunning setting. The tent site were large and very clean with the sound of rapids coming from the nearby river. There were multiple bathrooms available which were clean and well maintained. It is centrally located for multiple stunning hikes i.e. Laurel Falls, Charlie’s Bunion and Clingmans Dome. It is also a short drive from Gatlinburg.

Perfect location to explore from

You can get to it all from here.. The strip, Dollywood, Gatlinburg and River tubing.

Beware Tent Camping

On screen, the tent sites look downright idyllic. Bordered by a little creek, ducks visit during the day, the park is very well kept, extremely dog friendly; it seems perfect upon arrival. Then after a long day of hiking, you return to your tent to crash, and get to listen to the sound of air brakes, back up beeping, and bay doors slamming all. night. long. Just on the other side of the cute little creek is a grocery/bakery that has semi trucks coming in and out CONSTANTLY all night. We might as well have set up camp in the receiving bay. We were super disappointed, the site itself was everything we wanted. Sadly, sleep is also important so we won’t be returning.

Peaceful

Morning in July. Definitely going to return next year.

Near Memphis

This is a beautiful park with lots of trees and Robert the camp host was nice and helpful. There is a museum on site. Clean rr's and free ice machine

Great place

This place was very nice and well kept. My only problem with it was that people fly in and out of the cove on their boats.

Quick Stay

My friends and I had a great time at Buffalo Bud’s. We stayed one night, two days, and kayaked on our second day. The 10 mile section we floated was great for everyone who was with us! We stayed at the more primitive sites and had a quiet and excellent stay. Steve was great and super accommodating. He went over and beyond to give us what we needed!

Cub Creek Lake Campground #1

We stayed in Cub Creek Lake Campground #1, spot 12, on June 19, 2019. We sleep in two big tents and had originally reserved a spot in campground #2 which from descriptions was more aimed at tent campers. But after pulling into loop #2, we were able to switch our reservations to Loop #1 since #2 looked nearly abandoned with sloped sites and poor pad space. Our new campsite was great and had lots of room for our two big tents and and plenty of parking for our van. Nearby campers (mostly RVs) were spaced far enough away and the camp host was friendly and helpful.

Because of the season, it was hot and humid at night and we had a huge series of thunderstorms come through. The site drained well as well as the entire campground and next morning walking around the well-maintained trails and foot bridges over the lake was pleasant and dry. It looks like a big facility with a lodge and some cabins available on the other side of the lake. Would definitely recommend this site and this loop. Only reason I take a star off is because of the poor state of loop 2 and the lack of a dish washing station, but overall this is a great camp area!

What’s up with the KKK name?

Lovely campground but shocked it’s named after NBF. He was the first grand wizard of the KKK and responsible for the massacre of hundreds of black union troops who had surrendered at Fort Pillow. 😱 Doesn’t Tennessee have some respectable people for whom they could name the park?

Campsite #29

This campsite is right next to the river with several waterfalls. Bear hooks are provided with serval flat spaces to place a tent. Be prepared to dig your own cat-hole for bathroom use! There are two fire rings available for use. If you hike from Cosby campground along snake den ridge trail be prepared for a very steep and difficult climb! It is all uphill with many false summits.

Tenting in the Smoky’s

Cosby was a great campground. Sites did not seem too close with all the trees around. B loop is better than A loop but requires a reservation for most sites. Most sites have steps up or down to the site along the backside of B loop.

Camping at Old Stone Fort

My son Conner and I stayed at the Old Stone Fort Campground in Manchester, Tennessee on the night of Monday, July 8, 2019. We arrived at the park and were checked in at the museum entrance by the helpful and courteous staff. They really made us feel welcome. The campground setting is dense, lowland hardwood. The sites are very close together, so you will need to love your neighbor as yourself on holidays, or if you need solitude, you may need to go during the week or on non-holiday days. Each site had a water spigot, electrical hookups, an asphalt pad, a fire ring with grill, and a standalone grill. Some sites had a raised, gravel tent pad which would come in very handy on nights when rain’s in the forecast. The bathrooms were old, but they were clean, well stocked, and functioning. Recycling bins were also located near the well lit bathrooms. Trash was picked up in the morning from the campsite, and throughout the day and night rangers and park staff made their scheduled rounds for security. The campground is near the Old Stone Fort which is a stone wall constructed nearly 2,000 by the native people of the Tennessee Valley. Its sacredness is felt as you tour the many waterfalls that surround the campground and archaeological site. There are numerous swimming holes for kids and adults and a non-motorized boat launch near the campgrounds. There is a small museum on site and is free to the public. After the museum tour, you can walk the trails free of charge and see the ancient ruins. If you are going to the campground during the summer, you will need a good DEET based bug spray. For those traveling in RVs, you will need to call ahead and make sure your RV can make it across the one lane bridge that serves as the only entrance to the campground. In addition, it’s worth noting that the campground is near the small town of Manchester. You will hear an occasional siren, but other than that you will feel like you are a thousand miles away from town. I’d suggest driving through the campground and selecting a couple of possible campsites before registering. The three loops are well used, but we enjoyed staying on the main drive. Overall, this is a wonderful campground near a very fascinating archaeological site. The trails and waterfalls make this a great place to visit if only for a day.