Best Camping in 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!

Best Camping Sites in Tennessee (870)

    Camper-submitted photo from Fall Creek Falls State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Fall Creek Falls State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Fall Creek Falls State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Fall Creek Falls State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Fall Creek Falls State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Fall Creek Falls State Park Campground

    1.

    Fall Creek Falls State Park Campground

    143 Reviews
    623 Photos
    908 Saves
    Spencer, Tennessee

    Fall Creek Falls State Park is one of Tennessee’s largest and most visited state parks. The park encompasses more than 29,800 acres sprawled across the eastern top of the rugged Cumberland Plateau. Laced with cascades, gorges, waterfalls, streams and lush stands of virgin hardwood timber, the park beckons those who enjoy nature at her finest. Fall Creek Falls, at 256 feet, is one of the highest waterfalls in the eastern United States. Other waterfalls within the park include Piney Falls, Cane Creek Falls, and Cane Creek Cascades. The park is located in Bledsoe and Van Buren counties, 11 miles east of Spencer and 18 miles west of Pikeville. It may be entered from Highway 111 or Highway 30.

    In 1937, the federal government began purchasing the badly eroded land around Fall Creek Falls. The following year, the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) began restoring the forest and constructing park facilities. A few years later in 1944, the National Park Service transferred ownership of the park to the State of Tennessee.

    Fall Creek Falls features 30 cabins, 222 campsites, and the 85-room Lodge Fall Creek Falls. Backcountry camping is also available with a permit.

    The park is home to a variety of activities suitable for visitors of all ages and abilities. Hikers can opt for short or long walks around the lake and to the base of Fall Creek Falls. There are two long-distance overnight trails for adventure-seeking visitors while the day-use trails are designed to accommodate recreational and educational activities for all ages. More than 56 miles of trails can be explored.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access

    $8 - $32 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Elkmont Campground — Great Smoky Mountains National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Elkmont Campground — Great Smoky Mountains National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Elkmont Campground — Great Smoky Mountains National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Elkmont Campground — Great Smoky Mountains National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Elkmont Campground — Great Smoky Mountains National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Elkmont Campground — Great Smoky Mountains National Park

    2.

    Elkmont Campground — Great Smoky Mountains National Park

    119 Reviews
    473 Photos
    1002 Saves
    Gatlinburg, Tennessee

    Overview

    Located eight miles from Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Elkmont Campground is the largest and busiest campground in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. At an elevation of 2,150 feet, the area enjoys a moderate climate, characterized by mild winters and hot, humid summers.

    Recreation

    The Little River runs through the campground offering visitors the option to camp waterfront. Campers can enjoy high-quality backcountry fishing in the cool waters of the Little River and countless other streams and rivers that snake through the mountains. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a hiker's paradise, with over 800 miles of maintained trails ranging from short, leg-stretchers to strenuous treks, with a number of those trails easily accessible from Elkmont Campground. The nearby and popular Laurel Falls Trail leads to a spectacular 80-ft. waterfall. Hiking and fishing are not the only reasons for visiting the Smokies: Picnicking, wildlife viewing and auto touring are popular activities. With around 1,500 bears living in the park, it's not uncommon for visitors to spot one. From the big animals like bears, deer, and elk, down to microscopic organisms, the Smokies are the most biologically-diverse area in the world's temperate zone. The park is a sanctuary for a magnificent array of animal and plant life, all of which is protected for future generations to enjoy. The park also holds one of the best collections of log buildings in the eastern United States. Over 90 historic structures, including houses, barns, outbuildings, churches, schools and grist mills have been preserved or rehabilitated in the park.

    Facilities

    The Little River runs through the campground offering visitors the option to camp waterfront. Campers can enjoy high-quality backcountry fishing in the cool waters of the Little River and countless other streams and rivers that snake through the mountains. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a hiker's paradise, with over 800 miles of maintained trails ranging from short, leg-stretchers to strenuous treks, with a number of those trails easily accessible from Elkmont Campground. The nearby and popular Laurel Falls Trail leads to a spectacular 80-ft. waterfall. Hiking and fishing are not the only reasons for visiting the Smokies: Picnicking, wildlife viewing and auto touring are popular activities. With around 1,500 bears living in the park, it's not uncommon for visitors to spot one. From the big animals like bears, deer, and elk, down to microscopic organisms, the Smokies are the most biologically-diverse area in the world's temperate zone. The park is a sanctuary for a magnificent array of animal and plant life, all of which is protected for future generations to enjoy. The park also holds one of the best collections of log buildings in the eastern United States. Over 90 historic structures, including houses, barns, outbuildings, churches, schools and grist mills have been preserved or rehabilitated in the park.

    Natural Features

    Generations of campers have returned to Elkmont year after year, drawn by the sounds of the river, the tranquility of the forest, and the variety of recreational activities in the Elkmont area. Little River and Jakes Creek run through the campground, offering easy access for fishing or cool summertime splashing. Trailheads for Little River Trail, Jakes Creek Trail, and Elkmont Nature Trail are located adjacent to the campground. Historic remnants of Little River Lumber Company's logging camp and old buildings from the Elkmont resort community offer campers a glimpse of life at Elkmont nearly a century ago.

    Nearby Attractions

    Gatlinburg, one of the Smokies' most famous tourist towns, is located about nine miles from Elkmont and offers organized rafting trips, museums, restaurants, galleries, an aquarium, skiing and more.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • RVs
    • Tents
    • Group

    $30 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Cades Cove Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Cades Cove Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Cades Cove Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Cades Cove Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Cades Cove Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Cades Cove Campground

    3.

    Cades Cove Campground

    93 Reviews
    529 Photos
    589 Saves
    Townsend, Tennessee

    Overview

    Over 2 million visitors annually come to enjoy the scenic beauty of Cades Cove and its many historic structures. Popular activities here include hiking, biking, touring the 11-mile Cades Cove loop road and observing wildlife. Whether blanketed in bright wildflowers in the spring or vivid colors in the fall, the scenery at Cades Cove never disappoints.

    Recreation

    The Great Smoky Mountains are a hikers paradise and visitors to Cades Cove Campground love the 5-mile roundtrip hike to Abram Falls. From Cades Cove Loop Road, follow the signage at the turnoff for directions to the trailhead. Although Abrams Falls is only 20 feet high, the large volume of water rushing over falls more than makes up for its lack of height. The long, deep pool at its base is very picturesque. The trail to the falls traverses pine-oak forest on the ridges and hemlock and rhododendron forest along the creek. The waterfall and creek are named for Cherokee Chief Abram or Abraham whose village once stood several miles downstream. A nearby horse stable provides one-hour horseback rides as well as hay rides and carriage rides from March through October, offering recreational activities for the entire family. Campers can also enjoy high-quality backcountry fishing in the cool waters of the countless streams and rivers that snake through the mountains, with trout available in abundance.

    Facilities

    The Great Smoky Mountains are a hikers paradise and visitors to Cades Cove Campground love the 5-mile roundtrip hike to Abram Falls. From Cades Cove Loop Road, follow the signage at the turnoff for directions to the trailhead. Although Abrams Falls is only 20 feet high, the large volume of water rushing over falls more than makes up for its lack of height. The long, deep pool at its base is very picturesque. The trail to the falls traverses pine-oak forest on the ridges and hemlock and rhododendron forest along the creek. The waterfall and creek are named for Cherokee Chief Abram or Abraham whose village once stood several miles downstream. A nearby horse stable provides one-hour horseback rides as well as hay rides and carriage rides from March through October, offering recreational activities for the entire family. Campers can also enjoy high-quality backcountry fishing in the cool waters of the countless streams and rivers that snake through the mountains, with trout available in abundance.

    Natural Features

    Cades Cove is a broad, verdant valley surrounded by mountains and is one of the most popular destinations in the Great Smokies. It offers some of the best opportunities for wildlife viewing in the park. Large numbers of white-tailed deer are frequently seen, and sightings of black bear, coyote, ground hog, turkey, raccoon, skunk, and other animals are also possible. For hundreds of years Cherokee Indians hunted in Cades Cove but archeologists have found no evidence of major settlements. The first Europeans settled in the cove sometime between 1818 and 1821. By 1830 the population of the area had already swelled to 271.

    Nearby Attractions

    The park holds one of the best collections of log buildings in the eastern United States. Over 90 historic structures, including houses, barns, outbuildings, churches, schools and grist mills, have been preserved or rehabilitated in the park, a few of which are easily accessible from the Cades Cove loop road. Townsend, located about nine miles away, offers full service grocery stores and fuel.

    contact_info

    This location has limited staffing. Please call (865) 448-4103 for general information.

    Charges & Cancellations

    _________ If you plan to arrive at a date later than your arrival date you MUST contact the campground office 865-448-4103 in order to avoid a cancellation to your reservation. If you wish to cancel your reservation the day of your arrival you MUST contact the campground office 865-448-4103 in order to receive a refund. ___ Rules and reservation policies can be found at https://www.recreation.gov/rules-reservation-policies __

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • RVs
    • Tents
    • Group

    $30 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Greenbrier Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Greenbrier Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Greenbrier Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Greenbrier Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Greenbrier Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Greenbrier Campground

    4.

    Greenbrier Campground

    69 Reviews
    222 Photos
    661 Saves
    Gatlinburg, Tennessee

    Greenbrier Campground TN is surrounded by the Little Pigeon River and offer RV sites, tent camping, RV rentals, cabins, and bell tents. Located only 6 miles from downtown Gatlinburg and 8 miles from the entrance to the GSMNP, we are convenient to all area attractions.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access

    $35 - $258 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Cosby Campground — Great Smoky Mountains National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Cosby Campground — Great Smoky Mountains National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Cosby Campground — Great Smoky Mountains National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Cosby Campground — Great Smoky Mountains National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Cosby Campground — Great Smoky Mountains National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Cosby Campground — Great Smoky Mountains National Park

    5.

    Cosby Campground — Great Smoky Mountains National Park

    67 Reviews
    400 Photos
    443 Saves
    Cosby, Tennessee

    Overview

    Tucked in the mountains under a canopy of cool shade beside Cosby Creek. This group campground creates a peaceful and secluded environment for visitors, offering the best that the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has to offer.

    Recreation

    Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a hiker's paradise, with over 800 miles of maintained trails ranging from short, leg-stretchers to strenuous treks, with a number of those trails easily accessible from Cosby Campground, including the Appalachian Trail, just three miles away via the Lower Gap Trail.Hiking is not the only reason for visiting the Smokies: Fishing, picnicking, wildlife viewing and auto touring are also popular activities. White water rafting on the nearby Pigeon River. Top tourist towns of gatlinburg, Sevierville and Pigeon Forge are just 20 miles away. Campers can enjoy high-quality backcountry fishing in the cool waters of the countless streams and rivers that snake through the mountains, with trout available in abundance. Wildlife viewing is a popular pastime, and with around 1,500 bears living in the park, it's not uncommon for visitors to spot one. The park is a sanctuary for a magnificent array of animal and plant life, all of which is protected for future generations to enjoy.

    Facilities

    Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a hiker's paradise, with over 800 miles of maintained trails ranging from short, leg-stretchers to strenuous treks, with a number of those trails easily accessible from Cosby Campground, including the Appalachian Trail, just three miles away via the Lower Gap Trail.Hiking is not the only reason for visiting the Smokies: Fishing, picnicking, wildlife viewing and auto touring are also popular activities. White water rafting on the nearby Pigeon River. Top tourist towns of gatlinburg, Sevierville and Pigeon Forge are just 20 miles away. Campers can enjoy high-quality backcountry fishing in the cool waters of the countless streams and rivers that snake through the mountains, with trout available in abundance. Wildlife viewing is a popular pastime, and with around 1,500 bears living in the park, it's not uncommon for visitors to spot one. The park is a sanctuary for a magnificent array of animal and plant life, all of which is protected for future generations to enjoy.

    Natural Features

    World-renowned for its diversity of plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains and the quality of its remnants of Southern Appalachian culture, Great Smoky Mountains is America's most visited national park. Whether blanketed in bright wildflowers in the spring or vivid colors in the fall, the scenery at Cosby never disappoints. At 2,460 feet, Cosby Campground provides a moderate climate, typified by mild winters and hot, humid summers. Great Smoky Mountains National Park preserves a rich cultural history of Southern Appalachia. From the prehistoric Paleo Indians to the early 19th century European settlements, the park strives to protect the historic structures, landscapes and artifacts, which tell the stories of the people who once called these mountains home.

    Nearby Attractions

    Cosby, Tennessee, located about five miles from the campground, offers convenience stores and fuel. Gatlinburg, a one of the Smokies' famous tourist towns, is located about 20 miles from the site, offering visitors tours, organized rafting trips, museums, restaurants, galleries, an aquarium, skiing and more.

    Charges & Cancellations

    Customers who cancel a group overnight facility reservation less than 14 days before the arrival date will pay a $10.00 service fee AND forfeit the first night's use fee.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Tents
    • Group
    • Standard (Tent/RV)
    • Trash

    $50 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Montgomery Bell State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Montgomery Bell State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Montgomery Bell State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Montgomery Bell State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Montgomery Bell State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Montgomery Bell State Park Campground

    6.

    Montgomery Bell State Park Campground

    64 Reviews
    229 Photos
    224 Saves
    Burns, Tennessee

    Welcome to Montgomery Bell State Park Campground! This place is a gem for anyone looking to enjoy the great outdoors with a touch of comfort. Whether you're pitching a tent, parking your RV, or staying in one of the cozy cabins, you'll find a spot that suits your needs. The campground is open all year, so you can enjoy it no matter the season.

    One of the standout features here is the friendly and attentive staff. Visitors have praised them for their excellent service, especially during unexpected weather events. They go above and beyond to ensure everyone is safe and informed, which really adds to the overall experience.

    The campground itself is well-maintained with clean bathrooms and hot showers. You'll find fire pits at every site, perfect for those evening campfires. Plus, there's a market on-site for any last-minute supplies you might need. Pets are welcome too, so feel free to bring your furry friends along.

    For activities, the park offers plenty of hiking trails that wind through beautiful wooded areas. There's also a creek running through the campground, which is a hit with both kids and dogs. If you're into golf, there's a course right within the park. And let's not forget the lakes, which are great for a bit of fishing or just relaxing by the water.

    The campground is near Burns, TN, making it easy to pop into town if you need anything. But with all the amenities and natural beauty right here, you might not want to leave. So pack your gear and come enjoy a stay at Montgomery Bell State Park Campground. You won't be disappointed.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access
    Camper-submitted photo from Edgar Evins State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Edgar Evins State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Edgar Evins State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Edgar Evins State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Edgar Evins State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Edgar Evins State Park Campground

    7.

    Edgar Evins State Park Campground

    56 Reviews
    214 Photos
    241 Saves
    Lancaster, Tennessee

    This recreation area is part of Center Hill Lake

    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • RVs
    • Cabins
    • Standard (Tent/RV)
    Camper-submitted photo from Harrison Bay State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Harrison Bay State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Harrison Bay State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Harrison Bay State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Harrison Bay State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Harrison Bay State Park Campground

    8.

    Harrison Bay State Park Campground

    54 Reviews
    179 Photos
    285 Saves
    Harrison, Tennessee

    Welcome to Harrison Bay State Park Campground, a gem nestled near Harrison, TN. This place is perfect for those who love a mix of nature and comfort. The campground is open all year, so you can enjoy its beauty in any season.

    One of the standout features here is the stunning lakeside views. Many campers rave about the beautiful sunsets and the peaceful atmosphere. If you're into hiking, there's a trail near the marina that's worth checking out. And for those who love water activities, the lake offers great opportunities for kayaking and fishing.

    The campground is pretty accommodating whether you're in a tent or an RV. Sites are reservable, and you'll find amenities like electric hookups, drinking water, and hot showers. Pets are welcome, so feel free to bring your furry friends along. There's also a market on-site for any last-minute supplies you might need.

    Visitors have mentioned that the bathhouses are clean and well-maintained, which is always a plus. If you're staying in Campground D, you'll find it quieter and more suited for tent camping. However, if you're in loops A, B, or C, be prepared for a bit more hustle and bustle, as these areas are more popular and can get crowded.

    For a bit of local flavor, there's a Mexican restaurant just down the road that's highly recommended. And if you're looking to explore beyond the campground, Chattanooga is close by with attractions like Lookout Mountain and a vibrant downtown area.

    In short, Harrison Bay State Park Campground offers a great mix of natural beauty and convenient amenities, making it a fantastic spot for a weekend getaway or a longer stay.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access

    $22 - $28 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg KOA Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg KOA Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg KOA Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg KOA Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg KOA Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg KOA Campground

    9.

    Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg KOA Campground

    53 Reviews
    88 Photos
    277 Saves
    Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

    This KOA campground in Pigeon Forge is perfectly located to take everything the Great Smokies has to offer. Spend the day taking in the local area attractions such as Dollywood theme park, Dolly Parton's Stampede, Wonderworks, or the Old Mill just to name a few. Pigeon forge is bursting with over 70 attractions the whole family will love. Gear up for an adventure of hiking, fishing, biking or driving in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The options here are endless!

    For a home away from home, try our fully furnished Deluxe Cabins or Camping Cabins. Park your RV at our Pull-Thru RV Site with KOA Patio®, all with free cable and Wi-Fi. Pitching a Tent? We have beautiful waterfront sites conveniently situated with picnic tables and fire rings. Whatever accommodation you choose, you can rest assured you will enjoy your stay in this beautiful location.

    Explore our abundant entertainment options such as the NEW Gravity Rail, pan for fossils and gems at our Gem Mine, play at the NEW Playground, rent bikes or play in the zero-entry pool complete with a Rain Tree. There's even a safe place for Fido to play within the Kamp K9® Dog Park. As your day winds down, settle in to watch a movie at the Outdoor Cinema, sit around the Community Fire Pit or relax in the Hot Tub.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access
    Camper-submitted photo from Anchor Down RV Resort
    Camper-submitted photo from Anchor Down RV Resort
    Camper-submitted photo from Anchor Down RV Resort
    Camper-submitted photo from Anchor Down RV Resort
    Camper-submitted photo from Anchor Down RV Resort
    Camper-submitted photo from Anchor Down RV Resort

    10.

    Anchor Down RV Resort

    47 Reviews
    172 Photos
    444 Saves
    Sevierville, Tennessee

    Anchor Down Campground has 170 sites and is on Douglas Lake in Dandridge, TN, with views of The Great Smoky Mountains.

    Many amenities with some standouts being a basketball court, cable tv hookup, golf cart rental, playground, and a pool with a waterslide.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access

    $49 - $139 / night

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Frequently Asked Questions

What camping is available in Tennessee?

According to TheDyrt.com, Tennessee offers a wide range of camping options, with 870 campgrounds and RV parks in Tennessee and 35 free dispersed camping spots.

Which is the most popular campground in Tennessee?

According to TheDyrt.com, the most popular campground in Tennessee is Fall Creek Falls State Park Campground with a 5-star rating from 143 reviews.

Where can I find free dispersed camping in Tennessee?

According to TheDyrt.com, there are 35 free dispersed camping spots in Tennessee.

What are the best parks in Tennessee?

According to TheDyrt.com, there are 8 parks in Tennessee that allow camping, notably Cherokee National Forest and Old Hickory Lake.