When passing through this area going to the Smoky Mountains I made a pit stop in Clinton, TN, just a few short miles away from one of the entrances to Smoky Mountain National Park. Though not in the mountain they have a world of charm and activities in the community.
This stop, a little less crowded than some of the other stops along the way, the KOA here offers both primitive and improved camping options for tent campers along the outer borders of the main site. Improved sites have electricity and are nearby the main restroom and shower house. Primitive sites are the furthest away from restrooms but are in a treed area close to the main entrance.
Amenities include a seasonally open pool, exercise room, outdoor activities such as playgrounds, volleyball and horseshoes.
One of the things which made this KOA a bit different than other was that it offered long term stay in a special area of the camp. This keeps the typical long term look away from those who are passing through, creating more peace for those staying a lengthy amount of time from the in and out daily traffic.
For me as a tent camper, I really debated which would be a better fit considering I typically like to stay a bit closer to the restrooms but I also didn't see the point in having electricity if I didn't need it. Primitive sites were under $20 while electrical sites were nearly $30 so the question would come down to price and comfort, both were established on a grass pad site.
I opted for primitive and it was pretty pleasant, not a lot of campers were in the region and overall it was a great stop off.
While in the Clinton area you can check out many things within a short drive, perhaps one of the most interesting the Museum of Appalachia, a working village which takes you back in time to depict the way of life of the earlier people of the region. Here they have a living history museum, restaurant, tours and hands on exhibits to tell the story of a life where things were a bit more simplistic and hard work was a way of life. Great for all ages. Other popular stops are the Green AcDoo Cultural Center and the Little Ponderosa Zoo.
If you are stopping by this location know in advance what you are interested in having as amenities. If this includes electricity or water for a tent, make a registration in advance especially on the weekends. This campground ends up with a lot of overflow from the National Park.
Take the drive to Oak Ridge and check out the Manhattan Project museum. This one is one of those "top secret" cities you only hear about on the history channel, now open to tell its secrets.