The best HIKE IN camping near
Bell Buckle , TENNESSEE

215 Reviews24 Campgrounds

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Most Recent Bell Buckle Camping Reviews
An Owl, a hawk and beautiful trees!

Quiet stop only one night. Everything worked and no drama! Beautiful trees! 🍁Live owl named “Cotton” and hawk named “Buddy” on exhibit there. Cute little store on grounds.

Awesome Waterfalls

 Rock Island State park is a great place to camp. The campground is large and the campsites are spacious and far enough apart that you feel secluded, even when it’s full. It’s heavily wooded, so you don’t feel like your neighbors on right on top of you. The sites are paved and have water and electric, no septic where I was, however and they have a dump station that was large enough for two people to use at the same time. There are so many things to do at the campground, or the park, you will not be bored. Rock Island has some of the best waterfalls in Tennessee, and you can get right up to some them, if you are brave enough to kayak close to them. They also have a swimming area, and sand volleyball. Great biking in the park also. The area has lots of little shops and antique stores, if you’re into that, and Calf Killer Brewery is a short drive, and I highly recommend visiting there. Overall, this is a great park to visit, and a great place to camp.

Great State Park close to our house

There are several nice playgrounds, ranger led activities, a nature center that my kids loved, a butterfly garden, several short hikes that are good for kids. There are several sinkholes and cedar glades. There are also some caves you can explore if you want to get muddy. We often go here for day visits, but the overnight amenities are also nice. They no longer have horse stables.

Best Kept Secret

Smooth Rapids is one of my best “back pocket” campgrounds to date. This is the best place you’ve never heard of. I booked a spot for July 4th, with no problem, along with a group of 12 friends. In fact, there were several open spots. My friends chose a group stop right on the river, but secluded from the other spots. There’s no shortage of great spots. I took my camper, mainly for the restroom, since there’s just a porta potty at the campground.Mickey runs the place, and he takes care of literally everything. Anything you need, he’s got you. Smooth Rapids is a kayak and tubing outfitter, so you can take a float down the river, and they have a shuttle that will drop you off. We took a river tube and a paddle and it was awesome. They have a restaurant and bar too, and the food was good. They have a selection of beers including the local favorite, Calf Killer. This place is right on the river, but also in town, so it’s easy to get to, and convenient to grab food or anything else. They also have campers set up for rent, so if you don’t want to fully be roughing it, they have you covered.

Really neat place!

So let’s start off by saying there is no camping! Not sure why but it’s blocked off. Which is fine cause we just went to visit. They have great plaque that explain everything about the area. Nice trails, beautiful sights and some really cool history. Nice little walk/hike. Also they have a small museum and store but I think was not open due to Covid.

Different way to camp

The state park is quite large. The campground is in the back near the marina but it is still nice and quiet. There is a small camp store that has ice and very few other things. The campground is clean and well maintained. The sites are what is completely different than any campground I have ever been too. They are wooden platforms that you drive on. They are pretty large and some larger than others depending on the site. BE VERY CAREFUL WHEN PICKING YOUR SITE!!!! I didn’t pay much attention to the incline that it said my site had. When we gat there it was a very steep incline. I was only pulling a pop up but by looking at the platform I wasn’t the only one that had trouble getting into this site. After trying several different directions and bottoming out every time I just decided to unhook and push the camper into place. That was fun too. Once everything was in place it was a nice site. Our second afternoon there we had a pretty big thunderstorm that lasted into the night. Normally everything would be muddy and dirty from the storm but the wood platform was nice. Didn’t even mind letting the dogs out. There are sites along the water that I would recommend for the view. We got one on the inside loop as it was a last minute trip. All in all not a bad campground and a new camping experience.

Great views of the lake on the platforms

Secluded and beautiful park with excellent restroom facilities. We stayed in a lot right on the lake and hiked down a few rocks to go swimming in the lake before dinner. Cooked on the grill next to our platform. Saw max 3 or 4 people the entire time. Would definitely return. Lots of elevation in the site—be prepared to walk uphill to the toilets!

Unique and quiet campsites

Definitely enjoyed our stay at Edgar Evins! The unique platform style camp sites worked out great since it rained 2 out of the 3 days we stayed here. The platforms allowed for no accumulation of water or mud, so much less post camping cleanup involved with this trip! But, I could see how some sites would be difficult to back into if you had a larger rig. Our small travel trailer had no problems though on the small roads and tight turns. Most sites seemed fairly spread apart from each other and were somewhat secluded thanks to the thickness of the trees this time of year. We stayed on site 6, right next to some stairs that lead to a path to the bathroom/shower facilities. The stairs were great, however the pathway located in this part of the campground is a dirt path on a rocky and hilly terrain. Probably not the greatest for those not too swift on their feet. Seemed like the sites located lower in the campground had a paved pathway to the facilities, which would be much more ideal. Also, if you enjoy sitting around the camp fire, it appeared that many of the fire rings were located right next to the road and many on a slight incline due to the layout of the camp sites. Some sites looked to have a flatter and better fire ring area than others though. Overall we really enjoyed the park, every ranger and park employee we talked to was extremely friendly. And you are located close to the water for fishing and boating access! I’m sure we will return!

Can’t wait to go back!

Chris was great! Area is beautiful and there is lots of room to play! Will definitely be going back!

Back to Nature

Southport Saltpeter Cave is a historic cave located 12 miles south of Columbia TN. We offer cave tours, primitive camping, hiking, and exploring.