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Bells, TENNESSEE

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Most Recent Bells Camping Reviews
Confusing Campground, Awesome Rangers!

We ended up camping here after another campground didn't work out. We arrived without reservation and didn't know much about the park, so we needed a little help from the rangers when we were choosing a spot. The campground seems to have been renovated in the last few years. The sites are all mixed together. You have a handful of RV sites with 50 amp, a couple of 30 amp sites and then lots of tent sites that have 20 amp or no power at all. The problem for us was that the leaves have fallen, so we couldn't even see where the parking pads were and all of the different sites were mixed together. I think it would be easier to sort it out via the website that has info listed for each site. 

Ranger Tyson informed us that they were doing a night hike to the Fort and they would be serving Gumbo for dinner around the campfire at the Fort. Sign me up! It was one of the fee based activities, but for $5 per person, it was totally worth it! Tyson and Matt were awesome and the evening hike was surprisingly very cool!

As for the park itself, they don't have a huge "tourist attraction" like some parks, so it was very peaceful and not overcrowded. They work hard to offer great ranger lead programs. You can tell right away that the staff really does care about this park. 

The bathhouse was newer and clean. Each bathroom was private in that you had your own suite style bathroom with toilet, sink & shower. The only drawback is that the bath house building (2) only had (1) mens suite and (1) womens suite each. I could see a line forming during warmer months, especially if there were lots of tent campers.

The park had a really nice day use area with a new playground, pavilion area and picnic tables. There is also a basketball goal/court area near the day use area. The visitors center/museum was a bunker style building built into the side of the hill. Great exhibit and lots of info on the battle and fort at Fort Pillow. There is also a small fishing lake with a boat ramp and pier.

Maybe next time :(

We decided to make the 2 hour drive to do a one night camp here and explore the area. We checked online and saw that several spots were open, so we went without reservation. When we finally made it to the park, we were greeted with a"closed" office. Apparently the office at the campground closes everyday from 12p-1p for lunch. We decided to drive through the park and look for a spot to settle in on. After making part of the first loop, we immediately saw why there were so many unreserved spots…A good 90% of the campground was underwater! The handful of sites that were still open for use had pools of water standing on the site. Hard pass for us. I wish this would have been listed as a warning on the TNSP website. 

We drove to the visitors center to check that area out and consider the 2nd campground that is not on the water. We were greeted with another"closed" sign but no other signage about the hours or when they would reopen. We walked around outside and viewed the beautiful eagles, owls and hawks. We never found the other campground due to poor signage, so we left without actually getting to camp here. Very disappointed with everything being closed. Will have to try again in the spring.

Maybe next time :(

We decided to make the 2 hour drive to do a one night camp here and explore the area. We checked online and saw that several spots were open, so we went without reservation. When we finally made it to the park, we were greeted with a "closed" office. Apparently the office at the campground closes everyday from 12p-1p for lunch. We decided to drive through the park and look for a spot to settle in on. After making part of the first loop, we immediately saw why there were so many unreserved spots…A good 90% of the campground was underwater! The handful of sites that were still open for use had pools of water standing on the site. Hard pass for us. I wish this would have been listed as a warning on the TNSP website.

We drove to the visitors center to check that area out and consider the 2nd campground that is not on the water. We were greeted with another "closed" sign but no other signage about the hours or when they would reopen. We walked around outside and viewed the beautiful eagles, owls and hawks. 

We never found the other campground due to poor signage, so we left without actually getting to camp here. Very disappointed with everything being closed. Will have to try again in the spring.

Nice place

Nice campground with clean bathhouse. We arrived very late at night and the staff were very nice and helpful. The only bad thing about this place is all of the Geese at the swimming area.

Nice park, mehhh campground

I really like the tent area campground. Very accessible to the water & bridge. The horse trailer campground is nice and also close to the water. However, the RV campground is not close to the water and that was super disappointing. Lots of upgraded sites though and they are working on upgrading the bathrooms in the RV campground. The pads seemed level enough, but the sites were small and hilly. Ground also very soft and muddy, I guess from the recent construction. Very limited cell service in the park.

Air park

We stayed at the air park camp ground it was quite and nice.

Repeat Camper!

Cub Lake Campground #1

I love this campground so much! It is very small and private. Only small campers and tent campers are allowed in this campground. I like the sites at the end of the loop because they are closer to the water, however, they are not as private. The sites offer 30amp elec and water hookup. The campground host is really nice and has wood on site for sale. The park store is close by for souvenirs and any other items you might need to purchase. The bathhouse is old, but super clean! We love the bridges that you can walk across to get to the cabins or to the swim beach area and kayak/paddle boat rentals.

needed up grade

It needs to be updated and they need to tell you when you call about all the fee along with the price.

Ranger Review: Grub Stick Deluxe Kit at Chickasaw Rustic State Park

Campground Review: 

On Friday, August 23, 2019 my son Charlie and I camped at Chickasaw State Park to celebrate his ninth birthday. We couldn’t have found a better park than this one. It reminds me of the classic summer camps I saw on television as a kid: beautiful lake, horses, stables, paddle boats and canoes, and even a well maintained swimming hole. They even have three birds of prey on display for visitors to enjoy. From our arrival to the moment we left, the rangers and staff made us feel welcomed and safe. Ranger Brittany helped me find the perfect site and even checked in later to make sure that we were completely satisfied with the spot. Who wouldn’t be? The campsite was located right on Lake Placid in the middle of almost 15,000 acres of state forest. Each campsite in the tent campground had a new picnic table, a fire ring, access to potable water, and a grill. Our campsite, number 109, was located right next to a large handicapped parking spot that is big enough for a very large handicapped van. The parking spot was constructed on level ground with concrete. Campsite 109 was far away from the bathroom, but the trail to it was beautiful and made even the most hasty trip pleasant walking. Campsite 109 also had easy access to the pier which spans the width of the lake. My son and I enjoyed walking out into the middle of the lake and seeing the expanse of the Milky Way(what a treat!). There’s great firewood for sale at the stables for$6.00 a box. This is the best campfire wood I’ve ever purchased. It burned slow and steady leaving us enough to pass on to one of our neighbors the next morning. I would suggest spending at least two nights here. We only spent one, and my son and I didn’t want to leave. There’s so much we didn’t get to see and do at this park. This place is a real gem. I’ll guarantee that you will feel like you’re back at summer camp. By the way, don’t forget to bring a good lantern or flashlight with you: you will need it since many of the trails to the bathroom and out to the pier are very dark at night. This just helps you to see the stars better.

………………….

Product Review: 

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I have the opportunity to test some of the latest and coolest camping products on the market. On my camping trip to Chickasaw, my son and I tried out the Grub Stick Deluxe Kit. What a fun way to cook over a campfire! In my kit I received two telescopic poles which have well made attachments such as the Grub Cage, Grub Fork, Burg Cage, and Grub Tube that attach to the end of the telescopic poles. 

We used the Burg Cage for supper and it made awesome burgers. They had that perfect campfire flavor. My son enjoyed getting to cook his own food rather than waiting for dad to cook it on the grill. The handles are very comfortable to hold, and they were just the right size for my son’s smaller hands. The whole time he was using it, I kept hearing wows. It’s great when a company makes a camping product that engages children in cooking. The Grub Stick does just that. 

The kit also came with special grips like the finger grabber and the hot pad to help open and close the cages and other attachments. You can really tell that the makers of the Grub Stick thought of everything when they were designing this. 

One of the things that was really fun was the Grub Cage. It left me wondering,“where have you been all my life?” Instead of building the S’more AFTER roasting the marshmallow on a stick, you build it in the cage and toast the whole thing. I think this is the way the S’more was always meant to be. Everything, including the graham crackers, oozes with sugary, toasty goodness. 

For breakfast, we used the Grub Tube and wrapped it with bacon and croissant rolls. It was as good as it sounds. As I was cooking, I kept thinking of other things that could be cooked over the fire using this kit. I’m excited to have it in my cooking kit now, and I see us using this quite often especially on those winter camping trips when we want to stay close to the fire. 

Overall, this is a great product for engaging kids in camping. The Grub Stick will allow my kids to come up with their own recipes, put them together on their own, and then try them out on the fire. They love being a part of the cooking part of camping, and the Grub Stick is the perfect tool for this. 

I did have an issue with one of the telescopic handles. After cooking three burgers, one of the telescopic handles broke. I contacted customer service, and they went above my expectations to not only replace it but to help me understand their product even more. Most people expect things to be returned with“no questions asked,” but this isn’t how Grub Stick operates. They asked for pictures and a description of the failure so they can make sure their product gets better and better. I wouldn’t hesitate at all to order more from this company. It’s great when people not only believe in their product but also stand by it and are always looking for ways to improve it. They sent a replacement immediately, and I can’t wait to get this back out in the field.

Friendly, comfy, easy

Such a great park. We showed up, swam in a beautiful and clean lake, and then cooked dinner and used the incredible bathroom facilities and did a campfire with incredible neighbors. Woke up and used the great shower facilities and hit the road. Will definitely be back again

Very Handicap Accessible

We stayed here with our son who is in a wheelchair. Pin Oak had 2 sites that were very accommodating and close to the bath house with a Great Lake view. Everything was clean and an awesome little weekend. Only complaint would be with their phone system. Tried to call several times about reserving an extra site with no luck. Eventually got through but it took 2 days.

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!

Clean but poor Management

Upon arrival for a month long water and electric stay I signed a receipt for one site and was directed to set up in a different site (for which our parking tags were filled out for). When we arrived at the alternate site it was poorly marked and it didn’t have water hookup so I went back to the office to clarify if we were in the right place and the owner told me it was the site to the left of the marker with both hookups. Lo and behold her husband came around the next day and said we were in the wrong spot and we’d have to move. On day 3 she came by and said we were fine and would be ok to stay there for the month. 2 days later she came back and said we could only stay there two weeks and then would have to move to the site next to ours for the rest of the month. Another family occupied that site later in the week for a weeklong stay and left after two days because the stench of the sewage leaking from the seasonal camper in the lot adjacent to it was horrific. We ended up leaving after our two weeks because we were tired of the back and forth and the cost for 2 weeks vs a month was virtually the same. Upon talking to other families, we weren’t the only ones who were told they would have to move during their stay.

The campground itself was clean and upkept. The beach was nice. Very shallow swimming which was perfect for young kids. Laundry (one washer and dryer) on site and the bathhouse was kept clean and maintained.

Great stay!

I loved the pull through sites, widely spaced apart, and while we didn’t do any fishing it looks like a fantastic place. The lake was pretty muddy and warm, so not great for swimming, but the people were very friendly and the bathrooms were clean and large. The site is actually really far back into the park, and there is no cel service. We would absolutely stay here again.

Great Campground with full hookups

Pin Oak Lake Campground is very nice. Well maintained with full hookups and plenty of space separating the sites. The lake itself is very clear water. Easy to access the park from I-40 but it is a bit of a drive from the exit. All good roads and location makes the campground quiet. Plenty of activities in the park and close to some Civil war battlefields. Our 38’ RV was easy to park on the generous pad. Take plenty of food as a trip to the store is a bit of a drive.

Beautiful Setting

Beautiful southern Tennessee setting. Bathrooms didn’t appear to have been cleaned while we were there. Checking the facilities every few hours would be a priority on a holiday weekend but evidently it wasn’t.

Easy camping

Clean. Fire ring, grill, water (elect at some) at campsite. Community bath house and nearby lake beach.

Country campground

This campground was renovated over the last year and there appears to be a few things left to be done but overall a nice, pleasant escape from town. Be prepared to have a drive to town for provisions & restaurants. There bathhouses have a lot left to be desired but the sites are all paved with fire rings, grills & picnic tables. Most sites appear to be fairly level.

Wasted drive

We stayed at the Wrangler campground and it was terrible. They guy next to us basically brought his entire living room including his big screen tv blaring a baseball game. Definitely not camping. The park was ok but not for us.

A hidden gem

This is a lovely park with wide asphalt and level spaces, water and electricity hookup. We snagged a lakeside spot and listened to the water lapping up against the bank while we slept. Quiet and peaceful. Took our jeep and did some off road exploring. Also, the price to stay at this park is very low for what you get. Highly recommended. We drive a 40 foot Tiffin Allegro Bus and had no issues navigating the park.

Our favorite TN campground

GPin Oak Campground (there’s actually 4 campgrounds in the park). Large sites that aren’t crowded in together. Full hook ups, lake access. Cabins also available.

Newly renovated

Nice level campsites with white rock. Primitive camping, no water or electric. Not big enough for RVs. Nice bathrooms, excellent showers.  

Very pretty with lots of hiking trails and a lake for fishing.

Want to get away? This place is for you

If if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and not be around a whole lot of other campers with kids, this is the campground for you. We stayed in the Air Park campsite number 4. There are two circles in this campsite with no frills except Water and Electric. The area is very flat and the bathhouse is within walking distance. The lake is absolutely gorgeous and Grey's bait shop offers boat rentals for $80 a day. There is a picnic table and fire pit at each campsite. Located 4 hours west of Nashville is in the upper corner on the Kentucky line in West Tennessee.

Excellent state park with great history

This description really needs to be updated. They are not just an historic area but an Historic State Park. They have about a dozen RV sites plus another 20 tent sites. Facilities are very nice and include showers. They have really worked hard to improve the entire park in the last 3 years or so and have really turned this into a hidden gem. The historic site of Ft Pillow from the Civil war is on one of the hiking trails. The trails also go along the Mississippi river and provide some beautiful views. They also have a small lake and available canoes/kayaks for rent. The staff is very attentive and provide a variety of programs.

Big, clean. Plenty of room.

There is not a bad site at Pin Oak Campground in NTSP. Situated on a lake with a dock available. Good fishing, swimming.

Mall sites are large and level and not crowded at all. Our favorite getaway close to home.

Small but quiet.

This is no longer a military CG. It is owned by the city and managed by a great couple.

Camping Area 1 - Cub Lake Campground

I wasn’t sure if we were even in the right place at first because this campground is down a narrow gravel road! However, we arrived at the correct place. The campground is for small campers, pop ups or tent campers. I really liked that because everyone was outside instead of hiding inside their giant RV’s! The spots at the end of the cove around the lake were awesome! The camp host was great (they sell bundles of wood!) and the bathrooms/showers were nice and clean. The bridges over the lake make for great access to other areas to explore without having to leave the campground. Several different hiking trails are available as well. We drove over to the Pin Oak Lodge for Breakfast one morning and it was fantastic! My site recommendations: 19, 20, 21, 22 or 23 (23 is connected to the playground)

Primitive camping at it’s best! Newly renovated sites!

The sites at this park are beautiful and it’s been one of my favorite camping spots for as long as I can remember. The new renovations make it top notch. If they added electric and water hookups, this place would be booked solid! Nice clean bath house. Very friendly staff and ranger. Great hiking! Canoe and kayak rentals available, but beware of stumps. Beautiful scenery and wildlife abounds. Planning to revisit in November or December and take advantage of a warmer than usual weekend.

Our very first camping adventure! It didn’t disappoint!

We stayed at the Cub Lake campground, which I prefer as the sites are treed and shaded, unlike most sites at Pin Oak. We preferred the sites towards the middle of the campground. Keep in miind that the sites closer to the lake are indeed beautiful but they are also close to the summer swimming area and playground. If you don’t mind the high pitched noises of squealing kids at play in the water, then those sites are for you. Nice clean bath house next to camp host who sells firewood. IMO Pin Oak is the prettier lake and we kayaked and fished there. Kayak rentals at the club house located at Pin Oak Lake by cabins. Nice bike trails and hiking.

Group Camping At Its Finest

When I first arrived at Pinson Mound it was a little before the park itself closed, to late for me to really go explore the site so I instead had to return the second day.

When I did I was able to see that there was a group camp available in the property which was quite a nice area indeed. Only those staying in this area are allowed to stay within the park after sunset and with limited number of groups welcomed at a time this makes for a very intimate one of a kind experience.

Despite traveling alone on this trip I wanted to inquire about the requirements for this site and was quickly told that it is by reservation only so you have to plan in advance to be allowed to stay on property. There are NO after hours arrivals accepted without reservation.

This is more of a day use facility for the most part for the average person. They do have nice picnic shelters, playgrounds and of course the archeological site itself.

For those which do attain permissions for group site camping there are several regulations regarding location of camp and activities of allowance. I can say that after being at the property it would be a little eerie to stay here at night because of the Native American history.

Group sites are very well equipped and are a flat rate of $200 per evening with reservation only. These are cabins which are arranged nicely in a landscaped area close to the big mound. Keys are issued to those staying for their site and early arrival is suggested.

TIPS:

  • Call do not simply go online to obtain reservations. This will be much more effective.
  • Visit the BIG mound, it is a lot of steps but has the most amazing view of the entire park and will make you realize just how tall it really is when you get to the top!