I assumed for a long time that you weren't allowed to camp on the TVA trails, because while there are many hikers and birdwatchers who enjoy the trails, you rarely see anyone camping out there. I learned recently, and confirmed through their website, that you can camp for free on TVA land. It just isn't well advertised. This particular trail is a great area, and there are many little side trails to explore. Plenty of places to make a primitive campsite. Many of the side trails lead to the river. There is even a small beach area down the one that leads along the river to the old train bridge. This trail is rich in history, and there are a lot of plaques telling about certain natural and man made features along the trails. The trails are clean, well-kept, and well-marked. At the trail head and parking area, there is a nice well-kept, clean restroom building with flush toilets. Behind that building, they recently put in a very nice playground and a pavilion with picnic tables. There are not really any ready made campsites with tables or firepits or trash cans, but there are plenty of benches and trash cans along the trails. I highly recommend going to the train bridge. There are also small plaques around some of the plants telling what they are and a little about them. If you want a beautiful, primitive camping area, with nice, fairly modern facilities nearby, this is a great place to go. Also, keep in mind there are several trail heads along this road, and you could potentially start out at any of them, but the particular trail head I mentioned has the best restroom facilities and a wonderful playground. Most of the others only have a parking area.
I have camped here twice so far and it is a nice, basic campground. We tent camped but there were a couple of RV's there, so I know there are places for them. It is on a nice stretch of the Tennessee River, and you can swim, fish, and boat there. Plenty of camp sites and very spacious. Popular with the locals and fairly secluded. Pretty woodland all around. There is a bathhouse with toilets, sinks, and cold showers. The bathhouse is pretty centrally located and there are electric lights around it. Usually not crowded. Plenty of dead wood to collect for firewood. There is a covered area with picnic tables near the bathhouse. Also a few picnic tables around the grounds. There are also plenty of trash cans and fire pits. You can park right next to your site. Very good for family camping. Within a few miles there are a couple of gas stations/convenience stores. Some cell service works out there, some not so much.
As far as I know the campground is closed, but its a pretty little park with a small playground, bathrooms, grills, and pavilions. Also has war aircraft displayed you can walk around and see and its free. So if you are in the area (possibly camping at McFarland Park) you can take the family and go see the war crafts. Picnic tables, areas to walk. Lots of woodland.
This campground is in my hometown of Florence, AL. It is right on the Tennessee River and it is a very large park/ campground. There is a marina, RV and tent campsites, a playground near the campground, and on the other side of the marina is another playground. There is the River Bottom Grill at the Marina. There is also a small sandy beach between the marina and campground. Showers and toilets are available. This park is where our city holds its annual 4th of July celebration, so if you camp there during 4th of July expect literally hundreds and hundreds of people. Lots of boat traffic at the marina, but its pretty far from the campground. There are also lots of other events here year round, so check before you go to make sure you either won't be there during an event, or the huge crowds won't bother you. Lots of woodland. Within city limits. downtown Florence is about 5 mins from the campground. I don't know if that's good or bad for you, but this is not a campground for those looking to really get out away from everything. It's a great place to take small kids for a weekend campout. There are grills, picnic tables, bathrooms, and pavilions throughout the park. For being a city park, it is quite pretty and the views of the river are great. To get to the campground, when you go into the park, keep to the right of the marina, and drive all the way back and around to the right. You'll go past the parking area for the little beach, and there should be signs. You'll see a playground and pavilion to your left right on the water and that means you're entering the campground.
I have things I love and hate about this campground. Personally, I'd rather just hike into the woods throughout TVA reservation and camp for free, but this campground does have bathrooms and a good playground for the kids. There is also a pretty nice waterfall down a "road" (limited to foot traffic and officials). However, it is way too busy and "paved" for my liking. LOTS of visitors and fisherman down here most of the time. Lots of people leave trash/fishing line/etc. The campsites look out at the river but they just aren't very pretty. right beside the parking lot. You can see the dam from here. Much better in my opinion to go out on one of the nearby trails and camp off the trail. If you drive down reservation road, in the opposite direction of the dam, you will find several trailheads with parking areas. The pics I'm posting are from these trails in TVA reservation.
The entire Sipsey Wilderness is gorgeous, but if you want a trail with lots of great spots to camp, this trail is fantastic. Don't expect bathrooms or drinking water to be nearby, but if you're looking to really get away from it all and do some primitive camping, this is a great place to go. You'll find fire pits at most of the sites that previous campers have made, but that's about it. Most of the time, except during dry spells, there are LOTS of waterfalls. Also lots of shallow places for the kids to play in the water. Watch for snakes and bring bug spray. If you want a good campground in Bankhead National Forest near Sipsey that is more modern with a bathhouse, picnic tables, etc, try Brushy Lake. But this trail is perfect for primitive camping.
My family has been going to Dismals Canyon since I was a child, and my mother's parents took her when she was a child. Now I take my children. The reason we return year after year is that it is absolutely gorgeous, and is one of the few places in the world where you can see the tiny glow worms called Dismalites. When you first arrive, you go down to the little general store that now has a cafe. I have not eaten at the cafe, so I can't attest to the quality of the food, but I can say everyone who has worked there has always been very friendly and knowledgeable about the canyon. Here you will pay for your campsite and/or your canyon access. Day tours are self guided, but the night tours to see the dismalites are guided. The campground is relatively expensive, for our area anyway, but it is very clean and beautiful, and each campsite we have visited has been very private. There is a nice bathhouse for campers. Each campsite also provides garbage cans and a fire pit. They DO NOT let you bring in firewood, but you can get firewood there. Also you cannot park right next to your site, you will have to park in the parking area and walk to your site. All of their rules are very strict, but they do so to preserve the park in a clean, natural state. There is a nice fairly deep reservoir to swim in, as well as creeks and streams throughout. Also waterfalls, giant trees, and many neat rock structures. The trail through the canyon is not terribly difficult. I hiked it with my 2 year old strapped to my back the last time we went, and my 62 year old mother and 5 year old in tow. The hardest part is really the long stairs going into and out of the canyon. The cost is really the only reason I gave this 4 stars instead of 5. Bring bug spray.