Best Camping in Tennessee

Planning a camping trip to The Volunteer State? Our guide to the best camping in Tennessee features ten of the best spots for campers of all persuasions, from hidden gems to scenic sanctuaries in the Appalachian Mountains.

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Best Campsites Tennessee Has To Offer

Looking For The Best Places To Camp In Tennessee?

You’re in the right place! In this guide, we will be covering the following:

    • The 10 best Tennessee campsites
    • Run-down of amenities available at each campground
    • From State Parks to backpacking and hiking trails – What activities you should try when camping in Tennessee

Often referred to as the birthplace of country music Tennessee is a southeastern landlocked state. The climate for the most part is humid and subtropical, though if you travel up into the Appalachian Mountains, you’ll find yourself at cooler, fresher temperatures.

Putting the lovely year-round weather aside, there’s natural beauty in staggering amounts here. Camping devotees can choose from spending their vacation primitive tent camping under the stars or relaxing in an RV on a campground with full amenities. There are also free dispersed camping sites scattered right across state parks and other areas of the state.

The Volunteer state has something for everyone. If you love culture and history, check out the historic town of Nashville, if backpacking is your bag, why not go hiking along the Appalachian Trail? Whether you want to get back to nature in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or enjoy fantastic fishing along the mighty Mississippi River our guide showcases the best camping in Tennessee.

RELATED READING: For more adventures in the great outdoors check out our guides to the Best hikes in Tennessee.

Our Pick Of The Best Camping In Tennessee

The favorite time for visitors to explore Tennessee is the summer. The weather is almost always hot in Tennessee, but fall and winter are generally milder, and the campsites are often quieter.

Whatever your preference, you’ll find something to please you in this list of our ten favorite camping sites in the Volunteer State.

1. Anchor Down RV Resort, Dandridge, Tennessee

Lake Douglas, Tennessee
The location boasts stunning views across Douglas Lake to the Great Smokey Mountains.

The Anchor Down RV campground is located (here) in Dandridge.

This is one of Tennessee’s newer RV parks, a luxury resort purpose-built for those who enjoy a camping vacation on wheels. The site is located on Lake Douglas which gives you magical views out across the water with vistas of the spectacular Great Smoky Mountains in the background.

There’s plenty for the whole family to do at Anchor Down. You may want to spend the day swimming and relaxing by the pool which has an excellent waterslide for kids of all ages! Or if you prefer peace and quiet, why not go fishing in the lake or hire a pontoon. For the more energetic, there’s a basketball court.

Other practical amenities include golf cart rentals, a camp store, on-side trash pickup, and free wireless internet. There are both back-in and pull-through sites with full 30/50-amp hookups. And with pets allowed you can also bring your dog on your camping vacation with you.

For more information on rates and reservations, visit the site’s webpage at this link.

2. Abrams Creek Ranger Station, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

Abram’s Falls, Tennessee
Abrams Falls is a couple of hour’s hike from the Ranger Station.

Abram’s Creek Ranger Station (here) in Blount County is an often overlooked camping location hidden like a sparkling jewel in the northwestern corner of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

Abram’s Creek is secluded and peaceful, offering visitors a crowd-free setting where right on the doorstep you can enjoy some of the best hiking and fishing in the state, and in relative solitude. The climate here is moderate, thanks to its 1,125-foot elevation, with hot and humid summers and milder winters.

If you take the relatively easy trail through the peaceful wooded area you will find the 5.6-mile Ace Gap Trail which joins the Beard Cane Trail. Primitive camping is allowed out here too, and if you’re lucky, you’ll spot deer and many birdlife species along the way. If you decide to pitch your tent in the backwoods be aware that black bears are pretty common out there.

Abram’s Creek runs alongside the campground providing a restful soundtrack as the clear water babbles tirelessly by. The setting here on the creek bank is absolutely beautiful and you can use a hammock provided it is over your campsite’s footprint and has adequate padding so as not to damage any trees.

Although you have the convenience of drinking water and flushing toilets, there are no showers or hookups at the campground. There is a store with a limited selection of groceries and camping supplies, and a food and beverage service is available in the park. If you want to use firewood, you must buy what’s on sale in the park.

Pets are welcome, but they must be kept on a leash at all times. You must also stick to designated pet-friendly trails when walking with your dog. 

You can make a reservation for a site up to six months in advance by calling (877) 444-6777. Sites cost $17.50 per night, and there are some discounts available for seniors.

3. Clarksville RV Park And Campground, Clarksville, Tennessee

Clarksville, Tennessee
This RV resort is conveniently located in Clarksville.

Clarksville RV Park and Campground is located (here) in Clarksville.

This site is a convenient and comfortable spot with full hookup RV sites, modern amenities, and a general store. Here, you’ll find a swimming pool, playground, free wireless internet, and good cell reception. Pets are welcome, and there’s even a dog park!

You’ll find plenty to explore in the local area, including the Land Between the Lakes Recreation Area, Fort Campbell, and Mammoth Caves. 

For full details and to make a reservation, click this link to the site’s webpage.

4. Pine Mountain RV Park, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Pigeon Forge is full of rustic charm and gorgeous scenery.

Pine Mountain RV Park is located in Pigeon Forge (here), around 35 miles from Knoxville.

The campground is located in the middle of the lush forests of Pigeon Forge with glorious views of the Smoky Mountains and rolling hills of the surrounding area. The area has plenty to offer with Dollywood just a couple of miles along the road and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park ten miles away.

Pine Mountain RV Park offers its visitors cable TV hookups, laundry facilities, wireless internet, showers and restrooms, a hot tub, and a large splash pool. You can also bring your pets! There’s a snack bar on-site, and a trolley stop located right by the park entrance, so visiting local attractions couldn’t be easier.

5. Frozen Head State Park And Natural Area, Wartburg

Frozen Head State Park, Tennessee
Seeking out peace and quiet? You’ll definitely find it in Frozen Head State Park.

Frozen Head State Park and Natural Area is located (here) in Wartburg.

If you are looking for solitude, peace, and quiet then this Tennessee state park is an ideal location to visit. There are only 20 rustic campsites here, all of which are spread out around the Big Cove Campground. Here, you’ll enjoy over 50 miles of scenic backpacking and there are incredible hiking trails found through the 24,000 acres of wilderness. The state park has waterfalls, stunning views across the countryside, and no trail is ever the same

Campers are provided with a modern bathhouse with hot showers. There’s a centrally located water faucet that gives you drinking water, and you’ll find a sink behind the bathhouse where you can wash your dishes. All the sites have a parking slip, grill, fire ring, lantern hanger, and picnic table. However, there are no dump stations or hookups provided.

There are two group sites catering for up to 20 people, which can be reserved up to one year in advance.

6. Smoky Mountain Premier RV Resort, Cosby, Tennessee

Smoky Mountain RV Resort is located in Cosby, East Tennessee (here). It is set amid 16 acres of peaceful forests offering shady campsites and miles of trails, many of which lead right into the National Park.

The campground is set up to accommodate rigs of any size from massive motorhomes to petite pop-up campers. The setting here enables visitors to enjoy the full back-to-nature vibe while enjoying all the amenities that you’d expect to find in a luxury resort. There’s a lovely pool with a spacious sundeck, a kids’ playground, disc golf, and a designated pet area where Fido can frolic in safety with his new furry friends!

It almost goes without saying that you get free Wi-Fi here and decent cell reception, and there are well-maintained showers and restrooms. 

7. Savage Gulf State Natural Area, Palmer, Tennessee

Savage Gulf State Natural Area, Tennessee
There are trails that will suit all abilities through this stunning wilderness area.

Savage Gulf State Natural Area is located (here) in Palmer.

If you’re looking for a stunning backpacking destination with primitive tent sites for camping, Savage Gulf may be the perfect spot for you. Here, you’ll find waterfalls, glorious sweeping views of plunging gorges, an amazing suspension bridge, and a stunning wilderness area that’s unrivaled in the region.

You can take a day or weekend break option and hike the 50 miles of trails that wind their way through almost 16,000 acres of breathtaking countryside and across the Cumberland Plateau. Most of the trails you’ll find within the park range from nine to ten miles long and are suitable for casual backpackers. There are also some more challenging routes ideal for more serious hikers too.

Be sure to check out Greeter Falls, Stone Door (a jaw-dropping ten-foot-wide crack in the rock that plunges to a depth of almost 100 feet), and Big Creek.

Throughout the Savage Gulf region, you’ll find nine backcountry campsites to choose from.

8. Fall Creek Falls State Park, Spencer, Tennessee

Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee
If chasing waterfalls is on the agenda, this state park is the place to go!

Fall Creek Falls State Park is located in Spencer (here) and is the place to go if you want to experience the Volunteer State’s incredible wild beauty.

Fall Creek Falls State Park is Tennessee’s largest state park, covering some 26,000 acres and encompassing tumbling waterfalls, forests buzzing with life, crystal clear streams, and rushing cascades. 

There are over 56 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails winding through the park, an 18-hole golf course, a huge swimming pool, an educational nature center, crafting and arts programs, and lots of awe-inspiring waterfalls that are sure to have visitors’ cameras snapping! 

All of Fall Creek Falls State Park’s camping sites have grills, picnic tables, water, and electricity, and many also offer sewer hookups. There are back-in and pull-through sites, with 30/50-amp connections. Also, your dog is welcome to join you on your camping vacation here!

For those campers seeking a more rustic experience, there are 16 primitive campsites and three backcountry sites also available.

9. Sun Outdoors RV Resort, Tennessee

Aerial view of Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Nearby Gatlinburg is situated on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Sun Outdoors RV Resort is found (here) close to the towns of Knoxville, Gatlinburg, and Pigeon Forge.

The resort is situated amid gorgeous scenery right alongside the river and the location makes it ideal as a base to explore the local area. There are excellent facilities for campers on-site with lots to keep the whole family busy. This includes several pools, a basketball court, and a hot tub where you can relax your aching muscles after a vigorous workout in the fitness center or a long hike along one of the many trails that crisscross the area.

As you would expect from a resort of this standard, well-maintained showers and restrooms are provided, as well as a decent Wi-Fi and cell reception, and pets are allowed.

10. LeConte Lodge, Sevierville, Tennessee

LeConte Lodge, Tennessee
LeConte Lodge offers a unique experience for visiting the Great Smokey Mountains. (Photo by Jacob Resor / CC BY 2.0)

If you’re looking for a glamping experience, you’ll love LeConte Lodge!

Located (here) high up on the slopes of Mt. LeConte in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, LeConte Lodge offers an authentic 1920s hiking experience as you’ve never seen it before! The site sits 6,400 feet above sea level, and, as there are no roads up there the beautiful wooden cabins can only be reached by hiking, ensuring that this place stays as pristine and untouched as it was way back when the lodges were built.

To get here, you’ll need to follow one of five trails up the mountain, ranging from 5.5 to 8 miles long. You’ll enjoy a few nights relaxing in a cozy, characterful hand-built log cabin where you can sit out on your private porch in a rocking chair to marvel at the glory of the sunset, listen to a silence that’s interrupted only by birdsong, or enjoy delicious, home-cooked food in the family-style dining room. 

As you’d expect from the highest guest lodge in the eastern U.S., the views over the Smokies from here are incredible! However, you must know that there’s no electricity up here. Kerosene lamps provide lighting, and propane heaters are used to warm the cabins. Needless to say, there’s no Wi-Fi, and the cell reception is pretty non-existent!

Although there are flush toilets, there are no shower facilities. You are provided with a bucket, there is a hot water spigot for communal use, and sponge baths are the order of the day here. That said, the temperature up here can plummet even in the summertime, so the demand for a full shower is somewhat limited anyway!

Best Camping Sites In Tennessee – Final Thoughts

Tennessee is an incredibly beautiful state with a wide range of diverse landscapes, all impressive in their own way, and all deserving of at least one visit during your lifetime. 

Whether you love to hit the road to do some RV camping, stopping here and there on a family road trip, you crave the silence of a deserted mountain primitive camping experience, or the idea of a few nights away in a 1920s hiking lodge, the Volunteer State really has it all.

Last update on 2022-12-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

BrianBioAvatar

Brian has been an avid hiker and backpacker since he was a small kid, often being taken out into the wilderness on trips with his father. His dad knew everything about nature and the wilderness (or at least that's how it seemed to a ten year old Brian).

After high school, he went to university to read for both a BS and MS in Geology (primarily so he could spend his time outside rather than in a classroom). He's now hiked, camped, skied, backpacked or mapped on five continents (still need to bag Antarctica) & 30 of the US states.

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