Tennessee, the “Volunteer State,” is known for a few things: country music, the Great Smoky Mountains, and a rich Civil War history, to name a few. No matter what your interests are, you're sure to find something fun to do in Tennessee.
This state is especially great for camping. Enjoy the lovely, temperate weather of the springtime, the great fishing of summer, the beautiful colors of fall or the mild winter weather. No matter the season, a Tennessee camping trip is always a great idea.
Here are our picks for the best campgrounds in Tennessee.
1. Elkmont Campground – Gatlinburg
Located eight miles from Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Elkmont Campground is the largest and busiest campground in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. At an elevation of 2,150 feet, the area enjoys a moderate climate, characterized by mild winters and hot, humid summers. Learn more.
2. Montgomery Bell State Park – Burns
There are many activities to try at the park. Most notably, are hiking, biking, golf and fishing. There are nearly 19 miles of trails throughout the park with one that follows the circumference of the park. The Par 72, 18-hole golf course is a local treasure. The clubhouse, with snack bar and pro shop, also has a furnished patio that can be reserved for events. There are three lakes within Montgomery Bell State Park for fishing and boating. Paddle boats, jon boats, canoes and kayaks are available for rent at the park. Learn more.
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3. Salt Lick Creek – Gainesboro
Salt Lick Creek Campground is located on Cordell Hull Lake on the Cumberland River System, just 10 miles from Gainesboro, TN. The lake itself was named after one of America's outstanding statesmen and one of Tennessee's finest volunteers. Hull was born in a log cabin in the foothills of the Cumberland Mountains. Learn more.
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4. Defeated Creek Park Campground – Carthage
Defeated Creek Park Campground sits along the banks of Cordell Hull Lake on the Cumberland River System, just seven miles from Carthage, Tennessee. The 12,000-acre lake stretches 72 miles upstream and boasts 381 miles of shoreline, offering countless recreational activities for visitors. Anglers enjoy fishing for white bass, rockfish, largemouth bass, catfish, shad and crappie. Learn more.
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5. Cades Cove Campground – Townsend
Over 2 million visitors annually come to enjoy the scenic beauty of Cades Cove and its many historic structures. Popular activities here include hiking, biking, touring the 11-mile Cades Cove loop road and observing wildlife. Whether blanketed in bright wildflowers in the spring or vivid colors in the fall, the scenery at Cades Cove never disappoints. Learn more.
6. Fall Creek Falls State Park – Pikeville
Fall Creek Falls State Park is Tennessee’s largest and most visited state park. The park encompasses more than 26,000 acres sprawled across the eastern top of the rugged Cumberland Plateau. Laced with cascades, gorges, waterfalls, streams and lush stands of virgin hardwood timber, the park beckons those who enjoy nature at her finest. Learn more.
7. Bandy Creek Campground – Oneida
Bandy Creek Campground is located in the Tennessee portion of Big South Fork off of Highway 297, 15 miles west of Oneida and 24 miles east of Jamestown. The campground offers a total of 181 campsites: 96 trailer sites which offer water and electric hook-ups, 49 sites for tent camping, and two group camping loops with 19 sites in one loop and 16 sites in the other. All campsites include picnic tables, fire rings, and access to restrooms and showers. Learn more.
8. Cosby Campground – Cosby
Tucked in the mountains under a canopy of cool shade, this campground creates a peaceful and secluded environment for visitors, offering the best that the Great Smoky Mountains National park has to offer. Learn more.
9. Nickajack Lake – Jasper
The spectacular scenery of the Tennessee River Gorge, known as the Grand Canyon of Tennessee, offers a scenic backdrop for a variety of lake activities available on Nickajack Lake including boating, fishing, waterskiing, jetskiing, swimming, camping, public parks, public access areas, picnic areas and more. On both sides of the river below the dam are fishing berms and a concrete fishing pier with foot bridges and wheelchair ramps. Learn more.
10. Long Hunter State Park
The 2,600 acres which make up this area became a state park in 1974 and has four sections, Couchville, Baker’s Grove, Bryant Grove and Sellars Farm. Long Hunter State Park offers a variety of recreational activities including fishing and hiking and has two boat launch ramps on J. Percy Priest Lake, a group camp, a backcountry campsite, meeting facility and a visitor center. The more than 20 miles of hiking trails provide a variety of terrain and habitats and range from pleasant strolls to longer jaunts for the more adventurous. Learn more.
Do you have a favorite camping spot in South Dakota that wasn’t included on this list? Let us know in the comments!
And be sure to check out the rest of our Best Campgrounds in the US series.
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