Best Campsites in Tennessee

by Emily Morgan
best-campsites-in-tennessee

Growing up in the east Tennessee hills, I feel fortunate about getting the chance to spend my days surrounded by the natural wonders of the Volunteer State. From the Great Smoky Mountains to the Land between the Lakes, there are plenty of mountains, hollers, and waterfalls to keep you in awe at all times. While most non-Tennesseans know the state for being the home of country music, it’s much more than that. Yes, these are the best campsites in Tennessee, but they’re also some of the best in the country. The Volunteer State has plenty of natural beauty to show off, and camping is one of the best ways to experience its awe-inspiring landscape. A night under the stars is also a fantastic way to reconnect with nature and get a respite from everyday life. The state’s climate is also perfect for camping year-round. For most of the year, the state’s weather is also humid. However, if you travel into the Appalachian Mountains, you’ll get cooler temperatures.

In short, Tennessee has something for everyone. If you want to experience the rich culture of Nashville, we’ve got a campsite for you. But, on the contrary, if you’re looking for a more primitive location, we also have several spots that will blow your mind. From the tranquil serenity of the Tellico River to the once-in-a-lifetime hiking opportunities in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the state is full of waterfalls, mountains, and forests to explore just mere steps outside your tent flap.

Whether you’re looking for 360° panoramic views, a rugged backpacking trip, or something in between, we’ve put together a curated list of A+ places to check out the next time you’re arranging a camping trip to Tennessee.

Percy Priest Lake Campground

For those who want to camp near Nashville

Location: Located ten miles east of Nashville in Percy Priest Lake
Campground Contact: 615-889-5198
Park Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Campground Website

Percy Priest Lake covers an area of 14,400 acres and has 213 miles of shoreline, making this a paradise for campers who love aquatic activities. The reservoir was formed when the Army Corps of Engineers dammed the Stone River. Unfortunately, the entire town of Old Jefferson was flooded when the dam was completed.

Three campgrounds are near the lake, all operated by the Natural Resources Management Office. Anderson Road Campground has 36 campsites, Poole Knobs Campground has 88 campsites, and Seven Points Campground has 60 campsites. At the same time, all three campgrounds offer tent and RV camping. However, Anderson Road is best for tent campers who desire a primitive camping experience.

Get primitive on one of Percy Priest’s islands

You’ll undoubtedly keep yourself busy as there are more than 30 islands in the lake, most of which offer off-grid campsites. However, you must plan ahead to get to your site via a kayak or a canoe. Fishing, swimming, boating, and paddling are all permitted on the lake, which is 42 miles long with hundreds of miles of shoreline, allowing you to explore as much as you want.

Campground Breakdown:
Seven Points Campground:
• 59 Campsites
• Group Shelter Non-Electric: $40 per night
• Standard Electric: $30 per night
Poole Knobs Campground:
• 87 Campsites
• Group Standard Nonelectric: $50.00 per night
• Standard Electric: $30.00 per night
• Standard Nonelectric: $20.00 per night
• Tent Only Electric: $26.00 per night
• Tent Only Nonelectric: $20.00 per night
Anderson Road Campground
• 37 Campsites
• Group Shelter Electric: $40 per night
• Standard Electric: $30 per night
• Standard Nonelectric: $20 per night

Percy Priest Lake Campground Amenities: Flush toilets, bathrooms, picnic tables, beach access, boat ramp, laundry facilities, boat ramp, playground, showers, fire pits, BBQ

Reserve a Percy Priest Lake Campsite Here

Anchor Down RV Resort & Campground

For those who want camping with all the amenities

Location: Dandridge, East Tennessee
Campground Contact: 1-877-784-4446
Park Hours:
Campground Website

Anchor Down Resort is one of Tennessee’s newer RV parks which acts as a luxury resort built for those who enjoy camping on wheels. The campground is perched on Douglas Lake, which gives you stunning views of the water with views of the majestic Great Smoky Mountains in the background. Undoubtedly, Anchor Down RV Resort is a perfect place to unwind and hit the nearby lake for water sports.

While camping here, you can visit Sevierville, Gatlinburg, Knoxville, and the Great Smokies or chill at the resort and enjoy one of its many amenities. Spend your days relaxing by the on-site pool, or if you’re feeling adventurous, you can rent a jet ski. In addition, both tents and RVs are welcome here. We also think it’s a great place to bring children as they can use the inflatable trampoline and toys in the lake.

From standard back-in sites and signature sites with incredible lake views, you really can’t go wrong here. It’s also one of the newest RV parks in the state, with clean facilities.

Campground Breakdown:
• Back-in Site: $49 per night
• Premium Back-In: $59 per night
• Pull-Through Site: $59 per night
• Signature Site: $69 per night
• Buddy Site: $139 per night

Anchor Down Amenities: Basketball court, cable tv hookup, golf cart rental, playground, a pool with a waterslide, bathhouse, boat ramp with boat rentals, camp store, on-site cafe, fire pits, leashed pets allowed, golf cart rentals, laundry facilities

Reserve an Anchor Down Campsite Here

Fall Creek Falls State Park Campground

For those who want that iconic waterfall experience

Location: Spencer, TN
Campground Contact: 423-881-5298
Park Hours: Open 24 hours
Campground Website

Don’t let the redundancy of its name keep you from visiting Fall Creek Falls. This gem is a must-see next time you plan on taking a trip to Tennessee. The park is one of the largest campgrounds in the state, with over 200 sites at your fingertips. In addition, the variety of campsites is top-tier, as Fall Creek Falls has 222 standard sites, three backcountry sites, and 16 primitive sites.

However, its namesake waterfall is what truly attracts visitors. The towering falls plummet over 250 feet and will undoubtedly take your breath away no matter how many times you see them.

In addition to the mesmerizing falls, there are also winding biking and hiking trails for you to explore. So make sure to bring your mountain bike for the excursions, and spend the day biking the 24-mile trail for an epic experience. If you prefer a lowkey activity, you can opt for fishing, wildlife viewing, or bird watching.

You can even go fishing or bird-watching. In addition, if you like to golf, there is an 18-hole golf course inside the park.

Campground Breakdown:
• 222 Standard Sites: $40 per night
• 16 Primitive Sites: $30 per night
• 3 Backcountry Sites: $9 per night

Fall Creek Falls Amenities: Showers, toilets, market, picnic tables, leashed pets allowed, firewood for sale, potable water

Reserve a Fall Creek Falls Campsite Here

Walls of Jericho

For those who want to be free from all distractions

Location: Located near the Tennessee-Alabama border in Belvidere, TN
Campground Contact: (888) 891-8332
Park Hours:
Campground Website

The Walls of Jericho State Natural Area sits within the nearly 9000-acre Bear Hollow Mountain Wildlife Management Area. If you’re pitching your tent on the Tennessee side, you’ll have access to 750 acres. If caving is your jam, this place is for you as the area contains the largest concentration of caves in the United States.

Moreso, the rare Tennessee cave salamander also takes up residence here. In addition, the area is rich in history. Many historians believe that Davy Crockett walked these woods nearly two centuries ago. If you’re wondering how the site got its unique name, the story is as fascinating as the location. According to history buffs, a 17th Century preacher was emotionally overwhelmed by the area’s natural beauty, so he named it The Wall of Jericho. He later performed his baptisms in the area.

Now, hundreds of years later, the area’s magic and grandeur are not lost on visitors. The surrounding canyon, river, and waterfalls give it an otherworldly feel, and you will feel inspired after strolling through the area.

However, if you want to rest your head here overnight, it will come with a challenge. To reach your tent-only, primitive campsite, you must trek the strenuous 3.5-mile hike to the gorge. In addition, it’s best to brush up on your survival skill as the only amenities here are fire pits.

Campground Breakdown:
• 16 primitive campsites: Free to camp

Walls of Jericho Amenities: Fire pits only

Cades Cove Campground

For those who want to experience the grandeur of the Great Smoky Mountains

Location: Inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Townsend, TN
Campground Contact: (865) 448-2472
Park Hours: Open year-round, 24 hours
Campground Website

While there are countless spots to rest your head in the gem that is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cades Cove will always be at the top of the list. Cades Cove is located in a stunning valley first settled in 1818, made evident in the scattered churches, mills, barns, and houses in the valley. In addition, you’ll often see herds of white-tailed deer and elk, black bears, coyotes, bobcats, and wild turkeys on the 11-mile Cades Cove loop road.

While Cades Cove makes for an incredible day trip, it’s also an ideal spot for an unforgettable overnight trip. The Cades Cove campground has 159 sites open all year long so that you can witness the area’s grandeur every season.

Cades Cove camping: Ideal for your next Smoky Mountains trip

While visiting, you can see the sights by utilizing the well-maintained hiking and biking trails that run through the valley and the forest floor. In addition, one path leads to the famous Abrams Falls, a picturesque waterfall that drops into a 100-foot wide pool, perfect for a dip. The campground is also home to some of the best front country camping in the national park. It’s suitable for trailers up to 35′ and RVs up to 40′. However, it doesn’t have any RV hookups.

But the real reason to camp at this Tennessee campground is to take in the scenic beauty of the surrounding Cades Cove valley. Take in historic structures, like the John Oliver Cabin and the John Cable Grist Mill, and don’t forget to tour the 11-mile Cades Cove loop road.

Campground Breakdown:
• 159 Campsites
• Standard Electric: $25 per night
• Standard Nonelectric: $25 per night
• Tent Only Nonelectric: $25 per night
• Each campsite accommodates up to six people

Cade’s Cove Amenities: Picnic tables, fire rings, leashed pets allowed, flush toilets, potable water, dump station, general store, once, food lockers, BBQ

Reserve a Cade’s Cove Campsite Here

Harrison Bay State Park

For those who want to golf with a beautiful backdrop

Location: Near Chickamauga Lake in Harrison, TN
Campground Contact: (423) 344-6214
Park Hours: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Campground Website

Harrison Bay gives visitors 40 miles of Chickamauga Lake shoreline to play with and was originally developed as a Tennessee Valley Authority recreation area in the 1930s. Its name comes from a large bay at the main channel of the Tennessee River that covers the old town of Harrison, which was the last Cherokee Campground. The park is historically significant because the Cherokee Campground consisted of three villages that were once ruled by one of the last great Cherokee Chieftains. Later, Harrison Bay became the first Tennessee State Park in 1937.

Today, it’s now a popular vacation destination for many families. Whether you prefer fishing, boating, swimming, or paddling, Harrison Bay is ideal for you. With a 60-mile-long lake, it’s a great place to indulge in any outdoor activity. Take it all in as you relax on the serene shores. You can also relax and recharge with the surrounding water. However, the real draw is what you can do on land. For Gold enthusiasts, this is the spot you’ve been looking for. Bear Trace Golf Course is located near Harrison Bay and was designed by the legendary Jack Nicklaus.

As for camping, the campground has 128 RV sites and 27 campsites. All the RVs have hookups, which makes for a pleasantly convenient trip. Whether you prefer a tent or a vehicle, rest assured you will find the right accommodation option here.

Campground Breakdown:
• 27 Tent-Only Campsites: $17 per night
• 128 RV Sites: $29 per night

Harrison Bay Amenities: Market, firewood, showers, picnic tables, leashed pets allowed, toilets

Reserve a Harrison Bay Campsite Here

Piney Campground

For those who want to explore the Land Between the Lakes

Location: Dover, TN
Campground Contact: (931) 232-5331
Park Hours: Open seasonally from March – Nov.
Campground Website

Located in Kentucky and Tennessee, Piney Campground is nestled near the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area and was formed when the Barkley Dam was completed on the Cumberland River in the 1960s. Several small towns were inundated or shut within the Recreational areas when the rivers were dammed. Today, it’s a popular campground perfect for boating, canoeing, and kayaking, with hundreds of miles of shoreline for exploring. The fishing is also ideal, with crappie, several varieties of bass, bluegills, and catfish in the lake.

In addition, it’s a great place to hit the trails. The hiking trails also add up to 261 miles. Moreso, 70 miles are available for mountain biking, and 106 miles are designated for horseback riding. Hunting is also allowed during certain seasons.

There are 384 campsites, 283 of which have electricity. In addition, 57 sites are primitive. There are also nine primitive cabins available for nightly rental along the shores of Kentucky Lake. Altogether, the campground is the ideal overnight destination if you want to explore the 500 miles of trails that run through the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area.

Campground Breakdown:
• 384 well-defined lake front and wooded sites 
• 283 Sites with Electric Hookups: $16 per night
• 44 Sites with Electric, Water, and Sewer: Ranges from $16 to $42 per night
• 57 Primitive Sites: $10 per night
• 9 primitive cabins: Sleeps four, $50 per night, Sleeps eight, $75 per night

Piney Amenities: Market, picnic tables, firewood, showers, potable water, toilets, leashed pets allowed

Reserve a Piney Campsite Here

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