Camping in Tennessee
Camping is a memorable way to experience all that Tennessee has to offer. Some might wonder, "Can you camp anywhere in Tennessee?" Obviously, you can’t camp on private property, but the beautiful Volunteer State furnishes many opportunities to stay at beautiful Tennessee campgrounds, as you’ll see below.
Tennessee State Parks
State parks are a fun way to experience camping in Tennessee. Most state parks offer basic amenities like public bathrooms, picnic tables, and fire-pits. You’ll also find miles of trails at all of Tennessee’s beautiful state parks. Here are a few popular state park choices:
- Fall Creek Falls State Park has 222 tent and RV campsites (all sites have grills, water, electricity, and tables) with six shared bathhouses. Many Fall Creek Falls camping sites (92 of them) have sewer connections, and the majority of sites can accommodate RVs up to 65 feet. If you want a more rugged or private experience, there are 17 primitive sites (no amenities).
- Cumberland Mountain State Park provides campers with 145 tent and RV campsites; all sites have hookups, picnic tables, grills, and bathhouse facilities.
- Big Ridge State Park offers 50 campsites near or adjacent to Norris Lake; all lake sites have water, electric hook-ups, a picnic table, and a grill.
- Mousetail Landing State Park provides a more sophisticated campground experience with a modern bathhouse and laundromat. Electric/water hook-ups are available at 19 of the 25 sites. For those seeking a primitive experience, Spring Creek Campground offers 21 primitive sites with a fire ring and grill.
- Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park overlooks Kentucky Lake. The Lakefront Campground offers 13 primitive camping sites with a community water source and a shared restroom. Happy Hollow Campground offers more amenities at its 37 sites, including tables, grills, and hook-ups for water/electricity. There is also a playground and shared bathroom facilities (including hot showers!)
Learn more about Tennessee State Parks.
National Parks in Tennessee
National Parks are truly America’s national treasure, as they celebrate and preserve the natural beauty of the United States. Stays in national parks are limited to 14 consecutive days per visit.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers front-country camping, as well as more primitive backcountry camping. You can experience camping in Tennessee from the comfort of your RV or the shelter of your tent if you choose front-country camping.
There are 10 available campgrounds within Great Smoky National Park, such as Cades Cove Campground. All sites have amenities like a fire grate and a picnic table. You’ll also have access to restrooms with flush toilets and cold water. There are no hook-ups within the national park.
More National Parks in Tennessee
- Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area
- Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area
- Natchez Trace Parkway
- Obed Wild & Scenic River
RV Parks in Tennessee
If tent camping does not interest you - or if the ruggedness of a state park intimidates you - you’ll find plenty of privately run RV parks in Tennessee with attractive amenities.
Learn more about RV Parks in Tennessee.
Free Camping in Tennessee
If you are willing to forego amenities, you can scout out some free camping opportunities in Tennessee. National forests allow for free (dispersed) camping outside of any developed campgrounds. Free camping can also be found along certain areas of the Appalachian Trail or along the Natchez Trace Parkway
Learn more about free camping in Tennessee.
National Forests in Tennessee
Cherokee National Forest is an expansive forest with various beautiful regions, including Pigeon River Area, Roan Highlands, Iron Mountains, Appalachian National Scenic Trail, and many others. You can find both developed campground options (RV and tent) or primitive, dispersed camping (no cost).
Tennessee continues to attract Presley fans (Graceland, anyone?), music lovers (camping near Nashville, TN!), and nature enthusiasts. With so many choices of campgrounds, you’re sure to find the right fit for your camping trip to this beautiful state.