The 10 Best Campgrounds in Tennessee to Visit

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Tennessee is a perfect place for anyone interested in exploring the stunning array of natural wonders to be found  near the Blue Ridge Mountains and other sub-ranges of the Appalachian Mountains.

Eastern Tennessee is particularly riddled with amazing rivers and lakes, awesome parks and forests, and stunning mountain ranges.

So perhaps it’s no surprise that many of the campgrounds in East Tennessee are consistently ranked among the very best places to camp in Tennessee.

With such diverse offerings, camping in Tennessee can look very different, depending on what type of experience you’re after.

There are some highly-rated campgrounds in Gatlinburg TN, where luxury and modern conveniences take priority. 

But for my wife Emma and I, the ideal Tennessee camping experience often means finding a secluded little site nestled in the forest beside a beautiful lake.

The great news for you is that both of these extremes are available, as is everything in between. The bad news for me is that I’ve had to hand-pick from hundreds of Tennessee campgrounds to create a Top 10 list. 

Although I personally prefer getting off-grid and into the wilderness, I’ve included campgrounds that cater to vacationing families and folks who simply prefer to keep some creature comforts.

Read on for our in-depth guide to the best campgrounds in Tennessee, including options near Chattanooga, Gatlinburg, Nashville, Pigeon Forge, and beyond! 

READ MORE: The 10 Best Things to Do in Bristol TN/VA

Best Campgrounds in Tennessee Guide

(Arranged geographically & alphabetically)

  1. Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park of Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg
  2. Cades Cove
  3. Camp LeConte Luxury Outdoor Resort
  4. Greenbrier Campground
  5. Cedar Creek Campground
  6. Dale Hollow Dam
  7. Long Hunter State Park
  8. Henry Horton Howlin Hill Campground
  9. Fall Creek Falls State Park
  10. Racoon Mountain Caverns & Campground

READ MORE: The 13 Best Blue Ridge Parkway Campgrounds to Visit


Campgrounds Near Pigeon Forge TN

Campgrounds near Pigeon Forge TN
Photo courtesy Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park of Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg

1. Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park of Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg

Official Website

Run by the classic campground franchise, Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park of Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg caters to visitors looking for family camping in Tennessee.

This campground in Pigeon Forge TN is located about a mile from Dollywood and Splash Country, so it’s ideal for those looking to hit up the theme parks.

It’s less than 10 miles away from Gatlinburg TN, and just 20 minutes from the ever-popular Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The campground itself is a bit like a theme park, with two pools, two playgrounds, a fishing pond, a fenced dog walk, and a snack bar. Free Wi-Fi and cable TV are also available.

Parents can even hire Yogi Bear to deliver milk and cookies to their kids.

Accommodation options include cabins, glamping tents with beds, rental RVs, and RV sites. Families will find the place comfortable and entertaining, as campgrounds near Pigeon Forge TN were meant to be!

READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Great Smoky Mountains National Park


Campgrounds Near Gatlinburg TN

Cades Cove Campground - Great Smoky Mountains Campsites
Cades Cove Campground, photo via NPS

2. Cades Cove

Official Website

It would be crazy to have a list of the best campgrounds in TN without including at least one located in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

I’ve selected Cades Cove, which is also one of my favorite campgrounds in Townsend TN.

GSMNP ranks #2 among the most visited national parks in the US, and Cades Cove is justifiably one of its most popular destinations.

Cades Cove is a lush valley that offers outstanding wildlife spotting, colorful Tennessee wildflowers, wonderful hiking trails (we recommend Abrams Falls), and trout-filled streams.

The biggest draw at Cades Cove is the 11-mile scenic loop used for both motor touring and cycling. It has numerous historic sites along the way, and world-class scenic vistas between them.

Cades Cove Campground is open year-round. The non-electric campsites have flush toilets and drinking water, but generators are permitted in specific areas.

READ MORE: The 15 Best Great Smoky Mountains Campgrounds to Visit

Campgrounds Near Gatlinburg TN - Camp LeConte Luxury Outdoor Resort
Photo courtesy of Camp LeConte Luxury Outdoor Resort

3. Camp LeConte Luxury Outdoor Resort

Official Website

For many visitors, the best campgrounds in Tennessee are the ones that keep the roughing it to a minimum.

The Camp LeConte Luxury Outdoor Resort seems to hint at that in its name.

Camp LeConte offers a fantastic location, providing easy access to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the town of Gatlinburg, and Pigeon Forge.

This campground has myriad glamping options, such as a treehouse, safari tents, and retro campers. There are also spots for primitive tent camping, and full hook-ups for RVs.

Additional perks of the  luxury resort include the fact that it’s a stop on the Gatlinburg Trolley line, free Wi-Fi, a swimming pool, and a picnic pavilion.

READ MORE: The 15 Best Smoky Mountain Waterfalls to Visit

Camping near Gatlinburg TN - Greenbrier Campground
Photo courtesy of Greenbrier Campground

4. Greenbrier Campground

Official Website

Nestled on the banks of the Little Pigeon River, the Greenbrier Campground has 120 full hook-up RV sites, some of which have river frontage. They also have 9 sites designated just for tents.

Greenbrier is set up to entertain families. There’s a playground, game room, bounce houses, sports courts, and seasonal kids’ activities.

Wi-Fi and cable TV are standards, and there are propane and charcoal grills on-site.

The biggest draw of this East Tennessee campground is its awesome swimming area. The Flint Rock Swimming Hole on the Little Pigeon River has a private beach, which is accessible from the campground.

Greenbrier is located about 7 miles from Gatlinburg TN, and less than 30 minutes from Pigeon Forge and Dollywood.

So it’s a great spot for being close to– but just out of– the busy mix of things the Smokies have to offer.

READ MORE: 30 Great Smoky Mountains Facts for Trivia Buffs


Campgrounds Near Nashville TN

Campgrounds Near Nashville TN
Sunset on Old Hickory Lake via Canva

5. Cedar Creek Campground

Official Website

The Cedar Creek Campground is a government-run campsite on Old Hickory Lake, which was named after Andrew “Old Hickory” Jackson.

In my opinion it’s the top campground near Nashville, Tennessee, located just 23 miles northeast of the city.

A step up from typical park campgrounds, Cedar Creek has laundry facilities and hot showers, as well as sites with full RV hookups. There’s also a playground, and a picnic pavilion that can accommodate 50 guests.

Old Hickory Lake is a 22,500-acre impoundment with 440 miles of shoreline and some good hiking trails. It has a designated swimming beach, and boating and fishing are permitted.

This campground is close enough for day trips into Nashville, visits to the Country Music Hall of Fame, or exploring The Hermitage, the former home (and burial place) of President Andrew Jackson.

READ MORE: The 10 Best Lakes in Tennessee to Visit

Camping near Near Nashville TN
Photo courtesy of jimadamswcs via Instagram

6. Dale Hollow Damsite Campground

Official Website

Technically, the Dale Hollow Dam is approximately 100 miles from Nashville, and it’s (128 miles from Knoxville. In other words, it’s out there!

Dale Hollow is close to the Tennessee border with Kentucky, east of the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. Dale Hollow Lake was created by damming the Obey River.

This 27,700-acre lake is known as a great fishing spot for trophy smallmouth bass, and produced the world record for the species. Boating and waterskiing are also popular here.

The Dale Hollow Damsite Campground has 72 campsites, 3 group camping sites, and a large group picnic shelter. It doesn’t offer direct access to the lake, but the Pleasant Grove Day Use Area is just 3 miles away.

Dale Hollow Lake is home to a large population of Bald Eagles and other birds in the winter. They are best spotted from late fall to early spring.

READ MORE: 20 Beautiful Birds of Tennessee

Camping Nashville TN - J. Percy Priest Lake
Quiet and calm evening on Percy Priest Lake in Nashville TN via Canva

7. Long Hunter State Park

Official Website

Long Hunter State Park may be close to Nashville, but in terms of getting deep into nature it feels like a world away. It’s located on the banks of one of the state’s best lakes, J. Percy Priest Lake.

This 2,600-acre park has 20+ miles of hiking trails, including the 5.5-mile Volunteer Trail. It also has two boat launches and a visitor center.

Long Hunter park is divided into four sections: Couchville, Bryant Grove, Baker’s Grove, and Sellars Farm. But there are only two primitive, tent-only campsites.

The main draw to camping at Long Hunter SP is getting out into it, rather than finding creature comforts. The sites are all lakeside and require a 6-mile hike.

There is no water, restroom, or electricity. But they are beautiful spots right on the lakeshore, and it’s hard to find more seclusion for an amazing night of camping.

READ MORE: The Tennessee Legend of the Bell Witch Haunting


Campgrounds Near Franklin TN

Campgrounds Near Franklin TN
Photo courtesy of Howlin’ Hill

8. Henry Horton State Park

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If you’re interested in golfing, Henry Horton State Park offers the best camping in Tennessee, and is often tanked among the best Tennessee state campgrounds.

Henry Horton State Park is home to the heavily forested, bunker-rich Buford Ellington championship golf course.

Part of the Tennessee Golf Trail, this was the first state park golf course, with a restaurant and lounge as well.

The park is located along the Duck River, which is one of the most diverse ecosystems in the state, country, and world. It’s a really popular fishing spot, particularly for bass.

In terms of accommodations, Henry Horton has cabins for rent, and campsites for everything from RVs to hammocks. There are also plenty of drive-up campsites, and backcountry campsites as well.

READ MORE: The 10 Best Places for White Water Rafting in Tennessee


Campgrounds Near Chattanooga TN

Campgrounds Near Chattanooga TN - Fall Creek Falls Lake
Fall Creek Falls Lake Fisherman Cabins, photo via

9. Fall Creek Falls State Park

Official Website

One of our favorite Tennessee State Parks, Fall Creek Falls State Park offers big-time camping in the beautiful Tennessee mountains.

There are over 200 developed campsites in five different sections, and there are also 12 primitive sites for those interested in rustic tent camping.

The 256-foot Fall Creek Falls is one of the finest Tennessee waterfalls, and its location on the Cumberland Plateau is full of fantastic vistas. The park is also home to Piney Falls, Cane Creek Falls, and Cane Creek Cascades.

Over 56 miles of trails are available to hikers, with two overnight trails. Other activities in the park include rock climbing, fishing, birding, boating, swimming, and biking.

There’s also a golf course, lakeside restaurant, private event spaces, and a Canopy Challenge Course with swinging bridges, cargo nets, rope swings, ziplines, and more. 

In addition to camping, Fall Creek Falls has 30 cabins for rent and an 85-room lodge. In short, this is a full-tilt vacation getaway!

READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Lookout Mountain GA/TN

Camping Near Chattanooga TN
Photo courtesy of

10. Racoon Mountain Caverns & Campground

Official Website

One of the best campgrounds in Chattanooga TN, Raccoon Mountain Caverns & Campground has rental cabins, full-service RV sites, and primitive tent sites. In short, there’s a little something for everyone.

The caverns at Raccoon Mountain are rated as the #1 TripAdvisor activity for Chattanooga.

Tours run 7 days a week, and there are walking tours and wild cave expeditions, a.k.a. “get muddy” tours that go deeper into this underground cave in Tennessee.

This campground also has a sluice to pan for gem mining, and a nice little gift shop for souvenirs (especially gems) and snacks.

There are plenty of other amenities at Racoon Mountain, including a seasonal outdoor pool, games, hiking trails, and a playground. The campground also has a “Bark Park”, fitness center, and laundry facility. –by Jonathon Engels; featured photo of camping in Tennessee Mountains via Canva



Leave No Trace logo

We encourage anyone who loves the Blue Ridge region to learn about the Leave No Trace principles of responsible environmental stewardship. 

Stay on marked trails, take only pictures, pack out your trash, and be considerate of others who share the trails and parks you explore. 

Remember that waterfalls and rocky summits can be dangerous. Never try to climb waterfalls or get close to a ledge to get a selfie.

When you're exploring the wilderness, it's better to be safe than to be a statistic!

After visiting North Carolina for the first time, Senior Writer Jonathon Engels and wife Emma spent 2 years exploring Western NC in search of a homestead property. They first lived in Brevard, where Jonathon taught writing at Blue Ridge Community College and extensively explored the Blue Ridge Parkway and Pisgah National Forest. For the last several years they have lived just off the BRP near Elkin, Southwest Virginia, and the NC High Country. The couple also volunteers with the Surry Old Time Fiddlers Convention, the Elkin Valley Trail Association, and Reeves Downtown School of Music.