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5 Best Campgrounds Near Knoxville, TN

Fun & Adventure! The 5 Best Campgrounds Near Knoxville, TN

Nestled near the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Knoxville, Tennessee, is home to many spectacular views, natural wonders, and outdoor amenities. With hard-to-beat house prices, easygoing Southern style, and premier opportunities for education and profession, it’s no wonder Knoxville, TN, attracts people from far and wide.

Are you a camping enthusiast? To truly enjoy the area, you ought to move there! Beloved local and real estate agent, Haley Jones, can help you from day one.

Having spent years as a fitness instructor, math teacher, and, yes, (former) professional wrestler, Haley’s native connections to this slice of paradise make her the perfect buyer’s agent for anyone looking to move.

Knoxville, Tennessee: A Campground for Any Occasion

Whether you enjoy hitting the hiking trails, snuggling up for some tent camping, stoking the fire pit on a chilly night, or simply relishing a great location within walking distance of many attractions, Knoxville, Tennessee should be at the top of your list.

From convenient RV grounds to tens of thousands of acres of woods, water, and incredible views, Knoxville’s surrounding camp areas are the ideal location for visitors to relax, have fun, and have that perfect adventure. Knoxville’s offerings are the perfect variety for any outdoorsman or woman.

Want to bring the kids and pets? Looking for a romantic evening beneath the stars? How about a secluded spot to think clearly, or popular sites to get adventurous with your friends?

Here are 5 of the top campgrounds near Knoxville, TN for your next camping getaway.

1. Whole Family Fun at The Gorgeous Big Ridge State Park

About a 35-minute drive due north of Knoxville, Big Ridge State Park is the big kahuna when it comes to forested and lakeside escapes not far from downtown Knoxville. Situated in the Appalachian Ridge and Valley range, this renowned wildlife and campsite destination provides some of the best camping in all of Tennessee (and the country, for that matter.)

Comprising over 3,600 acres, this geographically varied destination provides you quick access to lakeshore cabins, numerous campsites, tent sites, and RV lots, and over 15 miles of meandering, highly diverse hiking opportunities.

Hiking, Lake Fishing, Campgrounds, and Cabins: Plan Your Perfect Trip

Take an excursion across rugged ridges, head for the lush greens, traverse old roads, or simply lounge at the sandy beach on Big Ridge Lake. Want to bring the whole family to the campgrounds or a rustic (but modernized) lodge? Excited about that upcoming Bluegrass Festival?

Camping at Big Ridge Park makes hiking, relaxing, eating, swimming, fishing, and every other outdoorsy activity infinitely easier. For recreation, there’s beach volleyball, a basketball court, a softball field, tennis courts, and more!

There’s even a camping area for groups that can fit 120 people. Swim in the lake, get lost in the backcountry or rest cozily at the campground, cabin site, or picnic table.

It’s no wonder Big Ridge is one of the campgrounds Knoxville, TN residents love most. Get lost in the peaceful atmosphere of this signature campground and ridge-riddled, heavily forested, lakeside sanctuary today.

melton lake on foggy morning

2. Adventure into the Cherokee National Forest at Hiwassee Ocoee State Park

Looking for a campground not far from nearby cities that still provides all the organic ‘vibes’ of that perfect wilderness escape? If so, the campground sites, woodsy terrain, and cooling river waters are the ideal site to explore fall, winter, spring, or summer.

At Hiwassee Ocoee State Park, campers get full hookups when it comes to their choice of recreation and activity.

One hour to the north of downtown Knoxville, Tennessee, this enshrouded river enclave provides you access to freshwater trout fishing, deeply embedded campsites, and wild white-water river and paddling.

Want to chill on some boulders or wade in the cleaner, calmer areas? How about bringing your dog for a long or short walk from camp?

A Fully Primitive Tent Experience at Hiwassee Ocoee State Park

Marveling at the beauty of nature, rafting through the river churns, and kicking back at the campground are all easy at Hiwassee Ocoee State Park.

Best known for its authentic old-school campground, the park’s Gee Creek Campground offers 47 campsites that are primitive, meaning they lack water and electrical connections. But don’t worry! You can always take hot showers and get water at a nearby bathhouse (or bathe in the river).

Nonetheless, these tent sites are the best sites for fully immersing yourself in the thickets.

For unique campgrounds, white-water river fun, and ample fishing spots, consider the camping sites of this national park. With a great Knoxville home, you’re a short drive away!

3. Bring the Boat to Norris Reservoir at Norris Dam State Park

Half an hour north of downtown Knoxville, Tennessee, Norris Dam State Park is home to 4,000 acres along the Norris Reservoir. If you enjoy hiking, you can wander off into the rhythmic harmonies of the forest, or if you prefer the water, you can take a dive in the refreshing lake.

That said, the park is probably most prominently known for the allure of skiing and boating along its 800-some miles of shoreline.

Don’t have a boat? You can always rent a pontoon boat from the nearby marina and spend the day throwing your reel in the water or staring at unblemished blue skies.

Campground Options Abound – Soak up the Full Sun or Cloister in the Heavy Shade

When it comes to the campground aspect, you can always camp safely and cozily with a number of prime amenities. All camp areas have picnic tables, fire pits, grills, and of course, restroom facilities for hot showers.

If you prefer primitive camp accommodations, you can opt to go without water and electric hookups in 10 tent-only grounds.

Roughly twenty of the park campground sites are partially or fully sunlit. The primitive sites, however, are almost entirely shaded by the forest canopy. There’s also 10 so-called deluxe cabins and 19 historic lodges, first constructed in the 1930s. 

Whatever you do, be sure to bring the family to the Lenoir City Museum. Like a portal into Southern Appalachian history, you’ll get to marvel at artifacts dating back over 10,000 years, recapturing the primordial roots of this great site.

4. Pull Up to Prime RV Sites at Cove Lake State Park

If you’re looking for Knoxville campgrounds, Cove Lake State Park is but a short 30-minute drive from the city. With over 100 RV and tent campsites, large rentable picnic pavilions, and a paved hiking and biking trail, this campground and RV park is a great place to discover everything the Cumberland Valley’s wetlands and woodlands have to offer.

With a stay limit of 14 days, Cove Lake State Park provides hot showers, heat, restrooms, firewood, and all the electrical and water hookups you need. The 11-mile swath of the Cumberland Trail gives campers access to both Cove Lake State Park and Tank Springs in LaFollette.

Leave the Campground or RV and Explore the Hardwood Forests

One of this park’s main attractions is its wealth of bird species. During the winter, geese and waterfowl abound, and when spring and fall hit, the migratory birds show up. Guests can use an array of piers, bridges, and towers to spot these birds, day or night.

Many people also visit the park to hold weddings. The site boasts an accommodating indoor pavilion that can hold 130 people for rehearsals, receptions, and other events.

If you’re looking for parks and campgrounds near Knoxville, TN, definitely consider the amenities, sights, and attractions of Cove Lake State Park.

5. Entrench Yourself in Remote Mountain Mystique at Frozen Head

About 45 minutes to the northwest of Knoxville with nearby cities of Harriman and Oak Ridge, Frozen Head truly seems to freeze time in its place. Whether you choose to drive up to the primary campground or venture off into the backcountry primitive areas, you’ll relish your trip to this remote retreat at Frozen Head State Park.

With 24,000 acres to explore day and night and modern amenities when desired, the park site allows visitors to tread the fine line between easy comfort and rugged self-sufficiency.

The main reason to come to this park, of course, is its untapped, seemingly boundless natural majesty.

Backpack Off the Beaten Path and Discover Amazing Wilderness Gems

The experiences of hiking and camping at this location are one-of-a-kind for a reason. Campers rave about the rustic feel of the scattered, disconnected campsites, minimally equipped with fire rings, tables, grills, and lantern fixtures.

When not ‘roughing it’ at these secluded sites, utilizing the more modern main campground, or visiting the bathhouse for a hot shower, visitors take to the great outdoors. Rock climbing and backpacking offer access to spectacular views, including stark precipices, niche waterfalls, and otherworldly vegetation.

A trek through the woods slows time to a crawl as you take in all that mother nature provides. Ornate rock structures, bubbling brooks, and thick, lush foliage make this park as captivating as can be. If you want one of the best campgrounds near Knoxville, TN, Frozen Head is definitely up there!

Start Your Journey Today

Can’t wait to move?

Cozy up to nature and purchase your new prized property in Knoxville, TN. With the help of a local realty expert and Knoxville native, you can’t go wrong.

Book a call with Haley Jones and find your dream home at a dream price.

Book a call with Haley Jones

and find your dream home at a dream price.

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