Tennessee State Parks

Tennessee's state parks are a popular destination for campers. Whether you want to camp in the Appalachian Mountains in the east, or along the Mississippi River in the west, there is a Tennessee State Park to suit your taste and personality. It's not surprising that Tennessee won the highest honor a park system can receive in 2007-the Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management-because each of Tennessee's 54 state parks are operated and managed beautifully.

Whether you're looking to boat, fish, hike, study wildlife, or simply relax and enjoy the view, each of the Tennessee state parks that are equipped to accommodate campers brings something unique to the camping experience. When talking about Tennessee, people generally divide the state into three divisions. You have the low plains of West Tennessee, the basin of Middle Tennessee and the often mountainous, uplands of East Tennessee. Each of these areas has state parks that throw out the welcome map for campers.

Tennessee's state parks in the west that offer camping include: Bill Hill Pond, Chickasaw, Fort Pillow, Meeman-Shelby, N.B. Forrest, Natchez Trace, Paris Landing, Pickwick Landing, Reelfoot Lake, and T.O. Fuller.

Middle Tennessee State Parks that offer camping include: Bledsoe Creek, Cedars of Lebanon, David Crockett, Edgar Evins, Fall Creek Falls, Henry Horton, Montgomery Bell, Mousetail Landing, Old Stone Fort, Rock Island, South Cumberland, Standing Stone, and Tims Ford.

East Tennessee State Parks that offer camping include: Big Ridge, Cove Lake, Cumberland Mountain, Davy Crockett, Frozen Head, Harrison Bay, Hiwassee/Ocoee, Indian Mountain, Norris Dam, Panther Creek, Pickett, Roan Mountain, and Warriors' Path.

Backcountry camping is available throughout the state of Tennessee at the following parks: Big Ridge, Cumberland Trail, Fall Creek Falls, Fort Pillow, Frozen Head, Montgomery Bell, Mousetail Landing, Natchez Trace, Nathan Bedford Forrest, Pickett,
South Cumberland, and Tims Ford.

One reason why Tennessee is such a popular destination to campers is that each state park is open year-round, seven days a week. Yet, campers should keep in mind that museums, visitor centers, park offices and/or historic sites within each park may be closed on weekends and holidays-and their hours may vary.

There are only three state parks in Tennessee that take camping reservations. These are: Rock Island, Meeman-Shelby Forest, and Fall Creek Falls. All of the other parks in Tennessee do not take reservations, and the sites are rationed out on a first come-first served basis. Camping rates in the Tennessee state parks generally range from $8 for a primitive site-up to $20 for premium sites. These rates are based on the rate of two campers. Most Tennessee state parks require an additional $0.50 per each additional camper.

If you are thinking about making a Tennessee state park your next camping destination, you are encouraged to narrow down your search for the perfect spot. You can start with the area of Tennessee you'd like to visit, and then narrow down your search based on the type of recreation activities and camping environment that would best suit your needs.