Best Tranquil Retreats in Smoky Mountain Campgrounds

Best Tranquil Retreats in Smoky Mountain Campgrounds

Sep 02, 2023

The Smoky Mountains are recognized for housing America's busiest national park, which is situated along the Tennessee-North Carolina border. Mountain panoramas, extraordinary wildlife sightings, and countless outdoor excursions are all available when visiting the Smoky Mountains.

Great smoky mountains

The Smoky Mountains are the ideal destination for your upcoming road trip because there are numerous RV parks nearby. No matter what kind of people you're traveling with, there's something for everyone to enjoy.

Prepare to visit any of these popular RV destinations in Tennessee shortly. Check out these top 15 RV parks close to the Smoky Mountains.

1. Balsam Mountain Campgrounds

Balsam Mountain Campgrounds

The Balsam Mountain offers some of the best site selection options in the Great Smoky Mountains, with more than 40 locations to choose from. If you decide to stay here, make sure to carry your head torch since there are no lights in the restrooms.

You get the possibility to view elk in the spring and fall. Because of its elevation of 5,310 feet, it has cool daytime and evening temperatures. Nearby hiking routes include the Flat Creek Trail, which is a nice one.

The Hemphill Bald and Rough Fork trails are a 14-mile loop and are perfect for anyone seeking a more challenging hike. Additionally, this is among the nicest locations in the national park.

Price: $17 per night

Facilities: Drinking water and flush toilets

2. Smokemont Campground

Smokemont Campground

This is one of the Great Smoky Mountains' greatest locations for seeing wildlife and the great outdoors. If you're traveling in a group on a long adventure, it's also a good spot to stay.

Its setting, which is peaceful and surrounded by forests, allows you to feel as though you are actually in the wild. Enjoy the neighboring Bradley Fork River, where you can go trout fishing or swim about to cool down.

You have the option of sleeping while admiring the mountains, crystal-clear rivers, and vibrant flora. You can come here to turn off your internet and take in the peace and beauty of the surroundings.

When you and your loved ones are camping in a large group, the staff's well-deserved reputation for friendliness is ideal.

Price: $25 every night

Facilities: There are tent and RV camping spots available, and there's also a nearby grassy area perfect for sunbathing and playing games.

3. Anthony Creek Horse Campground

Anthony Creek Horse Campground

One of the best locations for woods camping in the Great Smoky Mountains is the Anthony Creek Horse Camp, which is situated in a serene, wooded environment. When you come here, you must have a horse and your own drinking water.

The elevation of 1,800 feet means that the temperature is moderate. The views from Bote Mountain, which you can reach by hiking up a neighboring route and climbing 3,000 feet in elevation, are undoubtedly worth the effort.

A nearby horse stable offers hour-long rides in a horse-drawn carriage and vice versa. You're in for a treat if you visit in the spring since the pink Mountain Laurel blossoms are in full bloom. Visit Anthony Creek for some of the best wilderness camping in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Price: $30 per night

Facilities: Running water, hot shower, flushing toilets

4. Deep Creek Campground

Deep Creek Campground

On the North Carolina side of the park, close to its southern border and just outside of Bryson City, is the Deep Creek Campground.

This campground is excellent for families because there are so many things to do nearby, although it gets busy during the summer. Mountain biking is permitted on a part of the nearby route, one of the few areas in the park where it is allowed. 

From the beginning of April through the end of October, the campground is open. 

Price: $25 every night

Facilities: Fire grill, picnic table, and camping fire. No hookups or showers are available.

5. Abraham's Creek

Abraham's Creek

On the Tennessee side of the park, close to its western edge, Abrams Creek Campground is a fantastic off-the-beaten-path choice. This is a great starting point for day treks, including multiple loops, while being relatively isolated from other parts of the park.

Even though the eventual destination is the extremely popular Abram Falls, these routes offer a pleasant alternative due to their low hiker traffic. 

Late May through the middle of October are the camping season opening dates. You must make reservations.  

Price: $17 each night

Facilities: A grill, a picnic table, and a gravel tent pad are provided at each campsite. Dishwashing and accessible restrooms are available.

READ ALSO: Acadia Campgrounds and the Acadia National Park

6. Cataloochee Campground

Cataloochee Campground

Cataloochee Campground is distant enough from the people to offer more seclusion than the busier and bigger campgrounds of Cades Cove and Elkmont while still being close to some of the best rainbow and brook trout fishing.

There are only 27 campsites at Cataloochee, which is tucked away in the park's Far East. These trails have a network that is less busy than those in other parts of the park.

The nearby Palmer House, which was constructed in 1869 and serves as a reminder of the history of settlers in the area, is also open for self-guided tours.

Not everyone can make it to the campground. The gravel road that leads to Cataloochee Valley is twisting, has drop-offs, and is unguarded. This narrow road may be congested with horse-trailer traffic, necessitating halting or reversing to allow other cars to pass.

Price: $17 every night

Facilities: Flushing toilets and running water

7. Greenbrier Campground

Greenbrier Campground

The Little Pigeon River circles the Greenbrier Campground and provides visitors with a swimming area, a personal beach, and on-site trout fishing. There are tent sites, cottages, and full hookup sites available, some of which have immediate river access.

The cleanliness and pet-friendly policies are highly praised by campers. Families can enjoy volleyball, gaga ball, badminton, bocce ball, corn hole, and other sports at Greenbrier. The distance between the Greenbrier and GSMNP entrances is less than half a mile. 

Price: $16 per night

Facilities:  A swimming area, a personal beach, and on-site trout fishing.

8. Little Arrow Outdoor Resort

Little Arrow Outdoor Resort

The Little Arrow Outdoor Resort, which is tucked away in a bend of the Little River, is crammed with extras and has something to suit every camping preference.

Little Arrow offers cottages, glamping tents, and tiny homes for rent, in addition to full-hookup RV and tent sites with a ton of amenities.

Additionally, it contains a camp store, two spas, a space for food trucks, and a communal garden.

Given that Little Arrow includes hiking paths that run along the park's perimeter, it is almost like camping in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Also, it provides convenient access to the Sugarlands Visitor Center or Cades Cove.

Price: $50 and above per night

Facilities: Sports courts, a coffee shop, a game room, a TV cabana, and a swimming pool with a splash pad.

9. Cosby Campground

Cosby Campground

You can get the best services available at Cosby Campground. This is your best option if you're searching for a standard campground with all of the amenities that they provide.

Without any of the other features that are provided at some of the other locations, this is the place to come to just put up your tent. It is much quieter than many of the others.

You'll find tent pads, grills, and tables here, making it the perfect location for roasting some hotdogs and sharing ghost stories. River rafting excursions, an aquarium, and skiing in the winter are among the nearby attractions.

Price: $25 every night

Facilities: A fire ring, picnic table, and a forest that provides shade and comfort

10. Mill Creek Resort

Mill Creek Resort

A wonderful location to visit and spend many days in nature is this family-run campground. While being close to the action of Pigeon Forge, you are also far enough away to feel like you have more solitude.

When you want to go camping but still have access to all the comforts of home, this is a terrific spot to stay. If you have a family, it is the perfect spot to visit because it has a saltwater swimming pool, playground, basketball court, and kiddie pool.

Price: $15 for each person every night

Facilities: Wi-Fi, water, cable TV, and electrical hookups

11. Stonebridge RV Resort

Stonebridge RV Resort

The Stonebridge RV Resort is an excellent option for people who wish to travel to the Cataloochee Valley but would also like a little more comfort than what the Cataloochee Campground has to offer.

The wooded 18-acre estate is situated alongside Jonathan Creek. It has full hookup RV sites, laundry facilities, a covered pavilion, and a recently renovated community bathroom.

Less than 20 miles separate Stonebridge from Cataloochee Valley, and more than 20 miles separate Stonebridge from the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. There are restaurants, shops, and tourist attractions in the nearby town of Maggie Valley, which offers full tourist services.

Price: $52 per night

Facilities: Sports courts, playgrounds, a seasonal pool, a game room, and Wi-Fi

12. Big Creek Campground

Big Creek Campground

The five-site Big Creek is an excellent area to base out of in the northeastern part of the park. Additionally, there is a lot of shade to keep you and the animals a little cooler in the summer.

The campground has horse stalls and hitching posts for your horses. The camping area is not permitted to have horses present. Six people and four horses are the maximum allowed per site.

Those bringing horses into the park are also required to have an original or a copy of an official Coggins test result that is negative.

Price: $17 every night

Facilities: Flush toilets and drinking water, but there are no hookups or showers

13. Cades Cove Campground

Cades Cove Campground

While Elkmont is the ideal location for seeing the Smokies mountain river, Cades Cove Campground is just approximately 15 miles from the quaint entrance town of Townsend and places you in the heart of the most famous wildlife and scenic loop.

In the valley, bears, deer, turkeys, and coyotes are frequently seen, especially in the morning and evening. There is a well-stocked store with supplies, trinkets, and ice cream in the campground.

In order to enable guests navigate the traffic along the well-known 11-mile Cades Cove Loop Road, bicycle rentals are also available on-site.

Price: $25 each night

Facilities: Flush toilets, drinkable water, and a dump station for visitors at the year-round campground.

14. Fontana Village Resort & Marina 

Fontana Village Resort and Marina

The Fontana Village Resort & Marina, located in the Nantahala National Forest along the Little Tennessee River, offers a variety of lodging choices, including a lodge, private cabins, and a campground.

In addition to providing RV sites with water and electricity hookups, the campsite is happy to host tent campers. A dump station is situated close to the campground's entrance.

There is a full-service bathroom at Fontana Village Campground, complete with hot showers and flush toilets.

A lazy river, swimming pools, putt-putt, hiking trails, and other activities are available for guests to enjoy. There are dining options nearby as well.

The Fontana Lake Marina offers guided hikes, pontoon excursions, and equipment rentals.

Price: $109 per night

Facilities: Swimming pools, Wi-Fi, fitness center, snack bar, running water and electricity hookups

READ ALSO: Albion River Campground - Ideal for Camping in California

15. Elkmont Campground

Elkmont Campground

With 220 sites, Elkmont is the park's largest campground and is only eight miles from Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It is also very well-liked because of its accessibility to three trailheads, great fishing, and opportunities for relaxation and wading in the Little River.

There isn't a trash station nearby, but the Sugarlands Visitor Center has one. 

Price: $30 every night

Facilities: flushing toilets, running water, picnic table and fire grate

Tips for Camping on Smoky Mountain Campgrounds

If you need some tips to help you out while camping near the smoky mountains, they include:

1. Check the Weather

The park's elevations range from 800 feet to 6,643 feet; this topographic variation can have a significant impact on regional weather. The difference in temperature between a mountain's base and top might be 10 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Furthermore, beautiful weather in the high altitudes is not always guaranteed by clear skies in the lowlands. An enjoyable journey depends on thoughtful planning and packing for the weather.

2. Engage in Bear Safety 

All backcountry users must fasten their overnight packs to bear wires. You don't need a bear canister inside the park, although you can carry one if you prefer.

If your tour takes you outside the park's boundaries, however, you should verify with the forest before entering because some nearby national forests require canisters.

3. Observe the campground rules

The front country campsites in the park are subject to the following regulations:  

  • You may only bring certified heat-treated firewood into the park. 
  • A campsite will only hold six occupants maximum. 
  • Pets shouldn't be left unsupervised. 

4. Start Hiking Early

The mid-summer period and the entire month of October are the two busiest travel times. Traffic snarls and crowding are especially bad on weekends in October. If you're hiking, start your hike before 9 a.m. to avoid parking problems and a crowded trail. 

5. Confirm Your Reservation

There aren't any walk-in or first-come, first-served spaces available. Since there are no showers at any of the front-country campgrounds, checking in is an excellent opportunity to find out where the closest showers are.


Smoky Mountain Campgrounds are the most popular places for a reason. 

What are you waiting for if you haven't already experienced the charm of the Smokies? See you there!

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