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5 Beginner Camping Destinations

July 10, 2020  |  Permalink

Beginner camping destinations tennessee state parks

If you are interested in camping but don't know where to start, you're not alone. There are tons of campgrounds out there, but some provide amenities and access to tools that will help your first camping trip go as smoothly as possible. That's why we've compiled five camping destinations perfect for beginners. Even if you're not a beginner, these destinations are ideal for new parents or anyone looking to take a friend camping for the first time. Also, make sure to check out our camping checklist to use while packing for your next trip.

What makes these campsites suitable for beginners:

  • A wide variety of activities for all levels
  • Proximity to town for quick store runs
  • Campsites with water and electric hookups
  • Access to a bathhouse with showers and restrooms
  • Cell reception or easy access to areas with cell reception

We know that safety is at the top of everyone's mind right now, and we want to make sure you have all the information to have a safe and enjoyable experience at our parks. Please visit our COVID-19 and Travel Planning page for more information to help you plan and prepare for a safe and enjoyable trip.

1. Henry Horton

henry horton state park guided kayak tours

Where: Chapel Hill, TN

  • Nashville: 1 hour
  • Murfreesboro, TN: 45 minutes

Perks: 

  • Camp store offering breakfast, coffee, and camp essentials
  • Wi-fi

Henry Horton offers a unique camping experience perfect for first-timers right next to the Duck River. This park is home to some incredibly diverse hiking trails that wind past cool sinkholes and warm cedar glades. You can plan your trip around one of the park's guided kayak tours offered in the summer or sign up for one of their daily programs. Fishing, biking, and birding are also popular activities you'll find. The park also offers some unique playground opportunities for kids, including one in the campground that uses natural surfaces and materials to allow your kids to dig and create and explore. 

Camping: The campground offers 56 RV and tent sites with water and electricity. Be conscious when booking that the tent-only sites at the campground do not provide water or electricity, so opt for a tent/RV site. There are two bathhouses central to the campground and is wi-fi available. 

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2. Warriors Path State Park

warriors path state park hiking trail

Where: Kingsport, TN

  • Knoxville: 1.5 hours
  • Asheville, NC: 1.5 hours

Perks: 

  • Walgreens 5 minutes from the park
  • Boat and paddle rentals 
  • Huge playground for kids

A beautiful reservoir sits at the center of Warriors Path State Park and sets the stage for a beginner-friendly weekend packed with activities. You can spend the day on the water without owning any equipment by renting canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards from the marina. Register for a guided hike online and explore the hiking trails that wind around the lake. This unique park is also home to the Boundless Playground, where children of all physical and mental abilities can play together as well as the fully-accessible Anderson Treehouse.

Camping: The campground is spread out and boasts 94 tent and RV campsites, all with water, electricity, picnic tables, and grills. You can purchase certified heat-treated firewood and other essentials at the park's camp store. End the day with a hot shower in one of the modern bathhouses before heading back to your campsite, only a short walk away.

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3. Bledsoe Creek

bledsoe creek state park lake

Where: Gallatin, TN

  • Gallatin, TN: 10 minutes
  • Nashville, TN: 45 minutes
  • Cookeville, TN: 1 hour and 20 minutes

Perks: 

  • Gallatin is 10 minutes away offering restaurants and shops
  • Paddle rentals available online and in-person

Bledsoe Creek State Park is centered around Old Hickory Lake and offers exceptional fishing, paddling, and hiking. You can reserve kayaks and paddleboards online in the summer, so they're ready when you arrive at the park. Seven trails wind around the lake and up the ridge offering beautiful views of the park. Wildlife like deer and turkey are abundant at the park, and birders will enjoy the opportunities that the wildlife observation deck provides.

Camping: There are 57 campsites are available for tents and RVs. All sites are paved and accessible to persons with a disability. Each site comes equipped with a picnic table, grill, and fire ring. There are two air-conditioned bathhouses centrally located to the campground providing restrooms and hot showers. There are also eight primitive sites right on the water at the park. What makes these parks “primitive” is their lack of water and electric hookups. If you're looking for a site with these amenities, make sure to reserve one of the 57 sites that include them.

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4. Montgomery Bell

Montgomery bell state park paddle rentals

Where: Burns, TN

  • Dickson, TN: 15 mins
  • Nashville: 40 minutes
  • Clarksville: 1 hour

Perks: 

  • Visit Nashville on a budget
  • Convenience stores and restaurants located just outside the park in Dickson and Burns
  • Wi-fi

Montgomery Bell is the perfect park to visit for your first camping trip if you live near Nashville. The park is so close that you could make a trip to the city and be back for s' mores the same night. The park offers over 16 miles of easy hiking trails, paddling rentals, an 18-hole golf course, a swim beach, park programs, and top-notch mountain biking trails.

Camping: The campground has 47 RV and tent sites equipped with water and electricity and 22 tent-only campsites without water and electricity. The tent-only sites have access to a centrally located water source and bathhouses that provides restrooms and hot showers. With a little preparation, a beginner could camp at a tent-only site with ease. Each campsite comes with a picnic table and a grill. There are also two campsites accessible to persons with a disability.

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5. Pickwick Landing

Pickwick landing state park sunset over lake

Where: Counce, TN

  • Corinth, MS: 30 minutes
  • Florence, AL: 1 hour
  • Jackson, TN: 1 hour and 20 minutes

Perks: 

  • Dollar General 10 minutes away
  • Wi-fi

Pickwick Landing State Park is located along the southern border of Tennessee, north of the Alabama and Mississippi state lines. It's the perfect campground for anyone looking to fish, paddle, or cool off on the lake's sandy shores. Observing the abundant wildlife at the park is an exciting activity for all ages. The park also has a golf course, boat and paddle rentals, and hiking trails.

Camping: The park offers 48 well-shaded sites near or right next to the lake with water and electric hookups. There is a centrally located bathhouse that provides restrooms and hot showers.

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