The Best State Parks for Winter Camping in Tennessee

December 1, 2022  |  Permalink

Photo of Cove Lake State Park by J. Phillips Photography

For all of you who can’t stay cooped up indoors during the cooler months, the campgrounds at Tennessee State Parks are open and ready for your next adventure. Take advantage of a large selection of campsites, fewer crowds, and a bug-free experience during the off-season at these campgrounds. 

East Tennessee

Evergreen trees on a cliff side covered in snow with mountains in the distance

Roan Mountain State Park  

Mountains – Views – Skiing – Hiking  

The snowy mountainous landscape at Roan Mountain State Park attracts thrill seekers and chill campers alike. The park sits just below the mountain’s peak in a valley often draped in a blanket of fresh snow during winter. At the top of the mountain, you’ll find access to the Appalachian Trail and ideal conditions for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.  

Back at the park, you’ll find lush thickets of rhododendron leaves that keep the landscape spotted with greenery. With the beautiful Doe River running through the park, campers can end their day enjoying the warmth of the fire while listening to the soothing sounds of the river.  

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A frozen lake with mountains in the background covered in snowPhoto by J. Phillips Photography

Cove Lake State Park  

Mountain Views – Hiking – Fishing  

Gazing at the frozen water and mountainous backdrop of Cove Lake State Park reminds a visitor of the chilling and beautiful landscape of Wyoming and the Dakotas. Located in Caryville, Tennessee, just off I-75, this park is a perfectly unique camping experience in Tennessee.  

While there, visitors can explore the surrounding state parks within an hour’s drive–Norris Dam State Park and Big Ridge State Park.  

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Middle Tennessee

A frozen lake surrounded by snowy trees

Montgomery Bell State Park  

Restaurant and Lounge – Fishing – Hiking – Golfing  

Full Hookups: Sites 33–50 and 100–121 in the Main Campground  

Whether you’re looking to visit Nashville or live there and need a break from the hustle and bustle, Montgomery Bell is close enough to the city to satisfy both needs. Forty minutes west of downtown, the park offers a natural escape without sacrificing comforts like full hookups and dining.  

The three lakes at the park offer fishing and beautiful views while hiking. You can even hop on the Wildcat Trail right from your campsite. It will take you just over 1 mile to Lake Acorn, where you’ll find the lodge and restaurant. Enjoy a warm meal and a craft cocktail before returning to your cozy campsite.  

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A woman standing near a frozen waterfallPhoto by @hope.maum on Instagram

Fall Creek Falls State Park

Restaurant and Lounge – Fishing – Waterfalls – Views – Hiking  

Full Hookups: 92 sites across areas A, B, and D  

Fall Creek Falls is one of the most visited Tennessee state parks, attracting visitors from all over. On warm weather weekends, it can be challenging to find available campsites, especially last minute. However, winter allows campers to experience the park’s iconic beauty without booking months in advance.  

The park is home to multiple incredible waterfalls, including the tallest falls east of the Mississippi river. Campers can hike, fish, drive the gorgeous park roads, visit overlooks, and golf. When you’re ready to relax, head to the park’s lodge, where you’ll find a restaurant and full bar.  

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A red bridge stretches across a lake during winterPhoto by Tennessee Tourism

Tims Ford State Park  

Fishing – Hiking – Golfing  

Full Hookups: Fairview Campground Sites 1–18, 24, 59, 60, 63–71 (This campground is a few miles away from the main park.)  

The wintery waters on Tims Ford Lake provide beautiful views for campers and ideal conditions for anglers. Tims Ford Lake is a Bill Dance Signature Lake and regarded as one of the top bass fishing destinations in the southeast. If you visit for the fishing, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find lakefront campsites with full hookups at the Fairview Campground.  

Those interested in other activities can enjoy golfing, hiking, and hunting in designated areas. Near the park, you’ll find the birthplace of one of Tennessee’s most famous whiskey brands, Jack Daniels. The Taste of Lynchburg Jack Daniels Tour is an exciting excursion, including tastings and a southern meal.  

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A small waterfall surrounded by snow

Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park  

Hiking – Waterfalls – History  

Are you looking to chase waterfalls within an hour of Nashville? Check out Old Stone Fort State Park, which offers incredible hiking, spacious campsites, and beautiful falls. The park has a rich archaeological history that you can learn about at the park’s museum and with the interpretive panels along the hiking trails. 

Used by the Native Americans as a ceremonial gathering place, the main hiking trail follows the wall of Old Stone Fort. The trail threads through dramatic scenery where you can view the original fort entrance designed to face the exact spot on the horizon where the sun rises during the summer solstice.  

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West Tennessee

Milky way sky during winterPhoto by @nickbenik_photo on Instagram

Natchez Trace State Park  

Fishing – Hiking – Archery – Close to Hunting Land  

Full Hookups: Pin Oak Campground Sites 1–77  

What’s better than a campsite with full hookups? A campsite with full hookups and a lakefront view. The Pin Oak Campground at Natchez Trace State Park offers a pristine wilderness experience inside one of the largest areas of public land in west Tennessee. Relax by the crackling fire or inside your cozy rig while enjoying grand views of the stunning Pin Oak Lake.  

When you’re ready for adventure, head out for a hike under the canopy of evergreens. The park offers over 40 miles of trails, including State Naturalist Randy Hedgepath’s favorite, the Red Leaves Trail. Campers can also hunt on nearby Wildlife Management Area land.  

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Cypress trees in a lake during sunset

Reelfoot Lake State Park  

Bald Eagle Tours – Fishing  

Even if you don’t consider yourself a birder, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to view Bald Eagles in the wild at Reelfoot Lake State Park. Perched on bald cypress trees, hundreds of Blad Eagles surround the lake during January and February each year. People from across the world travel to catch a glimpse of the gorgeous birds on one of the park’s guided tours.  

Campers get a front-row seat to view wildlife around the lake at the beautiful RV and tent sites inside the South Campground. Each campsite offers water and electric hookups, and a dump station is accessible at the campground entrance.  

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