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Three Unique Camping Experiences in Tennessee You Have to Try

October 4, 2021  |  Permalink

Warriors' Path State Park, Cedar Ridge Hammock Campground

Looking for a campsite with that "wow" factor? From camping right by the water to finding a nest in the trees, these three camping experiences won't disappoint. Let's get started!

Primitive Camping

Access to some of the most beautiful locations can sometimes mean limited amenities. While primitive campsites at Tennessee State Parks don't provide contemporary conveniences, they offer an incredibly authentic experience in some of the most beautiful natural locations our state has to offer. 

What makes a campsite primitive? Primitive campsites are minimally developed and don't offer electricity or running water. Some primitive sites can require you to walk a short distance while others are drive-up. Some parks offer primitive sites that are near a bathhouse. In some cases, the bathhouse might offer potable running water.

Here are a few unique primitive campgrounds you should check out:

A tent sitting by the river shore at Mousetail LandingPhoto: @the_traveling_b

Mousetail Landing State Park

West, TN - Linden

Spring Creek is a 21-site primitive campground on the banks of the Tennessee River. All sites have a fire ring and a BBQ grill. A bathhouse is available in the main campground loop.


A gravel pad campsite under tall trees at Big Hill Pond State ParkPhoto: ©Tennessee Drone Services

Big Hill Pond State Park

West, TN - Pocahontas 

Big Hill Pond has 28 tent and small RV campsites. Most sites will accommodate a trailer up to 20 feet, and each has a table and a grill. The campground has a modern bathhouse with hot showers but no hook-ups, and there is no dump station.


A tent at the shore of Pickwick Lake during sunsetPhoto: @tom___brooks

Pickwick Landing State Park

West, TN - Counce

This primitive campground sits on the north side of Pickwick Lake, just off Highway 128. The campground has 33 sites, most of which are on the lake. There are no electrical or water sources at individual campsites, but there is a bathhouse with showers. Non-treated well water is available as a water source at the bathhouse.


A shady campsite at Hiwassee Ocoee State Park

Hiwassee Ocoee

East, TN - Delano

The Hiwassee State Scenic Rivers' Gee Creek campground is a haven for many river users. Some of the 47 campsites are close enough to the river you can be lulled to sleep each night by the sound of rushing water. An easy walk will lead you along the river's edge for fishing, nature walks, or a brisk dip in the cold waters. Each site has a table, fire ring, and a grill. Public water and a bathhouse containing sinks, commodes, and hot showers are located near the center of the campground. 



Camping Cabins

How can you camp in a cabin, you ask? Ok, you got us. Camping cabins aren't actual camping, but they offer an experience that's pretty darn close. These cabins are just the right size offering only the bare necessities like A/C, beds, and a microwave. They’re perfect for anyone who doesn’t have camping gear or doesn’t want to mess with loading it all up for a trip outdoors. Each cabin comes with a picnic table and a fire pit so you can enjoy roasting marshmallows around the fire until it’s time to turn in. Two Tennessee State Parks offer camping cabins.

A small log cabin sits behind strong lights and a campfire at Paris Landing State ParkPhoto: @heywanderer

Paris Landing State Park

West, TN - Paris

Paris Landing sits on Kentucky Lake, 15 minutes from Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. The camping cabins are located within the park's campground with access to the bathhouse. The six one-room camping cabins offer two XL full-size beds, accommodating up to four people. All cabins are pet-friendly and offer a microwave, mini-fridge, table, climate control, and coffee pot.


A small log cabin sits in front of Pin Oak Lake at Natchez Trace State Park

Natchez Trace State Park

West, TN - Wildersville

The camping cabins at Natchez Trace sit right by the waters of Pin Oak Lake. Each cabin is pet-friendly and offers air conditioning, two bunks(sleeping four people total), a picnic table, BBQ grill, lantern holder, and water (in-season).



Hammock Camping

Lightweight, easy to set up, and pretty darn comfortable, hammock camping can be a great alternative to traditional tent camping. It has gained popularity in recent years, and more folks are ready to find beautiful places to set up their nest in the trees. Whether you're looking for easily accessible sites made just for hammock camping, or you're looking to go backcountry, Tennessee State Parks offers some ideal spots.

Hammock Campgrounds

Two Tennessee State Parks offer campgrounds specifically for hammock camping. Henry Horton State Park, located 1 hour south of Nashville in Chapel Hill, TN, and Warriors' Path State Park, located 30 minutes north of Johnson City in Kingsport, TN. 

Two hammocks hang amongst trees at Henry Horton State Park

Henry Horton

Middle, TN – Chapel Hill

Henry Horton has six hammock-only, primitive campsites located behind the RV campground. Each site offers a picnic table and grill/fire ring combo. WiFi is available, and a bathhouse is a short walk away.


Two women sitting in hammocks hung from a pine tree at Warriors Path State Park

Warriors Path

East, TN – Kingsport

The Cedar Ridge Hammock Campground is a unique camping area for primitive and group-style camping. The Wild Cherry, Sweet Gum, Locust, and the Pine Wheel sites accommodate six hammocks, and the Pine Wheel Site can hold up to 24 hammocks. Amenities for each site include access to water, a stone picnic table, fire ring, lantern hook, and grill. A bathhouse is a short distance away.


A person wearing boots lays in a hammock with views of a lake at Edgar Evins State ParkPhoto: @macsincock Location: Edgar Evins State Park, Primitive Campground

Hammock Friendly Campsites

You can hang your hammock up at any Tennessee State Park campsite! Just be kind to the trees and wildlife habitats around you. Pick healthy trees that can support your hammock, and ensure they don't have any signs of nests or other creatures making their homes there. You’ll find sites good for hammock camping at most of our parks. Here are a few park suggestions to get started:

Tip: There are photos of each campsite available on These pictures can help you scout out the site with trees that can best accommodate your hammock.



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