When you think of Nashville, the first word that comes to mind might not be camping, as it’s a city well known for being the birthplace of country music and a destination for bachelor and bachelorette parties. If it’s music that you seek, you shall find it on the streets of downtown Nashville. However if you want your trip to expand further into nature, there are many beautiful and peaceful spots to camp just outside the city. Here are a few spots we recommend:
Photo Credit: Laurie Anderson Photography
Location: Chapel Hill, TN – approximately 50 minutes outside of Nashville
Campsites – 56 RV campsites, 10 tent campsites. Each site comes with a fire ring and picnic table, and sites max out at two vehicles and six people.
You might be surprised to learn that Henry Horton was not a Dr. Seuss character, rather a former governor of Tennessee, for which the park is named. It will be hard to get bored at this park as there’s an activity for everyone — from biking, to swimming, to disc golf and regular golf, trap and skeet shooting, hiking, fishing and more. Leashed pets are welcome here.
Photo Credit: Old Stone Fort State Park
Location: Manchester, TN – about an hour outside of Nashville
Campsites: 51 campsites with water and electrical hookups, picnic tables and grills.
This beautiful park was named for its 2000 year-old stone fort, which was thought to have been used by the Native Americans for 500 years. There are several easy to moderate hikes for visitors to enjoy, as well as opportunities to catch largemouth bass and catfish in the Duck River. History buffs will appreciate learning about the Old Stone Fort on the main hiking trail, which, in addition to waterfalls, has interpretive panels all along the way.
Photo Credit: TN Treasure Huntress
Location: Nashville, TN
Campsites: There are three campgrounds on the lake that offer several campsites that offer water, restrooms and showers.
Get close to nature without having to leave the city. This campground has over 30 islands for hiking and of course plenty of opportunities for water activities. Some of the islands have hiking trails and cliffs to jump off of (and into the lake).
Photo Credit: Andrew Allan Abrams
Location: Lebanon, TN – approximately 30 minutes outside of Nashville
Campsites: 87 campsites which all include electric and water hookups, as well as picnic tables and grills.
This gorgeous 1,139 acre park gets its name from natural rock gardens that seemingly have cedar trees growing out of them. In addition to the rock gardens, the variable water and surface temperatures in the region have created its own unique type of plants that only grow there and nowhere else in the world. If plant-gazing isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other activities to do. The park has 8 miles of hiking trails where there’s a good chance you’ll spot some wildlife, there’s also a disc golf course and 12 miles of marked trails for horses, if you prefer your furry friend to do your hiking for you.
Photo Credit: Monkey Trent
Location: Wartburg, TN – just under 3 hours from Nashville
Campsites: 20 campsites that come with a parking slip, grill, picnic table and fire ring.
A little further outside of Nashville, this park makes it well worth the trip. The park itself has over 24,000 acres of pure wilderness waiting to be explored. If you want to catch some epic views, you should surely take the seven-mile trail which leads to an observation deck which gives a 360 degree breathtaking view of the Tennessee Valley, Smoky Mountains and Walden Ridge. There’s also plenty of hikes, mostly easy and moderate, but a couple challenging trails as well for the more experienced hiker. Bikers can enjoy the 9 mile fire trail, and if you like to fish, you can try your hand at catching trout in the Flat Fork Creek.
If theses sites aren’t your speed and you need to get your camping fix in the Smokies, here’s a comprehensive list of spots to check out.