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scenery in the great smoky mountains national park

Your Guide to the Best Smoky Mountains Camping Trip

Want to experience the natural beauty of the Smoky Mountains up close? Plan a camping trip! Camping is the best way to spend time in the great outdoors and enjoy everything the area has to offer. To help you plan your visit, we’ve created a guide for the best Smoky Mountains camping trip.

How to Choose the Perfect Campsite

camping in the smoky mountainsThere is a variety of different campsites in the Smoky Mountains, meaning you’ll have plenty of options to choose from when you decide to go camping! There is something for everyone, like tent sites for traditional campers and glamping for those who prefer a little more luxury. Before deciding which campsite is perfect for you, learn more about the most popular types of camping below:

Tent Camping

Tent camping is the most traditional way to camp. For those who want it to be just you and the Smoky Mountains, this is the perfect option for you. There are plenty of campgrounds in the area to choose from that offer tent camping. Some even give you access to modern amenities like bath houses and swimming pools.

RV Camping

RV at campgroundFor those who prefer a camping style that offers a little more comfort, try RV camping! There are campgrounds with RV sites for you to park in that include things like water and sewer hook-ups, fire rings, and picnic tables, as well as cable TV and WiFi. Some campgrounds even have their own RVs for you to stay in!

Camping Cabins

Some campgrounds have camping cabins that allow you to feel a little more at home on your Smoky Mountains camping trip! Camping cabins provide more amenities than you’ll have if you decide to go tent camping but still allow you to enjoy the great outdoors. Camping cabins come with things like beds, cable TV, microwave and refrigerator, a bathroom, and more.


Under Canvas glampingTo experience a more luxurious form of camping, go glamping in the Smoky Mountains! Glamping combines the experience of camping with the experience of staying in a resort. One great option for glamping is with Under Canvas. Under Canvas has safari-inspired canvas tents that include everything from comfortable beds to a private bathroom with hot running water, a shower, sink, and a flushing toilet. If you choose to stay in their Stargazer tent, you’ll have a panoramic viewing window above the bed so you can stare at the stars!

Once you decide what style of camping is best for you, you can choose the campground that comes with the amenities you want at a price you want.

What to Bring

Your packing list may vary depending on where you decide to stay, but there are a few key things every great Smoky Mountains camping trip needs! Here’s our list of suggested items:

  • ingredients for smores on tableFirst-aid kit
  • Ingredients for s’mores
  • An extra blanket
  • A jacket (no matter the season)
  • Comfortable clothing
  • Hiking shoes
  • Toiletries
  • Refillable water bottle

These are just a few of the things you might need for your camping trip!

Things to Do

Camping in the Smoky Mountains provides the perfect opportunity to enjoy fun outdoor activities. Some campgrounds come with their own amenities for you to enjoy, from outdoor games like cornhole, to outdoor swimming pools, to game rooms, to volleyball and basketball courts. If you feel like getting out and exploring the area, here are some more fun things you can do:

Go for a Hike

laurel falls in the smoky mountainsHiking in the Smoky Mountains lets you experience the beauty of the area up close. When you go for a hike, you have the opportunity to see waterfalls, incredible mountain views, wildlife, and more. There are trails of every skill level, from easy to challenging. Some of the most popular hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains are Laurel Falls Trail, Alum Cave Trail, Andrews Bald, and Abrams Falls.

Go White Water Rafting:

White water rafting is the perfect outdoor activity for those who are looking for a thrill! You’ll coast over rapids on the Pigeon River and experience big waves, drops, and plenty of surfing. Smoky Mountain Outdoors is one of the most popular rafting outfitters in the area, offering two different white water rafting trips, one with class 3 and 4 rapids and the other providing a more scenic float down the river.

Go Ziplining:

man zip lining in Pigeon ForgeDon’t miss the opportunity to get a bird’s eye view of the Smoky Mountains when you visit! Go ziplining to experience the incredible scenery of the Smokies from up in the air. You’ll soar through the trees with your family and friends, seeing the Smoky Mountains in a whole new way. Many zipline tours include other fun experiences as well, like aerial bridges and rappels.

Book Your Smoky Mountains Camping Trip Today

Now that you know how to have the best Smoky Mountains camping trip, what are you waiting for? Choose the Smoky Mountain campground that’s best for you and book your vacation in the great outdoors!