Tennessee has become one of my favorite states to visit. It's small enough that wherever you are in the state, you are a few hours from another spectacular spot. Lush scenery and Nashville have brought us back to Tennessee several times, however this time we pushed further east to explore our nation's most visited National Park, Great Smoky Mountains. A massive park just outside of Knoxville, Tennessee, there is a lot to explore here and several campgrounds to choose from. Several roads access the park and we saw many family resorts on the Northern perimeter of the park where families opt to stay. We decided, as enticing as some of these resorts looked, to forge ahead with our plans to stay within the National Park's boundary, and we were not disappointed. The drive into the park was spectacular. Winding tree-lined roads and rivers guided us into the park on a stormy afternoon. We always love the national parksand all they have to offer, and GSM stayed true to that. With several campgrounds to choose from, we opted for Cades Cove Campground as it accommodates larger rigs and is adjacent to the Cades Cove Loop Road, the best loop for wildlife viewing. Interior roads are paved, as are most site pads, although several could use resurfacing. Picnic tables, fire pits and spacious sites are available on all sites. A creek runs adjacent to the campground offering a quiet place to relax. A campground store, small café (great ice cream!), bicycle rentals, bath houses, an amphitheater and a ranger station are all on site. The campground is relatively inactive during the first part of the day as most people take their tow vehicle out to explore the park. If you do not have a tow vehicle, know that park roads are narrow and often winding. Exploring in your rig is not impossible, but will require careful driving and patience, but spotting deer, bears and turkeys on your drive is just amazing.
Hiking, biking and scenic drives are the main activities here. 4x4 vehicles can also explore one of the park's many primitive roads, although check with rangers first to get the latest closure information. All sites here are beautiful, so you really can't go wrong and reservations are heavily recommended in summer or fall when leaves begin to change.
Best Sites: Any
Poor Sites: Section B: 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19; Section C: 1, 2
Potable Water: Yes
Dump Within Facility: Yes