Campground recommendations near Smoky Mountains

StarSeven7

Member
Aug 13, 2016
60
We're looking to camp near Great Smoky Mountain National Park in August. I've seen Greenbriar Campground recommended often and I think it looks pretty good, however, we're also traveling with my parents and they think it's too expensive. They would rather stay in the National Park to save money, but my husband and I would prefer to be outside of the park so we can have electricity and more importantly, showers! (We'll be staying 5 nights). We want to do some activities in Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg, so somewhere in that area would be best. Are there any happy mediums that are good campgrounds but not more than $50 per night? We prefer electricity but water isn't necessary. We also have 2 kids, ages 9 and 6 so a playground or kids activities is a bonus! Thanks!
 

jmkay1

2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah
Oct 10, 2013
7,490
Northern Virginia
With it being a tourist town i'm not sure you will find much close to the activity's, but still cheap, but I could be wrong. I know the KOA was expensive as well as Jellystone but at the time I was looking I was only looking for an emergency place to stay in case the park was to evacuate due to flooding. Although I pretty much stayed in the mountains the entire time and only got off the mountain when I needed gas. Dang that mountain sucked my tank dry just traveling to see the different ares of the park via the mountain roads. It was absolutely beautiful area and so worth it. If I had more time, I would have loved to visit town but the hurricane cut my trip short. One day, I would love to go back.
 

tdiller

Active Member
Aug 25, 2016
256
Go to recreation.gov and search the area. I found a couple county owned or TVA owned parks not far form that area with the features you are looking for that will accept the America the Beautiful pass for like 15-25$ a night. Won't be doing any long trips this year since I owe so much in taxes this year. MIght be a bit further to drive but this is one I was considering... https://camprrm.com/parks/douglas-headwater-campground/
 
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roybraddy

Super Active Member
Mar 23, 2016
2,393
King George, Virginia
We always like to go to TOWNSEND if we don't camp inside the Natl Park. Our favorite spot is ELKMONT inside the park but it has no power hookups... Just a water spigot and a bath room building close by...

Townsend is out of the all night walking through town tourist etc. They have two or three creek side parks just outside the West gate to the Natl park...

Roy Ken
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Rusty2192

Super Active Member
Jul 30, 2014
1,171
Kentucky
Clabough’s in Pigeon Forge gets recommended pretty frequently in the various groups I’m in on Facebook. I haven’t stayed there myself so I can’t personally vouch for it, but whenever we do get a chance to stay in PF it will be between the KOA and Claboughs.

Their sites run from $34-$40 depending on time of year.

http://claboughcampground.com/

Alternatively, you could always pick up a shower tent and battery operated shower and stay in the park.
 

JustRelax

Super Active Member
Feb 20, 2013
1,031
Indianapolis
When I scouted things out last year the KOA right outside the park was nice. When you say traveling with your parents do you mean they have a camper and you have a camper or some type of site split? You can stay where you want relatively close and they can stay in the park if two campers, or split the rate with them of what it would cost in the park and you pay the difference if you are camping together as alternative options to consider.
 

StarSeven7

Member
Aug 13, 2016
60
Thanks everyone! I guess it's a moot point now because it didn't work out for my parents to come along so we just booked ourselves at Greenbriar Campground. But I'll check out some of the places mentioned for future reference!
 

StarSeven7

Member
Aug 13, 2016
60
When I scouted things out last year the KOA right outside the park was nice. When you say traveling with your parents do you mean they have a camper and you have a camper or some type of site split? You can stay where you want relatively close and they can stay in the park if two campers, or split the rate with them of what it would cost in the park and you pay the difference if you are camping together as alternative options to consider.
They have an A-frame trailer so we were going to do 2 sites (although they sometimes just tent camp and stay on the site with us). They were going to stay at Elkmont but the campsites were about 30 minutes apart which isn't great for hanging out together! But our dates ended up not working for them so we're just going on our own now.
 

StarSeven7

Member
Aug 13, 2016
60
Go to recreation.gov and search the area. I found a couple county owned or TVA owned parks not far form that area with the features you are looking for that will accept the America the Beautiful pass for like 15-25$ a night. Won't be doing any long trips this year since I owe so much in taxes this year. MIght be a bit further to drive but this is one I was considering... https://camprrm.com/parks/douglas-headwater-campground/
That campground looks amazing! But it's a bit far from the park to drive down daily, for us at least!
 

jmkay1

2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah
Oct 10, 2013
7,490
Northern Virginia
We like the NP CG Elkmont in the none generator section. Showers were fine, but no electric.
I stayed here last year but there were no showers at the campground. I loved it here though and the non generator section was nice and quiet. I lucked out and found a site right near a stream and due to the lay of the land was a private site as well. I couldn’t believe how dark it got at night. It was just perfect. The no electricity wasn’t a problem for me. I had more than enough battery left as I was hardly at camp. Of course it was summer and I didn’t need the furnace. The mountains were cool enough you didn’t need AC. Oh man,now I really want to go back.
 

tenttrailer

Art & Joyce - Columbus, O
Jul 18, 2013
3,758
Thornville, OH
We camped there in 2011. Now that I'm think about it, there was no shower at elkmont. It was the Blue Ridge Parkway CG on our trip the CG right after elkmont that had the shower.
 

StarSeven7

Member
Aug 13, 2016
60
No electricity doesn't bother us either! We stay every summer with my family at a campground in MI with no electricity and it's fine! The only thing I miss is not being able to use my electric kettle for my oatmeal in the morning! :) And we're totally fine with no showers for a weekend trip....but for 6-7 days when we actually have to walk around in society....yikes! Lol!
 




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