Nashville, TN

Trip Planning

Nashville Escapes

Jeff Crider shares some of the best places to camp near Nashville, Tennessee.

Scenic wonders, museums, historic railroads, mansions, amusement parks, distilleries, and some of the most beautiful architecture in the country are within a few hours of Nashville. In fact, whether you’re looking to drive just a short distance outside of Nashville or across the state, Tennessee has a variety of attractions that are worthwhile destinations for every kind of getaway, whether it’s a quick mid-week or weekend escape or an extended family vacation. Here are several top attractions across Tennessee with listings of nearby campgrounds that can be used as base camps along the way:

Greater Nashville Area

Andrew Jackson's Home in Hermitage: Jackson was the seventh president of the United States, serving from 1829 to 1837. Tours are available of Jackson’s historic home and farm in Hermitage, which is just outside Nashville.

FranklinThis historic town 20 miles south of Nashville has some of the most beautiful architecture in the United States, from Greek Revival, Colonial Revival and Federal-style buildings that pre-date the Civil War to Gothic Revival and Victorian homes and buildings of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Franklin’s oldest commercial building, a Greek Revival structure currently occupied by Landmark Booksellers, was built between 1806 and 1808, visited by Andrew Jackson, Sam Houston and Davy Crockett, and served as a field hospital for Union and Confederate soldiers after the Battle of Franklin. 

President James K. Polk Home and Museum in Columbia: The James K. Polk Home is the only surviving residence of the 11th president of the United States, who served from 1845 to 1849 and added more territory to the United States than any other president. This beautifully preserved American landmark is home to one of the finest presidential collections in the nation, as well as period artifacts and authentic glimpses of life in the early 1800s in what was then Americas Western Frontier

Nearby campgrounds include:

Four Corners RV Resort and Marina in Antioch

Nashville KOA Resort in Nashville

Nashville Shores Lakeside Resort in Hermitage

Two Rivers Campground in Nashville

Eastern Tennessee

American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge: Situated in Oak Ridge, roughly 2.5 hours east of Nashville, this museum showcases information and exhibits designed to teach children and adults about energy, particularly nuclear power, and the role that Oak Ridge played in the Manhattan Project during World War II. Nearby campgrounds include:

Caney Creek RV Resort and Marina in Harriman

Volunteer Park Family Campground in Heiskell

Lost Sea Adventure in Sweetwater: America’s largest underground lake is located in eastern Tennessee about three hours from Nashville. While the attraction is closed in March, tours are available every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas. Nearby campgrounds include:

Sweetwater / I-75 KOA Holiday in Sweetwater

Smoky Mountains Area

Dollywood and Dollywood Splash Country in Pigeon Forge: This famed amusement park founded by Dolly Parton is roughly 3.5 hours east of Nashville. Dollywood features thrilling rides and attractions for visitors of all ages, including dinner shows, while Dollywood Splash Country is one of the nation’s top-rated waterparks.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park: This scenic wonderland, roughly four hours east of Nashville, encompasses over 800 square miles in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, the scenic Smoky Mountains have the greatest diversity of plants and animals in the country, according to the National Park Service. Several campgrounds are located inside the park. 

Sugarlands Distillery Company in Gatlinburg: Sugarlands is a craft distillery that produces award-winning moonshine, rum, cream liquors and rye whiskey. Sugarlands welcomes more than 1 million visitors each year and is considered a top-rated distillery experience.

Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge: This museum features more than 400 artifacts from the Titanic and its passengers as well as a replica of the Titanic’s grand staircase. The Titanic was a British luxury passenger ship that sank after hitting an iceberg in the North Atlantic during its maiden voyage on April 14-15, 1912. About 1,500 people perished as the ship sank in icy waters. Nearby campgrounds include:

Tuckleechee Caverns in Townsend: These magnificent caverns are deep in the Smoky Mountains. A trail leads visitors to a Silver Falls, the tallest underground waterfall in the eastern U.S.

Nearby campgrounds include:

Big Meadow Family Campground in Townsend

Pigeon Forge Jellystone Park in Pigeon Forge

Pigeon Forge Landing in Pigeon Forge

Townsend / Great Smokies KOA Holiday in Townsend

Southern Tennessee

Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga: This aquarium celebrates the rich biodiversity of the Southeast through its many exhibits. 

Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga: Lookout Mountain rises over 2,000 feet above Chattanooga and the surrounding area, offering spectacular views. Visitors often take the Incline Railway to reach the summit. During the Civil War, the Battle Above the Clouds was fought on around around this summit in 1863.

Ruby Falls in Chattanooga: Ruby Falls is the tallest and deepest underground waterfall open to the public in the United States. Visitors descend by and elevator 260 feet inside Lookout Mountain to see cave formations before following the cavern trail to the falls.

Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum in Chattanooga: Chattanooga’s railroad history dates back to 1850 with the arrival of the Western and Atlantic Railroad. As more rail lines were installed, Chattanooga became a strategic railroad hub, eventually inspiring the song, “Chattanooga Choo Choo.” The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum not only preserves historic railroad cars, but offers visitors scenic excursions, including dinner rides, on historic trains. Train rides on Thomas the Tank Engine will also be available at the museum in late April.

Nearby campgrounds include:

Chattanooga North / Cleveland KOA Journey in McDonald

Lookout Mountain / Chattanooga West KOA Holiday in Trenton, Georgia

Raccoon Mountain Caverns and Campground in Chattanooga

Southwest Tennessee

Beale Street in Memphis: Beale Street is National Historic Landmark that is nationally known as a home of the blues with three blocks of nightclubs, restaurants and shops and plenty of opportunities to enjoy blues, jazz, rock n’ roll, R & B and gospel music. Popular venues include B.B. King's Blues Club, Silky O’Sullivan’s and the historic Orpheum Theatre. The Beale Street Music Festival, May 5-7, features more than 60 bands. The festival launches a month of special activities called Memphis in May.

Graceland in Memphis: Graceland is the mansion of Elvis Presley, the Rock ’n Roll legend who is widely considered to be one of the most important figures in 20th century pop culture.

Graceland and its accompanying museum feature Elvis’s gold records, jeweled jumpsuits, classic cars, personal artifacts and interactive exhibits. 

National Museum of Civil Rights in Memphis:
Established in 1991, this museum is located at the former Lorraine Motel, where civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968. The museum features interactive exhibits, oral histories, historic collections, dynamic speakers and special events.

Nearby campgrounds include:

Cooks Lake RV Resort & Campground in Memphis  

Jellystone Park in Horn Lake, Mississippi

Memphis KOA Journal in Marion, Arkansas

Jeff Crider


Jeff Crider, President and CEO of Crider Public Relations, has been involved in covering the campground industry for over 25 years. Jeff has worked as a freelance writer for publications such as RV Business, Motor Home Magazine, Trailer Life, Highways and other Affinity Group Inc. publications since 1995. He has also successfully pitched many of the nation's top tier media outlets, including CNN, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, The Financial Times, Reuters, The Associated Press and National Public Radio. In addition to writing, Jeff is also a talented photographer and humanitarian.