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Last updated: September 20, 2021 • Traveling Around the World

Planning a Camping Trip in Gatlinburg TN

When weighing the different options for your next vacation trip, there are a lot of reasons camping might come to mind. Its low cost, coupled with ample fun, a sense of adventure and community, and an opportunity to reconnect with nature all make this a tempting prospect for those on the market for something new and exciting. 

However, if not planned well, a camping trip can be an experience memorable not for the fun times and good memories you make, but for the cold, damp sense of general unpleasantness that pervades the trip. While an airtight plan goes a long way to improve any vacation when you’re camping, it can mean the difference between a night spent singing songs around a campfire and a night spent wet and shivering in an improperly pitched tent. 

To save you the trouble and make your camping trip in the city of Gatlinburg TN truly memorable, we’ve put together this handy guide that will get you up to speed on everything you need to know before you go. So, without any further ado, let’s get right into it, and take a look at what you need to do to make sure your camping trip in the city of Gatlinburg goes smoothly! 

Make sure camping is right for you

happy family on trip relaxation

The first thing you’ll sort out before you go any further with your planning is whether or not you want to spend your vacation in a tent or RV. Sure, camping is fun, but it isn’t for everyone. It takes a keen sense of outdoorsmanship, coupled with good equipment and a willingness to take risks and try new things. 

Camping has always been for adventurers. Those who strike out on their own, and make their own way, blazing a trail for others to follow. While your average vacation goer simply books a hotel for the duration of their stay, those with the stomach for it will be looking for an experience that challenges and elevates them. Before you set out on your camping adventure, you’ll need to figure out if this is the case with you. 

Figuring out what you’re going to camp in

If you’ve made up your mind and set your heart on a camping trip in Gatlinburg, bravo! Planned well, a camping trip in Gatlinburg, whether done on your own or with friends, can be a truly fun and unique experience, the memories of which will last you a lifetime. Now you have to figure out how you want to do this: in the comparative comfort of a camper, or the no-frills simplicity of a tent? 

There are advantages and disadvantages to both, to be sure. In the end, your choice will depend largely on your personal preference and your willingness to try new things. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of each, and see if we can find out which is a better fit for you. 

Camping in a tent

man looking up at stars

Camping in a tent is the original way of doing things. When Lewis and Clark made their way through the unknown western reaches of North America, did they sleep in a plush, state-of-the-art camper? No! These pioneers of discovery slept in a canvas tent, and if you want to follow in their footsteps, you’ll need a similar shelter. 

The good news is that tents have become far more comfortable than they were in the time of these great explorers. Gone are the tents consisting simply of a square canvas tarpaulin stretched over a pole driven into the ground, and here to stay are the well engineered pop-up tents we think of when the word “tent” is uttered. 

Purchasing the right equipment

However, no amount of engineering can change the fact that, at the end of the day, tents are inherently fragile and haphazard. The ground always seems to be a lot harder than you expect, and water is bound to leak in somewhere. Fortunately, these problems can be avoided or at the very least minimized; read on to find out how! 

To avoid these problems, the first and most important thing to do is buy a good tent. Discuss your needs with an employee at your local outdoorsman’s shop, and find a tent that meets your needs and provides optimal protection from the elements. Don’t skimp on price either; after all, you get what you pay for, and you’re bound to regret your frugal purchasing choices when you’re shivering under the ripped tent canopy of the cheapest tent on sale at Bass Pro Shops. 

After you’ve chosen a suitable tent, you’ll need to purchase a few essential items to make your trip a bit more comfortable. For a bed, you’ll want to skip the sleeping bag and go with a foldable cot. These are a bit more expensive than a basic sleeping bag, but keep you off the cold, hard ground. You’ll also want a camping lantern, basic fire starting tools, propane or electric heater if you’re planning a trip during the colder months, and a camping toilet. 

If you bring the right equipment, camping in a tent can be a fun, invigorating experience that reaffirms your sense of self-sufficiency and greatly improves your confidence and independence. It’s a unique experience that everyone should partake in at least once in their lives! 

Camping in an RV or camper

desert caravan camping

Now, as we make clear above, camping in a tent is no easy feat. It takes an adventurous spirit, and it isn’t for everyone. If you don’t feel you’re up to it, then a camper or RV might just be the way to go. These houses on wheels offer many of the comforts and conveniences of home, but still provide you with an opportunity to spend your vacation a bit closer to nature. 

If you decide to spend your vacation in one of these snazzy mobile living spaces, you still have a decision to make. Are you going to choose the all-inclusive RV, with its comparatively easier driving experience, or a cheaper but more difficult to transport camper trailer? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each. 

Pull-behind camper trailer

Camper trailers are more affordable than their motorized counterpart the RV, but come with their own set of downsides that must be taken into consideration when purchasing, renting or borrowing one. For starters, camper trailers are notoriously difficult to transport. These trailers are often up to 30 or 40 feet long and can be difficult to maneuver on the open road and in tight spaces. 

If you choose to go with this option, you should have at least some experience pulling trailers, and be able to maneuver a trailer in reverse. If you don’t have this experience but still want to go this route, you can begin to develop these skills by practicing with a small lawn or cargo trailer. Start in a parking lot and work your way up to the open road, until you feel comfortable driving with a trailer attached to your vehicle. 

Despite the difficulties of pulling a trailer, one of the most attractive upsides of a camper trailer is that you can detach your vehicle once you’ve arrived at your campsite and set up camp. This allows you to traverse the town without having to constantly deal with the stress of maneuvering a large and heavy camping vehicle at all times. 

RV or motorhome

If you are comfortable spending a bit more money, RVs are less of a hassle than camper trailers, and offer all the same amenities, in addition to an added layer of ease and convenience. These vehicles are larger and more unwieldy than a sedan or SUV, but due to their simpler structure are a bit easier to drive, and less of an inconvenience than their less agile cousin the camper trailer. 

The most obvious caveat here is the upfront price. While more convenient than a camper trailer, these vehicles are often exorbitantly priced when new, and riddled with mechanical and structural issues when purchased used. If you decide to go this route, make sure you have the capital to invest in upkeep and maintenance. It’s worth mentioning that you can also skirt these issues altogether by renting or borrowing an RV rather than purchasing one outright. 

Finding the right campsite

road campsite near grazalema

Once you’ve decided what you’ll be staying in while you’re camping, be it a motorhome, tent or camper trailer, you’ll need to find a good campsite. These campsites offer the convenience of amenities such as electric access, bathrooms with showers and running water and easy access to roads. The city of Gatlinburg has several excellent campsites to choose from; the only dilemma left is deciding which you will choose! 

For starters, a great campsite is the Greenbrier campsite and RV resort. This expansive complex boasts a long list of amenities including electric access, immaculate restrooms and showers, free wifi and more! To top it all off, the campsite also features a swimming pool and general store, pushing convenience to the max! 

Another excellent choice is the Smoky Bear Campground and RV Park. This comfortable and spacious campground offers just as many amenities as the last, in addition to a spacious community clubhouse where you can gather if the weather is inclement or you just need a break from the day’s activities! 

If you want something a bit more rugged and closer to nature, then the Backcountry Campsite might be just the thing. A secluded and undeveloped campground exclusively for tents, this campsite may be lacking in amenities but is perfect for achieving that authentic camping experience. With a nearby river providing water for bathing, you’ll feel like a true trailblazer when camping here. And the best part? It’s completely free! 


At the end of the day, no matter how your trip goes, camping is a unique and memorable experience that everyone should experience at least once. While the selection of hotels and resorts in Gatlinburg TN is impressive, camping is one of the best ways to experience all there is to see and do in the beautiful city of Gatlinburg.

After spending a bit of time in this cozy little Appalachian town, you might just find yourself taken by the urge to move here. With as much beauty as this town is home to, this is perfectly understandable! If you want to make this city your home, you’ll want to get in touch with one of the top local realtors in Gatlinburg TN. These experienced real estate agents will help you settle in, and discover the true beauty that this town has to offer. 

Did you find this article helpful? Want to leave some feedback on how we can improve, or ask a question? Feel free to leave us a comment in the comments section below! Our readers are our top priority, so your input is invaluable to us. From all of us here at, enjoy Gatlinburg!


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