Step Outside - Tennessee WELCOME TO STEP OUTSIDE! Find the best outdoor fun near you! en-us 30 Step Outside - Tennessee 144 144 Tue, 23 Apr 2019 15:25:53 -0500 5 Best Ski Destinations for Families in and Around Tennessee For Tennesseans, the snow just can’t fall fast enough when skiing is at stake. The state is close to some of the best family-friendly ski destinations in the country, helping skiers young and old discover their passion for this favorite winter pastime. When the weather turns cold, you’ll want to find yourself at one of these five best family ski destinations in and around Tennessee. 

The most iconic ski destination for families in Tennessee, Ober Gatlinburg is brimming with snow day activities. The snow fall in this area is hit or miss during the winter, so they make plenty of their snow to keep the slopes snowy white all winter long. They offer first-timer lessons from qualified instructors. When you’re ready to put away the skis, you can enjoy snow tubing and a number of other kid-friendly activities in the park.

We were not “board” at all πŸ‚ (πŸ“·@cwebb288 )

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Every day is a great skiing day at Wolf Ridge Ski Resort. Just a stone’s throw from the Tennessee/North Carolina border, you could easily make this a day trip, or take advantage of their stay and ski packages to get more from your trip. They have over 10 amazing runs that start at the tip top of the mountain. Along with some epic skiing, you’ll also enjoy the amazing views.

πŸ‘ lol

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It’s not the biggest ski destination near Tennessee, but it is one of the best. They’ve got several runs to suit all skill levels, as well as a practice slope for young skiers and small group instruction guaranteed to help your children have a blast while they learn.

Just a short drive from the Tennessee border lies Sugar Mountain, the family favorite skiing destination in the southeast. Tickets are extremely reasonable compared to other resorts in the area, especially if you go on a weekday. This place caters to families, giving children four and under a free lift ticket with a ticketed adult, and discounted rates for kids age five through 11.

This epic destination offers so much more than skiing—it’s snow day fun for the whole family. In addition to incredible slopes and mountain views, you can also enjoy snow tubing, snowboarding, and ice skating. For the kids, the instructors offer different classes depending on your child’s age to ensure they get the best instruction for their abilities. When you’re ready to warm up, grab a frosty brew at the on-site brewery.

We made it!

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9 Best Winter Cabin Camping Spots in Tennessee There’s never a bad time to go camping in Tennessee, especially since the state offers dozens of cozy cabins to chase away the winter cold. Here, camping doesn’t always mean sleeping bags and tents. You can have an epic camping experience—complete with campfire—in a modern, amenity-filled cabin that makes your stay the next best thing to being home. For the best in winter getaways, book your spot at one of these 10 best winter camping cabins in Tennessee. 

There’s never a bad time to visit Rock Island State Park, but winter usually means less busy here. Though too cold to swim, you can still get a good view of the falls and other scenery the park is known for. Cabins are open year-round and offer some of the coziest accommodations you’ll find.

Gatlinburg is undoubtedly the place to be during a Tennessee winter, mainly because of the sheer volume of activities you can enjoy. Camping in a cabin at Imagination Mountain is often much more cost effective than a hotel on the Parkway, plus you get the added bonus of fun games, mini golf, heated salt water pool, movie theater, and a playground—all included in your stay.


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Everyone’s favorite forest fire-denouncing bear has its own campground in the Smoky Mountains (how fitting). Each cabin is heated to keep you warm on those cold mountain nights, in addition to fire rings and grills to create the authentic camping experience. Expect a chilly trip in the winter, and possibly some snow.

This cold weather camping experience is sure to keep you warm. The campground features an indoor hot tub and heated cabins to help you defrost from your day’s hike or other outdoor adventure. Situated atop Cumberland Plateau, you can expect some of the best views in the state.

Cabin with a view of the lake

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Open all year, the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg KOA is nestled into the foothills of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The large deluxe cabin is beautiful and overlooks Patriot Park. You’ll find two bunk bed sets, one full sleeper sofa, one queen bed, one full bath and half bath, and a full kitchen to sleep eight people at this spot. 

Located near Jamestown, Tennessee, this state park was the first to become a designated Dark Sky Viewing destination. The views of the sky alone make this a worthy winter camping destination, especially since it gets dark early to extend your viewing pleasure. Hiking and fishing abound at this park, so come prepared to take advantage. Perhaps the best part is that their winter cabin rentals also include a fireplace to keep you toasty all night long.

This area sees its fair share of snow each winter, so make sure you pack warmly. After all, it just isn’t the same winter camping experience without a blanket of snow surrounding your cabin, right? Each cabin comes complete with full bathroom, kitchen, wood burning stove, and heat. The park has recently had some flood damage, but you can still enjoy most of the trails and the never-ending supply of gorgeous scenery.

Peaceful, calm, and beautiful, Natchez Trace State Park is a nature-lover’s paradise. Surrounded by gorgeous lake views, every cabin comes completely outfitted to ease your stay. While you’re there, you can enjoy a relaxing bike ride, hike, or horse trails, or enjoy a meal at the on-site restaurant. 

The Gatlinburg KOA is a 16-acre park not far from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Enjoy hiking trails and beautiful scenery at this campsite. For comfortable sleeping, snuggle up in their deluxe cabin. The cabin has two beds, a full bathroom and partial kitchen, and an expanded patio.  

#inga #koacamping #snowday #anniversary #gatlinburg

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6 Best Ice Skating Rinks in Tennessee When the temperatures drop in Tennessee, the skates come out. From frozen ponds to full-scale ice rinks, Tennessee has no shortage of places where you can glide across the ice in the winter, even when snow is scarce. Discover your skating talent at one of these six best ice skating spots in Tennessee.

This indoor icearium hosts the only U.S. figure skating program in the area. It’s also the site for the Knoxville Figure Skating Club. The venue features open sessions for public skating and pick-up hockey games. You can sign up for child and adult classes to perfect your form and technique.

#KDUB hit the ice at @coolsportsknox! β›Έ πŸ‘€Link in the bio to see more!

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This mega sportsplex houses a variety of indoor and outdoor sports activities, but ice skating and hockey are among the top favorites. Two full-size ice rinks offer year-round indoor ice skating. They offer classes and leagues for adults and kids, as well as public skating just for fun.

If you’ve always wanted to ice skate but don’t know how, the pros at Ice Chalet are eager to teach you. They offer skating sessions for all skill levels, as well as open skate times, group classes, hockey, and curling.

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Home of the National Hockey League’s Nashville Predators, this ice center lets you skate on the same rink as the pros. You can learn to skate by enrolling in a camp or class, or simply enjoy a few rides around the rink during an open-to-the-public session.

Uncle Jason and Uncle Tony came to visit.

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Chattanooga doesn’t have its own indoor rink, but that hasn’t stopped anyone from enjoying this family-favorite activity. Instead, they’ve brought in a temporary ice rink for the holidays, giving you a chance to ice skate through mid-January. They take of everything, including skate rentals and balance devices, so all you have to do is show up.

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This mountain top amusement park features a large indoor ice rink year-round. This ice-skating arena has been one of the park’s main attractions for decades. Just $9 grants you access to up to three full hours of skating time.

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8 Best Winter Hikes in Tennessee Tennessee is well renowned as the country’s premier hiking destination, but some may say the best time to hike is during the winter. Parts of Tennessee, like the Great Smoky Mountains, teem with tourists all year long, but the trails tend to be noticeably less crowded when it’s cold outside—if you know where to go. Start with these eight best winter hikes in Tennessee.

One of the most popular hiking destinations in the Smokies, you’ll likely have no trouble finding parking if you visit during the winter. Just about 2.5 miles’ round trip, this trail leads to one of the prettiest waterfalls around. The trail is also just 13 miles from famed Cades Cove, giving you plenty of fun sights and activities to fill your day.

#gopro #hero5 #waterfall #snow #laurelfalls

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Tucked away inside Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park, the Enclosure Trail travels around the ancient enclosure for a total of 1.3 miles. From the trail, you’ll be able to see both Blue Falls and Big Falls, along with other scenery and the old Enclosure that makes this hike unique. For more information on theories regarding the enclosure, you can stop by the visitor’s center theater and museum.

Take your pick of the three hiking trails that all begin at the Narrows of the Harpeth trailhead. You can ascend the bluff for a panoramic view of Harpeth Valley, head along the back of a limestone bluff to the defunct site of an old iron forge, or discover the oldest man-made tunnel in modern existence. 

πŸ’¦πŸ”¦ #frozen #cave #waterfall

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Located inside Pinson Mounds State Archaeological Park, the highlight of the tour here is, of course, the 15 Indian mounds. The Greater Outer Loop Trail takes you directly to a few of them. While you’re here, make sure you stop at the mound-shaped museum to learn more about the area’s historical and cultural significance. 

Beautiful sunsets aren’t just for summer nights. Head to Chattanooga’s Point Park and begin your ascent to the top of Lookout Mountain. The loop between Rifle Pits Trail, Bluff Trail, Cravens House Trail, and Gum Springs Trail take you directly by Sunset Rock, where you can experience some of the most gorgeous views in the city, along with some of the area’s historical sites.

Though fairly easy in terrain, this nearly-five-mile hike means you’ll need good shoes and plenty of endurance. The trail leads to the old fire tower, which has been standing sentry for over 75 years. It’s one of just four remaining towers of its kind in the Cherokee National Forest. This trail is fun for the whole family, and is free to enjoy.

Gatlinburg is brimming with amazing trails, but this is one of the only ones that allows dogs and bicycles. The trail hugs the river’s edge in several spots, and offers views of old chimneys and foundations that are the only remainders of former homes. Trekking this trail in the winter offers unobstructed views of these structures. 

Snow doesn’t keep me out of my playground.

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The reward on this hike is getting to see one of the largest cave openings in Tennessee up close and personal. The hike itself is fairly easy, spanning just over 1.5 miles each way. You can access the trailhead from Sherwood Road in the Carter State Natural Area. South Cumberland State Park features a variety of other amazing hiking trails and natural sites, like the Sewanee Natural Bridge that overlooks Lost Cove. Plan to spend your whole day here to see all the best scenes.

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Best Winter Weekend Getaway in Great Smoky Mountains National Park There’s never a bad time to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but it’s hard to stay away from this amazing place in the winter. From hiking to camping to beautiful 360-degree mountain views, the GSM National Park is the perfect haven for every outdoor aficionado. Here’s how you can make the most of your winter getaway. 

This 16-mile trail is a favorite locale for winter backcountry camping. The trail offers a lower elevation that most of the other trails in the park so it’s not as chilly. Winter is an ideal time to travel the trail because there isn’t much to bar your vision of the area, giving you glimpses of building remnants, old homesteads, and the famed Cat Stairs Trail. 

This trail is bustling with activity year-round, so you’ll want to come early. But the rewards are well worth the effort. The 4.5-mile hike to Alum Cave (which is actually a towering bluff) leads you to some beautiful icicle formations in the winter. It’s all uphill on the way, but the all-downhill hike back to your car is a lot less strenuous.

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This ATV outfitter provides guided tours all around the national park, giving you a chance to get off the beaten path and onto a path of adventure. Excursion times and locations can vary, and you’ll want to reserve your spot ahead of time. 

Tennessee’s only ski destination is also a family-friendly fun haven. Their ski resort features multiple lifts and trails for every skill level, as well as tubing, ice skating, and a kid-friendly snow zone. Their freestyle terrain park is perfect for extreme athletes that want to hone their skills.

Winter fly fishing is a big draw to the Smokies each year. The trout here love the crisp, cold waters, so there’s a strong chance you won’t be leaving disappointed. You can head to downtown Gatlinburg for catch and release fishing in the crystal-clear river, meaning you’re never far from a coffee shop or store where you can defrost yourself throughout the day. Or, set out along the parkway and find a spot on the river to cast your line.

Sipping a frosty brew when it’s freezing outside might be the furthest thing from your mind, but the cozy atmosphere and delicious wings at the brewery will warm you right up. They brew a variety of flagship and seasonal beers on location, and many of the local restaurants serve them. 

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This outdoor store has everything you need for a winter mountain getaway. Whether you’re going backcountry hiking and camping or just planning a day excursion, you can find high-quality hiking poles, backpacks, apparel, and camping gear to complete your mission. The experts here are avid hikers, too, and can point you in the direction of all the best trails.

This long-standing family attraction takes you up Crockett Mountain to an overlook for the best views in the city. The bare trees in winter give you a mostly unobstructed view of Gatlinburg and the surrounding area, perfect for family photo ops.

Touted as the “must do” activity in Gatlinburg, this single-car coaster takes you up the mountain so you can zip down at around 30+ mph. Perfect for day or night rides, kids and adults alike love zooming through the woods and down the mountain to see sights of the city that just aren’t visible from the Parkway.

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This museum is almost too amazing to be true. Wander through the most unique, brain-bending, and dazzling world records set by real people throughout the year. With hundreds of exhibits depicting some of the most astounding records ever documented, this adventure is unlike any other in the city.

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SPOTLIGHT: Things to Do in and Around Fort Pillow State Historic Park There’s more to vacationing in Tennessee than the Great Smoky Mountains, and the state’s abundance of state parks prove it. You don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy a family getaway, especially when state parks have just about everything you need on-site. From entertainment to activities to education and more, a few days enjoying the great outdoors might change the way you vacation forever.

Located about 40 miles east of Memphis, Fort Pillow State Historic Park is a gem among state parks. Created to preserve the area’s importance as a Civil War historic site, visitors can spend the day exploring the well-preserved breastworks and reconstructed inner fort. There are several artifacts on display in the park, as well as museum tours that will tell you everything you need to know about the area. It’s also a prime birdwatching spot, offering wildlife viewing opportunities and camping areas. 

You can explore the former home of “Roots” author Alex Haley. This museum pays tribute to the life and achievements of Haley, along with the movement he created in American culture. There are several items on exhibit, as well as a gift shop and a brief documentary.

#alexhaley museum

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Grab the best burger in town at Kissell’s Kitchen, a down-home family eatery that’s dishing out comfort food and friendly service. They also specialize in fish chicken, barbecue, and their raved-about barbecue redneck egg roll. Kissell’s is open for all three meals, so there’s never a bad time to visit.

If burgers ain’t your thing, stop by the Hen House for deliciously golden fried chicken. You’ll find a little bit o’ everything here, including country fixings, country fried steak, and daily specials. It’s true Tennessee flavor, plain and simple. 

Get to know the local area better with a trip to Lauderdale County Museum. Situated in the historic Sugar Hill Mansion built in 1842, this museum is free for the public to enjoy as they learn more about the history of Lauderdale County.

There are several sites along the western border of Tennessee that make up the Great River Road Trail, including the Riverside Drive Welcome Center and Beale Street Landing in Memphis. These sites (and others) are found along the shores of the Mississippi River and bear historical significance to the state. The Welcome Center features bronze statues of Elvis and BB King, perfect for an Instagram-worthy photo op.

Open for hunting and exploring, the Chickasaw National Wildlife Refuge offers prime viewing for Tennessee wildlife. Ideal for birdwatching, you may also catch glimpses of raccoon, whitetail deer, snakes, turtles, and squirrels.

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5 Cool Spots for ATV Off-Roading in Tennessee In the southern half of the U.S., we value an excellent off-roading experience. With miles of trails, mud, and forests to traverse, you’ll find no shortage of ATV excitement in Tennessee. Whether you prefer adventure parks or state forests, you’ll find something to suit your style with these five awesome ATV off-roading spots in the state.

This state forest boasts a whopping 24,686 acres of space, located 10 miles from Chattanooga. Prentice Cooper is an incredibly popular spot for activities like camping, rock climbing, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and bird watching. There are also roads throughout the massive forest designed just for OHVs, including ATVs and motorcycles. Remember to remain on these designated roads and follow the rules! Roads permitting motorized vehicles are marked with a Jeep symbol. Stay at a steady 25 miles per hour while you’re here and enjoy exploring the beautiful Prentice Cooper State Forest. 

Really need to go back before summer is over...

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This 500-acre off-road park is situated in the mountains of south central Tennessee. The park is “dedicated to creating the ultimate off road experience,” according to its website. There are over 120 trails available here at a variety of levels of difficulty. There’s also a camping space to stay the night, which includes RV hookups and bathrooms. Rates go at $15 per person and children under 12 enter free! 

Novices be prepared: This park is known for having some of the most challenging trails in the region. Across 500 acres, you’ll find 45 trails ranging in difficulty from level 1 to 5. Golden Mountain is accessible to ATVs, motorcycles, Jeeps, trucks, and UTVs. The terrain here varies, from rock climbing to regular trail riding, and you can also expect loose hill climbs as well as technical rock crawling. 

Foxfire Mountain is designed for thrill seekers of all types, not just the off-roading lovers. This park has zip lines, ropes courses, and swing bridges, in addition to their excellent off-roading opportunity. Now, this is a bit different than some of the other off-roading adventures available in Tennessee. At Foxfire, you can participate in a guided tour called the Bear Crawler Adventure of the Smoky Mountains. Explore in an eight-wheeled ATV on off-road trails, ripping through water and zipping among trees. Perfect for those not quite ready to drive their own ATV! 

Covering an impressive 72,000 acres and providing over 300 miles of trails, Windrock Park is an off-roading haven! Riders are welcome to utilize ATVs, side-by-sides, dirt bikes, mountain bikes, Jeeps, buggies, and trucks at this park. If you don’t have your own vehicle, you can rent an OHV right on site! If you’re spent from a day of adventure, you can stay the night at one of their cabins, RV sites, or primitive campsites. 

*Note: Age restrictions, special licenses, and other requirements for off highway vehicles vary from state to state. Before heading out on your OHV, please consult your local regulations.

luckyraccoon/ Thu, 01 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Stunning Foliage Hikes in Tennessee Given Tennessee’s mountain-laden geography, there’s no shortage of stunning fall foliage when the weather starts to cool. People flock to the Volunteer State from all over the country to glimpse the beautiful reds, oranges, and yellows that set the mountainside ablaze with rich fall hues. And when the sun’s heat starts to settle, it’s the perfect time to take a walk through the woods to see Mother Nature hard at work. Find nothing but natural beauty on these five stunning foliage hikes in Tennessee. 

While this isn’t exactly a walk in the woods, this strenuous skyward hike of only half a mile makes up for its length with breathtaking views. A saucer-shaped covered platform awaits you at the top, giving you a 360-degree view of the area. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is well known for its fall color, attracting both locals and visitors from other states and countries each fall. For the best viewing, make your way here during the last two weeks in October, when the fall colors are fully ablaze. Clingmans Dome also offers access to the Appalachian Trail.

If you get here early enough, you’ll have the chance to glimpse some wildlife along with stunning fall views. This 11-mile one-way loop is opened to motorists from 10 a.m. onward, but it’s the perfect scene for hikers and cyclists prior to the onslaught of vehicles. Here you can explore historical sites and preserved buildings from the 1800s, in addition to an abundance of mountain views from the sweeping valley plains. Aside from the loop, there are several hiking trails that wind their way through this park, including the five-mile trek to Abram Falls.

This rewarding hike offers plenty of pleasant surprises as you wind your way to the top of Mt. LeConte. From a refreshing site at Arch Rock to the much-needed rest point at Alum Cave, you’ll have beautiful fall foliage following you every step of the way. The trail mostly aligns with a shimmering creek that adds a nice touch to your photographs. For the best views of the leaves, you’ll want to go the distance to the top of Mt. LeConte, which is upwards of 11 miles one-way. 

Also part of the Great Smoky Mountains, you’ll join the trail at the Low Gap Trailhead near the Cosby campground, then follow it for three miles before joining the Appalachian Trail. It’s a steep, unforgiving climb with multiple switchbacks, but winding your way through the hardwood forests under a canopy of glistening fall color is well worth it. The trip to the top totals about 5.5 miles, taking you nearly 5,000 feet-high.

Over footbridges, past waterfalls, and through the woods you’ll find the area alight with fall beauty. Roughly four miles down and back, hikers will enjoy the stunning views of 60-foot Fern Branch Falls before turning back toward home. All along the way, you’ll have the quiet company of beautiful leaves surrounding you. It’s a great trail for hikers who want a slightly challenging trail, as well as those who enjoy historical sites along with their intake of Mother Nature. 

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ATV Off-Roading Adventure at Adventure Off Road Park There’s no doubt that Tennessee is the place for ATV off-roading adventures. But a good day of off-roading doesn’t mean you have to spend all your time on the trail. There are plenty of epic off-roading spots just minutes from delicious restaurants, shops, and activities that can make for an unforgettable day of excitement. This mini travel guide will ensure your next off-roading experience in Tennessee is one you’ll always remember. 

Fill up your human fuel tank at Harvey’s Pirate Drive In, an unfussy eatery serving up classic breakfast offerings and family-oriented service. You’ll need your energy for a long day of trail riding. And don’t worry—there won’t be any real pirates here to make you walk the plank!

There’s no end to off-roading activities here. This park has been the site for an abundance of large-scale events, including outdoor concerts, festivals, camping, competitions, and of course, trail riding. Inside you’ll find a huge variety of trails for all stages of riding, each equipped with unique challenges. The system creates a complex network of overlapping trails, which means you can make your journey as long as you want. Pack a lunch and enjoy alfresco dining at the picnic area in the park. 

Head back south to Jasper, where tasty food awaits you at Nickajack BBQ & Outdoors. Here you’ll find some of the best barbecue in the area, along with favorites like pizza, nachos, burgers, and fries. And make sure you save room for dessert—their cheesecakes are just as delicious as they look!

Once you’ve eaten your fill, clean up at the Quality Inn & Suites, just off Interstate 24. Every room comes equipped with all the home-away-from-home luxuries you need, including free Wi-Fi and plushy beds. There’s also plenty of large vehicle parking on site. Don’t forget to grab a free breakfast!

Before you wrap up your adventure, head to Chattanooga to visit the awe-inspiring Ruby Falls. You’ve probably never seen anything quite like this in your life. This 145-foot waterfall is underground and located within Lookout Mountain. Thousands of visitors flock to these falls every year to witness their magnificence. Electric lights have been installed around the falls, to make them glow even more impressively. 

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5 Awesome RV Campsites in Tennessee There are few more relaxing pastimes than camping, especially at a fantastic RV campsite. Great sites provide a plethora of amenities that add to your comfort without taking away from the natural views all around. For your next RV trip, consider the following five awesome RV campsites in Tennessee. 

Bear Cove Village in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, offers RV sites and cabin camping all year round. The recipient of the 2005 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, Bear Cove sites include free Wi-Fi, free cable, after hours’ registration, hot showers, two pools, playground, dog park, mail service, a fishing pond, and much more. Good Sam Club members enjoy a 10 percent discount on nightly rates, which differ in price depending on the month. Visit the nearby Dollywood adventure park, Smoky Mountain, and Dixie Stampede Dinner Shows while you’re in town.

The Defeated Creek Park Campground is part of the larger Defeated Creek Park in Carthage, Tennessee, along the Cordell Hull Lake banks. The campground has 155 sites for tents and RVs and electrical and water hook-ups at each site. Amenities include a boat ramp, beach, playground, tennis courts, and an adjacent marina. The lake consists of 12,000 acres and 381 miles of shoreline, with ample opportunity to fish or partake in watersports.

Anchor Down in charming small-town Dandridge, Tennessee, is the recipient of many awards, including Traveler Life’s Reader’s Choice Award, Jefferson County’s Reader’s Choice Award, Good Sam RV Travel and Saving’s Guide Award, and TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence. What makes Anchor Down so wonderful? With over 170 sites in their luxury resort on Douglas Lake, you’ll find a staggering number of amenities, including beach areas, boat ramps, cable, Wi-Fi, full hook-ups, golf cart rentals, paved streets, saltwater kiddie pool, and much more. Rates start at $49 per night and go up depending on what kind of site you prefer.

Cove Creek RV Resort in Sevierville, Tennessee, offers magnificent views of Cove Mountain. Self-styled as an “upscale RV campground,” amenities include gravel and concrete cites, electricity, water and sewer hook-up, luxury clubhouse with free coffee, game room, swimming pool, catch and release fishing pond, resort activities and site ownership opportunities. Choose from nightly or monthly pricing options.

Camp on over 200 acres at Deer Run RV Resort in Crossville, Tennessee. Amenities include access to the 25-acre lake, basketball, beach area, cable, chapel, convenience store, deli, horseshoe pits, lake fishing, lakefront cabins, playground, swimming pool, and much more. Rates differ between full hook-up RV sites and no hook-ups, with daily, weekly, monthly, and holiday options. Military members and Good Sam Club members receive a discount on daily and holiday rates. 

Aleksey Stemmer/ Tue, 30 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Perfect Fall Camping Spots in Tennessee Tennessee’s blanket of fall colors is a national phenomenon that attracts thousands of visitors each year to marvel at the rich red, orange, and yellow tapestry. And there’s no better way to experience these unique colors than up close and personal during a fall camping trip. From every direction, campers enjoy all the sights, sounds, and smells of fall, whether you’re trekking the Smoky Mountains or enjoying a lakeside camping spot on the other side of the state. If you want to enjoy a few nights under the stars, there’s no better time than in the fall. Book your site now at one of these five perfect fall camping spots in Tennessee—it might just make you swear off hotels altogether. 

There’s no shortage of activities throughout the year at this state park, but the milder temperatures of fall make them easier to enjoy. As the state’s largest and most visited state park, guests can explore the multiple waterfalls, trails, and all things nature throughout its 26,000 acres. Campers can opt for one of several campsites, or take the backcountry roads and sleep away from civilization. It’s also the site of an epic aerial adventure course, complete with rope bridges, swings, nets, and zip lines for an above-the-trees experience you won’t be soon to forget.

Rustic and charming, camping at Big Ridge State Park will make you long for the days before the technological takeover. Take a step back in time as you visit the historic grist mill and other facilities that once enlivened the area. The park is dotted with hiking trails ranging from very easy to experts-only, and can give everyone in the family a chance to challenge their own skills. While you’re there, you’ll be able to experience Tennessee’s fall foliage the way nature intended—quietly and uninterrupted. It’s a camping trip you’ll want to relive again and again.

Located on beautiful Center Hill Lake, this sprawling park is home to some of the state’s best wildlife and foliage viewing. Grab your binoculars for an unforgettable bird watching experience, catching glimpses of bald eagles, owls, and hawks. Set against a gorgeous mountainside backdrop, guests can take advantage of the observation tower to get frame-worthy photos of the rich colors of the Tennessee autumn.

Former home to a steamboat landing, this state park nestled against Kentucky Lake makes for a premier fall camping destination. Complete with golf course, fishing, boating, hiking, and wildlife viewing, this state park has everything a camper needs for a weekend in the woods. Turkey, fox, and coyote are known to make frequent appearances. It’s a beautiful spot for a little natural therapy.

Don’t let the name fool you—there aren’t any real frozen heads here. Named for the always-frozen peak in the Cumberland Mountains, campers can set their sights on acres upon acres of unspoiled mountain prestige. Take a walk to the top of the observation deck to get a glimpse of Mother Nature at her finest, enveloped in blazing fall colors that are just begging for a photo.

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10 Best Archery Outfitters in Tennessee Olympic archer or entry-level bow hunter, anyone can enjoy the thrill of this incredible sport. Tennessee plays home to several archery ranges and stores dedicated to helping you get the best bows and other gear to perfect your shot. It all starts with a visit to one of these 10 best archery gear shops in Tennessee. 

This archery training haven has a pro shop on site that specializes in competitive archery. They carry some of the best-in-class brands like Hoyt and Bowfinger to outfit you with all the right gear and accessories. This place is especially invaluable to beginner archers since they offer personal instruction and can help recommend the best products suited to your skill level.

Legolas and Katniss for the day 🎯 #sportysaturday

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The perfect spot for bow hunter and target shooters alike, you’ll find everything you need for a day in the field at Taylor’s Archery and Outdoors. Their fans love them because they almost always have what they’re looking for in stock without having to wait for it to be ordered. And for rainy or cold days (or any other time, really), you can perfect your shot at their indoor range.

Killer Instinct Crossbows in stock ready to go!!

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Middle Tennessee has a huge community of bow hunters, and U Need It Archery is their one-stop shop. Their retail area features brands like Mission, Mathews, and a wide variety of parts and accessories to keep your bow working and looking like new. They also offer an indoor range for archers of all ages and skill levels. If you need it, chances are they have it.

No matter what you need for your bow, you can get it here. You can get your bow serviced while you shop for all the parts and accessories you need. If they don’t have it for you, they’ll get it for you as quickly and inexpensively as possible.

Folks love this family-owned shop because of their dedication to archers of all types. They’re fellows archers, too, and they know what high-quality equipment and services look like. This means you get the best possible experience from your investment, while also helping out a small business.

Here you’ll find some of the best names in archery, including Hoyt, Mission, and Mathews. They focus not just on selling you the right bow, but also providing all the servicing and maintenance your investment needs. If you don’t live close by, they can ship you whatever you need.

Their customers love the reasonable prices and high-quality gear at Bowhunter’s Pro Shop. They build custom strings and arrows give you a truly unique experience that suits your abilities, in addition to a full-service archery repair shop.

Though primarily a gun shop, this place is equally skilled in helping fellow archers pursue their passion. They offer a wide range of bows in all sizes for all ages, along with all the accessories you’ll need in the field.

Archery repair and service is what makes their shop stand out from the rest. When you need a tuning, repair, or accessory installation, even if you didn’t buy your stuff from them, you won’t want to go anywhere else. They also offer bow sales and produce custom strings.

Jenny Stephens next hunt is an Xpedition!

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Once you pick up your new bow or accessories here, you can try them out on-site at their indoor range. This place is kid-friendly too, so you can turn your visit into a family adventure.

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10 Best Bait and Tackle Shops in Tennessee Tennessee’s freshwater fishing opportunities in the state’s beautiful lakes and streams are second to none. Despite not being on the coast, the state offers no shortage of places to fish for some of your favorites. Whether for pure enjoyment or to catch your next meal, you’ll never catch anything without the right bait and gear. Start your fishing adventure with a trip to these 10 best bait and tackle shops in Tennessee. 

This shop is everything that other bait shops should aspire to be. Not only do they carry bait and tackle, they also offer reel servicing and other maintenance to keep your equipment looking and functioning like new. They’ve also got an on-site deli, since fish aren’t the only ones who need to eat.

Jack’s has been a Chattanooga icon in the fishing community for over 40 years. They know what you need to catch fish in the area, and you can find it all at their store. While you’re there, you can stock up on all the extras, like soda, beer, snacks, and your fishing license.

If you’re looking for that hometown service experience, you’ll find it at Jerry’s Bait Shop. The folks here are serving up a heaping helping of southern hospitality with a side of the best bait in the area. They also carry a wide range of other outdoor gear, including duck and turkey calls, bows, and guns.

#sprinker frogs back in stock!

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For live bait in Memphis, you’ll want to make Gator Brown’s your first choice. In addition, you can get your rod and reel serviced while you peruse the shop. They also make their own weights.

Poindexter’s has been serving its community for over three generations. Their fans love them because they always have a large selection of fishing tackle in stock. In addition to serving your fishing needs, you can also count on them for hunting and archery supplies.

This family owned-and operated business has steadily grown its following since the 1970s when it first opened by Big Charlie himself. It’s your one-stop shop for high-quality fishing gear and the best breakfast in town.

A trip to this bait shop means you get the full fishing experience right here—including the fishing spot! Located on the lake, the shop is tucked inside a camping and RV park so you can extend your fishing trip as long as you like.

This friendly little gas station pit stop offers the best bait for fishing in the area. You can fuel up at their deli, grab some extra fuel for the boat, and stock up on snacks and drinks, all in a single trip.

Previously South Third Bait and Tackle, In-N-Out in Memphis has been serving the community for over 25 years. The locally-owned shop provides high-quality bait at unbeatable prices. Stop in for helpful advice and guidance, too.  

Does anything compare to the feeling of a small-town shop? Not only is the staff welcoming and informative, but they’ll also provide you with all of the bait and tackle you’ll ever need for a successful fishing trip. If you’re in the Soddy-Daisy area, you simply cannot pass through without visiting. 

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5 Best Birdwatching Hikes in Tennessee Birdwatching takes serious concentration, planning, and effort if you want to catch a glimpse of your favorite bird species. Seasoned birdwatchers know that time and place is everything. If you aren’t in the right area at the right time of year, you’ll never know what amazing bird species you’ll have a chance to spot. Given Tennessee’s vast mountain regions and varied terrain, the entire state is a prime viewing ground for hundreds of bird species of all sorts—if you know where to look. Take a trip to these five best birdwatching spots in Tennessee and enjoy the views.

The name gives its away—this is Tennessee’s premier birdwatching spot. The park is situated directly in the migratory path of its many visiting feathered friends. It’s also a prime breeding ground where visitors can find many nesting species. Purple martins and tree swallows are among the most commonly-sighted birds, but barn owls, sparrows, and singing birds are also quite popular. If possible, plan your visit for early morning or late afternoon for the best viewing opportunities.

Aside from the Aviary Education Center, this park also features plenty of birding excitement. November through April offers glimpses of wintering waterfowl, including ring-necked and canvasback duck. During the fall and spring, head through the forest along Otter Creek Road and Lake Trail for migratory birdwatching. 

Known for its eagle sightings (there’s even an Eagle Festival!), this park also plays home to migratory birds during the fall. White pelicans, cormorants, wood ducks, warblers, and wading birds are among the most popular denizens here. The park features a variety of habitats to attract a diverse bird population, including a lake and wooded areas. You can catch glimpses of birdlife from the visitor center, but Keystone Trail offers some of the best views. 

Summer at Reelfoot. .eagles

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Dubbed an Important Bird Area (IBA) by the Audubon Society, this area is essential for migrating neotropical birds. Flycatchers, gnatcatchers, warblers, and waterthrush are commonly sighted in the spring and summer months. A number of warbler species can be seen if you climb to the higher elevations of the park. In total, over 130 species of birds have been spotted in the park over the course of a year. Use the park’s variety of hiking trails to enjoy your bird spotting adventure.

I hope I never lose my awe of nature.

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Due to its mix of open flatlands and wooded acreage, this site is a true sanctuary for the feathered variety. Migrating species are commonly spotted here, including thrushes, flycatchers, warblers, and tanagers. Visitors have largely reported great horned owl and barred owl sightings, along with red-shouldered hawks that nest in the spring. Year-round you might see wild turkeys, bluebirds, woodpeckers, kingfishers, and nuthatches, while a variety of other species appear on a seasonal basis. 

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Best Places to Fish in the South This Fall Redfish are starting to move inshore and set up at the mouths of bays, inlets and deltas as their annual spawning run commences. The bottom line for fishermen is outstanding fishing from late September through November in the northern Gulf.

Likewise, bass fishing is starting to pick up again as the weather begins to cool. Huge schools of threadfin shad are starting to filter away from open-water ledges into bays and tributaries where feeding conditions and water temperatures are more optimum.

Bass follow the food, first setting up on ledges at the mouths of inlets and creeks to waylay shad, then migrating back toward shallower water to keep up with their quarry.

Fall Script for Southern Bass

Bass rule in Dixie and cooler weather brings out an army of anglers who go after them. Whether largemouth, smallmouth or spotted bass, they’re available in most waters and sometimes all three varieties are present in a fishery, ready to aggravate or gratify those who seek them.

Hot Spots To Fish: When it comes to the South’s best lakes for fall fishing, the big TVA impoundments fit the bill. Because this is bass tournament country, dozens of YouTube videos and Facebook sites of pro anglers offer useful advice on where and how to catch autumn largemouths. Likewise, guide services are plentiful; just Google “fishing guides” for the lake you’re visiting or type in the town nearest the lake you wish to fish on the interactive map on this page.

Tackle You’ll Need: A 7-foot medium/heavy rod such as the St. Croix Premier Cranking, a baitcasting reel like the Abu Garcia Revo Winch and 10- to 14-pound-test monofilament makes a good combination to fish downsized lures.

Quick tip: This is strictly a match-the-hatch deal. Use lures that are about the same size as wandering shad. If young-of-the-year threadfins are on the bass menu, try small swim baits fished on drop-shot rigs.


Best Lures/Baits: Shad-colored, shallow- and medium-diving square-billed or coffin-billed crankbaits are autumn standouts. Popular lures include the Strike King 6XD, Bandit 100 or 200, Duo Realis M65, Livetarget Magnum Shad BaitBall Squarebill, Megabass S-Crank, Lucky Craft Squarebill 2.5, Storm Arashi and Rapala Shad Rap.

Fish them around shoreline cover and on the flats between creek drop-offs and the bank. Other fallback baits include spinnerbaits like the Booyah Super Shad, Stanley Vibrashaft and Nichols Pulsator. Good buzzbait options can be found from Lunker Lure, Damiki, Santone and Dirty Jigs.

Rendezvous With Redfish

Along the northern Gulf Coast from Carrabelle, FL, to Grand Isle, LA, the redfish season begins in late September and continues in stages through December. Some anglers fish in the surf with cut bait, while others station themselves on area piers or in boats on relatively shallow flats near channel cuts.

Hot Spots To Fish: For boating anglers, a couple of spots stick out. Pensacola Bay Pass is a must-fish for boaters. Anchor up on the broad flat between old Fort Pickens and the channel, set out lines as the tide changes to incoming, and hang on. Need more help? Redfish University Pensacola Fishing Charters (850-748-4368, specializes in the big drum.

At Grand Isle, LA, book a trip with Gotta Go Fishing Charters (225-921-3642, The marshes and inshore waters around Venice, LA, are primo redfish haunts as well. Captain Mike Frenette (504-782-0924, or ( is a top guide here.

Photograph Courtesy of Strike King Lure Company 
Louisiana’s coastal waters are ground zero for the hottest autumn redfish action along the northern Gulf Coast. A variety of natural baits and artificials get the job done.

Tackle You’ll Need: “Rat” reds of 3 pounds and up, or real bruisers weighing in excess of 20 pounds require a range of tackle options. Bass fishing tackle – whether spinning or baitcasting – is perfect for handling smaller fish and for casting jigs or swimbaits that weigh less than an ounce. A Shimano Stradic spinning reel and 7-foot medium-action Shimano Compre rod with 14-pound-test monofilament.

For bigger fish, consider a Penn Battle II BTLII5000 with 20-pound-test monofilament or 40-pound-test braid, and a 30-pound-test fluorocarbon leader. A 7-foot medium-heavy spinning rod (such as the Penn Battalion BATIN1220S70) should handle any bait rigs or lures and wear down a bull redfish in short order.

Quick Tip: Incoming tides in late evening or at night are primo times for reds as the fish free-spawn then in the mouths of coastal bays and estuaries. If you can’t fish any other time, make sure you fish the incoming tides.


Best Lures/Baits: Redfish aren’t particular about their dietary requirements and will eat anything from blue crabs to halved mullet. Swimming spoons such as the Johnson Sprite (, swimbaits and jigs or even topwater poppers, such as the Heddon Saltwater Spook, will elicit strikes.

Photograph Courtesy of Strike King Lure Company Photo By Garrick Dixon Shallow- to medium-running crankbaits probably account for more bass than any other lure in the fall when the fish are on the prowl for shad in feeder creeks and coves. Thu, 11 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500