Blog for Zip line Attraction in the Smoky Mountains

Located in Pigeon Forge, TN and near Gatlinburg and Sevierville.


Budget-Saving RV Campsites

By Ross Bodhi Ogle
Posted on March 29, 2022

We all know that tent camping is one of the most affordable ways to spend a night in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a person could spend hundreds of dollars per night on an upscale hotel or rental property. For many travelers, however, RV camping hits that sweet spot between affordable roughing it and being able to enjoy some of the amenities of home.

Whether you're driving a 40-foot motorhome or bunking down for the night in a small pop-up or teardrop trailer, RV camping lets you immerse yourself in nature, enjoy a few creature comforts and save some dough in the process. This week, we'll share a few of our recommendations for some of the most budget-friendly campsites in the Smokies. Some are within Great Smoky Mountains National Park, while others are commercial ventures outside the park. But in either case, these are all suitable options for vacationers looking to save a few dollars on camp fees.

Cades Cove Campground

Cades Cove is one of the most popular sections of the national park, and for good reason. With picture-postcard views of mountains and meadows as well as historic structures and adventurous hiking trails, the 10-mile Cades Cove Loop is a one-way route toward experiencing the beauty and magic of the East Tennessee landscape. With plenty of RV sites available among its 190 total sites, Cades Cove Campground has bathroom facilities with running water and flush toilets. However, there are no showers, and the individual sites do not have electrical hookups. That means you'll have to be prepared to boondock it; make sure your freshwater tank is filled before you arrive, and you'll probably want to make a stop at the campground's dump station on your way out. And you'll also need to make sure you have fully charged batteries or some sort of supplemental power source like solar panels or a quiet generator. Recreational vehicles are limited to 35 feet in length for trailers and 40 feet for motorhomes. The price is $25 per night, and pets are allowed. Note that you'll need to make reservations in advance at their website:

Elkmont Campground

This is another of the more popular camping areas in the national park. With surrounding rivers, forest timber, historic sites, hiking trails and picnic trails, Elkmont offers a little bit of everything for the visitor in search of a complete Smoky Mountains visit. The natural setting is so ideal that Elkmont is the location of the Great Smoky Mountains Institute, which is known for its nature and wildlife research efforts. There are 220 total sites for tents and RVs, and maximum vehicle lengths are 32 feet trailers and 35 feet for motorhomes. The bathrooms have toilets and cold running water, but there are no showers or electrical, water or sewer hookups. The nearest sewer dump station is six miles away at Sugarlands Visitor Center, so a stay at Elkmont is a true boondocking experience. Prices range from $25 to $27 per night, and this campground also allows pets. As with Cades Cove, reservations are required. Go to:

Up The Creek RV Camp

This commercial venture outside the national park offers plenty of RV amenities as well as accessibility to the mountains and sites like Dollywood, Tuckaleechee Caverns and our Smoky Mountain zip line and canopy tour. It's designed for RV camping and includes 30/50-amp electrical service, city water and sewer hookups as well as concrete patios, picnic tables, fire rings, cable TV and Wi-Fi access. There are 53 sites total, and prices start at $51 per night. Yes, that's double what you'll pay in the national park, but it does offer full hookups and proximity to local attractions. Pets are allowed.


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