The Absolute Best Camping Near Chattanooga

Written by Crystal
Published: September 9, 2022
© iStock.com/benkrut
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national parks in tennessee
Chattanooga, Tennessee has some of the most scenic views.

©Karen Culp/Shutterstock.com

Where’s the best camping near Chattanooga Tennesse?

Chattanooga, Tennessee, was nicknamed the scenic city for a reason. The city’s location between the Cumberland Plateau and the Appalachian mountains provides breathtaking views. Imagine how you’d feel, looking out across miles and miles of the wild outdoors.

In addition to beautiful views, there’s also plenty to do! In Chattanooga, outdoor enthusiasts can take their pick of hiking trails, kayak routes, mountain biking loops, and campsites. However, with so many different campgrounds, it can be tricky to find the perfect one. To help make things easier for you, we’ve created this short camping guide!

Where should you set up camp in Chattanooga, Tennessee? Read on to find out.

Chester Frost Park Camp Sites

A dog in a sweater and a hat camping
Chester Frost Park campgrounds in Chattanooga are dog friendly.

©iStock.com/Photoboyko

Right outside of Chattanooga in Hixson, Tennessee, you’ll find Chester Frost Park. The location offers year-round camping to rest on the banks of Chickamauga Lake. There are a total of 228 dog-friendly recreational campsites, which include spots with utilities and primitive campsites.

There are also sites set up for RV camping. You’ll also choose between a scenic waterfront campsite or a more cozy inland spot.

The minimum stay for select waterfront and inland campsites is 7 nights, with a maximum stay of 14 nights. However, certain inland spots have a maximum stay of 28 nights. Other campsite amenities include a boat ramp, dump station, laundry facilities, and fishing piers. There are a ton of fish species in Tennessee, so bring a variety of bait.

There are also showers, restrooms, playgrounds, and wi-fi. While there isn’t a lifeguard on duty, swimming is available at the beach.

To camp in Chester Frost Park, you must be at least 18 years old and have motorized transportation. There are also strict campground rules you’ll need to abide by. For instance, tents should never be set up on the grass except for primitive and overflow sites.

Finally, bring a pair of binoculars. Over the last 30-45 years Chattanooga has had an increase in its Sandhill Crane population. They’re a fun species of bird to observe in the wild!

Campground Details228 Recreational Campsites
Waterfront, Inland, Primitive, and Utility Sites
50/30 amp breaker for all electrical sites
Reservation Required
Pricing and Availability Vary
AmenitiesSwimming Area By Beach
Chester Frost Park Campgrounds

Raccoon Mountain Caverns and Campground

Bonfire
Raccoon Mountain Caverns offers year-round campsites.

©iStock.com/Dmytro Aslanian

Next on our list for the best camping near Chattanooga Tennesse, we have Raccoon Mountain Caverns and Campground. A location that offers year-round camping. The campgrounds provide full-service RV sites, water and electric sites, and primitive sites. There are also multiple cabins available on site for rental.

You must be 21 years or older to reserve one of the Raccoon Mountain cabins. Their largest log-style cabin is right around 12×31 ft. It features a one-bedroom with a flat-screen TV and a full-size bed.

The other bedroom has a set of bunk beds! The rental cabin provides the perfect setup for bringing the whole family. Ensure you get your pots and pans because kitchenware isn’t offered in the cabins.

Of course, if you want a more traditional camping experience, primitive sites have a lot to offer. Campground amenities include bathhouse facilities with private showers and a 24-hour laundry facility.

There’s even a fitness center and an enclosed dog park. On-site activities include Raccoon Mountain Caverns cave tours and a newly renovated saltwater pool.

There are also hiking trails and swinging bridge trails. The best nearby amenities include Hunter Art Museum, Chattanooga Zoo, and stunning waterfalls like Ruby Falls.

The campsite is only one mile from Raccoon Mountain Pump Storage Facility Reservoir, gorgeous lakes, and hiking trails. Walmart Supercenter, restaurants, and interstate access are only one and a half miles away.

Campground DetailsReservation Required
Primitive, RV, and Cabin Rentals
Alcohol permitted on site
Cabin check-in is at 3 p.m EST
Campsite check-in is at 12 p.m. EST
AmenitiesRaccoon Cavern Cave Tours
Saltwater Pool
Racoon Mountain and Caverns Campground

Williams Island Blueway Camping

European Beachgrass (Ammophila arenaria)
William Island Blueway offers free island camping.

©iStock.com/Edda Dupree

Are you looking for the best camping near Chattanooga Tennesse, that’s also free? Then you should check out the primitive sites at William’s Island Blueway camping. The campgrounds feature 8 free campsites. However, you’ll need a boat to access them.

There’s a public access dock directly across the island’s west side. The first three campsites have picnic tables, fire rings, and elevated platforms. The sites range from 100 yards to half a mile from the trailhead.

The group camping sites only have camping platforms, but there aren’t any fire rings. Campsites work on a first-come, first-serve basis. You can make reservations online, and you won’t have to pay anything! Just make sure you pack rain gear since Tennessee is one of the wettest States around.

The maximum stay for William Island Blueway camping is 10 days. Consecutive reservations will need at least a 7-day buffer between them. There’s also an 8-camper maximum rule per site.

The free campsites require a permit, but it’s easy to get. All you have to do is fill out an online form one business day before you plan on camping. You’ll receive a confirmation email that can work as your camping permit.

The campgrounds aim to provide free access to an exciting nature experience. Tennessee understands how important it is for its community to explore the lakes and campgrounds.

Campground DetailsReservation Required
8 Free campsites
Only accessible by boat
10-day maximum stay
Permit required
AmenitiesOrganic Farm and Cattle on Williams Island
Williams Island Blueway Camping

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Chattanooga, North America, Tennessee, USA, Night
© iStock.com/benkrut

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About the Author

Crystal is always looking to learn more, and share her finds with you along the way. It's amazing how you can spend your entire life living with plants and animals, but still know so little about them! Let's explore our world together as Crystal covers topics about creatures, places, and experiences.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Where is a dog friendly place to camp in Chattanooga?

Right outside of Chattanooga in Hixson, Tennessee, you’ll find Chester Frost Park. The location offers year-round camping to rest on the banks of Chickamauga Lake. There are a total of 228 dog-friendly recreational campsites, which include spots with utilities and primitive campsites.

Where is a free place to camp near Chattanooga?

Are you looking for the best camping near Chattanooga Tennesse, that’s also free? Then you should check out the primitive sites at William’s Island Blueway camping. The campgrounds feature 8 free campsites. However, you’ll need a boat to access them.

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