Top Ten Campsites near Nashville and Memphis

Land Between the Lakes

Directions: To access Land Between the Lakes, take I-40 east from Memphis to exit 126. Take US 641 north for 36 miles to Paris. From Paris, turn right onto US 79 and head north for 29 miles to access The Trace, which is the primary road through LBL. A few miles up The Trace is the LBL Visitor Center. Stop here and get a map.

Fees: Rushing Creek Campground is $9 per night.

Information: Call (800) 525-7077, or visit

As a native Tennessean, I was always ashamed to admit to never having visited Land Between the Lakes. Upon my first visit I was not disappointed. The opportunities among 170,000 acres with over 300 miles of undeveloped shoreline bordering Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley are overwhelming. Mountain biking, paddling, and hiking opportunities abound—where to begin?

First, find a place to camp. The best destination for tent campers is Rushing Creek. It offers lakeside camping with hot showers but no RVs. Just nearby is the even more rustic Jones Creek area. More primitive than Jones Creek is the backcountry camping on the 69-mile North-South Trail, a long distance path among the 200 miles of trails. The Canal Loop Area is of special interest to mountain bikers, who are visiting LBL in increasing numbers. The Fort Henry Area, in the south end, offers a mini-network of its own paths that trace the route of Civil War Troops between Fort Henry and nearby Fort Donelson.

Paddlers have no excuse not to hit the water, with 15 landings accessing the two lakes. Numerous bays and inlets beckon exploration and angling. Wildlife viewing is also popular at the Buffalo Range and Elk & Bison Prairie. Historic sites include The Homeplace, a 19th century farm and the Great Western Iron Furnace ruins. Do yourself a favor and allow as many days as you can spare to really get the most of this treasure.


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