By Darryl Payne
Posted on June 30, 2010
The cheerful sound of the birds singing in the trees. The peacefulness of a flowing stream. The breathtaking sights of the mountains and the wildlife that makes their home there. Do you find enjoyment in the sights and sounds of nature? If so, camping in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park is something you have to try. With over 1,000 developed campsites as well as numerous primitive sites along the mountains trails, you're bound to find one that pleases you. Just take a look at what they have to offer.
Types of Campsites
There are four different types of campsites in the park. The backcountry sites offer a truly unique experience in wilderness living as they usually require hiking several miles to reach and are remote with no water or facilities. Here expect fellow tent campers who enjoy communing closely with nature.
Front country camping areas are available for those with less of a need to "rough it" and offer restrooms, cold running water, picnic tables and fire grates. Tents, RVs and campers are allowed in these areas of the park, however, there are no electrical or water hookups. Showers can be found in nearby communities.
Camping with a crowd? The perfect solution is group campgrounds. Designed for tents only and meant to accommodate groups of at least eight people, these areas of the park give ample space for everyone to stake their tents close to one another.
There are even horse camps for equestrian lovers. These primitive sites are a great option for true outdoor living. Tie off to one of the provided hitching post when you're not on horseback exploring the wonders of the Smokies.
While some are open sooner, most camping sites are available from mid May through October.
Tips for Camping
When you're packing for your camping trip here are a few things you must remember:
First Aid – You never know what will happen, so be sure to pack a variety of bandages, antibiotic ointment, and something to clean a wound. Sunscreen and bug repellant are also a great idea.
Lights – It gets very dark in the mountains when the sun goes down, so bring battery-powered lights, along with extra batteries.
Food and Water – You'll need to keep food on ice to avoid spoiling. Clean water for cooking and drinking is also very important. Plastic containers with lids are necessary to keep animals from smelling and being attracted to food. If you're camping at a front country campsite, it is smart to keep food in the trunk of your car to prevent animal access.
Waterproofing – Since Mother Nature is unpredictable, make sure your tent is waterproof. It's also a good idea to have extra plastic to keep things dry as well as plenty of dry clothes to change into.
What to Do While You're There
While you're in the Smokies you'll find plenty of things to keep you busy. The park is full of deer, bear and other wildlife as well as majestic mountains and historic buildings.
There are several hiking trails ranging from beginner to the more experienced that will give you great opportunities to check out the park and all of its beauty. Horseback riding is another enjoyable way to spend your day and witness the beautiful sights of the park.
Would you like the taste of fresh fish for dinner? The Smoky Mountains have over 2,000 miles of streams with most of them staying at or near capacity. That makes it easy to spend the day catching instead of just fishing.
Once you've been to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you'll understand why more people visit it each year than any other national park in the country. With its incredible beauty and the many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, you'll want to make your trip there an annual event.
About Darryl Payne
Darryl Payne is a native of East Tennessee in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. He is a web developer with a passion for building great websites. As a local, he can offer a unique perspective on where to stay and things to do while on vacation in the Smokies. To read his latest recommendations, please click the Google+ follow button.