Best Campsites Near Memphis, Tennessee


Petit Jean State Park | Zack Frank / Shutterstock

Petit Jean State Park | Zack Frank / Shutterstock

Often referred to as “unnecessary”, “weird” and “the best”, camping is something that many enjoy but few know well. And the only way to become a virtuoso at something is to practice it for 10,000 hours (probably). That means you absolutely must get out of Memphis and try these nine places. Take your pick from nearby Shelby Forest, Mississippi, Alabama, and our prettiest neighbor, Arkansas. Whether you need a pristine, secluded campsite or prefer glamping, we’ve got you covered. covered… Like a tent. We are so sorry.

Distance from Memphis: 13 miles, 20 minutes
If you need to get into a tent within an hour, this is the place. Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park is a 13,476-acre hardwood bottom area bordering the mighty Mississippi River 13 miles north of Memphis, and featuring a swamp of bald cypress and tupelo. Most of the facilities are atop the majestic Chickasaw Cliffs that rise from the shallows and are covered with tall oaks, American beeches, hickory and scent gum. The park’s campground has 49 sites, each equipped with a table, barbecue, electricity and water outlets. A modern public bath provides hot showers and there is a dump station for self-contained trailers. There are also six standard two-bedroom cabins located along the shore of Poplar Tree Lake in a heavily forested section of the park.

Tishomingo State Park
Tishomingo State Park | Jason Patrick Ross / shutterstock

Distance from Memphis: 131 miles, two hours and 25 minutes
This is a particularly great place to stop if you are traveling on the Natchez Trace Parkway. Tishomingo offers a unique landscape of massive rock formations and fern-filled crevices not found anywhere else in Mississippi. Massive, moss-covered boulders dot the hills, and trails of colorful wildflowers once border Native Americans. There are 62 standard campsites and seven cabins available. Facilities include baths / toilets, a dump station, hot showers and laundry facilities.

Distance from Memphis: 134 miles, two hours 14 minutes
Want a more personal touch? On the South Fork of the Spring River in the Arkansas Ozarks, near Hardy, AR, the Southfork Resort is clean, well located, and run by super nice people. There are air-conditioned campsites and chalets a few meters from the river without train noise nearby. The campsites are equipped with picnic tables and fire pits. Electrical connections are also available. The public baths have hot showers and electricity. Canoes, kayaks, and tube tours are all available, and there is excellent fishing nearby.

Sylamore Creek Camp
Sylamore Creek Camp | Courtesy of Abigail Austin

Distance from Memphis: 156 miles, three hours
Located right on the shores of Sylamore Creek (swim!), With the high cliffs (cliff jump!) On the other side of the Ozark National Forest, Sylamore Creek Camp is five miles north of Mountain View and seven miles from Blanchard Springs Cavern. The camp offers campsites, RV sites and comfortable cabin getaways. There’s even a sports field and outdoor pavilion, as well as an indoor recreation room (table tennis and pool, sofa, chairs, and big-screen TV) and exercise room. To reserve or obtain additional information, call 870.585.2326 or, toll free, 877.475.4223.

blanchard sources
blanchard sources | flickr / tabman85

Distance from Memphis: 165 miles, three hours 18 minutes
Blanchard Springs has 31 campsites that include barbecues and tables. There are no equestrian campsites or RV hookups, but there is a sewage treatment plant with drinking water. The campground is in a beautiful location nestled in the Ozark National Forest, just minutes from all kinds of fun things to do. Camping, caving, biking, hiking, swimming, bird watching, and sightseeing are all available to visitors to Blanchard. The campground elevation is 400 feet and consists of a loop and spur. There is also the Blanchard Springs Caverns, a spectacular “living” cave – this is a must visit. Then in the same recreation area is the boardwalk to Blanchard Springs – a wonderful spectacle of water flowing down the side of the mountain.

Dismals Canyon Conservatory
Dismals Canyon Conservatory (edited)

Distance from Memphis: 168 miles, two hours 52 minutes
Dismals Canyon in northwest Alabama is a National Natural Landmark. There are cabins, secluded campgrounds, and a country store. The primitive Dismals Canyon campsites are scattered off the main path and have a large bunk. The number of campsites is limited by design in order to maintain the pristine nature of the site and provide guests with privacy. You can’t drive to the campsites – you have to hike. Evening guided tours allow visitors to see the glow-in-the-dark creatures, known locally as dismalites.

Distance from Memphis: 181 miles, three hours
This Hot Springs resort is geared towards glampers. It offers camping tents, camper pitches, yurts and resort cabins. It combines the experience of camping and hotel. There’s a zipline, saltwater pools, pontoon, kayaks, and spas a short drive away. Spring water can be collected free of charge.

Petit Jean State Park
Petit Jean State Park

Distance from Memphis: 196 miles, three hours five minutes
A favorite of the Memphiens, Petit Jean is beautiful with both easy and difficult hikes. There is a lot of scenery including an interesting formation on top of a plateau and a waterfall. The campgrounds have a total of 125 campsites (including 26 transit sites). Thirty-five of the sites – Class AAA sites – have 30 and 50 amp electrical, water and sewer hookups. The 90 Class B sites offer 30 amp electrical and water hookups. For those who do not have camping equipment, the park offers four yurts for rent available year round. Yurts are round tents with high walls with electricity, screened windows and doors with locks. The rental includes cots, a lantern, a stove and a cooler. Each yurt can accommodate up to six people. Call 501.727.5441 for more information or to make reservations.

Distance from Memphis: 203 miles, three hours and 15 minutes
Brady Mountain Campground has fabulous views and has an idyllic location on Arkansas Lake Ouachita (imagine crystal clear water and plenty of fishing, and check out the Geo-Float Trail). The lake has its source in the Ouachita River and has 690 miles of shoreline with over 200 islands. Of the 74 campsites, 57 are equipped with electrical connections. Other amenities include a dump station, fish cleaning station, hot showers, boat launch, playground and swimming beach. It is just 10 miles west of Hot Springs National Park, where you can enjoy a traditional bath or a modern spa with natural spring water.

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Stacey Greenberg is ready to go to any of these places on very little notice. She is the author of the award-winning blog, Dinner with monkeys.


Sally J. Minick