8533 State Hwy 73, Townsend TN 37882
Townsend is known as the peaceful side of the Smokies. Although there are some nice local shops and unique restaurants, this area is not as touristy as Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. It is also not as crowded and congested. The KOA is located on one of the main roads through Townsend so it is easy to find but some sites nearest to the road will hear some car noise. The campground is open year round. In fact many campers stay during winter months for winter hiking. The camp store includes a gas station right at the front of the campground. It is moderately stocked with RV supplies and food items. There is a decent selection of snack foods and beverages and also a fried chicken restaurant in the same plaza. There is a laundry facility in the check-in building with a few washers and dryers for guests to use (coin operated). Firewood was available for $5.00 per bundle which they deliver to your site. The wood was average in size and quality. Wifi and cable are provided free of charge. We found the Wifi to be very spotty at best. We heard this was an issue in many reviews we read prior to our visit.
The campground has over 125 sites: 30 amp water/elec. sites, 30 amp full service, 50 amp full-service, back in and pull-throughs, primitive tent sites, regular tent sites, premium sites with paved patios, and cabins (regular and deluxe- some poolside, some creek side). This KOA had a larger number of cabins than most we have visited.
We found the campground to be very well maintained with nice landscaping and high quality gravel roads. There were several workers on the premises attending to the maintenance of the campground. The location of the campground along the Little River was especially nice. We stayed at site #81 which backed up right to the river – very nice! For the most part the sites seemed pretty level and our site was fairly spacious. Some of the premium sites for 5th wheels looked like they might be a little tight. There were a fair number of large trees and many sites were very well-shaded.
Rating: (1-5 lanterns with 5 being the highest)
Some of the cabins are pet-friendly including poolside and creek side cabins. There is also a decent sized pet playground that is fenced but no obstacles or slides. There was ample seating and trees for shade. There are good quality waste bags provided in the play area and throughout the campground. They were very clear with us upfront that dogs were not to be left unattended at anytime but we did not end up having any issues with that.
The pool looked nice (although it was not open during our visit, they were just getting it ready) with plenty of room for seating. The playground was adequate and we saw several children playing. There is a miniature rock climbing wall and during the summer they have several activities for children – hay rides, outdoor cinema, tie-dye shirts, etc. The arcade was good-sized with air hockey and newer games. There are also tube rentals and banana bike rentals on-site. There was no jump pillow (popular at many other KOA’s we have visited).
The basketball hoop was set at 7ft and was locked. We asked to have it raised and they said it was broken.
This KOA is only 2/10 th of a mile from the entrance to the Smoky Mountains – Cades Cove Side. This provides numerous opportunities for hiking, biking and scenic driving. For the history buffs, Cades Cove offers a glimpse of the past with a variety of historical primitive homes, churches and cemetaries from the mid 1800’s. There is also an abundance of wildlife from deer, elk, horses, wild turkey, elk, and the occasional bear.
Across the street from the campground is a 5 mile bike trail – Townsend Bike Trail. There are also numerous tube rental companies for tubing on Little River. We had a good experience with River Rage Tubing – although one of our tubes busted mid-way through. 😦 The river is also great for fly-fishing – specifically good for trout. Make sure to obtain a Tennessee fishing license as they are very diligent about checking.
There are several horseback riding locations nearby. We have tried a few and highly recommend Davy Crockett. The staff is very friendly, take their time and answer any questions and even will take a photo with your camera! Others places charge for photos they take and will not permit you to take photos. The price was reasonable we paid $27 per person with tax for a 1 hour ride. Ask for Josh if you go – he was a great guide. Round out your experience visiting some antique shops and wineries nearby.
There is one main bath and shower house and a smaller shower house located in the main office building by the pool. The main shower house had individual showers with a separate door (which we like). Individual shower rooms seem to be common at KOAs and we like the privacy and safety aspect of this design. You do have to walk to the bathroom to have access to a mirror, plug for hairdryer, etc. but this is a minor inconvenience in our opinion. The showers have ample room to dress, hot water, and good water pressure. While the pool shower house was smaller and not as private, we liked the fact it had a full-sized mirror, a shelf in the shower for shampoo, and more hooks for clothing and towels. The showers were very clean, and well-maintained. They are also heated in colder weather.
Overall Rating: We would certainly stay here again on return trips to the Smokies.
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