10 Great Family Vacations in Tennessee if You're on a Budget

A cabin in the forest | © Unsplash/Pexels
A cabin in the forest | © Unsplash/Pexels
Are you looking to take a family vacation in Tennessee, but don’t want to spend a fortune? These options are fun, family-friendly and affordable. Whether you prefer to stay outdoors or indoors, are adventurous or laidback, these places will provide what you need to have an enjoyable trip with your family.

Mousetail Landing State Park camping, from $11/night

The main campground at Mousetail Landing State Park is Spring Creek, which is a 21-site campground on the banks of the Tennessee River. It has a laundromat, a modern bathhouse and water/electricity hookups for most of the campsites. There is also a nearby dump station, picnic tables and grills. Tennessee State Parks asks that campfires be made with heat-treated wood in order to protect the trees and forests from disease. Certified heat-treated wood is available to purchase from vendors in the campground area and is marked with a state or federal seal.

Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel, from $134/night

What started as a choo choo train on the Cincinnati Southern Railroad is now a historic hotel in Chattanooga. It was the first wood-burning train to provide non-stop service from Cincinnati to Chattanooga. After two $4 million renovations in 1973 and 1989, the hotel expanded to include new restaurants and music venues. Each of the train car rooms in the hotel have queen size beds, flat screen televisions and high speed wireless internet access. Some of the rooms also have options for daybeds with trundles. In 1974, the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel made it on the National Register of Historic Places.

#pullmantraincar #choochoohotel

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Nolichucky Gorge Campground and Cabins, from $12/person

There are tent camping, camping cabin and cozy cabin options at Nolichucky Gorge Campground. Located in east Tennessee two hours north of Knoxville, the site is just off the Appalachian Trail and is a short drive from Asheville, North Carolina. Enjoy a hot shower in the public shower house, or take advantage of the cabin amenities like screened in porches, private bathrooms and electricity. The camping cabins are closed for winter and the cozy cabins require a two night minimum stay on Fridays and Saturdays. Area recreational activities available include fishing and hiking, with eight miles of whitewater rapids for tubing down.

Tellico Plains Cabins, from $75/night

Just a short drive from Great Smoky Mountains National Park and not far from the Cherokee National Forest, Tellico Plains Cabins are privately owned and located in the town of Tellico Plains. Each cabin has a private hot tub, a stone electric fireplace, a full kitchen, wireless internet access and a high definition flat screen television. There are five log cabins, which can accommodate up to six guests each. There are 12 nearby waterfalls, mountain views and a scenic drive along the Cherohala Skyway.

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Smoky Mountain Premier RV Resort, from $54/night

The newly constructed Smoky Mountain Premier RV Park is located in Cosby, Tennessee, not far from Gatlinburg and Dollywood theme park. All sites at the park have full hook-ups and can accommodate either a pop-up camper or a large motor coach. The 16-acre park has hiking trails that lead into Great Smoky Mountains National Park just across the gravel road. On-site amenities include a pool with a sun deck, a playground, golf cart rentals, laundry facilities and a fitness room.

vintage RV camper / (c) Pixabay

Eagles Ridge Resort, from $140/night

Offering cabins perfect for families, Eagles Ridge Resort is just minutes from downtown Pigeon Forge, about a mile from Pigeon Forge Parkway. Cabins range in size from one to nine bedrooms and feature fully equipped kitchens, stone fireplaces and high ceilings. The resort offers guests wireless internet access, hot tubs, game and theater rooms, jacuzzis and pet-friendly options for some cabins.

Loretta Lynn’s Ranch, from $20-$125/night

With options for families that include both tent camping and cabins, Loretta Lynn’s Ranch is in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. Cabin options for families include a queen size bed, living room, a small kitchenette and a pull out sofa as needed. Cabins include sheets, towels, a small refrigerator and microwave, television and an enclosed shower bath. Hurricane Creek runs through the ranch, where visitors can kayak, canoe or go tubing. The ranch is also home to the Coal Miner’s Daughter Museum, the Native American Artifact Museum and Loretta’s Plantation Home, which are available at an additional cost.

"Home" for the next couple days #cabinlife #lorettalynnranch #tn #yeehaw #getoutside #tmmr2017

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Imagination Mountain Campground Resort, from $42-$70/night

With both RV sites and cabin rentals available, Imagination Mountain Camp Resort is located in Gatlinburg, inside the Smoky Mountains. Each campsite allows for one vehicle, two adults and two children, complimentary trash pick-up, cable television and wireless internet. Additional site features include mini golf, karaoke nights, an outdoor movie theater and a heated pool during the summer months.

Black Bear Resort, from $15-$190/night

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Fire pit at campsite
Fire pit at campsite | © SeppH/Pixabay
In Hampton, Tennessee is Black Bear Resort, which features several different options for families. The resort has 23 campsites with a picnic table and fire pit. Three of the campsites are located along the trout stream, which is a nice choice for those who enjoy fishing. There are cottages, cabins and a bunkhouse as well. These accommodations can sleep between three and 12 guests, allowing room for families big and small. Each lodging option features different amenities. Some of the features include full kitchens, living rooms, bunk beds, laundry and dining rooms.
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Ballyhoo Family Campground, from $25/daily

Lifelong Crossville residents Stanley and Doris Watkins are the owners of Ballyhoo Family Campground, which is situated on the Cumberland Plateau. The campsites are set in a quiet country area among trees and open fields. There are pull-thru sites available, as well as shaded tent sites and log cabins. A pond allows for fishing, a playground is available for children and there are places to play volleyball and badminton. Laundry facilities are open 24/7 and wireless internet is also available. Local attractions, both seasonal and year round, include the Crossville Flea Market, Ozone Falls Natural Area, Stonehaus Winery and Autumn Acres Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch.