Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory

Recommended Tent Camping Sites for 2011 - TN, TX, UT

Tennessee Tent Camping Trip

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Tennessee offers something special and exciting for everyone. It’s the home of Elvis Presley and the center of production of the cultured pearl industry in the U.S. The “Volunteer State” houses country music’s historic headquarters, Dolly Parton’s signature style of Smoky Mountain magic, and one of NASCAR’s most popular speedways.

Start your Tennessee tent camping tour on the western side of the state. Memphis is the site of Elvis Presley’s Graceland. No other place affords a better insight into Elvis’ private life and musical career than his home at Graceland. The official tour takes guests into several rooms of Elvis’ mansion, as well as the trophy building which houses his vast collection of awards and gold records. You’ll also see an assortment of stage costumes, jewelry, photographs, and the Meditation Garden where Elvis and other Presley family members are buried.

Another Memphis institution is the A. Schwab Dry Goods Store, a multi-purpose store operated by three generations of the same family since 1876. Classics such as derby hats, bow ties, spats, and tambourines are on the shelves at the oldest family-owned general store in the region.

Near the town of Camden, off Hwy. 70, the Tennessee River Freshwater Pearl Farm tells the fascinating story of the years-long process of culturing pearls inside mussel shells in the freshwaters of Camden’s Kentucky Lake. Guests can watch a descriptive video about pearl aquaculture, take a guided tour (by reservation only), browse through the farm’s museum, and visit a jewelry showroom where finished pieces showcasing Tennessee’s official state gem – the freshwater pearl - are sold. There’s even a catered BBQ luncheon available at the end of the tour.

In middle Tennessee’s music country, the nationally acclaimed Ryman Auditorium is in Nashville, off Hwy 70 South. Constructed as a place of worship before the turn of the century, the “Mother Church of Country Music” was the home base of the Grand Ole Opry until the 70’s and is now a designated National Historic Landmark. Top-name musical acts are on Ryman’s concert line-up, and guided tours of the auditorium’s museum and backstage areas are offered. Nashville's Jellystone Park is one of the great Tennessee tent campgrounds to check out in this area.

Nashville’s landmark Country Music Hall of Fame first opened in 1967, and today it qualifies as the world’s largest popular music museum. Noteworthy instruments and costumes, videos, interactive exhibits, and fabulous live performances are all part of a visit to the Hall of Fame.

Also in Nashville, Purity Dairy is on the creamy, cool side of Music City’s action. Purity’s 79-year-old ice cream outlet teaches guests about ice cream production and packaging, and offers tasty samples of the company’s premium hand-packed flavors. Moose Tracks, White Chocolate Raspberry, and Nutty Buddy are just three of many delights. If you like ice cream, don’t miss the chance to pop into Purity Dairy.

Over in eastern Tennessee’s Smoky Mountain region in Knoxville near US-70, candy and shopping enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the gourmet confections, galleries, stores, and Victorian homes at the site of the South’s Finest Chocolate Factory, a company originally established back in 1889. While in Knoxville, take in a concert, evening of ballet or theater production at the historic Tennessee Theater. It’s a recently renovated 1928 movie palace that’s emerged as a center for the city’s performing arts.

Southeast of Knoxville in Pigeon Forge, off US-441, Dollywood theme park has wowed visitors for 20 years with thrill rides like the Thunderhead coaster, authentic Craftman’s Valley exhibits, top-notch entertainment, and the down-home appeal of life and times in the Smoky Mountains.

Located near the border with Virginia, Bristol delights racing buffs who flock to Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway, the wildly popular motorsports complex that hosted its first NASCAR contest more than 45 years ago. The Cherokee National Forest is host to another great Tennessee tent camping site.

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Texas Tent Camping Trip

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With more destinations to choose from than even some countries can offer, Texas truly is a star when it comes to vacation getaways. Boasting more than 260,000 square miles of state to explore, the only real difficulty is choosing exactly where to visit. Rich Western and Hispanic heritages team with miles of gulf coast and then mix with a fanatic passion for a certain sport played with an inflated pigskin to make Texas tent camping something that almost defies description.

Gulf Coast Beaches and Destinations
When it comes to ocean front landscapes, Texans can and do brag about their 600 miles of coastline. Here warm 80-degree water laps onto sparkling beaches as far as the eye can see, while fishermen come in waves (pun intended) to test their angling skills.

For more than 500 years this low-lying island has drawn people to it. Today Galveston attracts visitors to 32 miles of beaches, from family-friendly Stewart Beach along the seawall to the more secluded Galveston Island State Park that attracts campers, fishermen and bird watchers to the 2,000-acre park.

Padre Island
The longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world makes up the Padre Island National Seashore. With more than 130,000 acres of natural coastline habitat, this national park draws beach lovers, wildlife enthusiasts and windsurfers to its pristine shores for some good old fashioned Texas tent camping. Isle Blanca Park is one of the choice Texas tent campgrounds to stay at here.

Rodeos and Ranches
“Yeehaw” isn’t just a cowboy’s call in Texas. It captures the free spirit of the cattle drive and the bucking bronco coming out of the chute. Today the rugged past of cattle and cowboys lives on in Texas.

King Ranch
Larger than the entire state of Rhode Island, this massive working ranch is the granddaddy of Texas spreads, featuring ranch and wildlife tours, a museum and a custom saddle shop that also produces luggage, clothing and home furnishings.

This former staging area for cattle drives now bills itself as the “Cowboy Capital of the World.” Perfectly nestled into the rugged Texas Hill Country, a Texas tent camping stopover here includes several surrounding working and guest ranches, rodeos, a historical walking tour, and even some good ol’ fashioned Texas honky-tonks featuring live country music.

Fort Worth
Not many cities feature a daily cattle drive, but then not many cities can claim the kind of cowboy heritage that Fort Worth can. With the historic Stockyard District, the 110-year old Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, and the world’s largest honky-tonk at the three-acre Billy Bob’s, Fort Worth embraces its image as a “cow town.” It is also home to a few great Texas tent campgrounds too.

History and Heritage
For more than 500 years diverse cultures have lived side by side in Texas and have given the state a rich past and a vibrant, energetic present.

El Paso Valley Missions
This region features several elegant old Catholic missions such as the state’s oldest, Ysleta del Sur built in 1682, and the San Elizario Presidio Chapel, which is still in daily use after standing for more than 200 years.

San Antonio
The first permanent settlement in Texas today celebrates its Spanish roots at attractions such as The Alamo and La Villita, San Antonio’s historic first neighborhood which has gentrified into an eclectic art district, and events such as Fiesta San Antonio. There are also a number of Texas tent campgrounds to choose from here.

Texas - For more information, contact (800) 888-8-TEX;

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Utah Tent Camping Trip

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While in Utah, look for mountains, deserts, colorful canyons, cool caves, natural bridges, arches and a big, bold, briny lake. Visitors coming here for a Utah tent camping trip are advised to keep their eyes and ears wide open so they won’t miss anything, since the "Beehive State" bedazzles guests with a real treasure trove of nature’s richness.

Antelope Island State Park is located near Syracuse between Salt Lake City and Ogden in northwestern Utah’s Great Basin country. Perched in the middle of the Great Salt Lake at 4,200 feet above seal level, Antelope is the largest of the big lake’s ten islands. The park is easy to reach via a seven-mile-long causeway that connects Antelope Island with Utah’s mainland. At one time a hunting ground for explorers like Kit Carson and John C. Freemont, a homesteading haven for adventurers, and a grazing range for domestic livestock, the 28,000-acre Antelope tract was designated a state park in 1981. Animals that currently live off the island’s bounty include elk, mule deer, pronghorn antelope and a thriving herd of American bison. There are also resident coyotes, porcupines, jackrabbits, badgers and bobcats, plus an impressive variety of land and shore-dwelling birds, from raptors and burrowing owls to grebes and California gulls. Besides opportunities for wildlife observation, Antelope Island sits amid 1,500 square miles of Great Salt Lake, the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi River. There are sandy white beaches, glorious sunsets and soothing stretches of saltwater that render swimmers unsinkable. Antelope’s hikers, cyclists and horseback riders enjoy an assortment of roads and trails that provide sweeping vistas of the luminous lake and the island’s rugged terrain.

In the southwestern region of Utah, near Springdale, Zion National Park marks the incomparable connection of the Colorado Plateau, Great Basin and Mojave Desert. The Hebrew word Zion translates as "place of refuge or sanctuary," and this 229 square-mile preserve certainly fulfills its calling. Towering sandstone cliffs, splendid canyons, and the largest natural arch in the world contribute to the majesty of Zion’s countryside. Designated automobile routes lead tourists onto Checkerboard Mesa, along Kolob’s finger canyons, or into terraced high-country. The park’s excellent system of hiking and biking trails introduces visitors to waterfalls, gardens, springs, rivers, and some of the most awesome panoramas you’ll find. For those who’d like to park their vehicles and take a carefree ride through Zion’s adventures, an efficient park transportation system takes the trouble out of touring. Zion also has two great Utah tent campgrounds to choose from - South Campground and Watchman Campground/

Bryce Canyon National Park is in south central Utah near the town of Bryce Canyon. This park hugs the eastern edge of the high-lying, desert-fringed Paunsaugunt Plateau. It’s a special place where thousands of multicolored mazes, pinnacles, fins and spires have been crafted from the effects of erosion on local sandstone, limestone and mudstone. These unique stony formations are dubbed "hoodoos," and are clumped together in U-shaped patterns along the plateau, giving Bryce Canyon a fantastic landscape. Besides admiring the captivating hoodoos, visitors hike, ride horses or drive on a self-guided auto tour of park territory. Wanderers see ponderosa pine trees, fir-spruce woodlands, elevated meadows, surrounding deserts and distant views of three states. Bryce’s air is clean and exhilarating, and its clear, unlit night skies are perfect for stargazing and Utah tent camping. Here, Sunset Campground is one of the unique Utah tent campgrounds in the area.

The southeastern Utah town of Moab is the home base of Canyonlands National Park. This preserve occupies a high desert basin rimmed by sandstone cliffs, and it’s a larger-than-life, naturally occurring tribute to the artistic merits of the mighty Colorado River. Through the relentless movement of the Colorado over vast spans of time, Canyonlands’ tinted sandstone scene has been eroded and layered into tremendous gorges, mesas and buttes. A major source of the park’s geographic variety is the presence of the Colorado and Green Rivers, which swiftly run through Canyonlands, slicing the park into several unique sections. The Island in the Sky district is a good place to begin a Canyonlands tour. This area offers visitors a marked automobile route with lots of scenic overlooks and a nice choice of easy-does-it hiking trails. Sightings of desert-dwelling animals such as spade foot toads, kangaroo rats, coyotes and bobcats add to the appeal of any visit.

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