Park: Raccoon Mountain Campgrounds and Caverns became Raccoon Mountain in the 70s, but the Caverns went public in 1931. Its an area with a tremendous amount of history and all of the exciting you can handle. I am not sure of the exact size of the campground, but it seems fairly large and continues to grow, with a new section of full hook up sites going in.
Website: Raccoon Mountain and Caverns
We are so relieved that fall is on its way, finally! It feels like we haven’t camped all summer long. Truth be told, summer used to be “our camp time” but over the last couple of years that has changed. We used to love getting away to the water, beach lake or rivers and the summer temps.
But this year has been BRUTAL. Hot. Just hot. To hot to kayak, to hot for us to enjoy being outside. This may be an “age” thing and I’m not afraid to admit it. But really, there are 3 other seasons that may work better for us, with hoodies, and campfires. Being able to sit outside without melting. Those things really make a difference. We already postponed one trip, from Aug to October. Usually starting in Aug or Sept, it’s all go, go, go until the new year. With birthdays, Halloween thru Christmas, back to school, transitioning the garden for fall and getting a good final harvest (and processing it)…there is just always a lot going on. So mixing in a few camping trips should be fun.
We are definitely excited about this Fall Tennessee trip. I love being in the garden, but its time for a break. This trip is not all about camping though. It’s a requested Tennessee Aquarium trip, so the kids will be with us too. This should be fun 😬
Campground: We arrived after dark. I don’t like to arrive in new places after dark, because you just never know what to expect. We left a lot later than planned and it was just not going well.
Even arriving late, getting in and parked was not bad. We were met at the office with an envelope and our information in it. Our site number, and and receipt to sign. While reviewing our papers, we were greeted by a night time guy. Not sure if he was security, or what. But he was friendly, gave us a ton of info, looked at my ID and actually led us to our site. They escort everyone to their site, which is pretty nice. Takes the guesswork out of trying to figure it out (especially in the dark). I’m very thankful for that, because it was DARK. And from where I was sitting, I didn’t see any site numbers. All the sites were pull through (for larger campers), and was easy peasy to maneuver.
Amenities: Office with firewood, park assist, trash service, WiFi, and cable. We had full hook ups, for the 1st time ever. Most everything important was available by concierge. Firewood, trash and plenty of workers running around in golf carts if you needed something, or had a question. We just stopped them at random. And they were always happy to help. They also have a pool, dog park, and caverns within walking distance. This trip was not actually supposed to be a blog trip, but it turned into because we had a great time. Unfortunately, I didn’t get near as many pictures as I could have. We also didn’t get to the pool sooo…
Privacy: None. Literally none. I’m thinking they had cameras from the guy appearing at the office, I’m wondering where the rest of the cameras could be. This is the closest we have been to other sites so far. For tourist purposes, this was perfect. I don’t think people come here to “camp” and getaway from people. This place is 15-20 minutes away from downtown Chattanooga, and is about the only campground close by.
Dump Station: The map says there is one, but I’m sorry. We did not use it, and can’t really say much about it. Most of the RV sites have full hookups.
Site Specific #114: Clean and maintained. The fire pit was fairly distanced from the “camp area” which was actually pretty nice, because smoke did not blow directly into the camper and set off the smoke detector. I liked the adjustable height grill. Most of the state parks just have the flip over grill that doesn’t adjust. This one was perfect.
Level-ness: Pretty level. Only had to use 1 set of levelers. Nice gravel drive, clean and maintained. Leveling was literally the only thing we had to worry with pulling in, since the staff helped us find our way and where to go.
Condition: Excellent. Most sites had concrete pads, and they really did do the best they could to give you privacy while maximizing available space. I really did not even notice ants or bugs all over. The trash pick up probably helps a lot with that.
Maneuvering: Pull through, super easy. Guided assist. No backing and forward and backing and where are we, how much space etc. There was a tree, that we had to make sure our slide cleared, but it really was a non issue.
Pros: Concierge, full hook ups and pull through sites. Several great hiking trails. The kids hiked up the mountain, and loved it. Conveniently located to Downtown Chattanooga, the Tennessee Aquarium (see my full pictures here) and Lookout Mountain so it made the tourist visits a breeze.
Cons: You don’t get to choose your site. There is no privacy. Tents aren’t allowed on RV sites. But there was not much space for them anyway. They sell their own firewood, and had a quarantine on firewood, but they were low and we were limited to 2 stacks at $5 bucks each. It came out to about $1 per log. To get a nice roaring fire to sit around and chat, was a little difficult. We had to go out and find another local source for wood, but found one on the main road with no problems. It really was a non-issue.
The sites were so close, that I got an uncomfortable feeling. Actually, I think we all did. Maybe it’s because we weren’t used to it, but I felt uncomfortable at first. I was mildly concerned about leaving too much out. The staff golf carts were running around like ants constantly. I suppose you cannot have concierge service without the golf carts buzzing around, but they did become a little much for us. The pros of the staff buzzing around, is that they were always available, and actually eased a little of the security concerns.
At first glance, it seems like a long term, tightly arranged campground, but really isn’t. There are some obvious long term campers, and the sites are very close together, but it works well, and they obviously have a high standard for customer service, That is unparalleled in the state parks we have visited (even though they weren’t bad) and the one other private campground we have visited. The staff seem to be everywhere, but with the services they offer, it makes sense that they are all over the place. Think a restaurant with wait staff.
It’s great for tourist type things, like going to Chattanooga and having somewhere a little cheaper than a hotel. And with the ability to bring multiple people for less than one hotel room AND have a kick-ass fire in the evening is pretty priceless. We spent all day in downtown Chattanooga, went to the Tennessee Aquarium and ate and would have had plenty more to do had we not had to come back to our puppy dog. Who by the way is also much more comfortable in our camper than being in a hotel alone.
The second day, we spent all of our time at Rock City and and the local Winery (Which was a huge disappointment). We wanted to do the Bourbon tour, but not everyone was over 21, sooo…maybe next time.
I really enjoyed this trip, and I think the “almost not kids anymore” did too. It is definitely someplace I would come back to if we were planning to visit Chattanooga.
This trip has actually spawned several other posts, because there is just too much to put in one, and so many things left to do…
What they are doing is working, and they have 4.5 star reviews on Google. They really seem dedicated to high quality service and for just a little more than a state park, it is definitely worth it. All totaled we went about 60 per night, taxes and all.
We have found a great place to stay in the Chattanooga area, hopefully we can find “a lil’ more thyme ” (hehehehe, see what I did there) to come back and visit.