Stretching from the crest of the Appalachians in the east through mid-state cedar glades to the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River in the west, Tennessee offers a wealth of geographic and environmental diversity. One of the oldest states west of the Appalachian Mountains, the Volunteer State is rich in history, and many campgrounds in the book are located at Civil War sites. Author Johnny Malloy guides readers not only to the region's best campsites, but also to recreational and cultural activities nearby. A veteran woodsman and author, he expounds on the area's history or ecology along the way. Whether readers are native Tennesseans in search of new territory or a vacationer on the lookout for that dream campground, this book will help them unlock the secrets to the best tent camping that Tennessee has to offer.
Johnny Molloy is an outdoor writer based in Tennessee. He has averaged over one hundred nights in the wild per year since the early 1980's, backpacking and canoe camping throughout our country. He has written numerous books covering much of the U.S. from Florida to Wisconsin to Colorado and articles for magazines and Web sites.
Many people argue that Dale Hollow Lake is the prettiest lake in Tennessee, if not the South. Backed against the western edge of the Cumberland Plateau, the impoundment is bordered by hills, coves, islands and fingers forming an interlude of land and water that is very easy on the eyes. The lower Obey River Valley was flooded to create this lake on Tennessee's northern border, so far north that it extends into Kentucky, with the Bluegrass State claiming it as part of its own. And who can blame them? Fortunately for us, when the Army Corps of Engineers created Dale Hollow Lake, they also created many recreation areas, and Lillydale is among the best, especially for us Tennessee tent campers.
What makes Lillydale so good? For starters it is a well built and well maintained facility. The campsites are very large and well separated from one another. They are in good shape and campground hosts are on site full time to make sure things run smoothly. But I think the best reason to stay here are the walk-in tent campsites located on an island in Dale Hollow Lake! More about them later.
The balance of the campground is located on a hilly peninsula that juts into Dale Hollow Lake. Descend past the toll house and the expanse of the campground opens before you. Lake vistas are everywhere! The first camping area is on the right and has campsite #1-#16. These are of special note as they are the best of the campsites for tent campers. Shade is limited by young trees. At some of the sites, you park your car then walk down steps to lakefront camps that overlook the water below. Reservations should be made for #8-#15 here. However, bring a sun shelter as shade is lacking. The next area, #16-#46, is also good for tent campers that want to be near their car. It is higher on the peninsula and has many lakefront sites with million dollar views. As is normally the case, the lakefront sites go first.
Excerpted from The Best in Tent Camping: Tennessee: A Guide for Car Campers Who Hate RVs, Concrete Slabs, and Loud Portable Stereos by Johnny Molloy
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