Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Townsend / Great Smokies KOA - Townsend, Tennessee

Townsend is advertised as the quiet side of the Smokies. We know from our family vacations when our children were young that fewer people visited the Townsend side and this made it easier to spend more time enjoying the mountains instead of dealing with the Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge traffic.

We scouted last year while visiting the Smokies for a campground where we could stay in Townsend and decided to reserve a site in the KOA. When we called for reservations, the site next to the restroom was our only choice. We felt that wasn't the best site, but we booked it.

After we arrived and setup Rosie, our 25 foot Airstream trailer, Becky noticed a bad smell coming from the restroom. It was bad enough that we went to the office to see if we could move or check out.

There were a few cancellations and the office staff drove us around on one of their golf carts to see them. We quickly said we would pay the additional fees to get the shaded site along the river.
Rosie along the river

Rosie's site at the Townsend KOA

So, we found ourselves hitching up Rosie moments after setting up in the site next to the restroom and moving to our newly reserved site. The new site proved to be one of the most difficult sites to back Rosie in. It appeared that our site was added after the park was initially laid out and there wasn't enough room left to get into the site without pulling forward and backing in many times.

The effort required to occupy the site was well worth it. We had a beautiful site with a great view of the people floating down the Little River, which was immediately behind Rosie.

Of course, the real reason you camp in Townsend is to visit Cade's Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We drove the 11mile loop around the Cove three different evenings. Suzy, our seven month old Yorkie enjoyed barking at the deer along the road. We stopped when we saw a herd of horses and let Suzy see them up close. She didn't make a sound until she was safely back in the truck. That was when she bravely started to growl at the horses.

Cades Cove

The loop road in Cades Cove

Horses in Cades Cove

Speaking of Suzy, we were amazed at how quickly everyone seemed to learn her name. People passing us on walks would call Suzy by name and someone in a passing truck yelled out, "Hey Suzy!"

The mountains around Cades Cove

A deer in the Cove

A cabin in Cades Cove

We ventured into Gatlinburg one afternoon for lunch. The constant crowds and traffic problems reaffirmed that our decision to stay "on the quiet side of th Smokies" was best for us.

Here are some specifics about this park:
  • Our site had 20, 30 and 50 amp electrical service.
  • Our site had water and sewer connections.
  • Our site had a cable TV connection that delivered 40+ analog signals.
  • The park had Wi-Fi service. It was very slow and easily overwhelmed during the evenings.
  • We were amazed at the size of the KOA staff working in the park. Any problems were quickly resolved by their staff. For example, we mentioned that we smelled a bad odor coming from the bathhouse. Plumbers were there the next day fixing the problem.
  • There are multiple pricing tiers at this park. We paid a premium price for our site on the water. Having made that point, we plan to reserve our site again the next time we visit the Smokies.
  • While it would be difficult to chisel in an additional site for campers in this park, we welcomed that there was some room between campsites and most sites had shrubs or some other feature separating them.
I have expressed my disappointment in several KOA campgrounds in the past. The Townsend / Great Smokies KOA is well worth visiting because it delivers on the idea of being an above average family-oriented campground. We enjoyed camping in this KOA park.

Suzy learning she can swim, but prefers not to.

Becky and Suzy outside Rosie

Suzy in the truck

Suzy in the Townsend KOA Campground

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