TVA Opens Campgrounds and Adds EV Charging at Four Visitor Centers
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Flowers blooming and warmer temperatures signal the opening of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s seasonal campgrounds – March 15 through November 15. In addition, TVA is reopening its visitor centers and has installed new solar electric vehicle charging stations at four staffed visitor centers to support recreation, EV adoption and carbon reduction.
Whether you are planning a long weekend or a summer getaway, TVA has more than 80 public recreation areas, including campgrounds, day-use areas and boat ramps across the Tennessee Valley. Most TVA locations are free. Over the last three years, TVA reports increased campground usage. This trend continues with the six TVA campgrounds hosting over 130,000 overnight stays in 2022 at a total of 348 campsites.
The following TVA-developed campgrounds are managed by Vista Recreation and may require reservations and fees for overnight stays.
- Cherokee Dam — Cherokee Dam Reservation in Jefferson City, Tenn.
- Douglas Dam Headwater — Douglas Dam Reservation near Sevierville, Tenn.
- Douglas Dam Tailwater — Douglas Dam Reservation near Sevierville, Tenn.
- Melton Hill Dam — Melton Hill Dam Reservation near Lenoir City, Tenn.
- Pickwick Dam — Pickwick Dam Reservation near Savannah, Tenn.
- Watauga Dam — Watauga Dam Reservation near Elizabethton, Tenn.
Most campsites are capable of accommodating tents, pop-up trailers and recreational vehicles. Each campground provides restrooms, potable water, showers, grills, picnic tables, RV dump stations, and nearby boating and fishing access. In addition to campsites with electrical service, there are a few tent-only campsites with a more primitive set-up. Full details of all camping fees and policies can be found on TVA’s camping website or on Vista Recreation’s website at camprrm.com/.
TVA is a partner in Leave No Trace, and asks the public to review the information to enjoy nature while minimizing your impact on public lands.
TVA Visitor Centers Reopen
TVA will reopen its staffed visitor centers on April 1. These locations were closed due to the pandemic. TVA has eight dams with open visitor centers featuring displays that transport you through almost 90 years of TVA history, tell you about the site you’re visiting and explain TVA’s activities today. The following four centers are staffed with friendly TVA retirees to answer your questions and provide a firsthand experience of the TVA story.
- Norris Dam — located off Interstate 75, Exit 122 north of Knoxville. The center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday through Nov. The visitor center overlooks the powerhouse, Norris Reservoir and a marina. Open April 1 – Nov. 19.
- Kentucky Dam — located off U.S. Highway 62 east coming from Paducah, KY., or west from Clarksville, Tenn., operates 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The center provides information about TVA’s longest dam and the reservoir — which stretches for 184 miles across Kentucky and Tennessee and is the largest in the eastern U.S. Open April 1 – October 29.
- Fontana Dam — located off N.C. Highway 28 near the Tennessee border. Operating hours are posted at the website. The center is also a stop on the Appalachian Trail with a shelter, showers and public restrooms. Open April – October 29
- Raccoon Mountain — projected to reopen in June. Located off Raccoon Mountain Road near U.S. Highway 64/72 west of Chattanooga and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The center’s overlook offers a spectacular view of the narrow gorge below and the river and the Laurel Point recreation area is open year-round.
TVA has also installed free Level 2 solar-powered EV chargers at all locations except Racoon Mountain, which is expected to be installed by June 2023. The chargers will make recreation easier for EV drivers, while educating the public about EVs and how they fit a variety of lifestyles. By 2026, TVA plans to complete its installation of the Fast Charge Network that will place fast chargers every 50 miles along major state highways and interstates. TVA is an EV leader and has helped make the region No. 1 in EV manufacturing and battery production.
Visitor centers close for major holidays and in times of severe weather. TVA’s website frequently posts closure information.