Watauga Lake and the surrounding communities are home to a number of small public and private campgrounds for the adventurer. Campers at Watauga Lake not only have the lake at their door step but in close proximity to many waterfalls, biking and ATV trails, Appalachian Trail and it's spurs.
The Cherokee National Forest Service and the TVA maintain public campgrounds at:
- Cardens Bluff Campground - This 43 site lakefront campground is ideal for family tent camping and small RV's. Full hook-ups are not available however clean restrooms and showers are conveniently located.
- TVA Watauga Dam Campground - A small 28 site campground with water and electric (dump station on premise) is an ideal spot for trout fishing. Located at the tail waters at Watauga Dam this waterfront campground is close to the Appalachian Trail for day hikers or for the casual sightseer.
- Dennis Cove Campground - Located near Watauga Lake and Laurel Creek Falls it is nestled in tall hemlocks and hardwoods with 16 camp sites.
- Roan Mountain State Park - A Tennessee Park maintained campground is approximately 45 minutes from Watauga Lake, a well maintained campground in a park setting and at the base of Roan Mountain with 6000' views of Northeast Tennessee and North Carolina.
- Rustic Camping Pull Outs can be found throughout the national forest and include islands in Watauga Lake for boaters. Minimum stays are enforced by the forest service and TVA for all rustic camping. Known lakefront areas include: Little Stony Creek on US321/TN67, Sink Valley Boat Ramp off of TN167 in Butler and Whitehead Field on US321 near Cable Hollow Road.
Short term campgrounds in the area