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Author Topic: Natchez Trace Parkway - TN, AL, MS  (Read 438 times)
2 Frazzled
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« on: April 11, 2014, 03:45:34 pm »

We are wandering the Natchez Trace Parkway and it is very nice. They have three campgrounds along the parkway that are free. There are no hookups but they have a water spigot to fill your tanks, flush toilets (no showers) and each site has a picnic table and shared trash can. They have a camp host on site and post the ranger's number if you have any problems. You pull in, pick a site and set up. No registration, nothing. Some are level, some not so much. I spoke with a local and he said campgrounds hardly ever fill up. We are in the Merriweather Lewis site right now and it is mostly empty. We've seen quite a few rigs from Quebec as the French Canadians head back north. It's fun hearing the copilot yelling at the driver in French. The arm waving is the universal language and your brain gets to translate the words creatively (unless you know French, then you are stuck with reality).

If you are in this area and want a laid back boondocking experience, these campgrounds should do it. They limit you to 14 continuous days at each campground with a total limit of 30... I assume per season or year. There is a town with KOA and private campgrounds nearby if something goes wrong and you need to bail on the boondocking. The scenery and overlooks are not as spectacular as the BlueRidge Parkway but the rolling hills of Tennessee are very pretty with farms and meadows, cows and sheep and a few little waterfalls to see.

The website is: http://www.nps.gov/natr/index.htm  NOTE: there is a Natchez Trace Scenic Trail (with advisories on the website) that you can hike on. We are on the beautiful paved parkway watching spring pop out.

 
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« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2014, 11:33:08 pm »

What a great suggestion.  I followed your link and we are already talking about and excited about a new trip.  Looks like something we can do leisurely from SC in just over a week.  Thanks for the information and post some pics if you can!
Rose
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« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2014, 06:37:45 am »

We have stayed at that KOA on the Natchez Trace. Bad. Bad. Avoid it. The only KOA Id never stay at again.
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« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2014, 09:17:55 am »

Not a fan o KOA in general.  Typically more expensive and we just prefer state parks and COE campgrounds.  2frazzled was camping for free.  Free is good! Grin
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BuffaloRose
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« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2014, 03:21:53 pm »

A few items of note on the Natchez Trace:
1) there is no Verizon signal at the Rocky Springs Campground. There is no AT&T signal there either but our neighbors were able to drive to the top of the hill and use their AT&T phone to check weather. Our Verizon pretended to have coverage but never made it to a functional state. The other two freebie campgrounds Meriwether Lewis and Jeff Busby had good Verizon signal.
2) Tishomingo State Park is right on the trace and we stayed there as well as staying the free sites. It was nice but we did get power surges on occasion so use a power manager there. Sites are very level and most are right on the lake. There's a large goose that comes to dinner. Camp fee was 18/night for water electric and they might have a senior discount.
3) The trace is apparently in tornado alley. We had bad storms yesterday and tornadoes touched down within 60 miles of us north and south and within 10 miles to our east. We were in the cinder block restrooms at the time (with the cat and the rest of the campers). Word to the wise, carry a weather radio.
4) The campgrounds are weird with overlapping pull through sites or two or three sites per pull through. Sometimes you have to get out and walk and look at where the picnic tables and fire rings are to figure out if there is a site open. None of the three have been full while we were in them. All three have flush toilets and potable water spigots.
5) There is a good local owned restaurant in Eupora about 10 miles from the Jeff Busby campground - Central Service Grill. Good BBQ, good hand scooped ice cream milk shakes, good service and decent prices.
6) It is my opinion that the Trace is a beautiful drive but not necessarily a "destination". There are little towns near the trace to explore as well as bigger cities to play in but most of the pull offs on the Trace are exactly that, pull offs with a sign telling you what used to be there. It is a beautiful drive on a nice road through the woods. They refer to the "view shed" which shows they work hard to keep everything you see "bucolic" - if there is an industrial area nearby, you won't see it, they planted trees. We enjoyed some of their short nature trails and read most of the signs. We also ventured off to Shiloh, Vicksburg, Jackson, Natchez, Florence/Tuscumbia/Muscle Shoals AL (Helen Keller Birthplace, Frank Lloyd Wright House, etc) and little towns like Cherokee (The Coon Dog Cemetery - look it up) and into Eupora for food. Time on the trace is driving, camping in the quite woods or getting off the trace to tour. We are good with all of the above.
7) It is listed in "The Most Scenic Drives in America: 120 Spectacular Road Trips" from Reader's Digest. An interesting book with just enough tidbits on each of the road trips to get you going but definitely not in depth. You have to go explore on your own.

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« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2014, 03:46:10 pm »

We were wondering where you guys were---those tornadoes are scary. I would rather have a hurricane, at least you know they're coming. Stay safe.

Judi
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