Big Meadow Family Campground
Family operated campground with RV sales, rentals, storage and sites. Rates, policies, map and contact information are provided.
From: US Campgrounds/Tennessee
Date: Apr 21, 2003
By: Thomas Sawyer
My wife and I live in Knoxville TN which is approximately 40 minutes from Townsend TN. Pigeon Forge TN and Gatlinburg TN are both easily accessible from Townsend, so we decided to use it as a base camp for my son’s summer visit from TX. Being able to tube the Little River in Townsend was also a draw for us. So my wife and I drove out to Townsend to scout out the campground locations. We were really impressed with the quality of the campgrounds available in the area and were very excited about the possibilities. We picked up pamphlets for several locations and returned home. We called every place we could find and they were all booked for the week that we needed. We were so disappointed until we found a campground on the Internet by the name of “Big Meadow Family Campground”, so we gave them a call. The lady my wife spoke to said they did have some sites available for the days we needed. We wanted to book a site over looking the river but one would not be available until 2 days after we needed to be there. We went ahead and booked one of their lower end sites with the understanding that we could move once the site overlooking the river became available. There is a price difference between the sites but we wanted to make this visit as special for my son as we could. My wife told the lady that booked our stay, that we had 3 dogs and asked if that would be a problem. The lady assured my wife as long as we cleaned up behind our pets that they were more than welcome to be there. We were so happy to have a place to take my son. He loves anything to do with water so this was perfect. My wife and I took our camper up the night before he was to arrive and set it up in the first of the 2 sites (site 24) that we were supposed to stay in. Upon signing in my wife was given a sheet of rules for the grounds. There are no campground rules posted on their site so this was the first time we had seen this list. One of the rules says “you are not to leave you pets unattended”. I took this to mean that you couldn’t leave your pet tethered outside of your camper. We love our dogs like they are our children and they live a pampered life. There are also other rules like, children are not to slide, skid or spin the tires on their bikes, they are not to ride over 5mph, sewer connections are MANDATORY no exceptions (my camper is self contained, so I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to hook to the sewer). We set our camper up on a Friday night and I picked my son up from the airport the next day. It was rather late by the time we arrived at the campgrounds so we decided against cooking, opting instead to go get some “Hot Wings” for dinner. We put the dogs inside of our camper with food, water, in the air conditioning and headed out. Upon our return we found a note attached to the door, saying that our dogs had been barking. The note said we were not to leave the dogs at any time from that point on. Now I have no doubt that the dogs did in fact bark at some point (they are dogs), but they were not barking upon our arrival at 10:20pm. My wife was upset by the note and by the possibility that we had caused a disturbance. I assured her that we would go to the office the next morning and work something out with the campground owners. So the next morning I went to the office and there was a gentleman by the name of “Greg” at the counter. I laid the note on the counter and he asked me if he could help me. I said that I wanted to see if we could work something out, to which he immediately replied “you have no options, you can either take the dogs with you or kennel them”! I tried to explain to him that we were there to go tubing in the river and a Great Dane that weighs 160lbs would be rather cumbersome, but he again snapped “either you kennel them, or you take them with you”! Seeing that he was going to be unyielding and not listen to reason, I explained that we would pay for that night and go ahead and leave so that we would not to be a bother to the campgrounds any further. He said that was fine, but that there “would not be any refunds of any of our money”! I asked him why that would be the case and he said “you brought this on yourself” (it does say in their list of rules that you will not receive a refund if you are “evicted”, but we were never asked to leave). I told him that we would park the camper on the site we had paid for to save having to hall it back to Knoxville that day. I told him that I would just come pick it up later, on the day we had paid through and that is when he made what I felt was a threatening statement. Greg said “you can leave it here but I will not be responsible for any vandalism and damage to your camper”. Now at no point when we signed in did anybody at the desk make any comments about the safety of our camper, so why (unless he was making a threat) would he say something like that? So my wife packed up what she could, and took the dogs back to our home in Knoxville TN. My son and I moved the trailer from site 24 to site 1. It was a little strange that during the moving of the trailer, several of the campers around us came over to ask us if we were leaving. I explained that we were just moving to another site, but I also took the opportunity to apologize to them for any annoyance my dogs might have caused. Not one of them knew a thing about what I was talking about. They said they had only heard the dogs bark right when we left. The whole incident ruined most of the day, but we were able to get one run in on the river tubing.
We have camped in the TN state and national parks and have left the dogs in our camper with food, water and even air conditioning, every time we’ve gone camping. We have never had a single complaint from anybody. I’m not saying our dogs are perfect by any means (they are definitely dogs). I just feel like a “family” oriented park should have been willing to work with us.
Our campsite (number 1) was right across the street from the playground. I expected noise from there and I was not disappointed. During the day that is to be expected and those kids deserve to play their hearts out. After all it is vacation for them too. We love kids and really enjoy watching them in the campgrounds we’ve visited. But kids making noise during the day is no different than dogs making noise. So why were they trying to require us to stay in the camper with the dogs at all times? They were unwilling to listen to any options but their own. I would have been willing to check on the dogs every 2 to 4 hours, and agree to be back at the camper by a certain time in the evening, but we never got to that part of the conversation.
I would love to tell you to go to their web site and read their rules for yourself, but alas they do not have them posted on the site. There is a reason for that is several are overboard for a business that is supposed to be about having fun.
I felt like, I would be doing many campers (especially with pets) a grave injustice, were I to just let this incident go without bringing it to light for others to see.
Date: Jul 26, 2005
By: Foster Wells
Our stay at Big Meadow Campground was a very plesant one. We found the personnel and the facilities
to be very top notch. We will be staying there again when we visit Cades Cove and the surrounding area again.
Date: Mar 31, 2004