Camping along the Natchez Trace Parkway is a fun, exciting and memorable adventure. But in the South, the weather is typically hot and humid. Summer nights can be lovely while camping out under the stars, but the days can be brutal with sweltering, high temperatures.
Extreme heat can be hazardous for children and senior citizens, so you’ll want to avoid medical emergencies. Fortunately, there are several measures you can take to get through the heat and still enjoy the outdoors while camping the Natchez Trace.
Campgrounds along the Natchez Trace Parkway:
There are more than a dozen campgrounds, three in the park, and many others just outside the park. The three Parkway campgrounds are free and available on a first come, first serve basis. They do not offer electricity, showers, or dump stations. They are spread out along the Parkway:
- Rocky Springs (milepost 54)
- Jeff Busby (milepost 193.1)
- Meriwether Lewis (milepost 385)
Many of the other campgrounds along the Parkway offer electricity, showers, and dump stations. Check the complete updated list of all the campgrounds along the Parkway for the locations and services offered by private and public campgrounds. Those who are biking the Parkway may be interested in the bicycle-only campgrounds along the Natchez Trace Parkway. (National Park Service)
Preparations you can take to deal with heat:
- Wear cool, loose-fitting clothing around your campsite. Tight-fitting clothing will make you feel hotter. Try lightweight cotton or linen clothes, rather than heavier fabric like denim.
- Since dark colors absorb light, wear clothing that is light in color to reduce your body temperature. Light colors like white, yellow, and pastel blues and greens reflect sunlight.
- Lots of shade will make a big difference in keeping you comfortable. Trees on the south side of your camp area typically offer the most shade, so try to situate in this area to provide relief.
- Leave your campsite during the hottest part of the day and do something that cools you off. Swimming or sticking your feet in a nearby stream will make you feel cooler even once you return to your site.
- Make up your sleeping area with a sheet, and avoid hot, stuffy sleeping bags. Have a light blanket handy in case the temperature drops significantly during the night.
- Set up a battery-powered fan in your tent to keep air circulating.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol since it can raise body temperature. Stock up with water, athletic drinks and fruit juices instead. Freeze them ahead of time if possible. Also, drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated.
This summer, keep these tips in mind and we hope you enjoy camping along the Natchez Trace!