Over Father’s Day weekend, we went camping at Bledsoe Creek State Park in Madison, TN, and while it was incredibly HOT (90-100 degrees and HUMID every day), it was a nice extended weekend. It felt like we had literally just gotten back from camping at Dale Hollow, seeing as we did that trip over Memorial Day weekend, but since we don’t have one big vacation planned this year, it’s easy to do multiple mini trips such as these.
What Happened and What We Did
We camped at Bledsoe Creek from Thursday-Sunday. When we arrived on Thursday, it was the hottest day of the entire trip. This is the day that the high registered at 100 degrees. We arrived, got a few things unloaded, and decided to tackle the tent. Since we only had a few weeks between camping trips, we remembered the tricks to the tent, so it went up faster than last time. We also got the rainfly on immediately, and had better tent stakes this time. Good thing, because we did have a rain blow through after setting up the tent, but thankfully it wasn’t a thunderstorm this time… just a good ‘ol summer rain.
We were so thankful that we had tree coverage on our site. It’s amazing the difference trees can make when it’s 100 degrees outside. It was also nice to have a riverfront campsite again, with direct access to the river from our site. This ended up being one of our favorite places to camp. The grounds are beautiful and well kept. The trails are actually nice and not dangerous. We ended up writing down some site numbers we’d like to try next time… meaning we intend to go back!
We spent time just lounging at the site and walking along the river. We also took Zoey on the street a few times to ride her scooter. We found a loop that she fell in love with and would ride her scooter down faster than we liked, but she was all padded up and ready to take it like a champ. That loop is where we want to camp next time. It’s on the river and into the woods, and it has a nice area in the middle of the loop for playing bocci ball. We intend to make it happen!
- Friendly Wildlife. Bledsoe does such a great job preserving and protecting its wildlife, and it shows in how the animals behave around people. The deer were everywhere and not afraid of us at all. They kept a safe distance, but they were happy, wagged their tails, and just walked around like it was no big deal. We even got to see some of the campground workers feeding one on our drive in. Just make sure you watch out for deer poop – it’s everywhere!
- Trails. Unlike Dale Hollow, Beldsoe actually kept up with their trails, including the riverside trail. It was beautiful and we walked it multiple times. It was 3/4 mile from our site to the playground, so doing that a few times was a nice change of scenery. It was shaded and cool.
- Great Playgrounds. The playgrounds were really nice! We took Zoey a couple of times and she really enjoyed playing to burn some energy. They had some different equipment that we hadn’t seen before, so that made it extra fun for her.
- Wood and Ice Sold on Site. I really think all campgrounds should do this, but unfortunately not all do. It’s nice to be able to go pay $5 on site for some wood and $3 for ice. The less you have to leave the grounds, the better.
- Free Activities. We didn’t take advantage of the list of activities they offered, but it was nice to know that we could take Zoey to make smores with other kids in the campgrounds, or take her to see a wildlife show, or a scavenger hunt. The State parks like to offer these activities and they are greatly appreciated.
- Nowhere to Swim. It’s always frustrating to have water access that you can’t enjoy unless you have a boat or are fishing. We had to drive 20 minutes away to access a makeshift beach on Old Hickory Lake, and it was fun, but it would have been better if we could have stayed on campus to swim.
- No Hook Poles Provided. Some campgrounds provide hook poles that critters can’t climb well, and it makes for a nice place to hang your trash or towels to dry. Bledsoe doesn’t provide that so you have to rely on trees for hanging things. Which brings me to my next point…
- Crazy Squirrels. Because people feed the wildlife, the wildlife thinks it owns all of your stuff. If you have even a sniff of food nearby, the squirrels will tear into it. We had some squirrels steal full-size chocolate bars in broad daylight, wrappers and all. They tore holes into my zipped up pop-up trash can, and destroyed the zipper on my brand new cooler bag. I was not happy. They would come back while I was cooking and just walk right up to me expecting food. Sorry squirrels, I’m not into entitlement and handouts!
Overall, we really enjoyed Bledsoe Creek and fully intend to camp there again. Although next time, I may spray some red pepper around to deter the squirrels…
Squirrels are punks.