After a long day exploring the Cades Cove loop I came back to my tiny home rental at the Little Arrow Outdoor Resort. I plopped onto the comfortable couch, lit up the electric fireplace, and watched the fading sunlight through the all-glass front door. Over the next three peaceful days I learned exactly why the Little Arrow Outdoor Resort was one of the best places to stay in Townsend, TN.
Little Arrow Outdoor Resort
Although I had visited Townsend many times over the years I had not yet spent a night in the “Peaceful Side of the Smokies”. That all changed when Sharon Thornton at the Townsend Welcome Center eagerly suggested I head over to the camping resort.
Ten minutes later I pulled up to the office at the Little Arrow Outdoor Resort where I met Carmen Simpher, who owns and operates the resort along with her husband, Brad, her sister, Chelly, and brother-in-law, Kevin. Carmen offered to give me a guided tour of the resort to show me all the options for spending a few nights.
READ MORE: 8 Fun Things to Do in Cades Cove
The eagerness in her voice was accented by the broad smile on her face. As we drove around the resort in a golf cart, she excitedly explained this was their first year owning what used to be called the Tremont Campground. In the past year the four owners had worked fervently to renovate the cabins and restrooms, level the campsites, and update the infrastructure. From what I could see on the tour the hard work had paid off.
The large campground at the Little Arrow Outdoor Resort can accommodate any type of RV or camper and tent campers. The campground is split between two loops along the Little River, each loop with a restroom and shower facility.
The 76 RV camp sites included full hookups that made it perfect for long-term campers. The 18 camp sites for pop-ups and campers included electrical and water connections only. All the sites included a nice picnic table and fire pit.
A good amount of shade from massive trees covered most of the camp sites. Gravels crunched beneath tires of vehicles slowly driving the loops. The camp sites were close, but the little patch of grass in between was enough of a lawn to have some privacy from the neighbors.
Carmen stopped in front of a large canvas tent with a covered wooden deck and beckoned me inside. She unzipped the front “door” and as she pulled the flaps aside I laughed out loud. I’ve seen quite a few glamping tents over the last two years but nothing like that ones at the Little Arrow Outdoor Resort.
The exterior walls and roof were a heavy, waterproof and wind resistant canvas material. But inside the tent it was more like a small cabin. Hardwood floors and rustic wooden interior walls created a solid structure and division of rooms. Black metal door hardware and copper lighting added a nice accent.
The “master” bedroom had a long closet and door for privacy. A separate narrow bedroom featured a bunk bed. The full bathroom included a shower, sink, and toilet. The common space had a long table and a kitchenette with small fridge, microwave, sink, and an electric hotplate.
At a whopping 539 square feet the Luxury Glamping Tents were the very definition of glamorous camping. They were plenty large enough for families to enjoy long weekends and peaceful nights.
The Little Arrow Outdoor Resort had a single-room Bunk Cabin and a few Cozy Cabins, but it was the Premiere Cabins that really stood out. Each cabin had its own identify with different interior styles and furnishings.
But they all had the same comfortable features in common. A large master bedroom with comfortable queen bed. A loft space above with twin beds. A full bathroom. A full kitchen with stove, refrigerator, and microwave.
During the tour of the resort Carmen left me at one of the Premiere Cabins for a few minutes. I couldn’t help but get comfy on the nice couch and enjoy the view through the all-glass wall looking over the deck and across the resort. This was definitely a place where I could relax for a few days, but it wasn’t the place for me.
Of all the lodging options at the Little Arrow Outdoor Resort it was the tiny homes that caught my full attention. The 400 square foot rental units were perfect for solo travelers like me while still providing enough room for couples, small families, and guy’s or girl’s weekend getaways.
After checking in that first morning I drove straight to my tiny home. The covered porch with wicker furniture and plush cushions was already inviting. But then I stepped inside to find myself at one of the best homes away from home.
The long, narrow tiny home had a comfortable leather couch and small armchair in the living room. The room was open to the full kitchen with large fridge, stove and oven, microwave, and sink. A hallway led past the full bathroom and bunk beds built into an alcove to the master bedroom at the end. The bedroom had a queen bed, closet space, and pocket door for privacy.
That first night I played hooky from the normal travel blogger lifestyle and laid on the couch for a couple of hours watching a cheesy movie on the large digital television and enjoying the warmth from the electric fireplace. The next morning, I took advantage of the full kitchen to make myself pancakes and coffee for breakfast. But with so many great places to eat in Townsend I never really took full advantage of the kitchen.
The Little Arrow Outdoor Resort very much deserves the words “outdoor resort” to describe what they offer. The glamping tents, luxury cabins, and tiny homes were just the beginning. I discovered so much more.
The amenity I enjoyed the most was the Point & Feather Coffee Lounge. Anyone who knows me knows I start every morning with excess amounts of coffee. Although I had a very nice coffee pot in my tiny home, I still walked down here for an additional cup of joe each morning.
The Club House was something pleasantly surprising. The recently renovated space featured a large conference table, comfortable chairs, and a full commercial kitchen for preparing large meals. The meeting space would be perfect for reunions, workshops, or travelers with a need for a common work space.
The beautiful in-ground swimming pool would be the perfect spot to relax in the summer, and the covered gazebo overlooking the pool a great way to escape the sun. Fire pits with Adirondack chairs and a nice playset for children added some final touches of awesomeness to the outdoor resort.
But of all the amenities the one that really won the prize were the public restrooms. Carmen waited outside as I stepped into the men’s room beside the swimming pool to discover one of the most elegant bathhouses I had ever come across in a campground. A long stone trough-style sink was fed by water from bronze fixtures, faux wood paneling covered the walls, and the shower stalls featured black fixtures.
I ran back outside and told Carmen I had never wanted to capture a photo of restrooms until now, and then in my excitement and relaxation over the next few days completely forgot. If you happen to capture a great photo of those immaculate restrooms send them to me and I’ll give you a reward!
Why I Will Return to the Little Arrow Outdoor Resort
With a campground featuring full hookups, the best glamping tents I’ve ever seen, luxury premiere cabins, and those fantastic tiny homes, I have every reason in the world to return to the Little Arrow Outdoor Resort, and no reasons not to.
The outdoor resort is one of the best places to stay in Townsend because it features a different type of accommodation for different people. Sleep in a tent, bring your RV, or rent a cabin. Come as a solo traveler, bring the entire family, or have your next reunion here.
It’s the closest private campground to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and just twenty minutes from Cades Cove. Yes, I will return here every time I am in the region. If you happen to be there we can meet for coffee at the Point & Feather.