Sometimes, you just get this impulse to go camping with no prior preparation. It is hard to find a last-minute location. Fortunately, when you live in The Scenic City, finding a place to do outdoor activities is not difficult. So my last-minute plans turned into my Chester Frost review. It was somewhat an adventure, but how adventurous can it really be in an RV campground? It turns out that it can be…
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Chester Frost Background
Chester Frost is a municipal park in Hixson, Tennessee. It is surrounded by Chickamauga Lake and Dallas Bay, both of which are actually the Tennessee River.
Chester Frost Park features the following:
- Kayak & paddleboard rentals
- Picnic shelters
- Boat ramps with parking
- Electricity and water hookups
My Chester Frost Adventure
My original plan for this week was to try out my changes to the “Sequoia-tel” at Skull Island. I did a quick drive by and changed my mind. I am sure Skull Island was great in its heyday, but it looks like a homeless camp these days. TVA should be ashamed and do something to change that. It has so much potential.
I knew Chester Frost Park was in good condition because I have rented kayaks there from Rock Creek. So, I made a snap decision, at 5pm, to camp there for the night on the water. Fortunately, their online registrations will allow you to make a reservation on the same day you plan to camp. Reserve America blocks registrations that are within a couple of days of arrival; so this was a refreshing change.
After quickly throwing some clothes in a backpack, I arrived at the park at 6:45. It was just in time for a beautiful sunset over Dallas Bay. I chose a site at the apex of Dallas Island for just this reason. Turns out, I still had no idea how awesome it was going to be. Instead of cooking dinner before it got dark, I just sat there taking in the view.
Once the sun was finally finished with its show, I completed the small amount of set up that my new car camping configuration requires. Open the back door, pull out my zero gravity chair, and turn on a lantern. That is all it takes now and because it stays in my SUV at all times, I only have to grab my backpack with my getaway clothes to get ready to leave. If the weather or campsite requires it, I do have a tarp, poles, stakes, and guy lines to set up an awning. The weather for this trip was so nice and the site was so shady that the awning wasn’t needed.
See “Do You Need Ultralight or Ultrafast?” for more information on the setup.
The Real Adventure Part
After getting that small number of essentials completed, dinner was the next order of the day. I made Mountain House Chicken & Mashed Potatoes. I didn’t completely follow the directions because I didn’t care if the two were mixed together. They were quite delicious and I ate them with a tortilla on the side.
Apparently, I was not the only one that thought it smelled delicious. I could hear one of my neighbors dogs snuffling around my camp. It actually came up under my table and rubbed past my leg. I must have been sitting there too quietly because the dog was clearly startled by the contact and skittered to the edge of the camp pad. I grabbed my phone for a flash photo in the dark. The photo below is my cute little camp dog that I, thankfully, did not pet on his way by.
Settling in for the Night
After cleaning up the campsite and myself, I hopped inside the SUV and put in the Reflectix shades I made for the windows. My new solar-powered Christmas lights are also a nice addition to my car camping gear. I hung out in bed for a bit and listened to an audio book.
The campsite was super quiet. Because the weather had turned a bit chilly, the campground was only about half full. There were no campers within three sites to my right or my left. The only real noise I heard the entire time was a ranger driving through on security duty, a late night boater on the bay, and, of course, the raccoons. I slept like a baby.
Packing up to Leave
Check out time at Chester Frost is noon. Since I paid until noon, that is what time my wheels left the site. I tend to take my time packing up to get my money’s worth.
The nice thing about the Sequoia-tel is that I have very little to do in preparation for departure. I took the Reflectix out of the windows, stuffed my down quilt in its sack, made my bed, and put the zero gravity chair in the back. Ready to go in less than 10 minutes. I used the rest of the time to enjoy the view.
My Chester Frost Review
Now that we covered the day’s activities, let’s get down to the actual review.
This park is well-maintained and has some of the most beautiful scenery in the area. The bathrooms were so immaculate that they even smelled good.
The waterfront campsites were large and nicely groomed with a picnic table, lantern post, tent pad, fire pit, and electric and water hookups. A couple of these sites even had a dock.
I am sure this campground is noisier when it is full, but it was very peaceful during my visit. The staff patrol the park regularly, which not only makes you feel safe, but I’m sure it contributes to the quiet.
The only regrets I had were that I did not bring my kayak, stay longer, or visit during firefly season. I will remedy those things for my future visits.
From a techy point of view, their reservation page is a little clunky. They also are a bit more invasive of your personal information than Reserve America.
I will definitely stay here again. My next visit will be for longer and include my kayak. If you are in the area, you should check it out for car camping.
Leave No TraceNever forget to leave no trace. We enjoy the great outdoors; let's keep it pristine.
- Pack out what you pack in.
- Leave what you find.
- Respect the wildlife, including the plants.
- Keep you campfire impact low.
- Use biodegradable soap at least 200 feet from camp, the trail, and water sources when cleaning up or bathing.
- Strain and scatter your dishwater.
- Do not bathe in water sources.
- Keep your feet and your campsite on durable surfaces.
- Visit in smaller groups.