November, 2014: When I was scoping out campgrounds to stay at during my Natchez Trace Tour, a friend told me about McFarland City Park Campground as easy on/off access to the Trace and convenient to the attractions I wanted to see in this 300 Mileposts section. I also wanted to visit the little historic towns of Florence and Tuscumbia, so this seemed like the perfect stop.
You drive through the park a little ways to get to the campground alongside the Tennessee River where there are several picnic tables, pavilions and a playground.
Arriving at the entrance to the campground, the front section is heavily treed with fragrant tall pines on either side. There is no site map, but basically, it’s two roads through the campground with sites on either side of an island with pull-through sites. The camp host is in this first RV on the right and Sue was one of the nicest greeters I’ve ever meet – always a good start.
As you continue on this road, the pine trees are no more on the left and become fewer in the middle.
Getting toward the back now, there are less trees on both sides.
I chose this site #219 almost to the very end before you turn onto the other road heading back up to the front with sites on the other side of that road. I liked how my front windshield looked out onto all the greenery back here with no views of other RVs in front. I thought there was good space between sites here, too.
Site 117 across from me on the riverside is a back-in. I wondered why they didn’t configure the sites to take advantage of the views to the front instead of the back of the site, but of course for 5th wheels with rear windows, this would be good for them.
After making the corner and heading back to the front, back-in sites on the other side of the row of pull-throughs coming up on the left.
The sites here are on the Tennessee River backwaters, which was dry during my visit. The sites on the backwaters side are more sloped.
I enjoyed seeing the big barges making their way up the river.
But this sighting was particularly great. I woke up one morning at 6:00 am (so unlike me who is definitely not a morning person). Even though I didn’t hear any noise, I looked out my bedroom window and saw this barge parked alongside the campground. With the sunrise colors and the mist still hanging on the river, I felt really lucky to have seen this.
And beautiful sunsets from the fishing pier were an awesome benefit!
This one was my favorite though – pretty dramatic with the contrails criss-crossing the sky.
More Info on McFarland City Park Campground:
Location/Contact: 305 Coffee Road (use this address for GPS) — Florence, AL 35630 — (256) 760-6416
Entrance to park is off of Hwy. 20 (north of Tennessee River Bridge) (a/k/a Coffee Road). Some map programs show address on Clayborn Liles Drive or on McFarland Park Road, and the street sign says Jim Spain Drive, but my GPS couldn’t find that. Camp host recommended using the 305 Coffee Road address and I had no problem with GPS using that or by finding the park as a point of interest on Garmin. The entrance sign into the park is a rather small brown sign, so be on the lookout.
Site Amenities: 60 RV sites, all with asphalt pads, full hookups and 50 amp service (12 pull-through). RVs up to 60′ in length can fit. Some tent/primitive camping also available. All sites have concrete picnic table, grill. No fire rings at site, but some are located on the riverbank and a fireplace in the picnic shelter may be used by campers.
Park Amenities: Restrooms and bathhouse, dump, coin operated laundry. Boat ramps, fishing piers, picnic shelters, playgrounds, driving range for golfers.
Reservations: None accepted – all first come, first served. This park is extremely popular in summertime and sites are almost always full, so get here early.
Pet Friendly: Limit of two welcome, but must be kept on leash, you must clean up after them, and proof of vaccination may be required.
TV: No cable at park. I chose an open site at the end and had no problem getting DirecTV from my rooftop dish. A few local channels come in from regular antenna.
Internet/Wi-Fi/Cell Phone: No wi-fi at park. I had excellent Verizon 4G phone and Jetpack service.
I always do short recaps of pros and cons about the parks I visit. I realize this is subjective stuff and what bothers some people, others won’t have a problem with, and vice versa. As a fulltime RVer, I like things that weekend campers can do without. But based on my own observations and/or comments from others, here goes:
Great location easily accessible to the Natchez Trace and major highways at a very reasonable rate.
Most campsites have generous space between neighbors and are very level (except those on the backwaters side – see picture and comment above). Asphalt pads are wide and in good shape.
Nice to have choice of wooded sites among the pines and some out in the open.
Great being right on the river and I enjoyed watching the boat traffic, especially the big barges.
Most complaints I saw were about the bathrooms not being in great shape and not cleaned enough. Since I always use my own facilities, especially with full hookups, this was not an issue for me. In checking them out a couple of times, they are definitely outdated, but were basically clean.
Some of the hookups are situated on the site so far back that pull-through sites really can’t be occupied without unhooking the car. See picture of me in #219 above – I had to park the RV back as far as it would go in order to reach the sewer connection. Depending on the location of your rig’s sewer outlet and if you have an extra long hose, this may not be a problem for you, but I heard others mention this issue as well.
I heard it doesn’t happen frequently, but during heavy rains when the TVA needs to open the dam floodgates, the park must be vacated. The RV sites themselves do not flood, but the entrance is not passable. Advance notice and refunds for unused days are given.
Malia’s 2 Cents: I really like switching it up – sometimes boondocking in scenic National Park campgrounds, having some hookups at woodsy state parks, and then indulging in full hookups in more open areas where I can get my DirecTV from my rooftop dish. This park fit the bill perfectly for me for a Natchez Trace stop and I enjoyed the little towns of Florence and Tuscumbia. I would definitely stay here again and don’t hesitate to recommend it. Other camper comments in RVParkReviews.com
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