Campgrounds for LGBT men aren’t a new concept—Middle Tennesseans have, in recent years, had two nearby options, the clothing-optional Timberfell Lodge and Whispering Oaks. These have enjoyed popularity over the years, and in fact, the Conductors recently held their annual run at Whispering Oaks. On June 15–16, 2018, Sugar Creek Campground, located in Only, Tennessee, held its soft launch, and its grand opening is slated for July 6–7, 2018.
With its beautiful location and brand-new amenities, the new camp is sure to be a hit with those whose idea of a nice weekend away involves a tent and a drag show! Plus, located just an hour west of Nashville, Sugar Creek brings gay camping even closer to town.
“It’s just a beautiful piece of property,” said proprietor, Bill Johnson. “It has a cave with a spring on it, it’s right on a creek that’s crystal clear with blue holes, where you can swim… As far as amenities, we start work on the pools on July 1, and they should be finished by August 1. We are going to have a hot sauna, dry sauna, we have the creek, we have volleyball and horseshoes, cornhole boards. We have a diamond for kickball and baseball.”
“We don’t have cabins yet,” Johnson said, “but we are going to build cabins this winter. We do have a building with five studio units in it, and we have 37 campsites with RV hookups, and then we have about 20 tent sites with electric.”
“And we have a club—an old restaurant we turned into a nightclub,” Johnson added. “We have a stage and we can probably seat about 100 people. We will have drag shows on Saturday nights; Friday nights will be game nights with a bingo drag queen.”
Sugar Creek’s drag will be—pardon the pun—campy. “We’ve got Chyna, I know, a little bit,” Johnson said, “and Marlene-Twitty-Fargo and others like that. We don’t want to do a lot of serious drag, we want it to be kind of fun and camp-style drag.”
“The campground will be men only and membership-based,” Johnson explained, “but the night club on the weekends we do plan on letting people in for that, because everyone wants to see the drag show. We’ll let the visitors in at the beginning of the night, but after a certain point it’ll again be closed to members only. Access to the show will have a fee, but anyone who buys a day pass will also get access to the club.”
“The nightclub will mostly serve bar food, and we have a beer license,” he added. “We don’t have a liquor license, but you can bring your own bottle.” The nightclub will be open Friday, Saturday, and during the day Sunday. The camp will be open all week.
Why another campground, though? The owners visited other campsites and wanted to do something updated. “We went to all the other camps, and this is going to be top-of-the-line. Our shower house is beautiful, it’s clean. Everything’s nice and all the electrical, plumbing, and septic is brand new. The creek is so beautifully clean, and we have this cave that has about 5,000 gallons a minute feeding into the creek.”
“It’s very private. We aren’t advertising it as clothing optional,” Johnson added, “but we aren’t really saying anything, as long as people aren’t bothering anybody else.
And, again, they wanted to build something convenient. “It’s right off the interstate and centrally located for people between Nashville and Memphis,” he added. “And there’s a lot of gay people that live west of Nashville as well, so it’s very convenient.
So far, Johnson says, the local response has been mostly positive. “Most of the neighbors that are close are gay or, if not, they are related to gay,” he explained. “I’ve owned Mirandas for 22 years there at that exit and we’ve never had any problems with the county whatever…”
So if you want to pack up your tent and head out to Sugar Creek, follow them at Facebook.com/sugarcreekcamp, and look for their website, coming soon. For more on gay campgrounds in Tennessee, see Gay campgrounds in Tennessee offer freedom … from clothes!