Things to do in Northeast TN

Wondering what things to do in Northeast Tennessee?

Besides being one of the top family destinations in the US, Tennessee’s northeast region is also one of the best places to see the fall foliage in the US and enjoying leaf-peeping trips.
Things to do in Northeast TN

Things to do in Northeast TN range from recreational activities such as hiking, skiing and camping to water activities like ski boating and kayaking. See Below fro more details:

Outdoor Recreational Activities

Exploring the stunning Appalachian Mountains and the majestic Cherokee National Forest are, undoubtedly two of the best things to do in northeast TN, and if you’re planning an outdoors vacation with friends or family you’ll love spending time here. Popular things to do include:


Whether you’re planning to do tent camping, cabin rental or camping out with an RV, there are dozens of nice places in Northeast TN where you can enjoy a lovely camping vacation.

For instance, you can camp out anywhere in the Cherokee National Forest for free and without a permit, or in designated camping areas such as Indian Boundary Campground, which is operated by the Cherokee forest service.
Northeast TN

There are other camping areas within the Cherokee National Forest where you can stay such as Roan Mountain State Park and Woodsmoke Campground.

Roan Mountain State Park is located around 40 minutes drive east of Johnson City, and
boasts cabins, campgrounds with hookups where you can build your tent or park your RV, as well as playing areas for the little ones.

Woodsmoke Campground in Unicoi is another spot where you can do tent and RV camping, and it's the nearest one to Johnson City being located just 20 minutes drive south.
Things to do in Northeast

Two other popular camping spots in Northeast TN are Warriors Path State Park and Rocky Top Campground & RV Park in Colonial Heights.

Both Warriors Path State Park and Rocky Top Campground & RV Park boast cabins, dozens of RV sites and tent space with hooks, though Warriors Path State Park boasts a few other amenities such as a boating area, a golf course, a disc golf course and playgrounds.

Hiking & Skiing

Outdoor pursuits are, undoubtedly the most popular things to do in Northeast TN, and the good news is that you can enjoy these all year long.

During the warm months you can enjoy everything from day hikes and biking to backpacking trips in Northeast TN. The Cherokee National Forest is one of the best places for hiking and biking since it boasts many marked trails such as the popular Laurel Fork Creek trail which leads to the stunning Laurel Fork Falls.

Roan Mountain State Park and Warriors Path State Park in Kingsport are two other good places where you can find lots of hiking and biking trails.

If you are traveling to Northeast TN during the cold months, you can enjoy winter sports like cross country skiing and snow shoeing along many of Cherokee Forest trails, though Roan Mountain State Park is another great place where you can enjoy fun snow related activities like sledding and tubing atop Roan Mountain.

Water Activities

Summer time is a great time to visit Tennessee’s Northeast region, and one of the most popular things to do in Northeast TN during the warm months is water based activities like whitewater rafting, swimming, fishing and kayaking.
Cherokee TN

The Cherokee National Forest boasts two of the best places for water related activities in the area which include Watauga Lake and South Holston Lake.

Both Watauga Lake and South Holston Lake are great place for enjoying water sports like jet skiing and speed boating, as well as camping by the lake shore.

Having said this, Watauga Lake is just located half hour drive east of Northeast Tennessee’s main towns: Johnson City, Elizabethtown and Watauga; while South Holston Lake is located further north.

Lake Watauga also boasts a few water sport rental shops such as Watauga Lakeshore Marina where you can hire ski boats, speedboats and pontoons for around $40 per hour.
Lake Watauga

For organized whitewater rafting and kayak trips, you can enjoy whitewater rafting trips and rent kayaks and inflatable rafts with outfitters such as Watauga Kayak for around $40 and $20 respectively.

If you’re bringing your own boat, Lake Watauga boasts many public boat ramps access such as Rat Branch and Sink Mountain where you can launch your boat or canoe for free.


Fishing is another of the popular things to do in Northeast TN, and the region boasts many great fishing spots where you can enjoy fishing for bass, crappie and walleye. Wilbur Dam, Boone Lake and South Holston Lake reservoir are three such spots where you can enjoy good angling opportunities not far from Watauga.

Scenic Drives

Taking a scenic drive is another of the fun things to do in Northeast TN, especially during the spring season when the beautiful wildflowers will simply bewitch your senses!

One such scenic drive you can take in Northeast TN is along highway 143 (Roan Road) from Roan Mountain state park.
Roan Mountain TN

This drive takes you through sweeping views of the Cherokee Forest towards Roan Mountain highlands where you’ll find the famous Carver’s Gap area where you can enjoy stunning views of the surrounding peaks.

See. Interesting Places to visit in Tennessee
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