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Recreation Information

sailboat on water with blue sky and clouds Millions of people enjoy recreational activities on TVA lakes each year. The lakes and the 293,000 acres of land surrounding them offer nearly limitless opportunities for fun-filled activities, including waterskiing, canoeing, sailing, windsurfing, fishing, swimming, hiking, nature photography, picnicking, camping and more.

TVA recreation map

Our map viewer provides three distinct views for lake recreation areas, as well as GPS coordinates and directions to recreation areas and facilities across the Tennessee Valley.


Summer heat got you down? Come cool off in the lake at one of TVA's many swim beaches, open from May through the end of September. No boat necessary.


Looking for a good catch? Chances are you'll find one in any of the TVA reservoirs, which are full of bass and crappie among other sport fish. Find out more about fishing in the Valley—and read our cheat sheet on where to point your boat to hook the fish you most want to catch.

TVA recreation areas

Got a day to get away and play? Visit one of TVA's 80 developed recreation areas to find amenities such as picnic pavilions, playgrounds, swim beaches, hiking trails, fishing piers, dam visitor centers and more.

Undeveloped TVA public lands recreation map and information

TVA owns and manages approximately 293,000 acres of land Valley-wide. Of this total, about 229,000 undeveloped acres available for informal recreation such as camping, mountain biking or hunting.


TVA offers hundreds of campsites among six campgrounds adjoining its dams—including the groundbreaking green-energy Melton Hill Campground.

Read about Melton Hill Dam Sustainable Recreation Area

Multiple-use trails

TVA manages over 100 miles of trails, including trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding. Get more information about the trails, including links to maps.

Recreation release schedules

Know before you go: When to experience the excitement of kayaking or rafting—or the calm of canoeing or fishing—on the many stretches of river below TVA dams.

The Ocoee River

The Ocoee River has both an Olympic whitewater course and a four-and-a-half-mile rafting area. The area also offers lots of other recreational opportunities, including swimming, boating and picknicking.

Reservoir information

A handy resource for fishermen and boaters, these pages track water levels on an hourly basis for TVA lakes across the Tennessee Valley, share precipitation information, water release schedules at the dams and more.

Reservoir ratings

TVA operates one of the most comprehensive river-system monitoring programs in the US. Get information about water quality at TVA lakes, including advisories on swimming and eating fish caught in the reservoirs.

Tracking water temperatures on the Elk River

TVA monitors water temperatures in the Elk River closely so that it can adjust the operation of Tims Ford Dam to protect the variety of life in the river, including a trout fishery, sport fish and endangered species.

Clean marinas and clean boating

Boating is one of the most popular recreational uses of TVA lakes. TVA's Clean Marina Initiative certifies marinas that are in compliance with pollution-control standards. And the national Clean Boating Campaign helps educate boating enthusiasts and marina operators in practices that reduce pollution and erosion on the waterways.

Commercial Recreation Management fee guidelines

TVA has recently revised its commercial recreation management fee guidelines based upon an independent review of industry practices.


Mobile App

image of iPhone appDownload the TVA Lake Info app for iPhone or Android. It's an easy-to-use resource for operating on and around reservoirs and dams in the TVA region.

This information is also available on TVA's mobile site.


Learn About Boating Safety

How to Go Through a Lock

Safe Boating in Barge Traffic

Navigation Aids on the Tennessee River System (PDF file, 325 kb)

Rules of the Road for Recreational Boaters

Hazardous Waters

National Safe Boating Council


photo of bird


Some of the premier birdwatching sites in the inland Southeast are along TVA lakes. Here’s a guide to the best spots for birding on TVA lands and waters.

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