Take Your Family on a Valley Vacation!
TVA’s dams provide hydropower, flood control, water quality, navigation and ample water supply for the Tennessee Valley. Did you know that they also supply summertime fun?
Come summer, TVA operates its dams to fill the reservoirs for recreation. Boating, fishing, swimming, rafting and blueway padding are all supported by TVA with boat ramps, swim beaches and put ins. There are plenty of hiking and biking trails, picnic pavilions, playgrounds, campsites, scenic overlooks and other day-use areas, too.
Our six vacation packages will help you maximize your fun in any part of the Tennessee Valley. We offer both developed facilities (such as playgrounds and restrooms) and wild, undeveloped lands for you to explore. Best of all? They’re free!
Valley Frontier Region
(Bristol-Kingsport-Johnson City, Tennessee, area)
Trout anglers must add the South Holston River in upper east Tennessee to their bucket lists—the aerating dam beneath South Holston Dam provides optimal habitat for monsters of the species. Beautiful Wilbur Lake stays cool even during summer’s dog days. And mountain breezes make for perfect sailing conditions on Watauga Lake.
Heart of the Valley
(Near Knoxville, Tennessee, and the Great Smoky Mountains)
Visit TVA’s first dam, Norris, and while you’re there rent a pontoon boat to float the lovely lake. Take a family hike to Cherokee Reservations Cross Country Trail. Stay at Douglas Lake—our headwater campground allows easy access to the lake for anglers, and our tailwater campground faces the Great Smoky Mountains and the resort town of Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Mountain Lake Region
(At the conjunction of southeast Tennessee, western North Carolina and north Georgia)
You can find world-call whitewater on the Ocoee River, which hosted the 1996 Olympics. The many rafting outfitters on the river will make sure you have a good time. See beautiful Fontana and visit with hikers on the Appalachian Trail, which crosses the dam. Blue Ridge Lake in north Georgia offers paddlers plenty of scenic water trails to be explored.
River Gorge Region
(Chattanooga, Tennessee, area)
Mountain bikers can do no better than the nearly 30 miles of trails on Raccoon Mountain Pumped Storage Reservation—while you’re there, soak up the scenic views of Chattanooga and Lookout Mountain. Bank fish for bass along the shore of Chickamauga Lake. At Nickajack Lake, hike the Little Cedar Mountain Trail to appreciate its unique stone outcroppings, boulder fields, historical stone walls and bluffs.
River Shoals Region
Lake Guntersville is known as an angler’s paradise for a reason—it’s one of the top 10 destinations for bass anglers in the U.S. Horses are welcome on the Cooley Cemetery Trail south of Guntersville Dam. Families love the Rockpile Recreation Area at the Wilson Dam Reservation for its trails, waterfalls and unique playground, which is shaped like the dam.
River Plains Region
(Western Tennessee and southwestern Kentucky)
Fishing and hunting are fantastic on Kentucky Lake, a real sportsman’s paradise. Nature loves will get in touch with their senses—as well as many wildlife and bird species—at Lady’s Bluff Small Wild Area. Pickwick Lake paddlers can trek to gorgeous Cooper Falls. And all are welcome at laid-back Beech Lake near quaint Lexington, Tenn., home to some serious barbecue.
It’s always a good time for fun on the Tennessee Valley’s lands and waters. Not sure where to start? We have you covered! Check out some of the best recreational activities on our reservoirs. While you’re enjoying the lakes, trails, picnic areas and campgrounds, share your own stories and photos on Instagram using #TVAfun.
River Neighbors Newsletter
Get the all the latest news and inside information about recreation on TVA public lands and lakes.
The Unified Development of the Tennessee River plan
stressed TVA was to provide flood control, navigation and electricity for the region. TVA’s dams are tangible evidence of its primary mission: improving life in the Tennessee Valley. We’re celebrating the plan with an in-depth look at 32 of the dams it comprises.