On The Water
There's no better place to spend a summer's day than on the water. East Tennessee has seven l
akes and several lovely rivers to keep your entire family entertained.
To enjoy the waterways in true Southern style, be sure to ride the charming Volunteer Princess or the Tennessee Riverboat.
Take the finest gourmet food and service, place it on the finest luxury yacht in the heart of downtown Knoxville, and you'll begin to understand the magic of Volunteer Princess Cruises (965 Volunteer Landing Lane, Knoxville TN 37915 Ph: 865-541-4556 www.volunteerprincess.com).
The Tennessee Riverboat (300 Neyland Drive, Knoxville, TN 37902 Ph: 865-525-7827 www.tnriverboat.com) tours one of the most beautiful rivers in the East, the Tennessee River. While cruising on this Mississippi-style sternwheeler which can comfortably carry 300 passengers, you will enjoy one of the most breath-taking views in Knoxville. Not only will you see some of the history of the river, you will most certainly be relaxed.
And, for a day of splashing in the water with the kiddos, there's only one place to be. Built into the 25-acre mountain "hollow" adjacent to Dollywood, Dollywood's Splash Country (1020 Dollywood Lane, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863 Ph: 1-800-365-5996 www.dollywoodsplashcountry.com) offers a 25,000-square-foot wave pool, a lazy river, a family raft ride, and extreme body slides. Explore a giant rock grotto tucked behind soothing waterfalls that spill into the lagoon-style pool all surrounded by lush landscaping and a spacious lounge area. And, never have a worry about the children, Dollywood's Splash Country became one of first parks in the country to utilize state-of-the-art SafeTzoneTM child locating technology. This state-of-the-art technology made individuals wearing child locator wristbands instantly findable throughout the park.
Norris Lake, Watts Bar Lake, Douglas Lake, Melton Hill Lake, Fort Loudon-Tellico Lake, Watauga Lake an
d Cherokee Lake have a variety of amenities.
Nestled in the foothills of the Cumberland Mountains, about 20 miles north of Knoxville just off I-75, is Norris Lake. Well known for its fishing, skiing and boating on its deep clean waters, the lake consists of two major rivers and numerous creeks. It extends 56 miles up the Powell River and 73 miles into the Clinch River. Since the lake is not fed by another major dam the water is cleaner and once the sun begins to warm the water in late May, it tends to maintain a steady warm temperature until fall. Endless fun-filled activities await you; including boating, water sports, fishing, swimming, scuba diving and relaxing. Norris Lake has over 56 species of fish and is well known for its striper fishing. Along the 809 miles of shoreline many more activities can be enjoyed like golfing, hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing and camping. With hundreds of secluded coves, 3 state parks, two wildlife management areas and 59 public access sites, it's no wonder Norris Lake has become a favorite vacation destination. The shoreline includes over 50 miles of islands, numerous picnic areas, caves, cliffs, beaches and gradual sloping shorelines. An abundance of wildlife can be spotted including deer, turkey, great blue herons and a few eagles along with cows and horses grazing at the shoreline.
There is a visitor's center (125 Village Green Circle, Lake City, TN 37769 Ph: 865-426-7461/Marina:
on one side of the dam and an overlook on the other side that provides a great vista for photographs of both the lake and the spill waters. A picnic area can be found at the base of the dam.
Make Norris Lake your family vacation destination. Over 20 marinas (www.norrislakemarinas.com) on the lake offer a variety of accommodations from hotels, condos, homes and campgrounds on the lake to mobile houseboats and float houses on the lake. Most of the marinas offer ski boat, fishing boat, pontoon boat, party barge and jet ski rentals, restaurants on the lake overlooking the lake with theme parties and special events throughout the year, association takes great pride in Norris Lake being one of the cleanest lakes in North America and continues to work together with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to keep it that way. As a result, more than half the marinas on the lake have been certified by the TVA as clean marinas.
One of the South's largest lakes, Watts Bar Lake (www.wattsbarlakeinfo.com/info) has 771 miles of shoreline. The principal tributaries of Watts Bar are the Clinch River and the Tennessee River.
Douglas Lake (www.douglaslakeinfo.com/info) is located in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, attracting more than 1.7 million visitors a year. Surrounded by mountains and rolling hills, Douglas Lake offers a variety of activities year round such as boating, fishing, camping, and swimming.
The major towns around the lake are Sevierville, Dandridge, and White Pine. The major tourist towns of Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg are located within miles of the lake.
Douglas Lake (Douglas Reservoir), with over 550 miles of shoreline, is fed by the French Broad River and Nolichucky River, both of which originate in the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee.
Most of the shoreline on Douglas Lake is privately owned. The TVA provides recreational facilities at Douglas Dam. Above the dam is a campground with hookups and showers, a picnic area, all seasons boat ramp, and swimming beach. For more information call 1-800-TVA-LAND.
Douglas Lake is renowned for its Large Mouth Bass and Crappie. Other popular sports fish species include White Bass, Sauger, Black Crappie, Striped Bass, Spotted Bass, Walleye, Blue Cat, Flat Head Catfish, Channel Catfish, Red Horse, Red Breast Sunfish and Bluegill. Douglas Lake is rated one of the top five Crappie fishing lakes in the nation, also in the top 10 in the nation for Large Mouth Bass. Spring and Fall are the more preferred times to fish in Douglas Lake.
Melton Hill Lake (www.tennesseelakeinfo.com/meltonhilllake) offers excellent fishing for Rock Bass, Bluegill, White Bass, Sa
uger, White Crappie, Spotted Bass, Warmouth, Large Mouth Bass, and Rainbow Trout. The lake offers a variety of water activities including boating, fishing, waterskiing, jet skiing, swimming, camping, public parks, public access areas, picnic areas and much more.
Unlike many other TVA lakes, Melton Hill does not have extreme water fluctuation in the winter months because it is not used for flood control. The lake fluctuates about five foot maximum. This lake has 173 miles of shoreline.
Fort Loudon Lake and Tellico Lake (http://www.fortloudon-tellicolakeinfo.com/info.shtml) offer a variety of water activities including boating, fishing, waterskiing, jet skiing, swimming, camping, public parks, public access areas and much more. More than 2 million visitors a year come to Fort Loudon and Tellico lakes.
Fort Loudon Dam and Tellico Dam are both located on US 321 at Lenoir City, Tennessee. They are located just one mile apart. HWY I-40 and I-75 provide easy access from all directions to both Fort Loudon and Tellico Dams.
Fort Loudon Lake, named for the nearby Fort Loudoun (338 Fort Loudoun Road, Vonore, TN 37885 Ph: 423-884-6217 www.fortloudoun.com) which was built during the French and Indian war and was named for John Campbell, the fourth earl of Loudoun, and commander in chief of British forces in North America. Park rangers in period clothing lead tours of the reconstructed fort.
With 360 miles of shoreline, the main tributaries for Fort Loudon lake are the Holston River, French Broad River, and Little Tennessee River.
Tellico Lake Reservoir and Dam creates a navigational waterway up the Little Tennessee River, which offers access for barges heading up the river. The canal between Tellico and Fort Loudon lakes provides barges access to Tellico without the need of a lock. The lake also offers excellent trout and bass fishing.
If you love to fish, Cherokee Lake is a must. (www.cherokeelakeinfo.com) Fish densities in Cherokee Lake are greater than most of the other TVA Reservoirs. A variety of fish attractors have been constructed over the years in an attempt to improve fishing for anglers. These include brush piles which are used by many game fish, and stake beds which are used primarily for concentrated crappie. The TVA has also planted Willow, Swamp Oak, Bald Cypress and River Birch in drawdown areas to create additional long lasting habitats.
Cherokee Lake is known for its Striped Bass fishing, but also offers Black Bass, Crappie, Walleye, Sauger, Sunfish, White Bass and Catfish. Large Mouth and Small Mouth Bass are not stocked in Cherokee Lake because of their great abundance. Of all the TVA lakes tested, Cherokee Lake has the highest score for largemouth bass.
When visiting Cherokee Lake, you will find it is surrounded by gentle, rolling hills. Beautiful, peaceful country landscape abounds in the many farmlands near the lake. To the Northwest of Cherokee Lake you can see the towering Clinch Mountain Range. As you approach the summit of Clinch Mountain (located on HWY 25E), you will find a lookout point that provides a breathtaking view of Cherokee Lake. The three major towns surrounding Cherokee Lake are Morristown, Jefferson City, and Rogersville.
The TVA provides a variety of recreational faculties at Cherokee Dam including a day use area with a swimming beach, picnic area and a year round boat launch ramp. The campground is open from April to September. There are no hookups for RV's but hot showers are available. For more information on recreational opportunities call 1-800-TVA-LAND.