Northeast Tennessee: A Guide to Activities and Adventures for the Young at Heart

If you’re planning to visit Northeast Tennessee and want to experience all that the area has to offer, you might want to plan on staying a while. From endless adventures and attractions to good eats and historical treasures, there is more up here for the young at heart.

Jonesborough History Museum

Photo By: Historic Jonesborough

Northeast Tennessee is a region blessed with an abundance of beauty, outdoor adventure, culture, history, music, incredible food, fun, and lots more – making it a perfect vacation spot for all ages, especially those who seek out new experiences or tracing their Appalachian heritage.

Founded in 1982, the Jonesborough/ Washington County History Museum and Archives is a must-visit. This establishment is a great visual representation telling stories of the land and people who first settled Northeast Tennessee. And if you didn’t already know, Jonesborough is “Tennessee’s Oldest Town” and the home of the International Storytelling Festival.

Guided Fishing & River Tours

Photo By: Taylor Klarman

If it is new adventures your heart desires, try spending a day on the South Holston and Watauga Rivers for a guided fishing tour. Taylor Klarman of River Run Angling caters to both conventional and fly fishing in Northeast Tennessee, no matter what experience level you are. And if you prefer a scenic float down the river, you can request a guided tour with our without fishing gear. Fly casting lessons are included with your trip.

And while you’re in the area, visit the Bristol Motor Speedway. This iconic speedway hosts NASCAR (April and September) and NHRA (June) events but also is home to a variety of other races. You can enjoy concerts – including the popular Country Thunder event, which is crazy popular – Speedway In Lights, a holiday light show, Monster Truck shows, ice skating, and more. Ladies will also want to look into the High Banks and High Heels Club, where women from around the world connect and share their passion for racing. We love racing of all kinds, so we definitely recommend becoming part of the club!

Tweetsie Trail

For a fun activity outdoors, we encourage you to visit the scenic Tweetsie Trail that spans from Johnson City to Elizabethton. It features a gradual tread of packed rock over nearly 10 miles and includes paved parking, benches, water fountains, a bike repair station, and a portable restroom. Regardless of the activity you choose, you’ll enjoy the natural beauty all along the trail. It’s one of our favorite spots in the area to walk (and talk) with friends! 

Stand Up Paddleboarding

Photo By: David House/ Dale Swanson

Stand Up Paddling (SUP) is an incredible way to experience the lower Nolichucky River, a beautiful, deep mountain gorge that is a popular hangout among the locals. USA Raft Adventure Resort in Erwin offers flatwater and whitewater lessons for individuals and groups lessons, and it’s great for both beginners and families. All the gear is provided, so all you have to do is enjoy the scenery, pack a good lunch, and the experience – and there’s no doubt about it, you will!

Photo By: Andy Hinton

Local guides, Dale Swanson and Elin Fisher provide exceptional guest services at USA Raft. From one-on-one SUP lessons to evening yoga by the river, the hospitality offered in Northeast Tennessee is truly one of a kind.

Blue Ridge Paddling, just downstream, also offers premium whitewater and kayaking excursions. They recently opened Erwin’s newest taphouse with an eclectic variety of local brews. Visit the Nolichucky Outdoor Learning Institute (NOLI) for personalized classes and events for all skill levels.

Bays Mountain

Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium, located in Kingsport, Tennessee, is a 3,750-acre nature preserve and the largest city-owned park in Tennessee. There’s a lot to love here, including barge rides and canoeing and kayaking on the lake, an incredible nature center, a state-of-the-art planetarium, animal habitats, and hiking and biking. We keep saying it, but it’s true, the gorgeous landscape and the serenity you’ll find here are well worth the visit, and we already know the barge ride will become one of your best-loved memories during your visit!

Dining at Juniper

One of Northeast Tennessee’s newest fine-dining restaurants, Juniper features modern American cuisine and focuses on seasonal and regional ingredients. There’s plenty to love on this menu, but the restaurant is known for its buttermilk fried chicken, which is served with biscuits, honey, hot sauce, and bread and butter pickles. Trust us, it will make your mouth water, as will everything else (we also LOVE the Wagyu filet)!

Niswonger Performing Arts Center

Photo By: NPAC

This renowned performing arts center is located in historic downtown Greeneville and features country, classic rock, comedy, contemporary Christian, theatrical productions, family programming, and more. If you want to catch Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives or The Beach Boys, they are among this year’s performers.

J Frank Seafood Restaurant

This Bristol restaurant is located in a beautifully restored 1850 Victorian home and offers a unique and upscale dining experience. J Frank specializes in steak, seafood, and craft cocktails and uses fresh, local ingredients in their delectable dishes. The Cake and Steak Oscar is to die for, as is the Chilean Sea Bass. And the Sunday Brunch is beyond amazing – but you might want to forego eating on Saturday just so you can enjoy everything on the menu! And while you’re in town, don’t miss the charm and live music at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum.

There’s More Up Here!

Northeast Tennessee
Photo By: The Modern Heart.

Check out this phenomenal 50-acre serenity resort that boasts scenic mountain weddings in Northeast Tennessee!