Stephanie is a cherished member of the Sampling America writing team, dedicated to crafting captivating narratives that transport readers to thrilling adventures across the country and beyond.
Sitting on the beautiful Tennessee River sits the large city of Knoxville, Tennessee. The city is known for its music, nightlife scene, and excellent outdoor attractions.
Along with many Revolutionary War museums, the city is full of history and things to do. Follow along to find the best lakes in Knoxville to unwind at after experiencing the hustle and bustle of this busy Southern city.
Along the way to Douglas Lake is the Seven Islands State Birding Park, which is a great place for anyone looking to see unique birds in Tennessee.
The lake is the perfect destination for fishing. The lake is full of crappie and bass, which draws in plenty of fishermen and anglers from all over the state. Large white water rapids also connect this lake to Pigeon River, so if you’re more of a thrill seeker, be sure to book a tour to experience the rapids.
Also known as the Cherokee Reservoir, this lake is one of the largest artificial bodies of water in the state.
Guests can expect to experience plenty of water sports, including boating, wakeboarding, and tubing. The lake is also stocked full of bass, walleye, crappie, and more for anyone looking to pick up fishing this fall.
Norris Lake sits just north of Tennessee and borders multiple nearby towns. Situated inside the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, this spot is home to plenty of historical events.
As well, there are plenty of breweries nearby, making this the perfect outdoor destination for anyone who still wants to sit outside at a restaurant or kick back with a beer to enjoy the sights of the beautiful southern woods.
Melton Hill Lake
Melton Hill Lake sits between Knoxville and Oak Ridge and draws in guests from all over the state. Nearby are natural hot springs, so consider stopping by multiple spots when visiting this small lake.
The lake is also home to a yearly regatta competition, so be sure to stop by in the spring when these fun boating competitions happen.
For any history buffs, you can visit the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, which sits just outside the lake, where the atomic bombs of WW11 were originally created.
Watts Bar Lake
About halfway between Knoxville and Chattanooga sits the stunning Watts Bar Lake. This body of water is home to plenty of marshy wetlands, which bring in massive bird populations.
Guests can expect to see bald eagles, ospreys, blue herons, and many other large birds.
Fort Loudon Lake
This large lake borders several state parks: Sequoyah Hills Park, Carl Cowan Park, and Concord Park, which makes this lake the ultimate spot for avid hikers and rock climbers.
The area hosts plenty of outdoor trails, as well as excellent fishing in the lake. The Bass Master Classic is also hosted here occasionally.
This man-made reservoir was created by the Tennessee Valley Authority in the 1970s when the Tellico Dam was built. The dam was created to stop flooding in the nearby towns but also added a stunning lake to spend leisure time.
The lake has plenty of history; it is home to Fort Loudon State Park, one of the earliest British pioneer forts built in 1756.
Calderwood and Chilhowee Lakes
Bordering the Cherokee National Forest, Nantahala National Forest, and the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, this lake has views of several stunning woods.
Known as the “Quiet Side of the Smokies”, this area is known for its laid-back attitude and slow way of life. Consider visiting for the weekend to experience a true rest from the busy city of Knoxville.
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