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Carter County, Tennessee, the Perfect Destination for Outdoor Adventure

Tucked into the mountains of Northeast Tennessee, Carter County is Tennessee’s Mountain Playground. With beautiful Watauga Lake, the Watauga and Doe rivers, and stunning mountain vistas you’ll see why it’s the perfect mountain getaway. Below you’ll find just a sampling of what Carter County has to offer, visit to find out more. 

Roan Mountain 

One of the Appalachian Trail’s most popular sections runs across the Roan Mountain balds. After walking through a fragrant evergreen forest, you’ll take in stunning panoramic views from the top of the balds on a hike that can be as short as 1 mile or as long as you want it to be. If you visit Roan in the summer, be sure to stop by the world’s largest natural rhododendron garden which usually reaches its peak bloom in June creating a sea of pink flowers.  

 Roan Mountain State Park sits at the base of the mountain. With tent and RV camping as well as cabins for rent it makes a perfect base camp for your mountain adventure. With miles of hiking and biking trails, fishing in the Doe River, a swimming pool and more, you’ll find plenty to do without ever leaving the park. 

After a long day exploring the mountain you’ll be ready to eat. Smoky Mountain Bakers wood-fired pizza is a great choice, or if you want a burger and ice cream Bob’s Dairyland is the place to go. 

Watauga Lake 

If spending time on the water is your idea of a good time, Watauga Lake and the Watauga River which flows from it are the perfect solution. Surrounded by mountains and the Cherokee National Forest the lake is a pristine escape. Sailing, fishing and kayaking are all popular ways to enjoy Watauga Lake and the Watauga River is home to some of the best trout fishing in the southeast. If you prefer whitewater, other sections of the river are also ideal for rafting and kayaking. 

 After working up an appetite on the water, enjoy relaxing at the Captain’s Table restaurant on their deck overlooking the lake. Or get your fill at Shirley’s Home Cooking, a family style restaurant where you’re sure to leave stuffed to the gills. 

Tweetsie Trail 

The Tweetsie Trail is a 10 mile crushed gravel rail trail which runs from Johnson City through Elizabethton along the route of the former ET&WNC Railroad. The unique sound of the train whistle gave the railroad it’s nickname “Tweetsie” which now lives on as a scenic trail for walkers, runners and bikers. Take a leisurely bike ride and stop along the way for lunch at Smokehouse BBQ Company. A short detour through downtown Elizabethton and you can cool off with ice cream from Sweetsie Treats or enjoy a post-ride craft beer at Riverside Taphouse.  

Other Things to Do 

Carter County has plenty of other great things to do as well. Visit Off the Grid Mountain Adventures for ziplining and go kart racing. Enjoy shopping and strolling through Elizabethton’s charming downtown. See Sycamore Shoals State Park’s full size reconstruction of the 18th century Fort Watauga and a museum highlighting the nationally significant events which took place here such as the founding of the Watauga Association and the mustering of the Overmountain Men. Or take a hike to one of the many beautiful waterfalls in our area. Start planning your adventure today at 

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