Vacation Ideas in Eastern Tennessee

KOA camping in Tennessee

Rock City Gardens in Chattanooga

High atop Lookout Mountain, explore the massive ancient rock formations, botanical and geological wonders and marvel at the panoramic views.  Its inviting slogan, “See Rock City,” has been painted on barns and birdhouses throughout the Southeast since it began in 1932. It still beckons today. Everything in Rock City is conveniently located along its narrow “Enchanted Flagstone Trail”. The Rainbow Room offers a breathtaking view of the surrounding countryside through windows covered with sheets of colored film. Call (800) 854-0675 or visit for more information.

Hiwassee River Rail Adventures

The Hiwassee River Rail Adventures offers excursions to an area of the Cherokee National Forest only accessible by railroad. Passengers begin their adventure at the L&N Depot Museum in Etowah. This restored, two-story, turn of the century train depot offers a glimpse into the history of a railroad community. The trains travel alongside the Hiwassee River, one of the most scenic rivers in the American South, providing breathtaking views of the Hiwassee River Gorge and surrounding forest. At the famous Hiwassee Loop, the track actually passes over itself during a corkscrew climb up the mountain near Farner, Tennessee.

Great Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains are a wild lands sanctuary preserving the world’s finest examples of temperate deciduous forest and cultural history. Spend a day trekking, driving and sightseeing plant and animal life, mountains and forests, and remnants of Appalachian mountain culture. Take a drive or a hike around Cade’s Cove to see breathtaking views of the Smokies in Townsend, Tennessee.

ETSU Gray Fossil Site

The East Tennessee State University Natural History Museum & Visitors Center at the Gray Fossil Site is in Gray, Tennessee. The fossil discovery is one of the most significant archaeological finds in recent history, identifying fossils more than five million years old including rare red pandas, saber-toothed cats and elephants. It is the only museum of its kind to feature both Miocene and Pliocene period artifacts. The center will include storage space for the fossil collection, a preparation lab, a museum, an education center, and a workshop for display construction and assembly of the fossils. For more information, visit

Bristol Motor Speedway

Bristol Motor Speedway is the home of two of the premier facilities on the NASCAR and NHRA circuits and home to the most popular Winston Cup events in the USA. The speedway hosts two cup races in March and August each year; Bristol Dragway hosts an April NHRA race. “Speedway In Lights”, a route that offers visitors the chance to take a lap around “The World’s Fastest Half-Mile”, is offered during the holiday season. Check for upcoming events online at