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Watauga Lake rentals

Links and Other Information

Watauga Lake is secluded in the Cherokee National Forest near Butler, TN half way between Boone, North Carolina and Mountain City, Tennessee. Please plan in advance on what surrounding areas you plan to visit so you can accurately map the routes you will need to take. The Blue Ridge Parkway can easily be accessed between Boone and Blowing Rock, NC where it crosses Hwy 321/ 421. The Linn Cove Viaduct was designed to protect Grandfather Mountain from environmental damage from Parkway construction and vehicles, a great day trip. Backbone Rock trail and falls is a nice day trip the opposite direction thru Shady Valley. This is a mountainous area with 80% of the lake shoreline inside Cherokee National Forest. We have provided you with links that can be very helpful to you in planning your trip to the area including dining.  For NASCAR fans, Bristol Motor Speedway is only 40 miles away.  Close enough for the race, but far enough to enjoy the majestic mountain views of sparsely populated National Forest and Watauga Lake.

Watauga Lake is one of the most beautiful in the entire TVA system in Upper Northeast Tennessee.  The word "Watauga" is a Native American term meaning beautiful waters.  The lake is located in Carter and Johnson counties in upper East Tennessee.  ThirteenLook Mommy, I caught a fish!!! species of game fish including rainbow and brown trout, walleye, and smallmouth and largemouth bass inhabit the waters of the lake which is 19 miles long with 106 miles of shoreline. Roan Creek, Elk River and Watauga River feed the lake.  The lake borders the Cherokee National Forest at the southwestern end of Johnson County. At 1960 feet above sea level Watauga Lake is the highest lake in the Tennessee Valley Authority system.  It offers access to the Appalachian Trail which crosses the Watauga Dam as well as many other hiking trails.

Below Watauga Dam is Wilbur wildlife observation area where visitors have a chance to view unique species of waterfowl.  Other popular activities on the lake include swimming, jet skiing, boating, sailing, water skiing and camping.  A portion of the Appalachian Trail runs through the area, as well as several spectacular waterfalls, making this a beautiful place for hiking.  There are many area flea markets, farmers markets, antique stores and small town festivals throughout the summer months for visitors to enjoy.  Other points of interest include the Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol Caverns, Linville Caverns, Sycamore Shoals State Historical Area, Roan Mountain State Park, Rhododendron Gardens, and the Hands-On Museum in Johnson City.

Canoeing on Watauga Lake. Neighboring towns are Mountain City, Elizabethton, Valle Crucis, Butler, Boone, Blowing Rock, and Banner Elk. The Blue Ridge Parkway and these other links are a source of useful information on the larger area.

The Cherokee National Forest site is very helpful for planning your visit to the Forest.  Each year millions of people visit Tennessee's Cherokee National Forest.  It is a place of scenic beauty that provides opportunities for anyone interested in nature and history.  The Forest stretches from Chattanooga to Bristol along the North Carolina border.  The 640,000-acre Cherokee National Forest is the largest tract of public land in Tennessee.  It lies in the heart of the Southern Appalachian mountain range, one of the world's most diverse areas. These mountains are home to more than 20,000 species of plants and animals.  Because of the Cherokee's majestic mountains, tumbling streams, and diverse vegetation, recreation opportunities are plentiful.  Discover the 30 developed campgrounds, 30 picnic areas, 700 miles of trail, hundreds of miles of cold water streams, seven whitewater rivers, thousands of acres of dispersed opportunities, and abundant populations of wildlife that are here for your enjoyment.

Links for Local Boat Rentals and Adventure Guides
To ensure availability for water craft rentals make your reservation as soon as possible. Lake trout
The marinas stay very busy and rentals could get booked.

Carefree Boat Club - Watauga Lake is home to one of 27 branches of the Carefree Boat Club where members enjoy the use of a brand new fleet of boats on area lakes for a flat monthly fee.

HawksNest Ziplines - Hawksnest currently has 20 ziplines including 4 mega zips, 2 over 2000 feet long and 2 over 1500 feet long.  With 4 miles of zipline riding with heights over 200 feet and speeds up to 50 mph.  Ziplines are over trees, through trees, over lakes and creeks with panoramic views on almost every ride. Experience the biggest and best with the spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Fish Springs Marina - Boat Rentals On Watauga Lake, East Tennessee.  There's no reason to be left on the shoreline wishing you could experience Watauga Lake from the water.  Fish Springs Marina has a fleet of Tahoe Pontoon Boats and Sailboats available for rental year round.

Mountain Adventure Guides - Rafting, Caving, and Climbing.  Whether you're looking for a relaxing family float trip or an extreme adventure weekend, you'll find it at USA Raft.

Wahoo Adventure - Canoeing, Kayak and Tube tours & Bike Tours.  For 35 years, Wahoo's has consistently offered the highest quality whitewater rafting, canoeing, tubing, and hiking adventures available.  Headquartered in Boone, NC; with locations close to Asheville, NC; Banner Elk, NC; Blowing Rock, NC; Erwin, TN; Johnson City, TN; and Elizabethton, TN.

Watauga Lake Marinas

Pioneer Landing RV campground with boat slips.

Cove Ridge Marina Boat slips, dry dock, supplies, campground and grill.

Mallard Cove Marina Docks, boat slips, rentals on Watauga Lake.

Lakeshore Captain's Table Restaurant, Boat rentals, dock, slips.

Fish Springs Marina Marina, Boat sales, supplies and rentals.

Tilawa Marina (formerly Pappy's) Marina, RV campground and boat slips.

Skiing Links

Ski Beech The Highest Ski Area In Eastern North America
1007 Beech Mountain Parkway Beech Mountain, NC
1-800-438-2093   A 35 minute drive from our rentals

Sugar Mountain
1009 Sugar Mountain Drive
Banner Elk, NC 28604
1-800-SUGARMT   A 45 minute drive from our rentals

Appalachian Ski Mountain
940 Ski Mountain Rd
Blowing Rock, NC
(828) 295-7828 Toll-Free: (800) 322-2373   A 45 minute drive from our rentals

Hawksnest Snow Tubing
2058 Skyland Drive
Seven Devils, NC 28604
(828) 963-6561, Toll-Free: (800) 822-4295  A 59 minute drive from our rentals (33.2 miles)

Jonas Ridge Snow Tube
NC Highway 181 South
Jonas Ridge, NC 28641
(828) 733-4155, info@jonasridgesnowtube.com, A 69 minute drive from our rentals (36.3 miles)

Other links to visit for information about the surrounding area are:

Appalachian Trail - The Appalachian Trail runs over 2100 miles from Georgia to Maine.  39 miles of this trail is in Johnson County.  It enters Johnson County on top of Iron Mountain and runs north to Cross Mountain, where Iron Mountain and Holston Mountain intersect.  At that point it crosses over to Holston Mountain and follows it to the Virginia state line.

Bristol Motor Speedway - Bristol Motor Speedway is the 4th largest sports venue in America, and the 8th largest in the world, housing up to 165,000 people.  The track is so short that speeds here are far lower than is typical on most NASCAR oval tracks, but very fast compared to other short tracks due to the high banking, making for a considerable amount of "swapping paint".

Grandfather Mountain - Grandfather Mountain is a mountain, a non-profit attraction, and a North Carolina state park near Linville, North Carolina.  At 5,946 feet (1,812 m), it is the highest peak on the eastern escarpment of the Blue Ridge Mountains, one of the major chains of the Appalachian Mountains.  The Blue Ridge Parkway passes by the south side of the mountain and also passes over the nearby Grandmother Gap.

Laurel Falls
- One of the more popular local hiking trails runs through an Appalachian gorge carved out by the swift waters of Laurel Fork.  Laurel Fork empties into the Doe River in Hampton.  The Doe River has carved out multiple gorges on its journey from Roan Mountain to the Watauga River in Elizabethton.

Linville Caverns - Located at the southern gateway to western NC's High Country region, Linville Caverns is an ideal destination for visitors of all ages.  The beauty of our mountains is echoed within Humpback Mountain and visitors are invited to explore the splendor and wonders nature created "inside a mountain".

Property For Sale By Owner - Why should you be interested in the Watauga Lake area for a second home?  One reason is because it is the most scenic area of the country where mountains meet the water.  The environment is incredibly preserved with 80% of the lake within the Cherokee National Forest and many natural preserves and wildlife areas to protect the wilderness for years to come.

Southern Highlands - Some of the world's most spectacular natural beauty can be found in the southeastern United States.  The mountains of eastern Tennessee, northern Georgia, western North Carolina, and Virginia are particularly rich with an abundance of National Parks and Forests, state-maintained facilities, charming villages, and local crafts.

Shopping at Tanger Outlet in Blowing Rock, NC - Committed to bringing you the ultimate shopping experience.  For us, that means guiding you towards the best deals at your favorite designer and brand-name stores.  And, thanks to our partnerships with leading fashion industry experts, we can bring you up-to-date fashion reporting on the latest trends.

Tennessee Museum - This museum depicts early life in the mountains featuring Indian artifacts, Civil War artifacts and artifacts from home life.  Old town of Butler up to 1948 when gates of Watauga Dam were closed.

Tweetsie Railroad - Families love riding on our famous steam engines, Number 12 and Number 190.  Enjoy our Wild West train adventure (beware of bandits).  Number 12 is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Also, take a whirl on the rides at the Country Fair, and then zoom up the chair lift to Miner's Mountain for even more.

Tourism information for Elizabethton, TN - Elizabethton, founded in 1799 and incorporated in 1905, is the county seat of Carter County, Tennessee.  It is also the site of the first independent American settlement west of both the Eastern Continental Divide and the original thirteen British colonies in America.  Checkout its local tourism.

Watauga Point Recreation Area - National Forest recreation area along a four-mile stretch of Watauga Lake.  Group picnic area may be reserved for a fee.  Day-use and camping fee.  Hampton, TN.

Watauga Lake Winery - We have a wedding, anniversary, event center available. Our wedding pavilion is located at our vineyard with a gorgeous 360 degree view of the mountains. We have special events every month April - December and they are posted on our facebook and web page. We also offer cooking classes once a month.

Tri-Cities Airport is the closest commercial airport about 45 minutes away in Johnson City, TN.  Other major airports include Greensboro about an hour and a half away and Charlotte about 2 hours away.  The closest smaller airport is Mountain City.

The climate of the northeastern Tennessee mountains is temperate with moderately cold winters and warm, humid summers.  Precipitation is fairly well distributed throughout the year; as there is no distinct wet or dry seasons.  October has the least rainfall, July the most.  Snowfall is quite variable from year to year, and some winters have relatively little.  Thunderstorms occur anytime of the year, but are most frequent in spring and summer.  Summer temperatures are rarely extreme, but the high humidity often makes it seem hotter than it actually is.  Snow is minimal in Tennessee except in the higher mountain regions.  Severe storms are infrequent in the state, being east of the center of tornado activity, south of most blizzard conditions, and too far inland to be affected by hurricanes.

We want you to have a wonderful and save vacation. Please checkout these Vacation Safety Tips

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area restaurants

     Locally Operated

Captain's Table - 2340 Highway 321, Butler, TN 37658, Hampton, TN, 423-725-2201.  Enjoy continental cuisine and a lovely view of the lake and mountains as you are served in a formal dining room.  Open Wednesday thru Sunday.

Shirley's Restaurant - 3266 Highway 321, Butler, TN 37640, 423-768-2092.  Friendly service and home style cooking make Shirley's a local hot  spot.  Open for dinner starting at 5 PM to 8 PM Thursday - Saturday.  Also serves a Sunday brunch from noon until 3:00 PM. They do not take reservations.

Suba's - 2736South Shady Street, Mountain City, TN, 423-727-5657.  Open Wednesday thru Sunday, expect something new and fresh every time you visit!  Johnson and Wales, two trained chefs, serve eclectic continental cuisine in a comfortable atmosphere.  Make sure to save some room for the cinnamon ice cream.

May we also suggest restaurants in Boone and Blowing Rock, NC.

Boone, NC area Restaurants: 

Wild Craft Eatery - (on business 321) We cook our worldly foods using seasonal produce from our own farm, Hob Nob Farm, as well as many other organic local farmers.

Casa Rustica Restaurant - Italian and American Cuisine.  Peter and Sara Pedroni’s dreams and visions were fulfilled when Casa Rustica Restaurant opened in December of 1981.  When Peter found Boone, North Carolina he knew he was in the right spot.  Not only did he see a wonderful place to raise his children, but he was also reminded of his hometown, Cannobio, in the Lake Region of Italy.

Dan’l Boone Inn - Country Cuisine.  For over 50 years, Dan'l Boone Inn has been serving Boone and the high country delicious homecooked meals, just like you remember at grandma's house.

Gamekeeper Restaurant and Bar
 (Best restaurant around) 5 star rating!  828-963-7400, Reservations are a must for this dining experience.  Fine wines, beautiful surrounding, upscale.
These and others are right off the strip near Appalachian State University on Hwy 321 bypass.  There are many regular chains like
The Peddler Steak House Ruby Tuesday's Applebee’s Nakato's Sagebrush

Blowing Rock, NC area Restaurants:
Blowing Rock Grille and Bert's Bar - Join us at the Blowing Rock Grille for an upbeat, exciting dining experience offering a wide variety of prices and choices.  Enjoy your meal outside on our scenic sidewalk garden courtyard or dine in our warm and inviting atmosphere.

Canyons Historic Restaurant and Bar - Live music Fri/ Sat nights.  Inside and outside seating.  For nearly a century, this old building has been a haven for travelers and locals alike serving up food and spirits, entertainment and folklore, and one of the finest views of the Blue Ridge anywhere.

Outback Steakhouse - It is an Australian themed steakhouse restaurant.  Although beef and steak items make up a good portion of the menu, the concept offers a variety of chicken, ribs, seafood, and pasta dishes.

Murphy’s Restaurant & Pub - Extensive menu with Nachos, Quesadillas, Wings, Finger Food, Sandwiches, Panini, Vienna Beef Hot Dogs, Steak Sandwiches, Meat Ball Subs, Roast Beef, Burritos, BBQ Specials, Supper Salads, Burgers, Steaks, Seafood Specials, Trout, Pasta Specials, Beverages, Deserts and Gourmet Specialty Pizza.

The Best Cellar Restaurant - Inside the Inn at Ragged Gardens, the Best Cellar prides itself on having provided its customers with the finest of food, wine, and service for 30 years.  All dishes, including bread and desserts, are prepared each day on site.  Many of our dishes have been favorites for years, but we always have daily specials to satisfy those customers looking for something new.

Twiggs Restaurant and Bar - Brothers David and Doug Beach have been proud owners of Twigs since August, 2000.  They purchased the landmark restaurant with a vision to make Twigs a diverse place where tourist and locals can relax and have a nice, romantic meal in the dining room or a more casual dinner or drinks in the bar area.  For folks with an appetite for after dinner drinks and activity, Twigs bar has bands on Friday and Saturday nights.

Woodlands Barbeque - The Woodlands Restaurant specializes in North Carolina Barbecue Pork and Ribs, catering, great food and nightly entertainment.  The Restaurant’s menu features barbecue beef, pork, chicken and ribs, as well as home style Mexican food.

Enjoy your stay at our Watauga Lake Cabin Rentals

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