Each of the cities in Northeast Tennessee's Tri-Cities area has a unique personality. For Kingsport, abounding, natural beauty surrounds a bustling and hospitable town that creates what might be the Tri-Cities most family-friendly atmosphere. So if you're seeking out a getaway spot where you can have as much fun as the kids, check out these can't-miss lakes, eats, city streets and mountain parks. What you find here just might surprise you.
Located on 950 acres, Warriors' Path offers a variety of outdoor activities like 12 miles of hiking trails, the Warriors' Path Golf Course (an 18-hole course with views of Fort Patrick Henry Lake shores and the Appalachian Mountain foothills), 12.5 miles of biking trails, fishing, birding and two miles of horseback riding trails. The park has 134 campsites with 94 of them featuring water and electric hookups.
Warriors' Path State Park is located at 490 Hemlock Rd. Kingsport, TN 37663.
Local Icon: Pal's Sudden Service
Once you've worked up an appetite, head back into town and straight to the iconic Pal's Sudden Service, with the original location in downtown Kingsport. Serving up burgers, hot dogs, fries and sodas within the blink of an eye - hence, "Sudden Service" - Pal's is a must stop spot. And if you don't make it to the original location at 327 Revere St., Kingsport, TN 37660 just keep your eyes peeled for the aqua-colored buildings around town, the ones that have the giant hot dog on the roof. I promise, you can't miss it.
Shop + Dine: Downtown
Anchored on Broad Street and running for several blocks in both directions, Kingsport's downtown district provides visitors and residents alike with shopping and dining opportunities. Try a New York-style bagel at the Bagel Exchange or grab some sweet treats at Little Cake Bakery. Grab a gourmet cup-of-joe at the Nutty Java and cross the street to explore the aisles at P&J Antiques and Pilgrims Rare Books. For a great meal, grab a table at the perennially popular Stir Fry Cafe or at Macado's Kingsport. Just whatever you do, leave time to walk down the Church Circle, a beautiful old town area located on a round-about at one far end of Broad Street.
Local tip: If you visit during July, make sure you attend FunFest, Kingsport's own hometown festival. The event is a nine-day celebration of everything Kingsport featuring concerts by artists like The Avett Brothers, Zach Williams, American Authors, The Band Perry and others, an art show, hot air balloons with a balloon glow, vendors, family-friendly activities, and more.
Family Adventure: Bays Mountain Park
A trip to Kingsport has to include a morning or afternoon at Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium. Providing another series of waterborne activities, you can also take leisurely hikes around Kingsport Reservoir and visit the animal enclosures, which include otters, deer and even a pack of grey wolves. Admission to the park is $5 cash, so make sure to drop by an ATM before driving out.
Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium is located at 853 Bays Mountain Rd., Kingsport, TN 37660.
Tennessee has natural ways of cooling off this summer.