Boating on Norris Lake in Tennessee
Photo Credit: @keely_bee

Your Guide to Water Activities in Tennessee

Dive into summer with these water-filled activities at waterways and marinas in Tennessee

Featured in this Article:

Sailing Spots in Tennessee
Where to Fish in Tennessee
Paddling and Boating in Tennessee
Tennessee Marinas

Make a splash on your next Tennessee adventure. Dive into the state’s abundant waterways with endless water-filled activities. With over a half-million acres of lakes and 50,000 miles of rivers, be a part of the thrilling adventures, relaxing vibes and unlimited possibilities Tennessee has to offer. 

More Tennessee Water Adventures 

Waterfall Hikes | Whitewater Rafting | Family-friendly Water Destinations | Fishing 

Sailing Spots in Tennessee

Montgomery Bell State Park - Burns

Cruise over to Montgomery Bell State Park to unwind and float among the park’s three lakes. Montgomery Bell offers a wide range of water activities to escape on a summer oasis including paddling down Lake Acorn, boating around Lake Woodhaven and taking a plunge in the water at the area’s swim beach. Visitors can also cast a line and spend a day fishing for bass, brim, catfish and more. End the water-filled day at the park’s full-service restaurant where visitors can take in sunset views overlooking Lake Acorn and dine on classic Southern cuisine. 

Norris Lake

If the mountains are calling, head to East Tennessee and set up camp at Norris Lake. With over 34,000 acres of clear blue waters surrounded by Tennessee’s scenic mountains, it’ll quickly become your dream vacation. Not only are there campsites nearby for visitors to fully maximize their time on the water, but there are over 22 marinas to dock at, fill up on gas, grab a snack or drink or spend the evening having dinner and enjoying live music at one of the waterfront marina restaurants. The lake is also open to all swimmers, classified as the cleanest lake in the state by the Tennessee Valley Authorities System. 

Pickwick Landing State Park – Counce 

For the idyllic weekend out on the water, consider spending it at Pickwick Landing State Park. Whether looking to cruise along the Pickwick Lake or hook a fish or two, spend the day among Tennessee’s blue skies, crisp waters and one of pro-fisherman’s Bill Dance’s favorite fishing spots in Tennessee. Pickwick Landing offers pontoon rentals where you can rent a boat, kayak or canoe for the day. The day doesn’t have to end with a boat ride at Pickwick, consider soaking up some rays and cooling off in the water at the park’s two miles of beaches or teeing off at Pickwick Landing State Park Golf Course that overlooks the lake.  

Where to Fish in Tennessee

Chickamauga Lake – Chattanooga

Cast a line and spend the day floating down Chickamauga Lake. Along the way, visitors may just catch sight of a catfish, largemouth bass, crappie or bluegill fish. With 36,000 acres of lake stretching across 810 miles of shoreline, there is plenty of space to reel in a tournament-winning bass and drift along to enjoy some of the state’s natural beauty. Make it a weekend of fishing by staying at Harrison Bay State Park which stretches out among 40 miles of Chickamauga Lake’s shoreline. Here, you can set up camp, dock the boat at the park’s marina, rent a paddle board and spend the afternoons biking, hiking and golfing. 

Scenic City Fishing Charters – Chattanooga

Spending the weekend in Chattanooga with an itch to hit the open waters? Look into Scenic City Fishing Charters. With seven certified U.S. Coast Guard captains, they provide everything you and your crew may need for a day on the lake including the boat and all the fishing equipment. This is great for anglers new to the area looking to learn about all the great spots to fish in Tennessee.

Reelfoot Lake – Tiptonville

Venture out west to Tiptonville for 15,000 acres of breathtaking scenic beauty at one of the “Natural Wonders of the World,” Reelfoot Lake. Many species of fish call Tennessee’s only naturally-made lakes home, such as bream, catfish, crappie and bass, but the one that attracts visitors far and wide is the bluegill. During your visit to the lake, enjoy all the delightful surprises and nature that makes up Reelfoot Lake State Park. Surrounded by endless cypress trees and plant species, it is truly an outdoor lover’s treasure. Consider joining one of the park naturalists on a guided bald eagle and waterfowl tour, renting a canoe to thread through the swamp, and spending a night at the campsites along the shoreline. 

Paddling and Boating in Tennessee

Buffalo River

Photo Credit: Cari Griffith

Discover the good life as you paddle along the Buffalo River. Located in Linden, go back in time and enjoy the small-town local charm and the beauty of Middle Tennessee. Stretching over 125 miles, the Buffalo River is the perfect destination for those wanting to get their feet wet in kayaking or canoeing. The peaceful, calm waters make for an enjoyable morning or afternoon casting out a line or drifting along some of Tennessee’s rich scenery and diverse wildlife. Don’t have a canoe or kayak? There are many places along the way that provides not only rentals but also campsites including Buffalo Bud’s Canoe, Kayak & Campground and Buffalo River Resort.

The Lost Sea - Sweetwater

Named “America’s Largest Underground Lake” by the Guinness Book of World Records, The Lost Sea is unlike any water adventure. Embark 300 ft. underground to experience the history and captivating topographical structures of the caverns from a glass-bottom boat. Recognized by the U.S. Department of Interior as a Registered Natural Landmark, this is a Tennessee must-see. 

Ghost River Rentals - Moscow

While in the Memphis area, experienced paddlers won’t want to miss the opportunity to paddle in the eerily beautiful Ghost Section of the Wolf River. Rent one of their kayaks, canoes, or stand up paddle boards and spend the day floating around West Tennessee’s natural beauty, the river’s picturesque landscape of cypress trees, wetlands and river grassland. Ghost River Rentals also offers guided tours to learn more about the iconic river.  

Tennessee Marinas

Wildwood Resort & Marina – Granville

Located only an hour outside of Nashville on Cordell Hull Lake, Wildwood Resort & Marina transports its guests immediately to vacation mode. Designed with the perfect weekend escape in mind, guests can enjoy the two waterfront restaurants on the property, enjoy live music by local musicians and have a luxury stay in one of their boutique-style cabins or inns. 

Pebble Isle Marina – New Johnsonville

Spend the weekend lakeside in New Johnsonville at Pebble Isle Marina. Overlooking Kentucky Lake, Pebble Isle offers a campground for the R.V. adventurers, the perfect location to Johnsonville State Historic Park and convenient access to the delicious food at Grey Heron Grill. Situated on the water, they offer a wide range of sandwiches, catfish, steaks and more to refuel after a long day on the water. 

Euchee Marina & Resort – Ten Mile

Photo Credit: TNECD

Situated on one of the South’s largest lakes, Watts Bar, Euchee Marina Resort & Campground is the perfect summer escape. On-site they provide their guests with great service and the best amenities including floating cabins, camping sites and boat slips. Whether staying on property or stopping by to refuel, grab a bite to eat at the marina’s Euchee Grill & Brewhouse. With craft beers on tap, an extensive menu of food including seared Barramundi and breathtaking views, it is the perfect weekend recharge.

Start planning your water getaway to Tennessee with even more activities to do on the water.

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