Escape the Summer Heat in East TN

June 22, 2018  |  Permalink

Carver's Gap on the Appalachian Trail

Summers in Tennessee are brutal. There are some days you can feel the weight of humidity in the air with each breath. This is especially true in West and Middle Tennessee. We know the heat and humidity makes it hard for you to muster up the desire and courage to head outdoors. So how do you beat the heat? The key is to head east. 

While the Nashville-area weather forecast shows highs in the mid-90s, the Tri-Cities area of upper East Tennessee is still enjoying temperatures in the low- to mid-80s. If you want to head outside, this is the season to experience the parks around Kingsport, Johnson City and Bristol. Here are a few parks with campgrounds and cabins to check out on your summer adventures: 

Warriors Path Overlook by David Duplessis

1. Warriors’ Path State Park

Why we love it:

Outdoor activities for all ages and still close to town

Who else will love it:

Families and groups with kids (ages 2 - 12)

About the experience: 

Warriors' Path is an awesome park for all ages but is especially great for families. There’s a massive playground on site. It even includes a story trail that immerses people in the C.S. Lewis classic, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. There is a swimming pool on-site. They also have boat rentals on the lake, a golf course, a disc golf course, and ranger-led programming for all ages. 

Trip tips:

Anyone with small kids will love how close Warriors' Path is to town. As John Steinbeck said, “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” What if you burn your dinner, forgot something important, or need to restock on groceries? You will find everything you desire in Kingsport. There’s also decent cell phone coverage in the park, which is not always the case on camping trips.

Where to stay:

Warriors’ Path campground info

Explore Warriors' Path

(Photo credit: David Duplessis TennesseePhotographs.com)


Roan Mountain Overlook by David Duplessis

2. Roan Mountain State Park

Why we love it:

Fantastic Appalachian Mountain experience

Who else will love it:

Outdoor enthusiasts, hikers, and those who want to disconnect

About the experience:

Roan Mountain is one of the most beautiful places you can visit in Tennessee. The park sits a few miles down the mountain from Carvers’ Gap, a famous trailhead on the Appalachian Trail. Visitors from all over flock here to step foot on the AT and take in the spectacular mountain views. 

The park itself sits in a lush valley and offers a variety of activities for guests. Visitors can learn about the history of Appalachia, hike through the hillside trails, mountain bike, fish, or enjoy a swim at the pool. 

Trip tips:

Roan Mountain State Park is the place you go to disconnect and enjoy the natural world. Cell service down in the park is scarce, though you can find some service on top of the mountain. It’s a bit of a drive to the closest gas station. It's even further to popular restaurants and stores. Bring your food and coffee and plan to spend your time enjoying the beauty of a mountain vacation. 

Where to stay:

Roan Mountain campground or cabin rentals

Explore Roan Mountain

(Photo credit: David Duplessis TennesseePhotographs.com)


David Crockett Birthplace Riverside by David Duplessis

3. David Crockett Birthplace State Park

Why we love it:

Step back in time to experience the life of early settlers.

Who else will love it:

Families with kids (ages 2 - 12) and history lovers

About the experience:

If you haven’t visited David Crockett Birthplace in a while then add it to the top of your list. Recent park improvements connect visitors to life during the early settlement years. New interpretive stations illustrate how daily life for the Crockett’s might have looked.  It’s a fun place for kids to interact with animals from the period, including pigs, chickens and horses. Campers will also enjoy fishing in the river and swimming at the pool. 

Trip tips:

Greeneville and other towns along Highway 321 are going to be the closest spots for food. Cell service at the park is also good. That makes David Crockett Birthplace another great option for campers who want to stay connected to the outside world. 

Where to stay:

David Crockett Birthplace campground

Explore David Crockett Birthplace

(Photo credit: David Duplessis TennesseePhotographs.com)


Having a hard time choosing?

All these parks are great, and they’re close enough to each other to drive back and forth. For example, Warriors’ Path is only an hour away from Roan Mountain and 40 minutes from David Crockett Birthplace. There’s no reason why you couldn’t stay at one park and visit the others. In fact, we encourage it! There are no entrance fees to the parks. They are free to enter and enjoy 365 days a year. So why not camp at David Crockett Birthplace, hike at Roan Mountain, and rent a boat at Warriors’ Path? These parks exist for you. Come enjoy them to their fullest.  

About the author

Tennessee State Parks