Written by our intern Isabel Leonard
East Tennessee is most famous for its’ breathtaking, mountainous views – especially in the summertime. Whether it be from the winding trails, beautiful lakes, or peaceful peaks, there is something for everyone and their kids (literally). With summer in full swing, Here and Now Motherhood is here to give you 5 free things to do in the Tri-Cities with your children - one less thing to plan while the kids are at home for the summer:
Buffalo Mountain Park
Located in Johnson City, Buffalo Mountain Park is a 725-acre park with plenty of outdoors options for families. The park has trails to hike, picnic spots for families to take lunch, and pavilions too! Buffalo Mountain Park has some of the best views of Johnson City and has tons of wildlife.
In the summer, the park is open from 7 a.m. to sunset and in the winter is open from 9 a.m. to sunset. Whether you and your family are avid hikers or you just want beautiful views of the city, Buffalo Mountain Park is a great place to go!
Buffalo Mountain Park is located at 570 Highridge Drive, Johnson City, TN, 37604
Blue Hole Falls
Blue Hole Falls is a swimming hole and hiking trail located in the Cherokee National Forest in Elizabethton, TN. The swimming hole and waterfall are cold but a fantastic place to cool off after a hike in the summer heat! The hiking trail is easy and can be completed by almost anyone, but there are tougher trails nearby for people looking for more of a challenge.
The entrance to the falls has a small set of stairs that are steep, but if you take your time they are easy to maneuver. This is a great place to bring kids and pets to swim and play! If you are looking for unique views and scenic waterfalls, take some time to visit!
Blue Hole Falls is located at 261 Panhandle Road, Elizabethton, TN, 37643
South Holston Lake
Over 7,580 acres in size, South Holston Lake is a hotspot for outdoor enthusiasts and water lovers alike. According to www.discoverbristol.org, it is one of the top two lakes in Tennessee!
South Holston Lake is a great place for families for several reasons. You can go swimming and fishing on the shoreline, with free parking at the Little Oak Campground near the Cherokee National Forest. You can also visit South Holston Dam, which has a road to the top that features a stunning view of the entire lake. There is free parking so you can take your time to walk around and enjoy everything. Below the dam, there is the Weir Dam and Reservation, which features a one-mile-loop trail with beautiful views of the river and wildlife! You will almost always see fly fishermen and a few deer when you are there!
Directions to free parking at South Holston Lake: Cherokee National Forest, Little Oak Road, Bristol, TN, 37620
Weir Dam/Osceola Island is located at 372 Holston View Dam Road, Bristol, TN, 37620
Willow Springs Park
Located in Johnson City, Willow Springs Park is a 36-acre park with walking trails, picnic spots and stunning mountain views. Along with this, Willow Springs has a members-only dog park, gazebo to bring lunch and a playground for kids.
This is a one of the most beautiful parks in Johnson City because of its versatility. You can walk your dogs on the paths, enjoy lunch with family on the spacious grassy areas, or play with your kids on the park-provided playground. This park only continues to grow and is a beautiful and clean place for families to relax and enjoy the outdoors.
Willow Springs Park is located at 1201 Huffine Road, Johnson City, TN, 37604
Warriors’ Path State Park
Located in Kingsport, Warriors’ Path State Park is a 950-acre park on the Patrick Henry Reservoir on the South Holston River. Warriors’ Path has an abundance of outdoors options for families - including bike trials, fishing, swimming on the shore lines, and a golf course!
According to www.tnstateparks.com, Warriors’ Path is the only Tennessee State Park with a Boundless Playground (playground for children of all physical and mental abilities to play together). Along with this, the park features the Lions Narnia Braille Trail, a quarter-mile trail with eight sensory stations that tell a story from the Chronicles of Narnia! Warriors’ Path even has a fully-accessible tree house and amphitheater that can hold up to 1,000 people!
If you are looking for an interactive and entertaining place to bring your kids, Warriors’ Path is a great place to go. With tons of fun options for you and your family, you can’t go wrong choosing this park for yout weekend plans.
Warriors’ Path State Park is located at 490 Hemlock Road, Kingsport, TN, 37633