With outdoor adventure, rich history, and more, Carter County, TN is a great spot for a weekend getaway. Start your adventure checking into a cozy cabin on the wooded shores of Watauga Lake. Grab dinner and drinks nearby at one of east Tennessee’s best barbeque restaurants, Southern Craft, and enjoy the scenic views of the lake. 

On Saturday, start your day with a hearty breakfast at Bob’s Dairyland, a Roan Mountain staple since 1956. Then burn off the carbs while enjoying a hike across the Roan Mountain balds, a remarkable experience any time of the year with 360 degree views of the surrounding mountains. If you happen to be visiting in early summer, be sure to stop by the Roan Mountain Rhododendron Gardens, the largest naturally occurring in the world, which puts on a spectacular show with blooms usually peaking around mid June. Assuming you’ve worked up an appetite again, on your way back down the mountain stop into Smoky Mountain Bakers to sample their mouthwatering wood-fired pizzas.

Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park offers an opportunity to learn about the revolutionary war era history of this region, from the founding of the Watauga Association to the muster of the Overmountain Men. Their museum offers a great taste of life in the late 1700’s and be sure to spend some time exploring the life size replica of Fort Watauga. For dinner, head to downtown Elizabethton to Red Chili. Located in the historic Bonnie Kate Theater building, Red Chili provides authentic Korean cuisine that leaves customers raving.

For breakfast on Sunday, The Southern provides a southern-style breakfast sure to prepare you for another day of exploring. Rent bikes from Pedals On Rails to cruise the Tweetsie Trail between Elizabethton and Johnson City, or the more adventurous can ride singletrack at the Hampton Watershed Trails.

Once you head home all that’s left to do is to start planning your next trip to Carter County, Tennessee!