Top spots for a visit to the Lakeway to the Smokies
Loudon County, Tennessee, sits quietly between Knoxville and Chattanooga in east Tennessee but those who have discovered it know it speaks volumes to visitors in search of amazing activities and unique attractions. Known for its million-dollar view of the Smokies, the destination’s central location has convenient Interstate access from I-75 and I-40 East. And while Loudon County’s Highway 321 is the most scenic and least congested route to the Smokies, you’ll want to plan a few stops along the way.
Here are seven stops you definitely want to add to your Loudon County visit.
1. Classic Southern Downtowns
From Loudon’s beautiful fountain in the square to Lenoir City’s specialty boutiques, these towns are essential stops for a Loudon County visit. They offer the perfect spots for antiquing amid the well-preserved architecture of historic buildings. Check out city websites for information on walking tours of both Lenoir City and Loudon.
2. Tennessee Valley Winery
Enjoy a free tasting at Tennessee Valley Winery. This is one of the oldest operating family-owned wineries in Tennessee. With its more than 20 wine varieties, Tennessee Valley has earned more than 900 national, regional and local awards.
3. Sweetwater Valley Farm
Make a visit to this working dairy farm and cheese factory. Approximately 400,000 pounds of cheese is produced annually at Sweetwater Valley Farm. Visitors can sample one of the many award-winning cheeses and even see the cheese-making process through a viewing window.
4. National Campground
Walk through the field where Union General William T. Sherman camped in November of 1863. In 1873 a camp to “allay the feuds engendered by the late national difficulties” was constructed. This open-air meeting house built in 1874 still hosts an annual five-day revival every October.
5. East Lakeshore Trail
Many scenic parks here offer trails for hiking and biking. East Lakeshore is a new system of nine trails along the eastern shore of Tellico Lake. Designated as a National Recreational Trail, it is easily accessible and offers hikes ranging in distance from one to five miles with beautiful lake views.
6. Fort Loudoun Lake
Heaven for those who want to get out on the water. Start at Fort Loudon Marina (5200 City Park Dr, Lenoir City, Tennessee 37772), one of the largest marinas in Tennessee. Some prefer to float on a pontoon and go exploring while others hit the water to cast a line for largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie or catfish. This 14,600-acre reservoir has 379 miles of shoreline and amazing views of the Smokies.
7. Play Golf!
Golfers are in paradise here, too. Tellico Village (202 Chota Road, Loudon, Tennessee 37774) is home to some of the most beautiful and challenging championship golf courses in Tennessee. Here, guests can enjoy 36 holes of play on the Toqua and Tanasi courses. There are more fine championship courses, as well, including Rarity Bay (403 Rarity Bay Parkway, Vonore, TN 37885) a par-72, 18-hole scenic course that covers more than 150 acres of rolling hills and stunning views of Lake Tellico and the Great Smoky Mountains.
As lucky as it may sound, you don’t have to stop at seven! There is plenty more to see and do and you might just decide to stay a while. Enjoy that east Tennessee hospitality and the million-dollar view in Loudon County, Tennessee. You can find lodgingoptions and more details at VisitLoudonCounty.com.
If you go:
Greenback Drug Company & Diner (6729 Morganton Rd., Greenback, Tennessee 37742) The Greenback Drugstore has been a community gathering place since 1923. Now it’s a popular diner and a great spot for lunch–with a signature grilled Honeybun for dessert.
Stop N Shop Over the Hill Grill (16471 Hwy 72 N. Loudon, Tennessee 37774) For the best in local flavor, be sure to check out this convenience store deli that has become a local hot spot for fried catfish, cheeseburgers and cold beer. Every other Thursday they throw in live bluegrass music.
Tic Toc Ice Cream Parlor (504 Grove St., Loudon, Tennessee 37774) If you’re here “in-season” this is a must-do afternoon treat! Named among the top ten ice cream parlors in Tennessee, Tic Toc’s annual opening day is recognized far and wide as a harbinger of spring. All of the 30 flavors are homemade.