In a state full of fall color and made for road trips, Loudon County, in east Tennessee, is golden. With the Smoky Mountains creating a backdrop for hiking, kayaking, boating, and fishing on Tellico Lake or the Tennessee River, visitors can enjoy scenic drives, stunning sunsets, and trademark misty mornings.
Start your morning off with sunrise at the Million Dollar View over Fort Loudoun Lake. Loudon County, known as the Lakeway to the Smokies, offers a multitude of water and nature activities. Bring your fishing gear and explore the natural, scenic areas around Lenoir City Park and Tellico Dam or venture out to the East Lakeshore Trail, a system of nine hiking trails that feature incredible lake views.
Enjoy lunch at the Seed to Sandwich Café, located at Sweetwater Valley Farm in Philadelphia, a working, family dairy farm that produces a variety of delicious farmstead, cheddar-based cheeses for visitors to sample and purchase. If they’re making cheese when you visit, you’ll get to watch the process through a viewing window and enjoy some fresh cheese curds.
Stroll through downtown Loudon and explore the Stimpson Seashell Museum—one of the world’s largest seashell collections. Make two selfie stops at the mural in Veteran’s Park and in the courtyard beside the Historic Loudon Theatre, where live music is featured most weekends. Enjoy a relaxing dinner at the historic Carmichael Inn and continue the fun at Kinfolk Farms where you can choose from one of four unique-themed cabins and play giant outdoor chess with the family.
Hit the links for a round of golf at one of the area’s top-rated golf courses, Rarity Bay, Landmark Club at Avalon, WindRiver Golf Course, or one of the three exclusive courses at Tellico Village which offer public play—Toqua Golf Course, Tanasi Golf Course, and The Links at Kahite Golf Course.
Take a break for lunch on the deck at Calhoun’s at Fort Loudon Marina and spend the afternoon canoeing or kayaking on Fort Loudoun Lake. Fuel up with an afternoon coffee at the Ugly Mug and take a self-guided walking tour through downtown Lenoir City. History buffs can check out the Lenoir City Museum and explore two of Loudon County’s six Civil War Trails sites.
Get ready for a feast at The Burgers. Be sure and start with a basket of fried pickles and get homemade banana pudding for dessert. End the night on target at East Tennessee Axe Throwing, a family-friendly ax throwing venue.
Loudon County is home to Tennessee Valley Winery, one of the oldest operating family-owned wineries in Tennessee.
Cover Photo: Canoeing on Tellico Lake, photo courtesy Visit Loudon County