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Our Guide to the Perfect Ocoee River Adventure Getaway

Photo Credit: Ocoee Country, Polk County Chamber of Commerce

Many hubs for spectacular nature are already globally known – cue the miles-long lines, packed parking lots, and hikes where you see more people than trees. But, lucky for all of us, there are still many hidden gem areas full of unforgettable views without the overwhelming traffic. 

A great example of these natural gems? The Ocoee River. This stunning area in the Appalachian Mountains of Southeast Tennessee is known among rafting enthusiasts and locals. But, even though the Ocoee River is just a couple of hours away from several large southeast cities and adored by nature enthusiasts, it is an outdoor adventure destination largely overlooked by many. 

We’re going to tell you why they are missing out! The Ocoee River is full of outdoor activities that range from thrilling to relaxing, so you can have a little bit of everything on your trip. 

Here is an Ocoee River summer itinerary for adventure lovers!

Start With a Raft Trip on the Ocoee River

Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture

A trip to the Ocoee River wouldn’t be complete without a rafting trip! The Ocoee River is packed to the brim with exciting rapids, making it America’s favorite whitewater. On the most popular middle section of the river, you can find 30+ rapids to enjoy, from put-in to take-out. This half day rafting trip leaves plenty of time to get into more adventure in your day.

You can also raft through history on the upper section of the Ocoee! This section was the site of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics Kayak and Canoe Slalom events, making it the world’s only natural, non-man-made Olympic river. 

There are 23 rafting outfitters to choose from to guide you on your exhilarating rafting adventure! 

Stretch Your Legs with a Hike in the Cherokee National Forest

After your exciting raft trip, it’ll feel good to throw on your hiking boots and find some stunning overlooks in the Cherokee National Forest! The recreation areas around the Ocoee Region span over 650,000 acres. With over 600 trails to choose from, there are options perfect for hikers of all skill levels.

There are several waterfalls around the Ocoee region to uncover, and each has its own personality to enjoy. From raucous and loud downpours like Benton Falls to the more romantic and calm babbling falls like the Gee Creek Falls, hikes with a waterfall as the finale are always especially exciting. Even the drive to these hikes are an activity, with several vistas of Ocoee Lake on Oswald Road, off of Highway 64.

Cycle On Amazing Forest Trails

Grab your helmet – mountain bikers will spend all their time on these incredible trails. Whether a newbie or a seasoned pro, you can find a route in Ocoee Country that suits your needs!

The Tanasi Trail System is a popular choice for all levels of bikers, with seven different trails and over 20 miles that range from easy to challenging. 

Lounge on Lake Ocoee

Parksville Lake/Lake Ocoee is a great spot when you want calm water to paddle or a shore to lounge on. Check out Mac Pointe Beach or Parksville Beach to swim, kayak, SUP or go boating. Bring your own boat or rent from a local outfitter. If you want an overnight lake getaway, there is also a great Cherokee National Forest Campground on the lake. No matter what type of lake day you dream of, you can find it here!

Go Angling In Fish-Filled Water

Fishing in the Ocoee River Corridor will connect you to some of southeastern Tennessee’s best rivers, streams, and lakes for white bass, yellow bass, trout, and more. Don’t want to set out without some support? Several outfitters can get you to world-class fly fishing of the Toccoa, Lower Ocoee, and Hiwassee Rivers with drift boats or wet wading trips. Just keep in mind that you’ll need a Georgia or Tennessee (depending on the river) fishing license!

Plan Your Trip

If you’re looking for a stunning natural area that still feels largely untouched, you will love the Ocoee. Still not convinced? Plan a trip to the Ocoee River to see how many outdoor opportunities make this place feel like a paradise for nature lovers. 

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