Paddle or Float South Holston Lake:
A day at the lake may usually be associated with summertime, but time out on SOHO Lake can be just as enjoyable in the fall! Whether you’re kayaking or motor boating, the peaceful feeling of being out on the water, refreshing cool breeze, and the lovely mountain views is one of the best ways to de-stress (in our opinions). A bonus of exploring the lake in the fall is the opportunity to capture the stunning transformation of seasons as the leaves change to bright reds, oranges, and yellows. If you haven’t’ had the opportunity to see South Holston Lake with the fall foliage painted along its banks, it is an experience that should definitely be added to your bucket list.
Is leaving the land to spend time out on the lake not your cup of tea? No worries! There are several parks surrounding South Holston Lake that offer picnic areas and hiking trails for you to enjoy beautiful lake views from the shore. A few of our favorite spots are Washington County Park, Observation Knob Park, and South Holston Dam (enjoy both lake and river views from atop the dam). Since fall is a great time for camping, make it a weekend trip and stay at one of the campgrounds on the lake to experience all Bristol, TN/VA has to offer.
Explore Bristol Caverns:
The unpredictable fall weather makes Bristol Caverns the perfect place to visit in the fall. Since the average temperature in the cave is around 54 degrees Fahrenheit and no worries of being rained upon inside, it’s the ideal stop whether it’s too hot outside, raining, or if you’re just looking for a change of scenery. The tour of the caverns will take you through all three levels including along the banks of the Underground River. Seeing Bristol underground will fill you with amazement, regardless of age! Fun fact: Bristol Caverns is one of the oldest attractions in Northeast Tennessee and one of the most visited in Bristol.
If you enjoy exploring the natural wonders of caverns, you will want to also plan a visit to the neighboring Appalachian Caverns in Blountville, TN.
Visit the Nature Center or Take a Hike at Steele Creek Park:
This beautiful park in the City of Bristol, TN is the perfect spot for spending a fall afternoon. The cooler temperatures make hiking and biking much more enjoyable while exploring the sites and sounds of nature.
The Annual Wildlife Weekend event also takes place during October, which is another reason why fall the perfect time to visit Steele Creek Park. This annual event offers fun for all with interactive and educational activities for kids, guided nature walks, seminars & nature talks from area experts, and so much more. If you haven’t visited the park before, Wildlife Weekend is a great reason to make the trip!
Camp at Sugar Hollow Park:
If you need a change of pace from the daily grind, a camping trip is just the answer to help you slow down for a couple of days. Sugar Hollow Park in the City of Bristol, VA offers a nice campground that is perfect for a short getaway near home (if you live in Southwest Virginia or Northeast Tennessee). The 75-site campground is open through the end of October, giving you plenty of time to plan a fall camping trip before the weather turns too cold. The campground is nestled back in the park away from the hustle & bustle of Exit 7 for you to enjoy a peaceful stay enjoying the sights & sounds of nature. Once at your campsite, you would never believe you are only minutes from shops, restaurants, & I-81. While at the park, enjoy a hike or bike ride on one (or many) of the trails throughout the 400-acre park. Your stay at Sugar Hollow is sure to be naturally wonderful!
If you do not want to camp, a day at the park can be just as enjoyable! Bring a picnic lunch (or pick up a to-go order from one of the nearby restaurants) and spend the day on the trails or just relaxing in the great outdoors.
Head to Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion:
The streets of Downtown Bristol are filled with energy, music, and vendors during this annual 3-day event in September. The sense of community that the Northeast TN & Southwest VA region offers is really shown as locals and out-of-town visitors gather in historic downtown to enjoy great music, food, & unforgettable moments. This festival is at the top of any music fan’s list!
This award-winning music festival is dedicated to promoting the region’s rich musical heritage and inspiring creativity for all ages. Besides the great music on over 20 stages throughout the weekend, the festival offers other family-friendly activities. Among these include a run/walk road race, children’s day (free event with crafts, games, and more), yoga in Cumberland Square Park, and vendor tents showcasing talented artisans and local cuisine. With so much to do during this fun-filled weekend, you will want to save the date year after year (we know we do!).