Located at the extreme Northeast of the state, Johnson City, Bristol and Kingsport—known collectively as the Tri-Cities—combine rural charm with a vibrant cultural presence. Whether you prefer to visit one of the area’s many tranquil parks, experience the noise and rush of the Bristol Motor Speedway or anything in between, this little corner of the state has a lot to offer.
- Attend a Day Quest at Doe River Gorge, spending the afternoon in outdoor activities ranging from train rides and paintball to ziplines and bouncing off the Blob into the lake.
- Go camping at Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park, tour the museum, visit the replica log cabin and check out the Crockett Monument Wall, built with stone from each of the 50 states.
- Take your children to the Hands On! Regional Museum and explore 20+ interactive displays.
- Visit Brights Zoo, a privately-owned zoological garden that’s small but extremely diverse, featuring species such as the kookaburra, oryx, hornbill, gibbon, turaco, lynx and African spoonbill.
- Tour the Dickson-Williams Mansion, the house that served as headquarters to both Union and Confederate troops and entertained such eminent guests as Davy Crockett and the Marquis de Lafayette.
- Visit the brick museum at the General Shale Brick headquarters, which includes masonry from numerous historical sites—even a 10,000 year-old brick from Jericho.
- Snap some pictures at the Elizabethton Covered Bridge spanning the Doe River and relax in the surrounding parks.
- Learn about paleontology and Tennessee’s distant past at the Gray Fossil Site and Natural History Museum.
- Celebrate the power of the spoken word at the International Storytelling Center or join in the annual Storytelling Festival in October.
- Shop in Historic Downtown Johnson City, home to stores including Atlantis, Main Street Antiques and Mercantile, Campbell’s Morrell Music, Nelson Fine Art and numerous art galleries and studios.
- Step into the 19th century at one of the area’s many living history and historical reenactment exhibits, including Rocky Mount, Exchange Place and Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area.
- Let the kids run wild at Wallabies, a 10,000 square-foot play area with inflatable slides and obstacle courses.
- Go to the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site and trace the man’s life from humble tailor to 17th president.
- Enjoy the sun and make a splash at the Wetlands Water Park.