Day-Use Recreation Areas

TVA operates about 80 public recreation areas throughout the Tennessee Valley region where millions of people enjoy limitless opportunities for fun and appreciation of our natural heritage. Click on the reservoir near you for more information about TVA-provided facilities, or click on the area recreation guides to access information about nearby attractions, including golf courses, parks, marinas, resorts, campgrounds and more.

  • Cherokee Reservoir offers pristine shorelines that make for excellent nature watching, and the fishing is good.
  • Chickamauga Reservoir is the place to go if you love wildflowers. You’ll love Chickamauga’s 1.3-mile Big Ridge Small Wild Area loop trail, which shows off bloodroot, toothwort, trillium, larkspur and mayapple.
  • Douglas Reservoir is known for picnicking, camping, boating and fishing. It’s also home to many migrating water birds from late July to early October.
  • Fontana Reservoir is completely unique in TVA’s recreational portfolio, offering a resort with amenities including boating, horseback riding and crafts making. 
  • Guntersville Reservoir is a destination for sport fishermen from around the country. It also offers great day hiking.
  • Hiwassee Reservoir is one of the best reservoirs in the region to learn paddle sports, owing to its unique mix of calm waters and light whitewater.
  • Melton Hill Reservoir features a one-of-a-kind zero-energy camping facility with solar power and wind energy, and is built with recycled materials. A beautiful pavilion is the perfect backdrop for family reunions or wedding parties. Read more about it here.
  • Nickajack Reservoir is a shore fisherman’s paradise: Fishing berms are located on both sides of the river below the dam, and a concrete fishing pier with footbridges and wheelchair access is available.
  • Normandy Reservoir is on one of the most ecologically diverse river systems in the nation—the Duck River—and it’s a great place to be one with nature, whether on foot or in a boat.
  • Norris Reservoir features a beautiful picnic area adjacent to a playground, making for a perfect spot for a family reunion. Hiking and biking trails are available.
  • Pickwick Reservoir A popular waterskiing and fishing destination, Pickwick also offers a large campground with 92 sites below the dam.
  • Tellico Reservoir offers plenty of day-use facilities, fishing areas and campgrounds around the reservoir, which cultivates a family-friendly vibe.
  • Watts Bar Reservoir is a major swimming destination, although boating, fishing, camping and other outdoor activities are also popular here. A scenic overlook provides a panoramic view of the reservoir and the surrounding countryside
  • Watauga Reservoir draws hikers; the Appalachian Trail runs through here. It’s also a great destination for birdwatchers.
  • Wheeler Reservoir is a major recreation and tourist center in northern Alabama. Wheeler offers camping, boating and fishing and is adjacent to the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Wilson Reservoir is known as the Smallmouth Capital of the World for the number of trophy smallmouth bass caught here. But there are gentler pursuits, including a network of walking and hiking trails that lead you through Old First Quarters Small Wild Area, named for the complex that housed engineers who originally built the dam in the early 20th century.

Visit a Dam

TVA has eight dams with open visitor centers featuring displays that transport you through 80 years of TVA history, tell you about the site you’re visiting and explain TVA’s activities today. Four of the centers are staffed with friendly TVA retirees to answer your questions and provide a firsthand experience of the TVA story. The visitor centers locations and hours are as follows:

  • Raccoon Mountain Pumped Storage Facility, a staffed center, is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily from April through October, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. November through March except for major holidays and in times of severe weather.
  • Fontana Dam, a staffed center, is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., April through August, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., September and October. The center will close on the last Sunday in October.
  • Norris Dam, a staffed center, is open April to November, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET from Monday to Saturday; 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays.
  • Kentucky Dam, a staffed center, is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in April and November except for major holidays and in times of severe weather.
  • South Holston is display-only and accessible year-round, open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. April to October ET; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. November to March ET.
  • Fort Patrick Henry is display-only and accessible year-round, open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. April to October ET; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. November to March ET.
  • Guntersville is outdoors, display-only and accessible year-round.
  • Wilson Dam is outdoors, display-only and accessible year-round.

Please let TVA know if you’re planning on bringing a large group, and we will take extra measures to accommodate you. Call Laura Smith (865) 632-8287, or email lsmith@tva.gov.

Plan a Family Picnic

TVA offers group picnic pavilions at some of its recreation sites; most include bathroom facilities, grill availability, parking, water and handicap accessibility. Here are the TVA reservations that offer picnic facilities: Boone, Cherokee, Chickamauga, Douglas, Fontana, Guntersville, Hiwassee, Melton Hill, Nickajack, Normandy, Norris, Pickwick, Tellico, Watts Bar, Watauga, Wheeler and Wilson. Pavilion use is free of charge and is available on a first-come, first-served basis each day. For information, call TVA’s Public Land Information Center at (800) 882-5263. You can reserve pavilions at Melton Hill, Douglas and Cherokee for $130 per day.

To the extent permitted by law, TVA disclaims liability for any injury to any person or property or loss of life or property related to use of TVA land for recreation activities.