Discover Boone Lake

Located in the beautiful hills of northeast Tennessee, Boone Lake is a stunning destination for those looking to get away and relax. The 4,520-acre reservoir lies within Sullivan and Washington Counties and is easily accessible from Johnson City. Named after the legendary frontiersman Daniel Boone, this lake offers a charming blend of scenic landscape and rich history.

When you visit Boone Lake, you’ll find various activities to enjoy. Enthusiastic anglers will appreciate the diversity of fish species in the lake, including bluegill, crappie, white, striped, hybrid, smallmouth, and largemouth bass. Or, take a short drive to Johnson City or Gray for local attractions and dining options. There’s always something interesting happening nearby!

So, consider a day trip or even a weekend getaway to Boone Lake, Tennessee next time you find yourself in the region. You’ll be captivated by its picturesque beauty, history, and recreational opportunities. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or just looking for a scenic spot to unwind, Boone Lake has something for everyone. Enjoy your time in this breathtaking piece of nature!


Top 3 Facts About Boone Lake in Tennessee


Boone Lake’s Extensive Reach

Boone Lake has two major river extensions. One arm stretches about 16 miles up the South Fork Holston River, and the other extends approximately 15 miles up the Watauga River. You’ll never run out of areas to explore!


A Hotspot for Recreational Fishing

The lake is renowned for its various fish species, attracting sport fishermen from all over. Some notable species include brown trout, lake trout, rainbow trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and striped bass.


High-Value Lakefront Real Estate

Despite being one of the smaller lakes in Tennessee, Boone Lake boasts some of the most expensive lakefront properties in the United States. As of a 2020 study, the average cost of shorefront property at Boone Lake was around $1.37 million, ranking it sixteenth in the nation for the most expensive lake shorefront property.

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Must-See Attractions

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Play It Again Retro Arcade

Indoor Activity

Step back in time at Play It Again Retro Arcade, where you can immerse yourself in the nostalgia of over 50 classic arcade games from the golden era of the 80s and 90s. Located in Johnson City, this retro haven offers a unique experience with games like Dig Dug, Galaga, and NBA Jam, all available for unlimited play with a single admission fee. It’s a perfect spot for anyone looking to relive the arcade glory days in a fun and vibrant setting.

George L. Carter Railroad Museum

Speciality Museum

This museum is a treasure trove for rail enthusiasts and history buffs alike. Showcasing an impressive collection of historic railroad memorabilia, toy trains, and intricate model railroads, it’s the perfect place to delve into the state’s rich railway heritage in a fun and hands-on way. Plus, it’s free! (Donations welcome).

Perplexodus Mystery Manor

Indoor Activity

If the weather isn’t playing ball or you’re looking for a fun-filled indoor activity, Perplexodus Mystery Manor is for you. With its live-action, actor-led games and interactive mystery dinner theatres, you can test your puzzle-solving skills and teamwork in a fun-filled way. There’s no doubt you’ll walk away fizzing from the excitement!

Annual Events and Festivals

August, 2024

Johnson City Junction Days

Experience the unique charm of Johnson City at the second annual Johnson City Junction Days. This festival, held in the heart of downtown, features diverse live music performances, showcasing local and regional talent. Art lovers will enjoy the various displays and activities highlighting the community’s creativity. It’s a perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture, meet the artisans, and enjoy the lively street atmosphere.

April 27, 2024

Thirsty Orange Beer Fest

The Thirsty Orange Beer Fest at Founders Park in Johnson City is a paradise for craft beer enthusiasts. With an extensive selection of over 150 craft beers and ciders, you can look forward to tasting everything from classics to unique fusion brews. Plus, it’s not just about beer tasting—the festival creates a vibrant community atmosphere with live music, food stalls, and interactive experiences.

June 8 – 9, 2024

Blue Plum

The Blue Plum Festival is a cornerstone of cultural expression in Johnson City, offering a blend of music, art, and community spirit. Spanning multiple stages, the festival features a wide range of musical genres, catering to all tastes. Apart from music, the festival is a haven for art enthusiasts, with various food and craft vendors lining the downtown streets. It’s a celebration that brings together people from all walks of life to enjoy the arts, engage in interactive activities, and revel in the community’s creativity and diversity.

Top Hiking Trails

White Rock Overlook

Highridge Road, Johnson City, TN 37604

For a quick yet invigorating hike near Boone Lake, White Rock Overlook offers a steep ascent with breathtaking views. The trail, accessible via Highridge Road, can be approached either through a gravel utility road or a switchback dirt trail through the forest. Once at the top, you’ll be rewarded with expansive views of Johnson City, Elizabethton, and Irwin, making it a perfect spot for panoramic photography or simply soaking in the scenery.

Tip Top on Buffalo Mountain

Lone Oak Trail from Dry Creek Road, Johnson City, TN 37604

A moderate hike with rewarding views, Tip Top on Buffalo Mountain is part of the Buffalo Mountain trail system and offers a shaded overlook of Downtown Johnson City. The trail meanders through a thick forest, providing a cool canopy for hikers and trail runners. Along with a picnic area and benches, it’s an ideal spot for a leisurely lunch or relaxation in a hammock, surrounded by nature’s beauty.

Spelunk Worley’s Cave

461 Timber Ridge Rd, Bluff City, TN 37618

For a truly adventurous experience, explore Worley’s Cave, one of Eastern Tennessee’s oldest and longest caves. This unlit cavern, requiring headlamps or flashlights for exploration, offers an authentic spelunking experience. The cave’s 4.4-mile length provides an exciting adventure for those undeterred by the lack of artificial light and looking for an authentic caving experience.

Best Golf Courses

Pine Oaks Golf Club

1709 Buffalo Road, Johnson City, TN 37604

Nestled in the mountains of East Tennessee, Pine Oaks Golf Course offers scenic mountain views and a course design that caters to golfers of all skill levels. Known for its quality course conditions and affordable rates, it’s a local favorite. The club also features a well-stocked pro shop and a friendly staff, ensuring your visit is one for the memory books.

Blackthorn Club

1501 Ridges Club Dr. Jonesborough, TN 37659

At Blackthorn Club, golfers can enjoy breathtaking views of northeast Tennessee’s landscape. This Arthur Hills-designed 18-hole championship course features a traditional layout with challenges like winding canals and strategic bunkers. Facilities include a practice range, a putting green, and a golf shop offering professional services, tournaments, and instruction.

Johnson City Country Club

1901 E Unaka Ave. Johnson City, TN37601

This club, with a history dating back to 1913, features a course designed by the renowned AW Tillinghast. Its layout presents a classic golden-era golf design with stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The club is known for hosting high-level amateur and intercollegiate tournaments and offers a walkable course suitable for golfers and families alike.

Water Sports

Fishing in Boone Lake

Boone Lake offers a delightful fishing experience with its abundant fish species, including bass, crappie, and catfish. The lake is well-equipped for fishing with seven public boat ramps, eight marinas, and a public fishing pier at the Devault Bridge near Winged Deer Park. In addition, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) has actively stocked the lake with several species, making it an ideal spot for casual and serious anglers​.

Boating on Boone Lake

Boating enthusiasts will find Boone Lake a perfect destination, with its convenient access and beautiful surroundings. The lake provides a variety of boating experiences, from peaceful cruises to engaging in various water sports. With boat ramps and courtesy piers, Boone Lake offers safe and convenient access for all boating activities. Whether you want to relax or engage in more active pursuits, Boone Lake’s serene setting is ideal for a day on the water.


Grab an inflatable tube and hold on tight as you’re pulled behind a boat on Boone Lake. Tubing is a fun-filled activity for the whole family, providing thrills and laughter as you bounce over the waves.

Winter Activities

Winter Fishing & Boating at Boone Lake

During winter, Boone Lake in Tennessee remains a popular spot for fishing enthusiasts, offering a chance to catch largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie, catfish, and striped bass. Anglers can enjoy the serene winter landscape while fishing from the shores or venturing on the lake in boats. Remember to layer up, and you’ll no doubt love the tranquility of Boone Lake in winter!

Winter Hiking Near Boone Lake

Winter hiking around Boone Lake can be a delightful way to experience the area’s natural beauty while having trails all to yourself. While it does snow a few times a year in Johnson City and more up in the mountains, for the most part, the trails remain in good condition and accessible. It’s a perfect activity for those looking to stay active and enjoy nature during winter.

Candy Land Christmas

This spectacular holiday event in Johnson City features over 160 beautifully decorated trees illuminated by over a million lights, creating a magical winter wonderland. Held in Founders Park and King Commons Park, it’s a community-driven event where local businesses and nonprofits showcase their creativity and holiday spirit. Visitors can enjoy the displays day and night, experiencing the intricacies of the decorations and the vibrant lights, making it a delightful experience for people of all ages.

Where to Eat

Boonies Restaurant and Pizzeria

$ – $$ • Pizza & More

Blue Gill’s

$ – $$ • Southern Cuisine

Holy Taco And Cantina Boones Creek

$ – $$ • Mexican

Where to Shop

Pretty as a Peach

Boutique Store

Sweet Blessings Boutique

Women’s Clothing Store

Artisans’ Village

Gift Shop

Where to Sleep

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Tips on Renting a Vacation Home on Boone Lake

Seasonal Considerations

The water levels in Boone Lake vary throughout the year, which can affect the type of activities available. For instance, lower water levels in winter may offer a unique perspective of the lake but may limit activities like boating.

Choose the Right Location

Boone Lake stretches between Kingsport and Johnson City, offering various attractions. Decide whether you prefer a tranquil lakeside setting or a location closer to cities for convenient access to restaurants, shops, and other amenities. The Tri-Cities Airport is also nearby for those flying in​​.

Plan for Water Activities

Boone Lake is renowned for its water-based recreation. It’s a hotspot for boating, water skiing, tubing, and wake surfing. The lake is also a popular fishing destination, teeming with bass, crappie, and catfish. If relaxing is more your style, consider spending time at New Boone Beach. Several marinas around the lake provide rentals and other services​​​​.

Check Local Events and Festivals

Boone Lake hosts various events throughout the year. From Thirsty Orange Beer Fest in April to the Blue Plum Musical Festival in June, there’s always something happening. If you’re interested in attending an event, be sure to book your rental far in advance, as rentals can fill up quickly.

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Going Deeper on Boone Lake

In the scenic northeastern Tennessee, Boone Lake is an exciting blend of natural beauty and engineering marvel. Formed by the confluence of the South Fork Holston River and Watauga River, this reservoir extends over 4,400 acres, creating an impressive expanse of water. The lake’s considerable size is evident, with one arm stretching about 16 miles up the South Fork Holston River and another extending roughly 15 miles up the Watauga River.

This extensive coverage provides a habitat for diverse aquatic life and a recreational haven for locals and visitors alike. The dam responsible for this reservoir is a critical infrastructure, ensuring controlled water levels fluctuating by about 20 feet throughout the year, thus balancing ecological and human needs.

Despite being one of the smaller lakes in Tennessee, Boone Lake stands out for its high-value real estate. A 2020 study revealed that the average cost for shorefront property on Boone Lake is around $1.37 million, ranking it the sixteenth most expensive lakeshore property in the United States. This high demand is a testament to the lake’s allure, combining natural beauty with exclusivity.

Frequently Asked Questions About Boone Lake

Boone Lake is a reservoir in Northeast Tennessee, formed by the impoundment of the South Fork Holston River. The lake is named after the famous American pioneer and explorer Daniel Boone, who spent a significant part of his life in the region. It’s known for its recreational opportunities and picturesque landscapes, making it a popular destination for locals and tourists.

Boone Lake offers a wide range of activities for visitors, including boating, fishing, swimming, and water skiing. The lake is well-stocked with various fish species, making it an excellent spot for anglers. There are also several marinas and boat launch areas for those who want to explore the lake by boat.

Around Boone Lake, there are multiple camping and lodging options to suit different preferences and budgets. Visitors can find campgrounds with amenities like RV hookups and tent sites, as well as rental cabins and nearby hotels for a more comfortable stay.

Boone Lake is an excellent destination for family vacations. The lake and its surrounding areas offer activities that cater to all age groups, including picnic areas, hiking trails, and water sports. The calm and scenic environment makes it a great place for families to relax and spend quality time together.

Visitors to Boone Lake are advised to follow safety regulations such as wearing life jackets while boating, observing speed limits on the water, and adhering to fishing regulations. It’s also important to check for any local advisories or restrictions, especially during different seasons or weather conditions.

Boone Lake can be visited year-round, but the best times are typically during the late spring to early fall when the weather is warm and conducive for outdoor activities. Summer months are especially popular for water-based activities, while spring and fall offer cooler temperatures ideal for hiking and exploring the surrounding nature.

Johnson City lies within proximity to Boone Lake, offering plenty of activities and attractions for those visiting the area. Explore the beautiful city and surrounding northeastern Tennessee hills during your visit.

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