Recreation and entertainment costs continue to rise and if you’re like us, it’s really starting to affect your wallet. We want to show you there’s still a ton of fun to have in Anderson County without breaking the bank. So, whether you’re a visitor or a local, here are some of our favorite FREE and fun activities in Anderson County:
Norris Dam State Park – A visit to Norris Dam State Park gives you access to 15 different trails, a historic grist mill that you can walk through and explore, the Lenoir Museum that tells the history of Norris Dam and the surrounding area, multiple picnic areas and playgrounds. In addition, the park also offers an abundance of free programs, including a beekeepers experience and fly tying workshops. The park also backs up to the Norris Watershed offering miles of trails and shallow creeks to wade through.
Our recommendation on how to spend a day at the park – Pack a lunch, hit the museum for a history lesson, wear something that you don’t mind to get wet and play in the Norris Watershed creeks catching critters (bring a net), enjoy a nice picnic at one of the many picnic areas and end the day with a hike. If you want to spend a few bucks after your hike, stop by Clinch River Brewing and enjoy a cold one!
Haw Ridge – There’s a reason Haw Ridge continues to receive 5 star ratings on Google. Situated on a peninsula along the shores of the Clinch River, Haw Ridge has over 30 miles of trails that are perfect for a variety of activities. If you’re a mountain biker, Haw Ridge has trails that will test your skills and endurance. If you’re a hiker or walker, the park offers a paved 5.7 mile walkway and a variety of dirt trails that meander through the woods to keep you cool. There really is something for everyone. For all you mountain bikers, be sure to check out the Dirt Lab that is also located at Haw Ridge. The pump track is a mountain biker’s playground for all ages and skill levels. Haw Ridge gives multiple access points to the water, so you may want to wear something you don’t mind to get wet and dip in the cool Clinch River.
Anderson County Park – If you’re looking to cool off in the refreshing water of Norris Lake, Anderson County Park offers one of the nicest public swimming areas on the lake. It includes a roped off beach area for safety and a great place to play, playground equipment, picnic areas and self-guided nature trails. There is also a fantastic campground if you want to make a weekend out of it, but keep in mind, camping is not free.
Coal Miners Museum – This free, community museum is the perfect place to learn the history of Coal Mining in the area. The museum may be small, but it sure packs a punch. It tells the detailed story of the miners that lived, worked and died in Coal Creek, Fraterville and Briceville. After exploring the museum, take a trip on the Motor Discovery Trail and explore the historical sites of the Coal Creek story.
Green McAdoo Cultural Center– If you haven’t been, we highly recommend a visit to Green McAdoo. The cultural center honors and preserves the legacy of the Clinton 12, twelve brave African American students that walked into history and changed the world. Be sure to check out their calendar of events – all FREE and fun! After a visit to the museum, hit downtown Clinton and browse the antique stores.
K-25 History Center - This 7,500 square foot facility features interactive exhibits with more than 250 original artifacts. You’ll get to explore the inner workings of the K-25 plant, meet the people who worked there, and learn about one of the most significant industrial, scientific and military achievements in American history…and it’s FREE!
If you have little ones, you may want to cool off with one of our area splash pads – there are two splash pads to enjoy in Anderson County, one in Clinton and one in Rocky Top. Both are free and a great way to burn off some of that summer energy!
Be sure to check back on our website, we’ll be featuring a Spend Less in Anderson County Blog with great ways an entire family can spend $50 or less in a day!