20 Things to do in Anderson County this Summer

Oh, the sweet joys of the summertime! The days are longer, schools are out for a few short weeks, and life just seems a little bit better. The summer is also when most people take their vacation. Some people will head to Florida, some to the Carolinas, and some will even head to the Smokies for a getaway. If you are not planning on going anywhere this summer, that is completely okay, or even if you are- that is okay too. . . .because we are going to tell you twenty things that Anderson County has to offer in the summer. So without further ado, let’s get to planning your summer!

  1.  Norris Lake
Of course, we cannot make this list without putting Norris Lake at the top! From Memorial Day Weekend until the early weeks of October, the lake is where you will find many people spending their summer evenings and weekends. If you’re wanting to spend a little time away for some R&R, no worries, Norris Lake has around 33,840 acres of water. It is a popular East Tennessee attraction, but large enough for those who are wishing to escape the hustle and bustle.
Own a boat? There are plenty of marinas on Norris Lake to dock your boat. Norris Dam Marina, Sequoyah Marina, Stardust Marina, and Waterside Marina are the main marinas in Anderson County. Don’t own a boat? Not a problem, most of these marinas offer boat rentals for the day or even the weekend.  You can check out what each marina has to offer as far as rentals by clicking on their names.
If you’re not much of a boater, that is completely okay. The marinas of Norris Lake are the perfect spot for an evening night out! Sequoyah, Stardust, and Waterside all have their restaurants open for the summer season. Most nights you can enjoy dinner and live bands at the marinas as well.

2.      The Pools

If lakes just are not your thing- we got you covered! There are many pools in Anderson County for you to spend your summer days. In Clinton, there is the Jaycee Park Pool, or as the Clintonians say, “The Clinton Outdoor Pool.” Conveniently located in the heart of Anderson County, this pool is the perfect size for a quick trip to the pool. General Admission is just $3.00 and Senior Admission is $2.00.  Before you swim in the deep end, make sure to check with one of the lifeguards on duty about the “Well” Policy. Want the entire pool for an evening for you and your friends? You can rent the pool for parties or events! 
The Norris Dam State Park Pool is open Wednesdays- Sundays from 10:00 am -6:00pm. General Admission is $5.00 and $2.50 for cabin renters and campers. If you are looking for a pool with peace and quietness, the Norris pool has it! This pool sits on an overlook that showcases the beautiful hills of East Tennessee.
In Oak Ridge, there is the Oak Ridge Pool -which is big enough to almost be considered a small lake. If you’re really wanting to go to a more lively pool, this pool is the one for you. The Oak Ridge Pool offers high diving boards, a walk-in entrance, islands in the middle of the pool, and more.

Jaycee Park Pool 

Norris Dam State Park Pool

Oak Ridge Outdoor Pool

3.      ATV Trails of Rocky Top

Feeling adventurous? Windrock Park sits on 72,000 acres of land and has over 300 miles of trails for off-roading vehicles. Start your journey in Rocky Top, Tennessee. Why in Rocky Top? As of July 1, 2016, ATVs have been allowed on the highways in the city and since Windrock Park is so close to Rocky Top, it’s the perfect way to start your trip. Not to mention there are stores that carry ATV supplies. . . and if you’re in Rocky Top, you can’t pass up lunch at Coal Creek Smokehouse BBQ! Windrock Park also has a campground that sits on 259 acres. What’s the best part about Windrock? It is hard to say, but we would bet it’s the incredible views of the mountains! Before you begin your journey, make sure you are aware of the rules and regulations with the ATVs in Rocky Top! 

4.      The Lavender Festival

Anderson County offers plenty of fun festivals throughout the summer months. One of which is the Lavender Festival! Kicking off on June 16th at 8:00 am, the 20th Annual Lavender Festival celebrates health, herbs, and the environment. Spend the day listening to live music, shopping with artisan vendors, and enjoy free cooking demonstrations and educational presentations throughout the day.  This festival takes place in the Historic Jackson Square of Oak Ridge and is always a popular festival of the summer.

5.      Oak Ridge National Laboratory Labor Day

New to Anderson County, for the first time in 13 years, Oak Ridge National Laboratory will be opening it’s doors to the public for tours. The event, held on June 9th from 10 am -4:00 pm, is honor of their 75th Anniversary. Registration started on May 1, 2018.  Since this is the first time in 13 years that the public will be able to tour the Lab - we recommend registering as soon as possible!

6.      Chamber Gospel Fest

Another new event coming to Anderson County this summer! The Anderson County Chamber of Commerce and Fox Toyota are thrilled to be hosting the first Chamber Gospel Fest! The concert will be on July 28, 2018 at Second Baptist Church of Clinton, Tennessee. The Concert will feature performances by Gold City, Tommy Spencer, and Sunday Drive. Tickets will be going on sale within the next few weeks and are just $10.00. Be watching the Chamber's Social Media to see when tickets go on sale!

7.      The Museum of Appalachia

Nestled right in Anderson County is the Museum of Appalachia, a living history museum. Found by John Rice Irwin, the museum is a Pioneer mountain farm-village that lends voice to the people of Southern Appalachia through the artifacts and stories they left behind. Not only is the museum perfect for all ages, but it is a part of the Smithsonian Affiliate Museum. The Museum has seen many famous faces throughout the years- from Oprah Winfrey to Lee Ann Womack, it’s known all around the globe. For the month of May, the Museum of Appalachia is offering 30% off  Museum Membership. Perfect for the start of summer! If you do visit this gem, be prepared to see peacocks casually strolling around the property.

8.      The Nine Lakes Wine Festival

The Nine Lakes Wine Festival is a three day event that takes place at Melton Lake Park in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The series of events kick off on Thursday, May 17 and wraps on Saturday, May 19. The final event on Saturday is titled the “Grand Tasting,” with over 100 wines and ciders along with food, entertainment, and vendors offered. Tickets for the tasting are currently being sold online for $30.00. To purchase tickets to this event, you must be 21+ years of age.

9.      The Secret City Festival

The Secret City Festival, a tribute to Oak Ridge’s involvement with WWII, will be kicking off on June 8th and run until June 9th. The festival features food, music, games, and more! The festival is always known for its music acts. This year’s headlining performances will be by Dennis DeYoung and the Music of Styx as well as Little River Band. Tickets are currently on sale with $22.00 per show or $40.00 for both shows. With this year being the 75th Anniversary of Oak Ridge, we’d say that the Secret City Festival is going to be something that you will not want to miss this summer!

10.  The Little Ponderosa Zoo and Rescue

Did you know that Anderson County has it’s own zoo? TheLittle Ponderosa Zoo features many exotic animals that have been rescued throughout the years. From Zonkeys to Parrots- be prepared to see a little bit of everything. Tickets start at $12.00 and anyone below the age of 2 is free! The zoo is currently in a rebuild phase after a devastating fire that took place in December of 2017. The Zoo is still open to the public and gladly accepting donations to help fund the new building along with the needs for the animals. For more information on donations, go here:  https://littleponderosazoo.com/fire/

11.   The Oak Ridge Playhouse

Feeling dramatic? Don’t worry, we got you covered! TheOak Ridge Playhouse is the perfect night out for a summer evening. This summer the community theater will feature three different plays. Currently, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, is being shown until May 13, 2018. For most of summer break, Oklahoma, will be the production that will run from June 29, 2018- July 15, 2018. Followed by Death Trap, which will  run from August 17, 2018- August 26, 2018.

12.  Concert on the Commons
Returning for its 10th season, Concert on the Commons is a series of weekly musical performances that take place at the Norris Commons from June 8, 2018- July 27, 2018.  Performances will take place each Friday night beginning at 7:00 pm. Pack up your lawn chairs or blankets and be ready for a good time!  

13.  Loyston Point Campground

Although the Smoky Mountains are great, Anderson County has a few good camping spots as well! With a total of 64 campsites nestled along Norris Lake, this is the perfect place to unwind for a little weekend getaway with fees starting at $79.00 a night. Not much of a camper? No problem, there’s room for the glampers too. Cabin rentals are available in Loyston Point as well!

14.  Historic David Hall Cabin

Located right off Edgemoor, sits the Historic David Hall Cabin. The cabin is the home of David Hall, a Revolutionary War Soldier who used the cabin as a tavern. On June 2-June 3, 2018- the Cabin will be hosting an Open House from 10:00 am- 6:00 pm. The two day event will feature butter churning demonstrations, historical artifacts on display, blacksmiths, and more. The event has no admission charge! Why not step back in time and see what one of the first homes in Anderson County has to offer?

15.  Fire on the Water

A kick-off to Independence Day Weekend, Fire on the Water is the largest private firework show that takes place Tennessee! This year it will take place on June 30, 2018 at Sequoyah Marina. Boaters from all over East Tennessee pack Norris Lake for this event. Don’t worry non-boaters, you can still attend! Just make sure you get to Sequoyah Marina early for a parking spot and a seat! It’s the event’s 25th go around and last year. . . so you don’t want to miss it!

16.  Coal Creek Miners Museum

Calling all history lovers! The Coal Creek Miners Museum tells the story of the Convict Lease System, the Fraterville Mine Disaster and the Cross Mountain Mine Disaster. The museum is located right in the heart of Rocky Top, Tennessee and is completely free! Coal Creek Miners Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am- 4:00 pm.

17.  UT Arboretum

Need a little breath of fresh air? Located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the UT Arboretum is the perfect place for a family hike. The property is over 250 acres and features multiple walking trails along with 2,500 plants. Not only is the Arboretum a nature escape, but they also offer small camp programs throughout the summer for children. On June 20-22, they will be hosting Bug Camp. The camp is for rising second and third graders and will involve up close and fun interactions with bugs. The camp will be taught by  Dr. Jerome Grant and the UT “Insect Zoo.” There are only 25 spots available, so you will want to reserve your child’s spot as soon as possible. For more information, contact Michelle Campanis at 865-483-7277 or mcampani@utk.edu.

18. Jazz on the Hill

      Hopefully by now, you have caught on that we really love music in Anderson County. We have a little bit of every genre offered this summer. The Green McAdoo Cultural Center recently released the lineup for their summer music series, "Jazz on the Hill." The event kicks off on June 2, 2018 with Jaystorm Project, followed by a show on July 7, 2018 starring Soulful Sound Revue featuring Lee Willis. The final two shows of the concert series will take place on August 4, 2018 with Brian Clay and then on September 1, 2018. The headliner for the final show has yet to be announced, but our guess is that it will be someone really good! Don't forget to bring your lawn chair or blanket to this event! 

19. Christmas in July 
     Christmas in July?! Yes, you read that right. Since July is the halfway point to Christmas, we like to get a little festive here in Anderson County. During the month of July, you will want to head to downtown Clinton for some shopping with the local antique stores and shops! Usually most of the stores are offering some type of discount or sale. It may be July, but it is never too early to get started on your Christmas shopping! 

20.  The Anderson County Fair

And last, but not least, the best six days of summer. . .the Anderson County Fair. Voted, “Champion of Fairs AAA Division” in 2015, this an event that many people throughout Anderson County and surrounding areas look forward to in the summertime. The fair this summer will be on July 17-22nd.  The week of fun kicks off with the Fairest of the Fair Pageant on Monday. Admission to get in is $5.00, wrist bands for rides are $20.00, and admission for six and under is completely free! Season tickets are being offered for $20.00. Not much of a ride person? Not a problem! The Anderson County Fair has plenty to offer for everyone. From the activities of Senior Citizen Day to the livestock/agriculture barn- you don’t want to miss it! Let’s be honest. . . the fair food is where it is at!

Anderson County has so much to offer throughout the summer. Make the best of your summer vacation and try out one of these eighteen things! Although we wish everyday could be a summer vacation, sadly that is not the case. Don’t let your summer slip by! See what all our county has to offer! Check out https://www.adventureanderson.com/ to see more of Anderson County's fine treasures! 


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