Father’s Day Fun in the Foothills
Celebrate Father’s Day with Festivities in Blount County
Maryville, Tenn. – For every kind of dad, there is a perfect Father’s Day activity for the whole family to enjoy in East Tennessee. From fathers that enjoy the great outdoors to dads who just want to relax, Blount County has plenty of fun and unique Father’s Day activities to offer for all tastes and interests.
Here is a list of 13 things to do in Blount County to bond with Dad this Father’s Day:
1. Fishing Dad – Bait a hook with Dad on one of Blount County’s 264 streams. In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, fishing is permitted 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset. Check out local reservoirs like the Fort Loudon Reservoir, which holds a variety of fish like black bass and crappies. Remember to check out local restrictions and to bring fishing licenses before packing up fishing rods and tackle boxes.
2. Hiking Dad – Choose from one of the more than 150 trails that covers more than 900 miles for the perfect hike. If traveling with small children, try a mild hike like Cucumber Gap, a 5-mile hike with a beautiful river view, or Laurel Falls, a 2.5-mile hike that leads to a small waterfall and untouched forest at the end of the trail. If Dad is up for something a little more difficult, trek up Gregory Bald, a moderate in difficulty 9-mile hike that offers spectacular views of Cades Cove and the flame azaleas that bloom on its summit during the summer. Just be sure to equip everyone with proper gear, I got my hiking boots after looking at Boot Bomb.
3. History Buff Dad – An area rooted in Appalachia values and culture, Blount County offers numerous historical sites that fathers with a passion for the past can visit. Check out the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center, a perfect spot to spend time enjoying the rich heritage of East Tennessee. Visitors can take in exhibits, ranging from an authentically furnished village to prehistoric artifacts. History buffs can also schedule a special Sunday visit to the Sam Houston Schoolhouse, the oldest standing log schoolhouse in America, as well as the associated museum.
4. Adventure Seeker Dad – Plan a Father’s Day adventure with a bike ride through the 11-mile loop of Cade’s Cove. Take in the mountain scenery and keep an eye out for local wildlife, stopping at the trailhead of Abrams Falls. Hike down to the waterfall and top it off with a refreshing dip in the cool water. For an adrenaline rush, zip-line through the Smokies to get an exhilarating bird’s eye view of the Great Smoky Mountains. If Dad wants something a little less strenuous, take a tour of the Tuckaleechee Caverns in Townsend, a mile-long cave system that reaches 150 feet into the earth.
5. Motorcycle Dad – Bond with Dad on the open road, traveling down the Dragon, a famous stretch of road 11 miles long that runs from East Tennessee to North Carolina. Named for its numerous curves that make the road look like a dragon’s tail, the Dragon is widely known by motorists as an excellent riding road with beautiful mountain scenery and 318 curves to challenge and delight motorists.
6. Golf Dad – Stick with a Father’s Day classic by taking Dad to Pine Lakes Golf Course in Rockford, a public 18-hole golf course known for its well-maintained green space and its accessibility to golfers of all experience levels.
7. Water Thriller Dad – Beat the heat this Father’s Day tubing or kayaking down the Little River, a route fit for the entire family. The upper section of the river is for the more adventurous with rougher rapids and several swimming holes, while the lower section is more subdued and family friendly with smoother sailing but the same scenic views.
8. Beer Tasting Dad – While Father’s Day may fall on a Sunday, that doesn’t mean Dad can’t enjoy a cold one. Several breweries and craft beer stores are open for business including The Casual Pint, a craft beer store located in downtown Maryville, which brews and serves craft beer for your dad’s pleasure. Also stop by Maryville’s Bluetick Brewery, a local microbrewery with a laid-back atmosphere with plenty of lagers and ales to sample.
9. Camping Dad – Rough it with the family in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the nation’s most visited national park. Stay at the Cades Cove Campground, which offers a central location in beautiful Cades Cove. The campground has access to hiking trails and pathways to historic buildings as well as toilets, drinking water and a camp store that offers the basic camping necessities and bike rentals.
10. Pampered Dad – Book a relaxing weekend stay at one of Blount County’s local resorts or bed and breakfasts such as the Gracehill Bed and Breakfast. Surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery, Gracehill offers luxury accommodations with fine dining and beautiful gardens, including one with 80 rose bushes.
11. Art Dad – For the art aficionado Dad, take in pieces designed and created by local artisans on display at the Robbie Anderson Exhibition at the Denso Gallery in Maryville College’s Clayton Center for the Arts. For something a little folksier, try the Townsend Visitors Center from June 19-21 to see the stained glass and other works created by local artists Randy White and Larry and Paul McClain on display and for sale.
12. Cooking Dad – For those culinary dads who would rather stay in and cook, the best gift is good ingredients. Stop by Maryville’s The Market, an all-natural, regionally sourced butcher and market with a butcher onsite. Visit the Maryville Farmer’s Market on the Saturday before Father’s Day to stock up on local fresh fruits and vegetables from surrounding farms.
13. Volunteer Dad – When Dad would rather give than receive on Father’s Day, turn volunteering into a fun and rewarding activity for the whole family. Visit the Blount County Humane Society, a nonprofit, no kill shelter that is always looking for volunteers to clean, fundraise and help take care of the animals by walking dogs or playing with the animals. If Dad wants to spend the day volunteering outside, contact Keep Blount Beautiful to find opportunities to help clean up and maintain local parks and trails.
List courtesy of Smoky Mountain Tourism Development Authority