16 Best Things to Do in Athens, TN

athens, tn
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Athens, Tennessee, is a small charming city set in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, between Knoxville and Chattanooga.

Located in the Chattanooga-Cleveland-Athens MSA, Athens is the county seat of McMinn County. Athens was formerly a tiny farming community.

The Cherokee resided there when the first Euro-American explorers arrived in McMinn County.

In 1822, Athens was established as the county seat and laid out. According to legend, "Athens" got its name from the perceived geographical resemblance to Greece's capital city.

Athens has developed industrially, yet it has kept its friendly demeanor.

Since the early 1800s, more than 30 buildings have been preserved in this ancient city.

The city has been revitalized by investments in new boutiques, restaurants, and arts.

Historic residences may be seen throughout the city, serving as a continual reminder of the city's past.

With its charming buildings and stores, the downtown business district provides a look back in time to a gentler time.

Learn more about this Tennessee town with our list of the best things to do in Athens, TN.

Swing Your Tee at White Oaks Golf Course

Scenic View of White Oaks Golf Course
Michaelstone428, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This professional 18-hole golf course is located along Rogers Creek.

The course was originally built in 1992 and reopened in 2014, with Bermuda tees, Diamond Zoysia greens, and fairways.

The course was designed by Don Wyatt and Richard Davis.

Water hazards, elevation gradients, and 6,750 yards make this a tough course.

Lockers, showers, and changing rooms are all available at the Golf Course.

It also offers golfing services, including on-site golf instruction and golf equipment selling.

Taste Delectable Ice Cream from Mayfield Dairy Farms

Located on I-75 between Knoxville and Chattanooga, Mayfield Dairy Farms is a century-old dairy farm.

The tastiest, freshest ice cream you've ever had may be found at the Mayfield Visitors Center.

They provide a wide variety of tastes and a small gift shop with souvenirs and one-of-a-kind presents.

T.B. Bayfield Jr. purchased 45 Jersey cows in 1910 and began selling fresh milk and cream to his neighbors in Athens.

A new generation is operating the farm, but the old ones are still there.

Because of the advancements in contemporary milk production, the ice cream industry in Athens and the surrounding region has grown to be a well-known brand and a beloved pleasure.

Go Cycling along Eureka Trail

Starting in Mashburn, the path meanders southeast for 5.6 miles until coming to an end in Englewood, following an old railroad bed.

Hikers, cyclists, and horseback riders may all enjoy the Eureka Trail.

The 4.3 miles of hard-packed gravel track follows the historic course of a rail line and links Athens and Englewood.

Here you may go biking, strolling, or running.

Equestrians can park their horse trailers in a separate area on Highway 307 in Athens, with plenty of parking.

Try Different Fun Activities Athens Regional Park

Various events take place at the Athens Regional Park.

A small gorgeous lake, a creek that flows down part of the walking track, and other walking trails are all snuggled in this park's woods.

There are plenty of spots to stroll, jog, and work out, as well as a few pavilions where special events might take place.

Access to main roads and I-75 make it easy to park for baseball or softball games.

There's even a sprinkler system built-in.

In addition to the numerous water features, three covered shelters at the splash pad grounds may be reserved for parties and other events.

To the northwest of the splash pad, the parking lot of the neighboring soccer field may be accessed through a nearby walkway.

Buses and other vehicles will have no problem finding parking area here.

Stroll around the Gardens of Sunshine Hollow

It is located in Athens, Tennessee, and serves as a wedding and event site.

Due to its convenient position between Knoxville and Chattanooga, it is a favorite choice for locals and visitors alike to hold large gatherings and events.

Visitors may experience a taste of nature while being close to the metropolis, as the property has some of East Tennessee's most beautiful and biggest private gardens.

As many as 2,050 varieties of perennial plants may be found in the beautiful gardens.

Two lakes, a forest, and well-kept lawns surround the gardens.

Hanging baskets of seasonal flowers surround the wedding pergola.

The wedding can be relocated to the ballroom if the weather is inclement.

Explore Underwater at Loch Low‑Minn Scuba Diving Resort

Located in Athens, Tennessee, the Loch Low-Minn Scuba Diving Resort offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity for novice and experienced divers to explore a ten-acre quarry lake.

The lake's ancient type of fish, the paddlefish, and several other aquatic species make it a very intriguing dive site for divers.

It also offers paddlefish to the lake, which may grow six feet long.

Divers can expect to view many of the lake's fish and other attractions up close.

Other fish that call the lake home include bluegills, bass, and catfish, along with a diverse assortment of other creatures.

Learn the History of McMinn County Living Heritage Museum

Founded in 1982, McMinn Country Living Heritage Museum is a museum dedicated to the history and culture of Athens, Tennessee.

Non-profit status distinguishes the museum from other public institutions.

It features 30 permanent exhibitions with over 10,000 objects depicting Southeast Tennessee's culture and history from the 1700s through the 1940s.

Throughout the year, four alternating exhibits are shown.

Each exhibit tells a different story about the people and events that have shaped the region's history.

The museum also provides special events and educational programs.

Go Camping at Athens I-75 Campground & Park

Nearby Athens, Tennessee, Athens I-75 Campsite is a campground.

There are 41 campsites with full or partial hookups for large rigs there.

Pull-through access is available on several of them.

The park is pet-friendly, and there is a sewage disposal station.

Swimming pools, picnic tables, fire rings, and grills are among the facilities available at the campground.

Additionally, bathrooms with hot water and laundry facilities are included in the package.

Aside from the said activities, visitors may also go biking, hiking, fishing, kayaking, or canoeing.

See Vintage Aircraft at Swift Museum Foundation Inc

In Athens, Tennessee, a museum is committed to the exhibition, restoration, and conservation of Temco Swift and Globe aircraft.

Several Swift aircraft are on exhibit at this museum, including prototype #1 and several production models. T-35 Buckaroo USAF trainers are also present.

As early as the 1950s, U.S. Air Force test pilots flew Swift trainers. One of the Museum's T-35s was a Saudi Arabian Air Force gift.

Swift's training plans are on display at the museum, which spans the company's history, dating back to 1946.

The Swift Museum Foundation has a complete collection of Swift's.

While the Smithsonian has a Swift on display for all to see, visitors to the Swift Museum may stand close next to these vintage planes and peer inside the cockpit.

Fuller Frame Shop and Gallery is a custom frame, art gallery, and gift shop.

They specialize in professional custom framing.

They provide excellent work at affordable prices.

They have a wide choice of supplies on hand, and they're able to turn around projects quickly.

The staff at the business are polite, engaging, and knowledgeable about the items and services they offer.

Here, you may choose from a wide range of genres, and the content they provide changes frequently.

These fine art prints from local and national artists are available, as well as an art gallery that showcases local artists.

The gallery has a wide variety of one-of-a-kind gifts made by local craftsmen, so you're sure to discover the ideal present for that special someone.

Catch a Movie at Athens Movie Palace

The only movie theater in the Athens area, they provide state-of-the-art digital projection, top-of-the-line surround sound, ATMOS, unusual concession items, and upmarket facilities, all with the kindness of a small town homegrown company.

Since 2014, the Athens Movie Palace has been run solely by Athenians.

In Athens, we have a large number of staff members, as well as the company's owner.

In other words, we're not part of any theater conglomerate.

For a complete list of movies presently playing and their respective ratings, see the theater's website.

Parents may use movie ratings to help them choose which films to take their kids to watch based on the content they've seen in advance.

Grab Some Fresh Produce at Athens Farmers Market

The Athens Farmers Market may be found in the heart of downtown Athens, Tennessee.

You can easily reach the Athens Farmers Market from Interstate 75 through Exits 49 & 52 and State Route 30 and State Route 411 & State Route 11 from State Route 30.

Since it was first conceived, a permanent water wheel and corn hole boards were additions to the park.

There is a half-mile walking route, a brisk walk with the names of 4,000 veterans, memorials to all branches of service, and a 600-pound granite globe floating on the lake in Veterans Park.

The market is adjacent to Veterans Park.

Go On a Movie Date at The Swingin' Midway Drive-In Theater

Are you looking for a romantic date night idea?

Consider a drive-in movie theater for a fun date night option.

The Swingin' Midway Drive-In Theater operates in Athens during the spring, summer, and fall.

If you have kids with you, they may play on a massive playground and dine in the concession stand at the cinema.

Shows begin at nightfall.

Be sure to bring lawn chairs and blankets.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Discover the History of Indigenous Cloths at Englewood Textile Museum

Front View of Englewood Textile Museum
Brian Stansberry, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Englewood Textile Museum, 10 minutes from Athens, is home to artifacts from Englewood's colorful past.

Since its inception in 1994, the Community Action Group of Englewood (CAE) has expanded its mission to include various social and economic issues.

The museum's focus is still on textiles and how the industry influenced Englewood, but CAGE has broadened its scope to include its businesses, churches, and the former Englewood High School.

The Chesnutt House, the sole surviving home of Englewood's early textile mill proprietors, has been added to the museum's collection, which has been extended three times since its inception.

There are also exhibitions on local military heroes, local founding families, and historical wedding outfits at Chesnutt House.

Go Winetasting at Tsali Notch Vineyard

The Tsali Notch was named after a legendary Cherokee chief.

On 35 acres of the 202-acre estate, 35 acres of the vineyard are dedicated to producing muscadine grapes.

There are spectacular mountain views all around this property, which sits at the height of around 1,150 feet above sea level on average.

Tsali Notch Vineyard hosts special events, such as weddings and reunions in its spacious party barn, and hosts restored log building tasting room and newly renovated 19th-century two-room farmhouse dubbed "The Jackson Lounge."

You may also try its juice and jelly, aside from its wines.

Get Up Close and Personal with Marine Life at The Lost Sea Adventure

The Guinness Book of World Records lists the Lost Sea as "America's Largest Underground Lake."

You may reach it within 18 minutes from Athens.

A boat trip on the lake offers a unique experience.

Its general store, ice cream parlor, gem mine, and glassblower are a big hit to visitors.

Cavern Kitchen, its café, serves sandwiches and authentic pit barbecue to hungry tourists.

A nature walk and plenty of picnic areas are also available for visitors.

On its Lost Sea Nature Trail, you may spot cove-hardwood forests characteristic of the Southern Appalachian Mountains in the early 1900s.

The world's most varied population of plants and animals is also found in the forest.

Final Thoughts

Athens, Tennessee, is the perfect place to spend a weekend getting away from it all and enjoying the local cuisine, culture, and outdoor activities!

Use our list of the best things to do in this city for your next getaway trip.