15 Best Things to Do in Kingsport, TN

Kingsport, TN
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Kingsport is a city located in the tri-cities region of Upper East Tennessee, known as Sullivan County and Hawkins County.

The beautiful garden city is the home of many chemical and plastics manufacturers.

You might find it the ideal place to live if you're interested in exercising your mind and getting some fresh air.

The area has its very own charm that makes visiting the city an experience like no other.

Here you'll find an abundance of historical sites, and one of the most interesting sites is the "Bays Mountain Park," which includes both the animal park and recreational park.

With so many amazing attractions, you could spend weeks in Kingsport without running out of things to do.

From the natural beauty of the surrounding hills and the serene Holston River to its lively arts community and delicious restaurants, there’s something to satisfy everyone here.

If you’re planning a trip to Kingsport, then make sure you check out these 15 best things to do in Kingsport:

Take a Hike to Experience Outdoor Adventure in Warriors’ Path State Park

View of Warriors’ Path State Park
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Warriors' Path State Park is a fantastic place for outdoor enthusiasts.

The 950-acre park is home to the world-famous recognized golf course, an award-winning nature education program, outstanding hiking trails, wildlife viewing opportunities, and ecological field trips.

Perched on the Holston River on the shores of the Patrick Henry Reservoir, this park remains the same as it was hundreds of years ago – following a well-established Cherokee War and Trading Path.

View of Warriors’ Path State Park
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The park boasts over 12 miles of hiking trails and offers excellent fishing opportunities at Fort Patrick Henry Lake.

You can also go cycling on its internationally acclaimed mountain bike trail system, a designated National Recreational Trail.

Warriors' Path State Park is home to the only Boundless Playground, which provides children with the opportunity to engage in recreational activities together regardless of mental or physical abilities.

View of Warriors’ Path State Park
View of Warriors’ Path State Park

The Lion's Narnia Braille Trail at Warriors' Path State Park is an inspiring experience for all ages.

With so much to do, it's easy to see why Warriors' Path State Park is one of Kingsport's most popular destinations.

Make Something Amazing at the Inventor Center

Head to 118 Shelby St, Kingsport, and create something unique at the Inventor Center.

Engage Kingsport and the ModelCity Makerspace and the City of Kingsport built the Inventor Center.

It is a premier facility that provides artists, inventors, and other visionary people with shared artisanal and creative work and play spaces that include heavy-duty and specialized equipment not ordinarily found in other community or commercial settings.

The Inventor Center can also assist anyone on their journey to turn ideas into creation!

They give access to state-of-the-art equipment and offer free training assisted by expert staff.

They have a pretty impressive stock of the tools and equipment.

One of the cool things is that they have classes and social activities every week.

Kayak the Holsten River With GRIP Outdoors

Kingsport sits between two magnificent mountain ranges and the mighty Holsten River, making it an indoor playground for those seeking outdoor fun.

GRIP Outdoor Kingsport is an outstanding tour agency where you can rent kayaks and river tubes and explore the beautiful Holsten River.

They also offer a large variety of floats, including drink coolers that you can attach to your float.

If you want to take a break from city life, you have to check out this great little spot in Kingsport.

Enjoy the Scenic Views and Nature Programs at Bays Mountain Park and Planetarium

Scenic View at Bays Mountain Park and Planetarium
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Bays Mountain Park features picturesque 44-acre hiking trails, a lake, a state-of-the-art Planetarium Theater, a Nature Center, and Animal Habitats.

At Bays Mountain Park, you'll hear the eerie howls of wolves!

Join naturalists on their nature walks and listen to stories about the pack's social behavior.

Bays Mountain Park has a planetarium as well, in which you can experience an interstellar journey through the cosmos.

Scenic View at Bays Mountain Park and Planetarium
Bonita R. Cheshier / Shutterstock.com

Bays Mountain Park is also an excellent place for outdoor lovers looking to take hikes or bike the trails.

With over 32 miles of biking trails and an additional 39 geared toward hiking, this park has enough room for everyone.

Last but certainly not least, the park features excellent educational programs, so be sure not to miss this incredible place!

Play One of Tennessee's Best Golf Courses at Ridgefields Golf & Athletic Club

Since opening its doors in 1949, Ridgefields Golf & Athletic Club has been attracting golfers from across Eastern Tennessee and beyond.

Donald Ross, one of golf's best-known architects at that time, designed the course.

Its rolling terrain and well-placed bunkers offer a scenic experience for all levels of players.

While it's known for being one of the most prestigious golf courses in the area, you will truly enjoy its family-oriented club environment.

If you're looking for a great golf course with challenging holes and plenty of character, make your way to the historic Netherlands Inn area of Kingsport.

Explore the Kingsport Greenbelt

The Holston River winds its way through downtown Kingsport and continues through many scenic miles of riverfront greenway.

Kingsport's Greenbelt is like a pedestrian highway for people who like to stray, get off the beaten track, and navigate their own course.

The magnificent 10-mile paved or concrete pathway is ideal for walking, jogging, cycling, or skateboarding.

Best of all, it connects residential neighborhoods, downtown commercial districts, schools, activity centers, and traditional parks. ​

The Greenbelt also provides excellent opportunities for picnicking and birdwatching.

A fantastic attribute of this walkway is the fact that you can bring along your dogs, but they must remain on a leash while enjoying this lush setting.

Eat Like a King at the Chop House

Since its inception in 1992, the Chop House founders developed the restaurant into a multi-state operation with now ten restaurants across three states.

Although they remain committed to their original vision – a classic American steakhouse – they have cleverly shifted gears by creating an inviting atmosphere that appeals to a wider demographic.

Because they're passionate about delivering a superior dining experience, you can always expect consistency from pieces of succulent meat to savory side dishes.

They also offer a selection of specialty sandwiches and wines.

The staff goes above and beyond to accommodate you - they even have a special "early bird" menu that's a great value!

Treat Yourself to an Asian Crave at Stir Fry Café

RMM Hospitality is the true shining example of executing on the pyramid of pyramid dishes.

In 125 Broad St., Kingsport sits a restaurant that's been satisfying its customers since 2004.

Stir Fry Café is a family-owned business that specializes in Asian cuisine.

It's typical of restaurants to excel in one area while forgetting another, but it is hard not to love everything served here, whether it be Asian noodles, gourmet tacos, or burgers!

If you're trying to find the best things to do in Kingsport, visit Stir Fry Café for lunch or dinner.

The service here is always friendly, and it's one of the best places to eat near any Tennessee attraction.

Enjoy Great Entertainment and Education All at LampLight Theatre

Outside View of LampLight Theatre
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Not many venues have a higher purpose than just being a place of enjoyment, but that isn't the case for Kingsport's LampLight Theatre.

The company strives to provide diverse entertainment for people of all ages while helping to encourage a love for the arts and drawing more attention to traditional family values.

Whether you're looking for some inspiring Christian drama or perhaps a humourous musical comedy, you can find what you need at this place.

Different shows perform here, including Family Game Nights concerts, Mortality Room performance, The Martins spectacle, Foggy Valley Gang plays, Shenanigans comedy performance, A Night of Improv Comedy, or even More Than Just A Man drama.

Step Into History at Netherland Inn Museum

The Netherland Inn poses over its sweeping overlook of the Holston River, part of the National Registry of Historical Sites.

The Netherland Inn has been around for nearly 200 years and originally served as a stop-off point for a well-known salt trader to ship his wares from Washington DC and into Kentucky and middle Tennessee.

Over the years, many celebrities have passed through this historic Inn, including Presidents James K. Polk, Andrew Jackson, and Andrew Johnson.

The museum has incredible artifacts that tell the story of settlers.

You get to see how they lived back then, what kinds of stuff they ate, and even get an insight into what types of diseases played a part in their lives.

Head to the back, and you’ll find its Log Cabin Children’s Museum and Schoolhouse!

It features schoolhouse toys from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Enjoy a Picnic at Domtar Park

Domtar Park is a multi-purpose community facility serving the people of East Tennessee for many years.

This is also where one can find a commemorative stone marker depicting this significant event, so it's worth checking out at least once in your lifetime!

The facilities consist of high-quality athletic fields, which are open when scheduled for events.

Pets are not allowed inside the complex, but if you need to bring your vehicle, ample parking space is available on site.

Enjoy the Scenic View of Long Island of the Holston

The Long Island of the Holston, also known as Long Island, is a natural and geographical wonder in Tennessee.

A favorite spot for tourists due to its many historical landmarks, this island is also of great importance to the locals who have called it home for hundreds of years.

In fact, it is even mentioned in the list of National Register of Historic Places and designated as a U.S. National Historic Landmark District!

A favorite getaway of die-hard nature enthusiasts, this unusual island has long been known to be a perfect place to take time out for oneself far away from busy city life and work placed deadlines.

Long Island sits from downtown Kingsport across South Branch Holston River's main channel.

It has a length of about 4 miles (6.4 km) and gets up to about 0.5 miles (0.80 km) wide at its widest spot.

See a Kingsport Mets Baseball Game

A Kid at the Mets Game
vastateparksstaff, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Let's talk baseball.

America's favorite pastime has grown more popular over the years, which means more people than ever enjoy all it offers.

There are some minor league baseball teams in Kingsport, too!

It's fun to see how professional players begin their careers here at their farm team before heading off to fame on one of the bigger rosters out there!

The Kingsport Mets baseball team is part of the Appalachian League (1921-2020) and is affiliated with Major League Baseball's New York Mets.

If you're looking for a fun and affordable way to spend an afternoon or evening with friends or family, see a game at Hunter Wright Stadium!

The stadium can accommodate 2,500 fans, and tickets typically start around $8 (not including parking).

Visit Rotherwood Mansion

Rotherwood Mansion is a beautifully restored home that has been thriving as a private residence since 1991.

The site of several eerie happenings, Rotherwood Mansion has also become famous for the realms of creative inspiration its beauty has produced.

Word has it that a Woman in White has been haunting the residents that lived at this classic 17th-century mansion.

With a history as long as the Kingsport's, it makes sense that they would have a carousel so grand!

In fact, the city is home to one of just a few "carousel museums" in existence.

Featuring 32 beautifully carved wooden horses, two wooden chariots, and painted carriage panels with unique themes from Kingsport's history, this town treasure is sure to bewitch nostalgic locals and visitors alike.

If you're fond of carousels, definitely visit this place.

Final Thoughts

Kingsport, indeed one of Tennessee's hottest destinations, is hard not to fall for.

With the best of the outdoors, such as Bays Mountain Park and Planetarium and Warriors' Path State Park, Kingsport must be included in your bucket list.