Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Sullivan County, TN

  • Published 2022/11/08

While people know Sullivan County, Tennessee, as the home of country music legend Dolly Parton, there is much more to this region.

Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Sullivan County offers a wealth of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy.

From hiking and camping to whitewater rafting, there is no shortage of ways to experience the area’s natural beauty.

In addition, the county is home to several historical attractions, including the historic courthouse in downtown Bristol and the Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park.

Whether looking for an adventure or a chance to relax and take in some history, Sullivan County has something to offer everyone.

Check out the best things to do in Sullivan County, Tennessee!

Watch a Race at the Bristol Motor Speedway

Car race at Bristol Motor Speedway

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Bristol Motor Speedway, located in Bristol, Tennessee, is a short track that hosts NASCAR races.

The speedway has a capacity of 160,000 people and hosts the Bank of America 500 race.

Inaugurated in 1961, Bristol Motor Speedway is one of the most popular tracks on the NASCAR circuit.

Crowd cheering at Bristol Motor Speedway

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The high-banked oval track is 0.533 miles long and features 24 degrees of banking in the turns.

The speedway is unique because it is one of the few remaining dirt tracks on the NASCAR circuit.

As a result, Bristol Motor Speedway is known as “the Last Great Colosseum.”

The speedway has seen many great moments in NASCAR history, and it continues to be one of the most popular tracks with both fans and drivers.

Car race at Bristol Motor Speedway

Grindstone Media Group /

Enjoy the Rides at Kingsport Carousel & Park

The Kingsport Carousel & Park is a must-see for any visitor to Tennessee.

Nestled in the heart of downtown Kingsport, Tennessee, the park is home to a beautiful carousel, playground, picnic area, and walking trails.

Built in 1911, the carousel is one of only two remaining carousels worldwide.

You can enjoy views of downtown Kingsport and the surrounding mountains as you ride the carousel.

The park is also a great place to enjoy a picnic, as the picnic areas are well-maintained and offer stunning views of the cityscape.

Whether you’re looking for a fun activity or a relaxing place to spend an afternoon, the Kingsport Carousel & Park has everything you need.

Try Various Ciders at Gypsy Circus Cider Company

Gypsy Circus Cider Company is one of the cider industry’s most unique brands.

Founded in 2014, Gypsy Circus was created by a team of passionate apple growers, cider makers, and cider lovers with a shared desire to craft high-quality, small-batch ciders using only the finest ingredients.

The company’s flagship product, Tennessee Honeycrisp cider, uses 100% Honeycrisp apples and is finished with a touch of local honey.

This delicious cider has earned Gypsy Circus Cider Company a reputation for making some of the best ciders in the world.

In addition to its flagship Tennessee Honeycrisp cider, the company also makes a variety of other delicious ciders, including its famous Raspberry Beret and Peach Cobbler ciders.

With a commitment to quality and innovation, Gypsy Circus has quickly become one of the most respected names in the cider industry.

Explore the Steele Creek Park

Steele Creek Park during autumn

Bonita R. Cheshier /

Steele Creek Park is a 2,065-acre nature park in Bristol.

The park features walking trails, fishing lakes, and an 18-hole disc golf course.

Visitors can also enjoy picnicking, bird watching, and play areas for children.

The park is open year-round, and admission is free.

Narrow pathway at Steele Creek Park

Bonita R. Cheshier /

Steele Creek Park is great for enjoying the outdoors and connecting with nature.

The diverse landscapes and ample wildlife provide endless opportunities for exploration and discovery.

Steele Creek Park will show you a good time if you’re looking for a place to take a stroll or a challenging hike.

Geese at Steele Creek Park

Bonita R. Cheshier /

Visit the Netherland Inn Museum

The Netherland Inn Museum is a historic landmark located in Kingsport.

Built in 1790, the inn was a stagecoach stop and tavern for many years.

In the early 1900s, the inn was converted into a hotel and remained in operation until the 1970s.

Today, the inn is open to the public as a museum; it is also part of the National Register of Historic Places.

Visitors to the museum can tour the inn’s spacious rooms and learn about its storied past.

The Netherland Inn Museum is a must-see for anyone interested in local history or architecture.

Spend the Day at the Stickley Farm

Stickley Farm is a historic dairy farm in Bluff City, Tennessee.

In 1852, German immigrants Jacob and Christina Stickley established the farm.

Since then, six generations of the Stickley family have owned and operated the farm.

Today, the farm is home to a herd of Jersey cows that produce milk for local creameries.

The farm’s beautiful rolling hills and pastures have appeared in magazines and movies, including The Dairyman’s Daughter and The Song of the Lark.

In addition to its dairy operations, Stickley Farm also grows corn, wheat, and soybeans.

The farm’s annual corn maze is popular with locals and tourists alike.

Every October, Stickley Farm hosts a pumpkin-picking festival that features hayrides, face painting, and other festive activities.

Take a Stroll at the Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium

Observatory at Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium

Bonita R. Cheshier /

Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium is a 3,550-acre nature preserve and environmental education center in Kingsport.

The park features hiking and biking trails, a 44-acre lake, and a variety of wildlife.

Lily pads at a lake at Bays Mountain Park

Bonita R. Cheshier /

The planetarium offers daily shows and special events throughout the year.

Visitors can also enjoy stargazing and astronomy programs, making Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium an excellent destination for anyone interested in exploring the night sky.

Practice Your Swing at the Crockett Ridge Golf Course

Crockett Ridge Golf Course is a championship 18-hole course in Kingsport.

The architect Bob Cupp designed the course, which opened for play in May 1993.

It features rolling hills, meandering creeks, and scenic views of the Great Smoky Mountains.

With designs from accomplished course architect Jerry Pate, Crockett Ridge offers a challenging yet rewarding round of golf for players of all skill levels.

The course is also home to a fully-stocked pro shop and a practice facility with a driving range, chipping green, and putting green.

Crockett Ridge Golf Course is the perfect place to tee off whether you’re looking for a challenging game of golf or a relaxing day in the mountains.

Bring the Family to the Putt-Putt Fun Center

Drive down Fort Henry Drive in Kingsport to reach the Putt-Putt Fun Center.

You will first notice the miniature golf course with its lush green fairways and bright red flags.

Putt-Putt Fun Center also features go-karts, bumper cars, a batting cage, an arcade, and a snack bar.

In other words, it’s the perfect place for a family fun day.

Thanks to reasonable prices and friendly staff, Putt-Putt Fun Center should please everyone in the family.

If you’re looking for a great way to spend a summer afternoon, check out Putt-Putt Fun Center in Kingsport.

Explore Worley’s Cave

A man exploring the Worley's Cave

Tverdovsky /

Worley’s Cave is a popular tourist destination in Tennessee.

In 1810, farmer John Worley discovered the cave; tens of thousands of people have visited it since then.

The cave is known for its large rooms, intricate passageways, and abundance of stalactites and stalagmites.

In addition, the cave is home to several unique animals, including blind fish and crayfish.

Visitors can explore the cave on guided tours, which depart every hour.

Worley’s Cave is open year-round, and tours are available seven days a week.

In addition to exploring the cave, visitors can enjoy hiking, picnicking, and fishing in the nearby state park.

Beat the Heat at the Kingsport Aquatic Center

The Kingsport Aquatic Center in Tennessee is a state-of-the-art facility with many leisure and competitive swimming amenities.

The center includes an Olympic-sized pool, a diving well, a children’s pool, and a fitness center.

There is also a full-service locker room and showers available for guests.

The Kingsport Aquatic Center is open to the public year-round and offers a variety of programming options for all ages.

In addition to swimming lessons and open swim times, the center also hosts competitive events, birthday parties, and private rentals.

Whether you’re looking to stay fit or have fun, the Kingsport Aquatic Center is the perfect place to do it!

Enjoy the Outdoors at the Warriors’ Path State Park

Calm water at Warriors' Path State Park

Bonita R. Cheshier /

Warriors’ Path State Park is in Kingsport.

The park is named for the Great Indian Warpath, which passed through the area.

It spans 1,932 acres and features a variety of recreational activities, including hiking, biking, fishing, and picnicking.

The park also has an 18-hole golf course and a campground with 79 sites.

Wooden pier at Warriors' Path State Park

Bonita R. Cheshier /

Warriors’ Path State Park is open year-round and offers various events and programs for visitors.

Events include ranger-led hikes, kayak tours, stargazing parties, and more.

Programs include a junior ranger program, a nature photography program, and an astronomy program.

Whether you’re looking for a place to hike, fish, camp, or stargaze, Warriors’ Path State Park is the perfect place.

Ducks at Warriors' Path State Park

Dee Browning /

Stop by the Rocky Mount State Historic Site

Rocky Mount State Historic Site in Tennessee is a former plantation home built in the early 1800s.

The plantation was owned by Colonel James Winchester, a Revolutionary War hero, and it was the site of a significant battle during the Civil War.

Today, visitors can tour the restored plantation house and grounds, which include a kitchen garden, a slave cabin, and a cemetery.

The plantation was an important economic center in the early days of the United States, and it is now a National Historic Landmark.

Visitors can learn about the plantation’s role in the American Revolution and the Civil War, as well as its importance to the development of Tennessee.

The site also includes a museum with exhibits on the plantation’s history, architecture, and archaeology.

Rocky Mount State Historic Site is a must-see for anyone interested in learning about Tennessee’s past.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Explore the Museum of Ancient Brick

You can find the Museum of Ancient Brick in Johnson City, Washington County, Tennessee.

This museum is dedicated to preserving and displaying some of the oldest known bricks in the world.

The museum’s collection includes bricks from ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome.

These bricks offer a fascinating glimpse into the past and an essential link in the development of human history.

The museum’s staff is passionate about educating visitors about the importance of brick conservation.

They offer a variety of educational programs and workshops that teach people how to properly care for and preserve ancient bricks.

The Museum of Ancient Brick is a valuable resource for anyone interested in learning about world history.

Check out this museum 23 minutes from Sullivan County.

Explore the Appalachian Underground

Deep within the Appalachian Mountains in Tennessee lies a remarkable underworld of caves and underground rivers.

These underground chambers have become an essential source of saltpeter, a critical ingredient in gunpowder.

In recent years, they have also become a popular destination for spelunkers and adventure seekers worldwide.

Explore these caves with the Appalachian Underground, offering group tours and more.

Their qualified and trained guides will show you a good time and keep you safe.

The Tennessee cave system is one of the most extensive in the world.

It has over 6,000 miles (9,700 km) of passages crisscrossing the landscape.

Many of these caves are relatively small and easy to explore.

However, some are vast and labyrinthine, requiring special equipment and training to navigate.

Yet, regardless of their size or complexity, all of the caves in the area share one common feature: their walls are covered with a thick layer of saltpeter.

Book a tour with the Appalachian Underground!

They are in Elizabethton, Carter County, Tennessee, 23 minutes from Sullivan County.

Final Thoughts

Sullivan County may not be the first destination that comes to mind when planning a trip to Tennessee.

However, there are many activities and sights in the county.

Check out the best things to do in Sullivan County, Tennessee!

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