Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Tiptonville, TN

  • Published 2023/04/05

Are you looking for the best things to do in Tiptonville, Tennessee?

Tiptonville is a town and the seat of Lake County.

Founded in 1857, Tiptonville wasn’t incorporated until 1900, based on the records of the Tennessee Historical Society.

It is where the Confederate soldiers surrendered at the end of the Battle of Island Number Ten in the American Civil War.

Tiptonville has a slew of historical sites that are ideal for families with children.

For people who enjoy spending time outdoors, Tiptonville has a wide variety of local county parks and recreational areas.

Many affordable family activities are available even when the fair isn’t in season.

The Tiptonville fairgrounds is a terrific option when you’re looking for a fun way to enjoy your stay.

Here are the best things to do in Tiptonville, TN:

Enjoy Various Activities at Reelfoot Lake State Park

Scenic sunset over Reelfoot Lake State Park

anthony heflin / Shutterstock.com

Fishing, boating, and animal watching are popular activities at Tennessee’s Reelfoot Lake State Park, located in the state’s northwest region.

A series of earthquakes shifted the flow of the Mississippi River backward, creating Reelfoot Lake.

It’s a 15,000-acre body of water, formed in 1811-1812.

In Tennessee, there are no other places like the park.

A fish sculpture on the grounds of Reelfoot Lake State Park

Thomas R Machnitzki (thomasmachnitzki.com), CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Reelfoot Lake is a woodland that has been submerged underwater.

There are numerous buried Cypress stumps beneath the surface of the water.

In contrast, the majestic Cypress trees soar above the surface.

Many different aquatic plants and flowers fill the shallow water along the coast.

The lake is home to an abundance of shorebirds, wading birds, and golden and American bald eagles.

There are several chances for boating and fishing in this tiny lake, but you can’t swim there.

Birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts favor many of the park’s hiking routes.

Bald cypress trees at Reelfoot Lake State Park

Danita Delimont / Shutterstock.com

In the state park near Reelfoot Lake, there are two campsites to choose from.

Water, power, tables, and grills are included in the campground’s fee, and many are right on the water’s edge.

Non-releasable raptors, snakes, and other species from the region also live at the facility.

Aside from the Thanksgiving and Christmas break, the museum is open year-round.

Stop by the Great River Road Visitors Center

Visitors can access Reelfoot Lake State Park’s boating, fishing, and bird-watching activities through its visitor center.

Visitors to northwest Tennessee and those on the Great River Road scenic byway can access the city through the Great River Road.

Aside from park activities, including eagle tours, the structure is also a park interpretation hub.

The Great River Road is a 4,828-kilometer (3,000-mile) National Scenic Byway that runs parallel to the Mississippi River through ten states.

You’ll find it near the center.

Go Birdwatching at Lake Isom National Wildlife Refuge

In 1938, the state of Tennessee founded its first National Wildlife Refuge, called the Lake Isom National Wildlife Refuge.

A wildlife refuge in Lake County, Tennessee, has an area of 1,850 acres.

Despite its tiny size, Lake Isom National Animal Refuge provides excellent opportunities for wildlife observation.

You may find information kiosks at both ends of the sanctuary, and you can see an observation tower in the north.

Reelfoot NWR is only 13 miles away; this is a must-see in the area.

Fill Your Adventure Needs at Bo’s Landing

Bo’s is a one-stop-shop for all your Reelfoot needs.

If you’re looking for a good time, the proprietors will go out of their way to help.

This family-owned and run business specializes in outdoor and leisure activities.

In addition to renting boats and kayaks, they also provide boat docks and campsites.

Buy bait, tackle, and launch a boat at their facility.

If you enjoy fishing for bluegills and crappie, this is the place to go.

Likewise, they have guides who can take you out and ensure you have a great time.

Renting a boat is a cheap option.

Cruise the Great River Road

Find both historical and recreational beauty along the Great River Road in Tennessee.

The Great River Road and National Scenic Byway travel the whole west coast of Tennessee along the Mississippi River.

You may find ten river-bordering states on the route.

Every 185.5 miles that make up the Tennessee Corridor has its inherent worth and a distinct feeling of the place.

This is where to go for a gorgeous drive across the Lower Mississippi Valley.

Visit the wooded State Park at Fort Pillow, where you’ll witness Chickasaw cliffs and the birdwatchers’ favorite Reelfoot Lake State Park.

In addition to the mystical and mighty Mississippi River, the Great River Road in Tennessee travels through multiple lakes and four state parks, tiny picturesque communities, and the busy city of Memphis.

You’ll pass the enigmatic Reelfoot Lake as you travel down the Great River Road in the state’s northwest region.

Go Fishing at Reelfoot Lake

Keystone point at Reelfoot Lake

MedstockPhotos / Shutterstock.com

Reelfoot Lake is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream come true.

Its waters are home to more than 54 different types of fish.

Bream, large-mouth bass, crappie, and catfish are the most common game fish.

Crappie has a daily creel limit of 30, while bluegill has no restriction.

Large-mouth bass weighing between four and seven pounds are generally prevalent in the area.

Reelfoot Lake’s shallow cypress field waters are widely regarded as one of the world’s most crucial natural fish spawning grounds.

Around the lake, there is a slew of accessible public boat ramps and fishing piers.

Fishing guides are available to teach newbies the ins and outs of the lake, as well as the best areas to catch the fish.

The catch of a lifetime isn’t unusual for anglers during the busiest times of the year.

Many cypress trunks are buried in Reelfoot Lake, a flooded forest.

Enjoy a Family Retreat at Blue Basin Cove Lodge

A small family owns and runs the Blue Basin Cove Lodge, a hunting and fishing lodge, plus a small convenience shop.

It’s designed for families that enjoy spending time outside.

There is an on-site convenience shop that carries hunting and fishing goods, as well as camping gear, food, and many other necessities.

Renting a boat is an option, and we also provide a fish cleaning facility.

There are just a few spots available for RVs.

Spend the Day at Reelfoot Lake Sportsman’s Resort

Since its inception in 1986, Sportsman’s Resort has become a family-run enterprise.

There are two separate areas at Sportsman Resort: Sportsman Resort North and Sportsman Resort South.

You can choose to spend your holiday at either location.

It offers duck and goose hunting packages.

In addition to cabin rentals and boat rentals, the Sportsman Resort South offers RV and camper hookups.

The resort is situated in Tiptonville on the lake’s west shore.

Visit the Childhood Home of Carl Perkins

The musician Carl Perkins was the son of sharecroppers Louise and Buck Perkins in Tiptonville, Tennessee.

According to Charlie Daniels, Carl Perkins’ sound personifies the rockabilly sound more than anyone else.

Artists including Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, Johnny Cash, and Eric Clapton have covered Perkins’ songs, further cementing his position in popular music history.

In Paul McCartney’s words: “The Beatles would not have existed without Carl Perkins.”

You may visit this residence along route TN78, also known as Carl Perkins Highway, South of Tiptonville.

Revisit the Civil War at Battle of Island No. 10 Monument

To thwart Union gunboats, Confederate soldiers built a fortified island on the Mississippi River in early 1862.

It took nearly two weeks for military action to occur around the so-called “Island No. 10” (meaning the 10th river island south of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers).

Union forces finally captured the outpost.

Today, Island No. 10 is a ghost town destroyed by the river over time.

A memorial was erected near the location of the conflict, with a cast-iron map and inscription.

That site is just north of Tiptonville and is largely farmland.

The monument has a wealth of information and is a must-see for any serious Civil War enthusiast.

A monument smack dab in the middle of some farmland necessitates a five-mile round trip.

You’ll love it if you’re interested in the conflict’s history.

Take Tenn. 78 north from Tiptonville and look for Tennessee historical roadside markers.

Grab a Good Read at Tiptonville Public Library

This library will remind you of a little bookshop in a big city.

The Tiptonville Public Library offers the Tennessee Electronic Library, free Wi-Fi, and a computer lab with desktops and laptops.

You can use children’s computers, finger puppets, a Genealogy Room, and a Tennessee history room at the library.

Summer readings and story time are both frequent features.

The library collaborates with various other groups in the area to better the community as a whole.

Spend a Few Days at Boyette’s Resort

Nanny Boyette established this resort in 1921.

Judy Capps, the new owner of the Reelfoot Lake Inn, has continued to create a welcoming environment for tourists.

Boyette’s resort is an excellent spot for anyone interested in hunting, fishing, bird watching, or simply vacationing.

Boyette’s resort provides unique packages for individuals who want to keep things easy and pleasurable.

Boyette’s Dining Room is right across the corner, where you can try excellent cuisine.

At Boyette’s Resort, concrete ornaments are also available for purchase.

The available options are continually shifting.

A wide range of bird baths, garden markers, and pots, as well as novelty decorations and religious ornaments, are on hand.

In its gift shop, you’ll find a wide selection of handcrafted items, souvenirs, and other trinkets.

Join the Reelfoot Arts & Crafts Festival

The idea of an arts and crafts festival in Tiptonville began in 1971.

Even though attendance was low, the event’s first year drew tourists to the area and sparked interest throughout the state.

The festival’s attendance has risen to an estimated 45,000 thanks to the collaboration with state parks and municipal authorities.

More than 300 merchants joined the 2010 exhibition, bringing the number of exhibitors to more than 400.

Visitors and sellers regularly give positive feedback.

The event happens on the first weekend of October every year.

Many local artists perform for free during the event.

People gather under the trees to listen to and sing along to old-time string music.

Sample local culture while you’re at it by attending the festival.

Sip Coffee with the Locals at Bean Me UP

Nothing is better than a cup of your favorite specialty coffee in Bean Me UP’s cheerful environment.

It offers reasonably priced coffee in a homey setting with a TV and free Wi-Fi.

Outside seating is also available.

Enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee, a hearty bowl of soup, or a hearty sandwich to complement the smooth and delicious tastes filling your mouth.

They also prepare a warm and comforting dessert created with care.

Visit Bean Me Up so you can get your money’s worth.

Join the Reelfoot Lake Pelican Festival Attractions

Reelfoot Lake Pelican Festival is a fun weekend event you can enjoy with the family.

For over a decade, the festival has been celebrated every third week of October at the Reelfoot Lake State Park.

You’ll enjoy the free attractions and activities like the Pelican Pontoon Cruise and Pelican Canoe Floats.

Let your little ones get a face painting and see the animals and birds of prey at the live shows.

Likewise, there are plenty of crafts, art, and photo contests that are sure to catch your interest; go and see the artistry of contestants at the Duck Decoy and Concrete Pelican Painting events.

Join the Photography Tour, Night Hike with Owls, or Campfire & S’mores for some memorable experiences.

For sure you’ll enjoy shopping for great finds and trying out local fares with rows of local vendors and restaurant food stalls at the festival.

Make the Reelfoot Lake Pelican Festival a fun and educational experience for the whole family.

Enjoy Southern Fares at Boyette’s Dining Room

Satisfy your appetite with one of West Tennessee’s best restaurants.

Boyette’s Dining Roomon Highway 21 lets you enjoy the flavors of the South with hefty servings of their tasty specialties.

Started by Red and Nannie Boyette in 1921, the restaurant originally had a 70-seater venue across its present location.

After several management changes, siblings Jan Boyd and Fran Hearn now operate the iconic food stop in their spacious 300-seater space.

Their house specials include catfish, country ham, fried chicken with delicious onion rings, homemade hushpuppies, and country vegetables for a hearty meal.

Choose from “all you can eat” dinners like Catfish Fillet and Catfish Steaks, or have the Mixed Dinner served with two or three meat options.

Sink your teeth on juicy Flat Iron, Strip, and Rib Eye steaks, or enjoy delicious servings of Hamburger Steak or Grilled Pork Chop Dinner.

And why not try other unique dinner specialties like shrimp, frog leg, quail, or Seafood Platter?

Plus there are other items on the menu you’ll surely enjoy like Salads, Sandwiches, and Burgers, along with Shrimp and Catfish Po’Boys.

Otherwise, check out Plate dishes, Snacks, Kids’ Menu, Sides, and dessert selections at Boyette’s Dining Room.

Have Fun with the Family at the Reelfoot Lake Eagle Festival

Another fun local event you can catch at Reelfoot Lake is the annualEagle Festival.

Held every first weekend of February, the festival features Eagle Tours allowing guests to view majestic bald eagles and amusing waterfowl in their natural winter habitats.

Make sure to reserve slots at the local website to secure seats for the tour.

During the trip, you’ll also learn facts about the lake’s history and the migration of these mighty eagles.

Take pictures of these beautiful birds and the surrounding natural landscape.

The festival also hosts art and photo contests where you’ll see the creative works of many participants.

While you’re in the area, you can also stop by and try some family-style country cooking at the local restaurants near Reelfoot Lake.

Go Hike the Reelfoot Lake State Park Trails

For more outdoor adventures, you can go for a nature hike along the Reelfoot_Lake_State_Park_Trails.

The park has three popular trails namely the Airpark Trail, Keystone Trail, and the Black Bayou Trail.

All these trails are easy hikes and offer scenic natural views even beginner hikers will enjoy.

Both the Airpark and Keystone Trails span 1.5 miles while the Black Bayou Trail stretches on a 2-mile path.

Hike through the old cypress forest and see various flora along the Airpark Trail; likewise, take time to breathe the fresh air and connect with nature on this 45-minute walk.

Meander along the Keystone Trail and enjoy the views on the Reelfoot Lake shoreline; otherwise, trek along the Black Bayou Trail to see the old bayou and spot the birds and wildlife at the observation walk.

You’ll enjoy exploring the trails at Reelfoot Lake State Park.

Try Mouthwatering Barbecues by Cheatham’s Pit BBQ

If you’re craving some delicious homemade barbecue, you better head out to Cheatham’s Pit BBQ.

You’ll find this local restaurant on State Route 21 East serving a variety of finger-licking meals and dishes.

Try some filling Sandwiches like Pulled Pork, Pulled Chicken, or Deep Fried Bologna; you can also get them as a Combo with one side and a drink.

You’ll definitely love their tasty Plate choices like the Half-Rack or Full-Rack Ribs Plate.

All-time favorites on the menu you can try include Pit Potatoes, Pit Nachos, Pit Fries, and Pit Salad.

If you want to go all-meat, you can order a quarter, half-pound, or one-pound Pulled Pork or Chicken, along with the Half-Rack and Full-Rack of Ribs or the Whole Boston Butt.

Aside from other items like delicious sides and drinks, you can also order Chess-Squares or a Fudge Pie for dessert.

No frills, Cheatham’s Pit BBQ servings are hands-down delicious!

Final Thoughts

Tiptonville may not be as well-known as other cities in the United States, but don’t let that deter you from visiting.

Despite its small size, Tiptonville is an upcoming tourist site worth a look.

Marvel at this hidden gem’s various activities and attractions.

Book your Tiptonville trip today!

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