Tennessee River Gorge Island Cabin

Tennessee River Gorge Island Cabin Rental is on Hales Bar / Nickajack Lake in the Tennessee River Blueway and close to Chattanooga, Rock City, Ruby Falls, Incline Railway, Lookout and Raccoon Mountains. TRG Island is on a 4 acre track of land deep inside the Gorge. Your cabin is 55 ft. from the lake and only 3 ft. down to beach. In shade all day. Features a upscale new cabin with AC/Heat, Jacuzzi bath tub, full kitchen, one queen bed with twin above. La-Z-Boy sleeper sofa, and mattress in loft. Full kitchen  

Athens Mayfield Dairy and the Lost Sea        

About an hours drive from downtown Chattanooga is the Mayfield Dairy in Athens. For those outside the area that Mayfield sends it's products, Mayfield hey girl local dairy which makes fresh milk and delecious ice cream. The dairy offers free tours of the plant. First you see an introductory video about Mayfield. Then after donning hairnets (imagine finding hair in your milk or ice cream) you start the tour of the factory. You get to see all the different part of the factory like where they manufacture the milk cartons and fill them with milk, a taste testing center, the places where they make ice cream, etc. On some parts of the tour milk cartons slide down the hallway on conveor belts to were they are shipped or filled with milk. The best part of all is trying a scoop of the ice cream in the gift shop- so good!   

After another short, thirty minute drive, you will arive at the Lost Sea in Sweetwater. The Lost Sea, a real, natural, underground lake, covers four and a half acres and is the largest in the States, second largest in the world. You get to take a ride on the glass bottom boats around the lake. Trout were originaly stocked in the lake to see if it has any outlets, but since there aren't any, the trout stayed. Besides the lake, the caverns themselves are very cool, with rare cave formations, a decent sized waterfall, and interesting features like the "little grand canyon. At one point in the tour the guide turns off all the lights in the cave and you get to experience total darkness. The cave is also deep in history. Indians used the caverns for meetings, and soldiers during the civil war used the bat guano to make gunpowder.

Outside the caverns there is a old-time general store, gemstone panning, and glass blower's shop. The tour is half a mile long and has no stairs. The rates for the tour are $14 for adults and $7 for children (5-12).

Collegedale Greenway

A little more than forty minutes from downtown Chattanooga is the small town of Collegedale and residence of Southern Adventist University. There's a surprising amount to see and do for such a small town, and most of it lies along the newly built greenway. It begins near the public library at Imagination Station. If you have children, a few minutes at this awesome playground will be a highlight. A short walk along the greenway takes you to Vetrans Park, with a huge American flag and a real tank and helicopter. The paved path continues for miles along the serene Wolfteiver Creek until reaching Southern Adventist University. There is a pond at the end with a residence of ducks and geese. There are no signs indicating not to feed them, so locals come often with bread.

Virgin Falls Pocket Wilderness

Natural area about two hours from Chattanooga. The trail is eight miles at a minimum with a good amount of elevation gain, but with side trips it can add up to more than ten. Sites of interest include Martha's Pretty Point (overlooking miles of ridges dropping down into Scott's Gulf, Big Laurel Falls, Sheep Cave, waterfall at Sheep Cave, Caney Fork River, and Virgin Falls (flows out of cave then drops 150 feet into another).

Rocktown

Rocktown is located on Pigeon Mountain near Lafayette, Georgia. It is much like an undeveloped version of Rock City. Here are two links for more information: ParkMaps.com and GeorgiaOutdoors.com.

Little River Canyon National Preserve

The Little River is the longest mountaintop river in the United States. The preserve offers stunning views, secluded hikes, geological formations, and waterfall viewing. It's the second largest of four national preserves in the east. It takes a little over an hour to drive there from Chattanooga, taking I-59 south through Georgia into Alabama, parralelling the west side of Lookout Mountain the whole way. To learn more, visit the official park service  web site.