Visitors who travel through Northeast Tennessee have many interesting places to visit. One unique area is Kingsport, TN. Located in the far northeastern tip of the state near the Virginia border lies a town that boasts its own special history and cultural heritage. Kingsport has been part of four states, been known under various names, and has connections to the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and World War II. Filled with unique things to explore and numerous opportunities for fun, be sure you spend some time in Kingsport this summer.
Get to Know Kingsport, Tennessee
Kingsport owes its early fame and popularity to the Holston River. Early pioneers and settlers migrating west discovered this vast river and quickly learned of its connections to the Tennessee River, Ohio River, and Mississippi River. By 1822, this made extensive commerce possible and drew many adventurers and entrepreneurs to the area.
After being alternatively known as Peace Island, Big Island, Fort Robinson and Fort Patrick Henry (after existing forts in the area), Christiansville, Rossville, and King’s Port, it was finally incorporated as Kingsport in the late 18th century. Notable history about Kingsport includes:
- Daniel Boone began the Wilderness Road from The Long Island of the Holston River in what is now Kingsport in 1775. The Long Island is now a National Historic Landmark.
- The city gets its name from successful businessman and Revolutionary War soldier Colonel James King. He established King’s Mill Station along the Holston River, popularly known as King’s Port, in what is now Kingsport, and also brought the first iron furnace to the area.
- In its present location, Kingsport has been included in the territory of Virginia, the colony of North Carolina, the short-lived State of Franklin, and since 1802, is now a part of Tennessee.
- During the Civil War, The Battle of Kingsport was fought on December 13, 1864, on the banks of the Holston River at what is now Rotherwood Bridge. It ended in a Confederate defeat with only a small band of confederates standing against more than regiment of Union troops in their front and rear.
- Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport was involved in manufacturing massive quantities of RDX explosive for the military in World War II, and Eastman management became the operations lead on the Y-12 plant of Clinton Engineer Works in Oak Ridge, TN, which helped develop the atomic bomb.
- Kingsport, Tennessee, is the first thoroughly diversified, professionally planned, and privately financed city in twentieth-century America. The city as it exists today was originally planned, outlined, and designed by city planner and landscape architect John Nolen in 1917. His other city design credits include Madison, WI, Roanoke, VA, San Diego, CA, New London, CT, and Savannah, GA.
Summer Fun in Kingsport
There’s plenty to do in Kingsport after exploring the historical and cultural areas of the city. The following list of attractions is sure to have something for everyone!
Bay’s Mountain Park and Planetarium
The Park features a picturesque 44-acre lake, hiking trails, a Nature Center with a state-of-the-art Planetarium Theater, and Animal Habitats featuring wolves, bobcats, raptors, and reptiles.
Warriors’ Path State Park
This Tennessee State Park is home to premier boating and fishing activity, hiking trails, an internationally-renowned mountain bike trail system (which is a designated National Recreational Trail), an award-winning nature education program and a nationally recognized golf course.
LampLight Theatre is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) facility designed to provide quality entertainment and promote family and Christian values. The Theatre is used as a venue for theatrical productions, dinner theatre, concerts, conferences, and seasonal events. It is offered as a performing arts center to enhance skills of seasoned artists as well as to train new actors and to cultivate their gifts and talents.
Kingsport Aquatic Center
The state-of-the-art Kingsport Aquatic Center is unlike any other attraction in the region. Our 46,000 square-foot indoor area is open year-round and features three multipurpose, indoor pools that are specially designed for recreation and instruction. The KAC is home to the region’s only indoor Olympic-size swimming pool, the HMG Competition Pool. Our outdoor waterpark is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day and features two waterslides, a water playground, and the ever popular 900-foot lazy river.
Escape Room Kingsport
Escape Rooms are live-interactive adventure games. Your team is locked in a themed room where you follow evidence, search for clues, work puzzles, open locks and work together to escape before your time expires. You have one hour. Visit the website for different levels and information on company or group outings.
Cattails at Meadowview
Cattails at Meadowview is one of the top public golf courses in Tennessee. The course, a Denis Griffiths design, features Bermuda fairways and Bentgrass greens, boasting picturesque holes that compose a magnificent par 71 layout that lies at the base of scenic Bays Mountain.
Mountain Music Museum
The Mountain Music Museum features exhibits from legends Tennessee Ernie Ford, Dr. Ralph Stanley, Flatt and Scruggs, Archie Campbell, The Carter Family and more! The Mountain Music Museum is also home to the long running Pickin’ Porch Show. On any given Thursday night, you can see a variety of Bluegrass, Americana, Old-Time, and Country acts from around the corner or around the world! With names like Ralph Stanley II, Larry Sparks and more!
August Under the Stars at Allendale Mansion
The Thursday Night August Under the Stars Concert Series is back and better than ever. Hosted at the Amphitheater at the Historic Allendale Mansion, enjoy the best local acts, great food, beverages, and a perfect setting to celebrate the Summer of 2021 – under the stars! Visit the website for a scheduled lineup of performers. Each Thursday in August, food will be available at 6 pm, and the music begins at 7 pm.
Looking for more fun in Kingsport, TN? Search the 1-Find Directory for fine dining, great shopping, and more!