If you crave a destination with a friendly, small-town feel perfect for leisurely strolls and homecooked meals, look no further than Maynardville. A vacation rental in Maynardville puts you just a short drive away from the urban attractions of downtown Knoxville, as well as the country pleasures of Norris Lake, Pigeon Forge, and the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains. From top breweries and wineries to historical sites and the beauty of nature, Maynardville is home to an abundance of things to do. Be sure to check out these top activities in Maynardville during your stay.

1. Spend a Day on the Water at Big Ridge State Park

Big Ridge State Park is a great place to spend a day immersed in nature. Cool off at the swimming area on Big Ridge Lake, or rent a paddleboat, rowboat, canoe, or kayak to explore the lake’s far shores. You can also launch your own boat, including motor boats, and a vacation home with a garage makes it easy to store your boat when not in use.

2. Explore Local History at the Union County Museum and Genealogical Library

Experience a little Southern hospitality with a tour through this collection of local artifacts and historical works. The guides here are happy to share stories from Maynardville history, especially funny tales to keep you laughing. Music fans enjoy the second-floor exhibit dedicated to the hometown favorite country-music sensation Roy Acuff. Take a moment to admire his fiddle and the other exhibits highlighting the musical history of this part of Appalachia.

3. See Oaken Fire Forge

Visit Oaken Fire Forge to see blacksmiths and woodworkers in action. Using techniques from the past, local artisans craft pieces of art and functional items out of iron and wood, and sell their wares. Look at the samples in the onsite gallery, and check out the home goods and decor available for purchase.

4. Hike Seven Islands State Birding Park

Grab your binoculars and a favorite birding guide, and hit the trails at Seven Islands State Birding Park to discover the rich avian and wildlife population of this Appalachian region. Located south of Maynard just outside of Knoxville, this wildlife refuge straddles the French Broad River and offers visitors trails through a variety of habitats where over 190 species of birds have been spotted. Keep your eyes open for herons, bald eagles, kingfishers, and more.

5. Take a Guided Fishing Trip

If you dream of catching a big one, sign up for an afternoon outing with a guide, such as Jay’s Striper Guide Service or Mel’s Striper Guide Service. A fishing guide gets you out on the water of Norris Lake, helping you find the best place to drop your line to catch the lake’s large striped bass. Use the provided equipment, or bring your own. Your guide brings experience and knowledge to help you select the best bait and tackle to get the job done. Children and first-timers are welcome on these trips, so sign the whole family up for a wonderful experience.

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6. Enjoy Some Old-Fashioned Family Fun at Sherrys Hometown Arcade

From pool to pinball to vintage video games, this Maynardville attraction offers plenty of fun for filling up a rainy afternoon or evening. Your younger family members are sure to enjoy the toy room, with fantastic playthings for little ones along with a television and large selection of board games. Check the schedule to find out about live entertainment happening during your stay.

7. Attend an Event at Wilson Park

Located behind the local high school, Wilson Park has walking trails, a picnic pavilion, and a playground for your kids. Pack a picnic lunch at your vacation rental and walk over to the park for an impromptu picnic and play session. This park is also the home of the Union County Heritage Festival in the fall, with live entertainment, vendors, historical displays, and fun family-centered activities, and Thunder in the Park, a Southern rock concert and car show, late each summer. Check the park’s schedule for a list of things to do, including regular concerts during the summer.

8. Increase Your Vacation Thrills by Jet Skiing Across Norris Lake

Area outfitters, including Sequoyah Marina, Cedar Grove Marina, and Flat Hollow Marina offer jet ski rentals by the hour, day, or week. Jet skiing is a fun way to get out on the waters of nearby Norris Lake. Teens may enjoy smaller jet skis. If you have younger children, consider getting a larger WaveRunner for riding in tandem or groups of three.

9. Step Back in Time With a Spooky Hike Along the Ghost House Trail

The Ghost House Trail runs a little over a mile through Big Ridge State Park, passing by historical sites from the early 20th century. A perfect autumn jaunt, listen for the eerie sounds that locals attribute to the ghost of Maston Hutchinson, who lived in the area long ago. Continue your spooky journey into the old Norton Cemetery to see Hutchinson’s grave, and stop at the remains of his house, now referred to as the Ghost House, near the end of the trail.

10. Visit Union County Farmers Market

Stock your vacation home kitchen with fresh finds at the Union County Farmers Market. Every Saturday, farmers bring fresh produce and homemade items to sell at Wilson Park. In addition to fruits and vegetables, this market includes locally produced meats and eggs. The vendors love sharing pieces of local history with your family and providing tips on how best to use the products they sell.

11. Sample Local History at the Historic Snodderly House

A vacation home right in town makes it easy to take a stroll through downtown to see the historical buildings. Head down Main Street to admire the architecture of the the Historic Snodderly House, which also serves as an art gallery during the Union County Heritage Festival. The Historic Dr. John Harvey Carr Home includes the small building that served the town as a doctor’s office going back to the early 20th century.

12. Shop for Treasures at the Union County Vendor Mall

Browse secondhand wares and new items at this flea market-style shopping center, where local residents sell hand-produced goods and vintage merchandise. Check out elegant displays of antiques, artwork, handmade jewelry, and handcrafted housewares to find just the right items to add a Southern touch to your home.

13. Taste Local Tennessee Wines at the Winery at Seven Springs Farm

Part of the East Tennessee Wine Trail, the Winery at Seven Springs Farm crafts an assortment of wines from sweet, fruity muscatos to its specialty Southern Belle and Heritage Red lines. Sample an assortment of offerings in the tasting room, and choose your favorite to take home with you. The gift shop sells cheese, cured meats, and wine accessories.

14. Stop by ScreamLabs for a Horrific Time

Screamlabs is an essential stop for anyone interested in horror special effects. This Maynardville company manufactures highly detailed horror props, costuming, and scenery, including items suitable for your next Halloween bash or haunted house. Pick up a gory souvenir, or order a custom item to be shipped to your home for a vacation reminder when you return.

15. Have a Rootin’-Tootin’ Good Time at Bubba Brews

If you prefer your nightlife with a little novelty, Bubba Brews is the place to go. Find this hot spot on a floating barge in Norris Lake, and take your choice of indoor or outdoor seating. Sample some down-home cuisine along with local musical entertainment, or play a round of pool or darts with the other guests. At lunchtime, this floating restaurant takes on a family-friendly vibe, with kids specials and friendly cornhole competitions.

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