Watts Bar Lake - WBL

Waterfront Living | World Class Fishing | Lodging
Marinas & Launches | Lakeside Events | Lakeside Dining

Waterfront Communities

Located on beautiful Watts Bar Lake, Roane County enjoys more waterfront miles than any other lake in East Tennessee. With over 700 shoreline miles on beautiful Watts Bar Lake it is no wonder that water recreation is so popular. Here you will find boating, sailing, jet skiing, tubing, water skiing, knee boarding, swimming, fishing, and more. With mostly mild temperatures year-round many of these activities can be enjoyed all year long.

Watts Bar Lake is situated in the heart of the Tennessee River Valley midway between Knoxville and Chattanooga. One of the south's largest lakes at 39,000 acres, it extends 72.4 miles between Watts Bar Dam and Ft. Loudon Dam with the maximum depth being approximately 70 feet near the dams.  The lake was created in 1942 and is regulated by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).  The principal tributaries are the Tennessee River and Clinch River with the Emory River also flowing directly into the Clinch River.  It is 740 feet above sea level at full pool (typically from May through October) with an average fluctuation of only five feet from summer to winter making it a perfect lake for year-round activities.

Roane County is made up of several communities - Harriman, Kingston, Oak Ridge, Oliver Springs and Rockwood - with most having a waterfront location.  Kingston's prime location on the banks of the Clinch and Tennessee Rivers offers an abundance of incredible water views, especially from a paved walking trail that winds for more than three miles along the lake from Kingston City Park to Fort Southwest Point.  This location is also home to Smokin' The Water, Kingston's day-long annual July 4th celebration that ends with a spectacular fireworks display over the water.  Rockwood offers miles of predominantly undeveloped shoreline along the Tennessee River.

There are countless coves to anchor a boat and islands with natural sand beaches perfect for a lazy day of sunning or tent camping overnight.  Watts Bar Lake is the perfect place to get away.  The town of Harriman is located right on the banks of the Emory River which provided a perfect place for Riverfront Park, complete with walking trails, pavilions, and memorials.

Waterfront Living

For those who just can't get enough of the water, several new high-end, residential developments allow residents to live right on its edge.  Ladd Landing is an 800-acre waterfront development with condominiums, single-family homes, and a town center located on the Clinch River in Kingston.  Ladd Landing's Town Center provides a grocery store, hardware store, medical plaza, and more to its residents and to the city of Kingston.  Grande Vista Bay, outside of Rockwood on Watts Bar Lake, is a gated community on 1200 acres of gently-rolling forest and fields complete with on-site boat slips and a beachluxurious clubhouse and pool.  Closer to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in the Oak Ridge part of Roane County, is Rarity Ridge.  A town within a town, Rarity Ridge is a "classic American hometown that celebrates the simple joys of life and has a real community feel to it" according to their website. Located on the Clinch River, this residential development includes homes that range from townhomes to estate homes, complete with a town center, clubhouse, swimming pool, and one hundred acres of parks and walking trails.

A Fisherman's Paradise

Fishermen especially enjoy the solitude of Watts Bar Lake and the abundance of natural life.  Enjoy world class fishing that includes fishingmany species of fish including black bass (both small and large mouth), white bass, spotted bass, white and black-nose crappie, striper, rock fish, sunfish, catfish, and even sauger.  In fact, the world-record skipjack herring weighing four pounds was caught here in 2004. Fishing season is year round on Watts Bar Lake with the best fishing time usually beginning in early March and lasting through October. Fishing tournaments can be found about any weekend during this time.  There are numerous public boat ramps available throughout the county.  Kingston's 58 Landing Park and City Park are located in town but their largest is Ladd-Delaney Park at Ladd Landing.  Rockwood has the largest boat ramp in the county at Thomas A. Fuller Memorial Park, and Harriman offers a more central location at Caney Creek Access Area.  There are numerous smaller access areas throughout the county that can be located on maps available at the Roane County Visitor's Bureau, 1209 N. Kentucky Street, Kingston (right off of Exit 352).

Marinas & Launches

Watts Bar Lake has lots of marinas, many of them conveniently located right in Roane County.  Caney Creek Marina is a full-service marina centrally located on Highway 70 between Rockwood and Harriman.  For marinas further south there are several on either side of the lake.  Off of River Road, close to Kingston and off of Hwy 58, there are two - Bayside Marina & Resort or Blue Springs Marina.  Both have restaurants, boat rentals, and gas available.  Bayside Marina & Resort also offers RV and tent sites and cabins.  On the Rockwood side of the lake is Harbour Marina.

Boat Ramps & Launches can be found throughout the county and are noted on the Roane County maps available at the Roane County Visitors Bureau.  In Harriman, the Caney Creek Access and Roane County Park are two of the larger launches.  In Kingston 58 Landing and Kingston City Park have launches available, with Ladd Park being the largest and home to most tournaments held in Kingston. The largest launch, and also home to many tournaments is Thomas A. Fuller Park & Boat Ramp in Rockwood.  <Complete List>

Where To Stay

Voted Tennessee's Campground of the Year in 2007 and 2008, Caney Creek RV Resort is a full-service resort featuring full hookups, a swimming pool with fountain, a large outdoor pavilion with fireplace, recreational rentals, and on-site boat slips, all on the shores of Watts Bar Lake.  Riley Creek Campground is located outside of Kingston and has 50 RV sites but was closed for renovations during 2009.  Another lakefront campground that is actually not located on Watts Bar Lake is Soaring Eagle Campground.  Conveniently located next to I-40, this full-service RV park offers several lakefront sites on Melton Hill Lake.

Tennessee Lakefront Cottages offers privately-owned homes for rent.  Located directly on Watts Bar Lake the fully-furnished cabins  offer relaxation, privacy, luxury and most importantly, their very own dock.  Rent a boat from a nearby marina to make the most of your lakeside vacation.

Whitestone Country Inn, a AAA Four-Diamond Bed & Breakfast that now includes a spa, is located on the banks of the Tennessee River with views of the Smoky Mountains.  What more could you ask for?  Well, what about a large whirlpool, spa shower, fireplace and canopy bed in each luxurious bedroom? Dining options at Whitestone include breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as superb catering. Guests can enjoy tennis, canoes, kayaks, paddleboats, lawn games and eight miles of hiking and walking trails, or simply relaxing on a porch swing while taking in the view.  They also have a wedding chapel onsite.  Voted Most Romantic Inn - well, it is no wonder.

Lakeside Events

Photo compliments of Gina SirmansWith so much water surrounding Roane County it is only natural that many of our events and festivals are held on or overlooking the water.  In June, Fort Southwest Point comes alive, literally, with re-enactors in period costumes, storytellers, traders, and crafts at the Fort for an Early American Celebration & Trade Fair.  Smokin' The Water, Kingston's annual July 4th celebration is held along the banks of the Clinch River from Kingston's City Park on Hwy 70 all the way to the Hwy 58 Landing.  Now a 3-day event - it now includes boat races the first two days prior, ending with a spectacular fireworks display over the water the night of the 4th.  Homemade raft races, car and motorcycle shows, food vendors, and live music are also in the lineup.  The annual Half Moon Music Festival is a showcase of the area's best musical talent right on the shores of Watts Bar Lake.  Usually held in July it has now been moved to September.  In the past the festival has featured a variety of local musical talent including the East Tennessee Concert Band (previously chosen to perform in New York's Carnegie Hall), Our Girls, a female gospel group, The Billy Scarlett Trio, and the ever-popular bluegrass band - The Possom Hunters.  The festival hosts over 1000 visitors - either by boat or by land and has become one of East Tennessee's most enjoyable events.  Hooray for Harriman has been the county's Labor Day festival for many years and in recent years was moved to Riverfront Park along the banks of the Emory River. 

Waterfront festivals aren't just for summer.  There are several fall and winter events held at Fort Southwest Point which overlooks Watts Bar Lake, providing a perfect backdrop for these annual events.  Kingston's Country Fair is a two-day fall festival held the first weekend in October while the Colonial Christmas Candlelight Tour, held outside within the walls of an 18th century fort in December, provides the sights, sounds and flavors of the 18th Century complete with the firing of the canon.   

For more information on these and current events please visit our Events & Festivals calendar.

Lakeside Dining

Lakeside dining can be enjoyed in Roane County.  Redbones on the River, located in Kingston across from the City Park, is our newest restaurant offering a full lunch and dinner menu, a bar, and magnificent lake views.  Outside Kingston on River Road is the Crow's Nest at Blue Springs Marina.  Open only on the weekends they offer a full menu that includes breakfast and a full bar.  Caney Creek Grille at Caney Creek Marina in Harriman is conveniently located on Hwy 70 between Roane County Park and the Roane State Expo Center.  For a more refined lunch and dinner with views of the Watts Bar Lake and the Smoky Mountains visit the Whitestone Country Inn, approximately 15 miles outside of Kingston.