A small city in McMinn county, Athens is a well kept local secret brimming with fun things to see and do. Small cities are great options for family vacations or weekend getaways as they are often less crowded, budget friendly, and offer plenty of local charm. We’ve compiled a list of awesome activities that will convince you that you need to visit Athens, Tennessee!
Visit the Mayfield Dairy Farm
Ice cream fanatics will meet their match at this 100 year old dairy. The farm was founded in 1910 by T.B Bayfield Jr and his 45 jersey cows. His family continues to operate the dairy today and you can take a tour of the farm and see how some of the dairy products are made. Wrap up your tour at the dairy’s old fashioned ice cream parlor and try one of the many flavors that have stolen the hearts of locals and tourists alike.
McMinn County Living Heritage Museum
Located in downtown Athens, the Heritage Museum has 30 permanent exhibits and over 10,000 artifacts that tell the story of Southeastern Tennessee from the 1700’s to the 1940’s. Check out the museums website to see when educational programs and special events are offered!
The Gardens of Sunshine Hollow
Over 20 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens flaunting over 1750 varieties of Iris, Roses, Hosta, Daylilies, Dahlias and Cannas sits surrounded by 160 acres of undisturbed forestland. Visitors can walk through eight miles of trails and footbridges surrounding the hollow or stop by the event center to enjoy lunch, lemonade and homemade ice cream. Larger groups can arrange wagon tours of the gardens and, if love is in the air, you can also book the gardens for your wedding!
The Swift Museum
Adults and kids alike will be fascinated by the Swift Museum’s display of lovingly restored and, often considered as the world’s best, collection of Swift aircraft. Visitors can stand right next to the aircraft and look into the cockpits, a rare treat as the one Swift airplane in the Smithsonian can only be seen as it hangs in a distance.
Ocoee River State Park
Located just 17 miles away from Athens is the sprawling Hiwassee Ocoee River State Park where you can explore forest lands and participate in numerous riverfront activities. Hike, bike, swim, fish, raft, kayak and camp until your heart’s content among some of Tennessee’s best forests and rivers.
Loch Low-Minn Scuba Diving Resort
Beginner and experienced divers alike will enjoy a dive in this 10 acre quarry lake with its crystal clear waters. The lake is also home to an ancient species of fish called paddlefish that can grow up to six feet long as well as multiple other varieties of fish. This fish as well as an eclectic range of artifacts can be seen at an average visibility depth of 35 feet!
At the end of the day (or maybe every day you are in Athens), you’ll want to stop by one of the many BBQ joints that serve up mouthwatering meats and homemade sides that will change your life. No joke. Some local favorites include WeeZee’s BBQ, Big Daddy’s BBQ Shack, and Buddy’s BBQ.