Lenoir City (or as the cool kids say, “The LC”) is starting to live up to its “city” name. Once a sleepy little town, Lenoir City is now booming with new homes and businesses cropping up all the time. The LC–just west of Farragut in Loudon County–is known for being “The Lakeway of the Smokies.” While enjoying Fort Loudoun and Tellico Lakes is high on most lists of things to do here, there are plenty of other fun family-friendly activities to check out, too. I’m sharing my family’s favorites in Lenoir City and beyond.
Deep Well Farm
This farm is way more than just a pumpkin patch! Yes, you can take a hayride and go through a corn maze, but you can also zip down the mega slide on a potato sack and meet and feed plenty of friendly farm animals. There are play areas for kids both big and small. The toddler hay bale maze is especially cute. My daughter’s favorite is the “sandbox” filled with corn (and covered for shade). Did I mention the new and very clean restrooms? Deep Well Farm also offers Halloween and Easter activities. You can even host birthdays and weddings here.
Sweetwater Valley Farm
Cheese, cows, wow! You’ve probably seen those billboards and it sums up how I feel about this dairy farm! Tours are offered regularly April through September. You get an up-close look at how the farm’s cows are raised and milked. There’s even a stop on the tour at the cow maternity ward and nursery. Even better, you can enjoy some free samples of Sweetwater Valley Farm’s award-winning cheese. The shop on site is filled with its delicious farmstead cheese. Plan for lunch during your visit at the new (and delicious!) “Seed to Sandwich Cafe.” The restaurant specializes in a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches and seriously fresh milkshakes. I also go for the seasonal milkshake special and I’ve never been disappointed!
Central Park Playground
This playground in the heart of downtown on Broadway Street gives children of all abilities a wonderful place to play. The main play structures are under large awnings to give kids plenty of shade on hot summer days. The playground is also fenced in, which especially helps moms like me who have a runner on their hands! There are brand new restrooms with changing tables next to the playground. You can access the playground parking lot via Rock Springs Road. This park is expanding to include two splash pads, changing rooms and a large picnic pavilion. Its scheduled to open in summer 2021.
Shop & Stroll on Broadway
More and more charming shops and boutiques are opening their doors on Broadway Street in Lenoir City. It’s easy to spend an afternoon exploring what they have to offer. The Lacy specializes in home decor, antiques and gifts. It’s located inside a beautifully restored historic hotel. The Lacy General Store is a favorite stop for my children. They love the collection of unique toys and picking out a treat from the large classic candy display. Sadie’s and Cedar & Twine are popular spots for women’s clothing you won’t find everywhere else. Those are just a few of my favorites but there’s even more! The Broadway shops often work together for special events. You can keep tabs on what’s coming up by following the Historic Downtown Lenoir City Merchants Association. Happy shopping!
East Tennessee Axe Throwing
This indoor axe throwing venue just opened its doors and it already has a huge following! East Tennessee Axe Throwing offers both digital projection and standard targets. There are seven throwing lanes and a private event area. Walk-ins are welcome, but booking online is highly suggested. There are frequent promo codes on the website so be sure to check that out too. My husband and I had a fun date night here! (I almost beat him!)
Ugly Mug Coffee
Ugly Mug Coffee is a new addition to Lenoir City and has quickly become a community favorite. It serves breakfast, lunch and, of course, delicious coffee. It’s modeled after The Ugly Mug in Memphis. The drive-through has recently opened and I’m quickly becoming a regular. The coffee cold brewed on site is amazing…I like mine with dark chocolate! Yum!
People drive from far and wide to taste these doughnuts made fresh daily! My personal favorite is the apple fritter and my children love anything dipped in sprinkles. If you make a stop at Master Donuts, be sure to try a breakfast egg roll, too. You’ll thank us later! You can eat your donuts there with some hot coffee and milk or take them to go.
There’s a reason this restaurant is always packed. Country Kinfolk is home cooking done right! Be sure to save room for dessert (I always do!) and don’t be surprised when the waitress doesn’t bring you a bill. It’s the honor system. Just go up to the cash register and tell the worker what you had to eat. Allow time to explore the marketplace filled with local crafts and antiques and the women’s clothing at The Hen House Boutique.
Tic-Toc Ice Cream Parlor
If you get an endorsement from Southern Living, you’re automatically on my list of favorite places! Tic-Toc is located in downtown Loudon across from the courthouse. Some people keep track of the seasons on a calendar. In Loudon County, we know spring and summer have arrived when Tic Toc opens! Enjoy a cone or other classic soda fountain treat with the freshly made ice cream. Bring change so the kiddos can make a wish in the charming fountain on the town square.
The Lost Sea Adventure
Further south on I-75, is The Lost Sea in Monroe County. It’s home to America’s largest underground lake. You can go on a guided tour of the cavern, which includes a boat ride on that very lake. It’s a popular destination, so be prepared to wait for your tour time. Don’t worry; you can enjoy Old Sweetwater Village while you wait. You’ll find a general store, gem mine and glass blower to explore. Grab a bite at the on-site café or zip over to Madisonville for some delicious pizza, calzones and more at Patio Italian Restaurant.
A factory tour with a sweet reward at the end! Guides take you behind the scenes to see how all the Mayfield Dairy products are made. Fun fact: The majority of milk your kids drink at Knox County schools is produced here. The tour wraps up with a stop at the on-site ice cream shop. If that ice cream didn’t fill you up, check out Michael’s Casual Dining. This family-friendly spot offers up made-from-scratch meals.