When people think of Bristol, Tennessee they automatically think of NASCAR’s Bristol Motor Speedway. While that is a great place to visit, Bristol, Tennessee can be a great vacation destination in its own right.

A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of visiting. We found enough things to see and do to keep our family occupied over a long weekend.

Bristol, Tennessee is a short drive from two other cities in East Tennessee, Kingsport and Johnson City. The city also spills over into Bristol, Virginia. Essentially, the state line runs through the middle of town. This makes it essentially one city in two states.

There are lots of interesting things to do and see in Bristol, Tennessee. The pace is slower than what you’ll find in most cities. Life beckons you to slow down and enjoy being in a well of southern hospitality.

We did just that and we enjoyed our visit to Bristol, TN. I hope you will too.

The Steele Creek Park and Nature Center
80 Lakeshore Drive
Bristol, TN 37620
Quiet and reserved, this is a little off of the beaten path. This 2,200 acre park is owned by the city. You’ll find a golf course, lodge, shelters, picnic tables, paddle boats and a 54 acre lake. It can be the perfect place to unwind or enjoy the afternoon.

The State Street Farmer’s Market
State Street, Downtown
Bristol, TN
Ever since I was a kid I have enjoyed going to a Farmer’s Market. Bristol is no exception. Look for summer and fall events and lots of great products. Spend a little or a lot. When you shop here you are buying from farmers. Some people have farming roots that go back for generations. They’ll happily answer questions and help you select the finest produce around.

South Holston Dam
Off Highway 421
Bristol, TN 37620
The Tennessee Valley Authority built this dam as a way to generate electricity and to control flooding of the South Holston River. According to the TVA Website, the dam was constructed between the years of 1942 and 1950.

Today the South Holston Dam and reservoir also acts as a tourist spot. Here you’ll find a picnic area, fishing pier, trails and visitor center. It is a great place to spend a lazy summer afternoon.

Bristol Caverns
1157 Bristol Caverns Highway
Bristol, TN 37620
This is not the most inexpensive place to visit. The cavern tour features underground rock formations and lots of steps. Not for those who are physically challenged. Read the review I wrote on Bristol Caverns here.

Historic Downtown Bristol
Bristol, TN
Downtown is a hub of special fun activities in the summer. You’ll find events for kids and adults. Music and entertainment features prominently on the activities calendar. Parking is usually available near the event. Check out the website for public parking lots and the event calendar.