Ocoee River Itinerary - 2 Days
Maximum Fun - 2 Day Ocoee Getaway
Ready to explore America’s Favorite Whitewater and Southeastern Tennessee’s outdoor recreation gem – the Ocoee River? Here are insider tips to maximize your fun on a fantastic two day adventure getaway in the Ocoee River Corridor. Head to the Ocoee the morning of day one and play, dine, and explore the area over your two days.
Explore the Olympic Whitewater Slalom Course
Hit the road early and get to the world famous Ocoee River mid morning. Lace up your hiking shoes and go explore the site of the 1996 Olympic whitewater course on the Upper Ocoee. There is plenty of parking, including for campers and trailers. Picnic and explore the river and riverside trails. If it’s a weekend, the water will be “on” and watch whitewater rafters and private boaters navigate the Upper Ocoee rapids. It its midweek, the dam is not releasing water and you can play in lovely swimming holes. Check into your unique, local, friendly lodging in the Corridor before or after you visit the Upper – depending on checkin times.
Lunch Options Near the Ocoee River
The Upper Ocoee River is on the east side of the Corridor. Head to Ducktown and Copperhill Brewery for lunch options, if you didn’t bring your own picnic. Or, head west in the Corridor just past Parksville Lake and enjoy the Big Frog Mountain Burritos at Ocoee Dam Deli & Diner, or grab a delicious pizza at the Ocoee Gondolier.
Looking for something else? The Ocoee River Corridor has many options for every palate.
Afternoon Activities -Waterfalls and Waterslides
After a delicious lunch, head to Chilhowee Recreation Area and hike to the 65 foot, stunning at Benton Falls. The road to Chilhowee is right across from Parksville Lake, in the middle of the Ocoee River Corridor. Or, hit the natural water slides of Goforth Creek, right off Highway 64 beside the Ocoee River. There is parking roadside, and it’s a short hike up the creek on a pretty steep trail.
Dinner with a side of History
After a day of exploring the wonders of the Ocoee River Corridor, there are many delicious dining options. On the east side, options include Rod’s Rockin Rolls in Ducktown, TN. Or head farther east and explore the historic downtown area of McCaysville, GA, and Copperhill, TN. These border towns are split by the Ocoee River, named Ocoee on the TN side, and named Toccoa on the GA side.
History of Ducktown: Ducktown was the headquarters of the Copper mining operations back in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The name Ducktown is a translation of the original Cherokee name for this town Gawonvyi, or Kawana – which means “duck place” in English. It is also said that the town was named after a Cherokee Chief named Chief Duck (with the Cherokee name sounding like the English word “duck”).
Cookouts & Sunsets: Or, enjoy a great cookout if you are camping at one of the many campgrounds in the Ocoee River Corridor. Then cap off your day with a beautiful sunset from the Chilhowee Mountain Overlook. You’ll drive up, up, up the mountain road in Chilhowee Recreation Area to get to this location. Expect a 15 minute drive from Parksville Lake to the lookout – it’s totally worth it!
Java and Breakfast Options
Before setting off to meet at your rafting outfitter’s location to take on the Class III-IV rapids of the Ocoee River, grab a perfect latte and a breakfast treat at Ocoee Coffee Joint, on the west side the Corridor. If your day starts at the top side of the gorge near Copperhill, then grab a bite at Yellowbird Coffee Shop.
Note that many of the Ocoee River rafting outfitters offer coffee and breakfast options at their outposts – so convenient!
Whitewater Rafting on the Ocoee River
Whitewater rafting on the Ocoee River is an exhilarating adventure for those aged 12+ that immerses participants in a world of adrenaline-pumping rapids, stunning natural beauty, and rich historical significance. Your start time will depend on the Rafting Outfitter selected, the first morning trips launch from the river put-in as early as 9AM, but your arrival time at your rafting company outpost needs to account for checkin, gear, river safety talk, and transportation to the put-in. Be sure to note your outfitter’s specified outpost arrival time! Prepare for your trip to be between 3-3.5 hours for either the Middle or the Upper Ocoee River trip.
Want to see all the river has to offer? Schedule a Full Day Combo trip that include the Upper Ocoee, lunch, and the Middle Ocoee! Note that the combo trip is only available on weekends, due to the Upper Ocoee limited release schedule.
Afternoon: Funky Shops, Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, or Ziplining
If you do a half day trip on the river, spend the rest of the day in Copperhill, TN, or McCaysville, GA, and explore the historic downtown area that divides two states. Stroll along the quaint streets lined with an array of unique shops and cozy boutiques like Daffodillys Plant Co., Blue Ridge Olive Oil Co, and Toccoa River Outfitters and Fly Shop.
You can also hop on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway for a 2-hour scenic express ride along the Toccoa River. Perfect for train buffs and wee ones.
Ready to fly through the trees? Go ziplining and test your love of heights with an aerial adventure! Check out your ziplining and aerial adventures options here.
Last Chance Dinner Before You Head Home
After a fun-filled day seeing all the beauty of the Ocoee River Corridor, you’re ready to head home. Depending on which way you are driving (southeast to Atlanta, West to Nashville, southwest to Birmingham, north to Knoxville, or west to Asheville and beyond – hit up the restaurants on your way. See all your Food & Drink options by Corridor location here.