Ocoee River Itinerary Adventure Enthusiast - 3 Days
Get the Most Out of Your 3 Day Ocoee Getaway with this Itinerary
You have probably heard of the fantastic whitewater rafting on the Ocoee River, quite literally known as America’s favorite whitewater. But did you know there are a ton of other awesome, affordable adventures all within the magical Ocoee River Corridor recreation region? Go big with a full day Upper and Middle Ocoee whitewater rafting trip, and chillax on beautiful Parksville Lake, or hike or bike on tranquil, uncrowded trails deep in the forest. The Ocoee River area has something to satisfy every adventure enthusiast’s desires. Here are the best Ocoee insider tips to maximize your adventures on a 3 day getaway in the Ocoee River Corridor.
Escape to the Ocoee
Quit work a tad early and hit the road to get to your unique, affordable lodging near the world famous Ocoee River. It’s a comfortable highway drive and less than 4 hours from major southeastern metro areas. Many rafting outfitters provide awesome camping or cabin lodging – see all lodging & camping options here. Don’t forget to check out Hiwassee/Ocoee Scenic River State Park, too.
Wineries and Sunsets
There are many charming dinner options in the Ocoee River Corridor like Savannah Oaks Winery situated near America’s premier whitewater rafting destination in Delano, TN. Start your adventure getaway off with a glass of award-winning Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon at this charming winery. The winery is located just 5 minutes up the road from Hiwassee/Ocoee Scenic Rivers State Park, and less than 20 minutes from Ocoee, TN, at the west end of the Ocoee River Corridor.
Depending on the season, sunset might be late evening. If you are there in the summer, after dinner drive up to the Chilhowee Mountain Overlook where heaven meets the earth in one grand tableau. Take in the exceptional views of the entire Ocoee River valley, including the Ocoee River, Parksville Lake, and surrounding mountains of the Cherokee National Forest. If you time it perfectly, depending on the season and daylight hours, delight in a fiery sunset that paints the sky above and the vast valleys below.
You’ll drive up, up, up the mountain road in Chilhowee Recreation Area, to get to this overlook location. Expect a 15 minute drive from Parksville Lake to the lookout – it’s totally worth it!
Great Adventures Require Great Coffee- Ocoee Has It!
Before setting off to take on the Class III-IV rapids of the Ocoee River, start your day out right with good coffee and breakfast treats. Area favorites on the west side include Bakery on Main in Benton, and the Ocoee Coffee Joint, not far from Parksville Lake. If your day starts at the east side of the gorge near Copperhill, then grab a bite at Yellowbird Coffee Shop. Check to see if your rafting outfitter has breakfast options at their outpost, too.
Whitewater Rafting! Full Ocoee Trip - Upper + Middle Awaits!
Today is the day to raft America’s favorite whitewater! The Full Ocoee trip includes the Upper Olympic Ocoee River section and the Middle Ocoee River section. Full or also called Combo trips start as early as 8:30AM at the put-in, and run at various time slots during the day. Your start time will depend on the rafting outfitter selected. Prepare for a six hour trip that includes lunch, in between the Upper and Middle Ocoee sections.
Plan carefully, the Full Ocoee trip is only available on the weekends. The Middle Ocoee trip is a half day trip available 5 days a week, Thursdays – Mondays. Planning Tip: Confirm the release schedule for Ocoee River, before you plan your getaway.
Late Afternoon - Unwind on Parksville Lake
After taking on the Full Ocoee River rafting trip, you might like to unwind in the sun with other watersports on Parksville Lake, also known as Lake Ocoee. If you didn’t bring your own boat or board, you can rent sit on top kayaks, inflatable kayaks, and paddle boards from the marina and a few outfitters near the lake. Go to Rafting Outfitters and filter on “Kayaks, SUP, Inflatables” under Activities.
Dinner and Drinks - East and West!
Great food and lively nightlife are a nice cap on a wonderful day on the river. Head to the eastern end of the Ocoee River Corridor to explore the historic downtown area of McCaysville, GA, and Copperhill, TN. You have a choice a good restaurants and breweries in this area, including Twisted Tomato, Burra Burra, Copperhill Brewery and Buck Bald Brewing. Bar 21, just over the state line in Copperhill, TN, is a local favorite for after dinner drinks.
On the western side of the Ocoee River Corridor, enjoy live music on weekends and karaoke on Thursday nights at the Bus Bar & Grill. Head farther west into Cleveland, TN, for enticing dinner choices, too.
See all Ocoee Food and Drink options.
Since the Ocoee River is only an hour outside Chattanooga, this is also an option for thriving nightlife and entertainment with a variety of dining options, bars, clubs, and live music.
Morning Adventures: Mountain Biking or Fly Fishing
After a delicious breakfast either at your campground or one of cafe options near your lodging, there are many more first class outdoor adventures awaiting you in the Ocoee River Corridor.
For Mountain Bikers: The trails of the Tanasi Trail System are an absolute must. Located at the Upper Ocoee River Olympic venue, in the Cherokee National Forest, this trail system boasts over 30 miles of diverse terrain that caters to riders of all skill levels. Best of all, the trails are not crowded. Ride along the river on the old Copper Road or go for more technical single track. Your reward is great views, fresh air, and maybe a dip in the Upper Ocoee when the water is off. The trails are reasonable for gravel bikes, too.
For Anglers: If a more tranquil adventure is what you seek, a fly fishing trip on the Hiwassee River promises serenity and trout in abundance. This picturesque river meanders peacefully through lush valleys and offers ample opportunities for anglers seeking a memorable catch. Known for its excellent trout population, the Hiwassee River entices both seasoned fishermen and beginners alike with its crystal-clear waters teeming with rainbow trout and brown trout. Cast your line wet wading or book a driftboat fishing trip – either way, unplug and recharge with the river.
Lunch Options to Refuel
Grab some lunch with these local favorites on the west side of the Corridor including the Ocoee Shrimp and Grits at Apricot Place Cafe, Big Frog Mountain Burritos at Ocoee Dam Deli & Diner, or delicious pizza at the Ocoee Gondolier.
On the east side of the Ocoee River Corridor – head to Copperhill Brewery or any of the restaurants on the TN/GA border.
See Food & Drink for more options.
Afternoon Adventures: Fly in a Glider Plane or on a Zipline
Glider Planes: Just when you thought you have packed it all in, there is more! The Ocoee River goes big on thrilling adventures for outdoor enthusiasts. One such adrenaline-pumping experience is embarking on a glider trip. As you soar through the sky with nothing but wind beneath your wings, you’ll be overwhelmed by breathtaking views of the Ocoee River valley, Parksville Lake, and beautiful surrounding mountains. And it’s… quiet. Whoa. The sensation of weightlessness, silence, and awe-inspiring scenery is hard to beat.
Ziplining Tours: On the other hand, if you prefer to fly much closer to tree level, then soaring on a zipline canopy tour is right for you. The Ocoee River Corridor boasts several rafting outfitters with zipline courses and aerial adventures – check out ziplining to see your options and where they are located. Ziplines, sky bridges, and rappelling – it’s waiting for you.