Watauga Lake of East Tennessee

Watauga Lake is located on the Watauga and Elk Rivers in northeast Tennessee. The reservoir was created by the TVA in the 1940’s due to persistent flooding in the area. The flood-prone original town of Butler now lies under the lake; the town relocated during the damming work to higher ground near the edge of the lake. An “Old Butler Days” festival is still held to celebrate the lake and the town’s history.

The TVA uses Watauga Lake for flood control, habitats for fish and other aquatic wildlife, and hydroelectric power generation with the Watauga Dam.

The lake features several swimming and recreation areas as well as several marinas and docks. The lake’s secluded location in the undeveloped Cherokee National Forest means it’s one of the most lightly-used and cleanest lakes in the area. Hikers and backpackers are often seen around the lake as the Appalachian Trail crosses the lake over the Watauga Dam.

Watauga Lake of East Tennessee

Watauga Lake of East Tennessee is a TVA controlled reservoir, Visitors to Watauga Lake enjoy beautiful scenery and a wide variety of outdoor recreation options.

Watauga Lake Marinas and Docks

Watauga Lake is home to a variety of marinas and docks, ranging in size and in amenities.  Below is a list of of marinas and docks, with a links to available information pages.

Watauga Lake Boat Rentals

For those interested in renting a boat, we have a couple of links below to help in your search. Renting a boat can be a good option if you only need a boat once or twice a year, but keep in mind that the cost of a day’s rental is often more than an entire month’s membership in Carefree Boat Club!

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Watauga Lake Guide
Find out everything you need to know about Watauga Lake, as well as Boone and Watauga Lakes right here in our own Insider's Lake Boating Guide!
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Boat Rentals
Looking for the best place to rent a boat on Watauga Lake? We have just the info you are looking for below!
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Carefree Boat Club
Wanting to learn more about Carefree Boat Club and why "boating without owning" is the only way to go! Click below to find out!
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Watauga Lake Articles & Posts

4th of July on Watauga Lake

There is no better time for boating on Watauga Lake than the 4th of July. It is often the busiest day of the season for a reason. On Wednesday morning, boaters set out for a day they would never forget. The day started with a nice cool breeze and relatively quiet waters. The early birds […]

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Celebrate the Fourth with Fireworks at the Lake

Independence Day is just around the corner, and watching fireworks on the lake is one of our favorite July 4th traditions! Here’s a look at what’s going on in our area. South Holston Lake Lake View Dock Fireworks start 30 minutes after dark on Tuesday, July 3. If it rains, the fireworks will be on […]

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Memorial Day at the Lake

Ah, it’s finally here: a glorious three-day weekend, kickoff to summer and the summer boating season, a great time to take the family out on the lake. Whether you’re planning to swim in the (still slightly chilly) lake or just relax and enjoy the view out on the water, there’s nothing wrong with bringing along […]

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Explore Watauga Lake from these marinas

Watauga Lake is the best-kept secret of the Tri-Cities lakes! Its more remote location makes it much less used than the other lakes with pristine views and a mostly-undeveloped shoreline, most of which lies in the Cherokee National Forest. It’s also the second-biggest lake in the area after South Holston Lake with a large wide […]

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Looking for a rental boat on Watauga Lake?

Spend your summer on Watauga Lake without investing in expensive boat ownership! Are you new to boating or tired of spending money on the boat you’ve got? Rentals or joining a boat club are great alternatives for exciting days on Watauga Lake with friends and family in spring, summer, or fall. Several of Watauga Lake’s […]

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An Introduction to the Carefree Boat Club

You’ve probably seen us talk about the Carefree Boat Club in posts here on Carefree Boater, but if you’re still not sure if it’s for you we’ve put together a quick guide to introduce you to how it works! Reserve your boat ahead of time Use the reservation system to make sure the boat you […]

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