Kingston Travel Guide

Discover the best places to visit, eat, and stay in Kingston, Tennessee. Learn about the culture, customs, and safety tips for travelers in Kingston.

Introduction to Kingston

Kingston is a charming city in Eastern Tennessee, surrounded by the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains and the Tennessee River. Its stunning natural scenery, rich history, and friendly locals make it an ideal destination for anyone seeking a unique and memorable travel experience.

List of Places to Visit in Kingston

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Fort Southwest Point: Visit one of the original frontier fortifications in the region, and explore the historic museum located within.

  • The Roane County Heritage Commission and Museum: Learn about the rich history of Roane County and Kingston in this museum located in the Old Courthouse building.

  • Ladd Landing Marina: See the historic Star of Knoxville riverboat, enjoy a relaxing stroll on the riverfront promenade, or rent a boat or kayak to explore the river.

Natural Attractions of Kingston: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Watts Bar Lake: Spend a day on the water at the beautiful Watts Bar Lake. Boating, fishing, and swimming opportunities abound.

  • Fort Southwest Point Park: Take a hike or bike ride along the scenic trails in this waterfront park.

  • Haw Ridge Park: This 780-acre park is great for hiking, biking, and bird watching.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Kingston

  • The Trails at Kingston: Explore the beautiful trails along the Tennessee River, including a paved walking trail at Fort Southwest Point Park.

  • Wheat Trail: Hike through beautiful wooded terrain and gain elevation quickly while enjoying a view of the river from a bluff.

  • Haw Ridge Park: With over 20 miles of trails, Haw Ridge offers adventures for hikers, mountain bikers, trail runners, and hikers.

Best Things to Do in Kingston: Activities and Tours

  • Haunted Knoxville Ghost Tours: Experience the spooky side of Knoxville with a guided nighttime walking tour.

  • High Ridge Adventures: Go zip lining through the treetops or try your hand at axe-throwing at this adventure park.

  • Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum: Take a nostalgic train ride on historic rail cars, and enjoy the beautiful scenery of Eastern Tennessee.

Week-Long Itinerary for Kingston

Day Activity
1 Explore Fort Southwest Point, and take a hike along the trails.
2 Visit the Roane County Heritage Commission and Museum, and take a tour of the historic courthouse building.
3 Take a day trip to the beautiful Watts Bar Lake, and enjoy swimming and boating activities.
4 Go biking or hiking at Haw Ridge Park, and explore the beautiful trails.
5 Visit the Ladd Landing Marina for some riverfront fun, and rent a boat or kayak to explore the river.
6 Take a tour of the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, and enjoy the beautiful scenery of Eastern Tennessee from a historic railcar.
7 Try your hand at axe-throwing or zip-lining at High Ridge Adventures.

Food and Drink Scene of Kingston

Must-Try Dishes

  • Barbecue: Tennessee is known for its mouth-watering barbecue, and Kingston is no exception. Try some pulled pork or brisket at Smokin’ J’s BBQ.

  • Pimento Cheese: A southern staple, Pimento Cheese is a delicious spread made with cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, and pimentos. Try some at Southwest Point Market and Deli.

Local Beverages

  • Sweet Tea: Perfect for a hot summer day, sweet tea is a southern classic. Try some at The Roane County Heritage Commission and Museum.

  • Moonshine: For an adult beverage with some kick, try some authentic Appalachian moonshine at Clinch River Brewing.

Where to Stay in Kingston: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

  • Holiday Inn Express: Enjoy a comfortable and convenient stay at this modern hotel located in downtown Kingston.

  • Budget Inn: A budget-friendly option located close to the historic district of Kingston.

  • Whitestone Inn: For a more luxurious getaway, stay at this stunning historic inn located on 360 acres of beautiful natural surroundings.

What to Buy in Kingston: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

  • Handmade Soaps and Candles: Visit Soak during your stay in Kingston to pick up some locally made soaps and candles.

  • Roane County Historical Society Cookbook: For a unique souvenir, pick up a cookbook featuring authentic southern recipes from the Roane County Historical Society.

Local Culture and Customs of Kingston

Kingston, like many southern towns, has a rich cultural heritage rooted in music, food, and storytelling. Visitors will find locals to be friendly and polite, and it is customary to use “ma’am” and “sir” when addressing others. Southerners place great emphasis on hospitality, and visitors can expect to be warmly welcomed and made to feel at home during their stay.

Best Time to Visit Kingston

The best time to visit Kingston is during the spring or fall, when the weather is mild and the scenery is at its most beautiful. Summer can be hot and humid, while winter can be cold and snowy. Spring and fall offer a perfect balance of pleasant weather, fewer crowds, and beautiful scenery.

Do’s and Don’t’s of Kingston


  • Do carry cash: Some local eateries and businesses may not accept credit cards.

  • Do say “yes, ma’am” and “no, sir”: Southern politeness is appreciated in Kingston.


  • Don’t litter: Keep Kingston beautiful by disposing of trash properly and respecting the environment.

Safety and Health

Safety in Kingston

Kingston is generally a safe town with low crime rates. Visitors should take normal precautions and stay aware of their surroundings, especially when traveling alone at night.

Health in Kingston

The tap water in Kingston is safe to drink. Visitors should take care to stay hydrated and protect themselves from the sun during the hot summer months.

Getting to Kingston: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Kingston

  • McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS): Located approximately 40 miles from Kingston, TYS is the closest major airport.

Bus Stations Near Kingston

  • Greyhound Bus Lines: Located in Knoxville, approximately 30 miles from Kingston.

Other Options

Visitors can also travel to Kingston by car, either by renting a car or driving their own vehicle. Kingston is located approximately 30 miles west of Knoxville.

How to Get Around in Kingston

The best way to get around Kingston is by car. Public transportation is limited, and it can be difficult to get around without a vehicle. Taxis and ride-sharing services are available, but they may be more expensive than renting a car.

Where to Go Next from Kingston: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park: The most visited national park in the United States is located approximately 50 miles from Kingston.

  • Chattanooga: A vibrant city located approximately 90 miles from Kingston, Chattanooga offers a range of attractions, including Lookout Mountain and the Tennessee Aquarium.


Kingston is a hidden gem in Eastern Tennessee, offering visitors a unique blend of natural beauty, history, and southern hospitality. Whether you’re interested in hiking, history, or just taking in the stunning scenery, Kingston is sure to provide an unforgettable travel experience.