The Other Side of the Tracks Year
Riding on the Tennessee River with views of downtown Chattanooga.
Chattanooga is at a crossroads. This city has seen more than its fair share of waves purely for where it sits in southern Tennessee. And it’s the perfect family destination for an incredibly rich and memorable Sea-Doo experience.
Chattanooga has been in the middle of it all during the industrial revolution and on the outskirts as the technological revolution pushed through. Now this once transient town in the foothills of the Smokey Mountains is a enjoying a thriving rebirth of beautiful proportions.
Chattanooga train museum.
Chattanooga is nestled on the northern side of the Georgia and Tennessee state line and a few miles east of the Eastern and Central time zone line. Before Interstate 24 and 75 came together here connecting the south to the north and the east to the west, this was railroad central. Does, “The Chattanooga Choo Choo” ring a bell?
There are still thousands of miles of steel train tracks running over hills and through valleys, as it was once a hub for steel milling and distribution. What was once a river lined with smoke bellowing steel miles is now a beautiful Tennessee River lined with miles of bike paths and colorful sculptures. There’s a new energy in the city that continues to embrace its historic past. Did you know Chattanooga is home to the MoonPie?
Chattanooga is fast becoming a top ten, “must visit” destination in the US. Why? It’s fun. The immediate area is filled with history and natural beauty leading to outdoor adventure. Downtown Chattanooga has a cool new vibe with new restaurants, museums, hotels, shops, and attractions. Around nearly every corner there is a building undergoing renovations. And Chattanooga is relatively easy to get to, being with-in 500 miles of 60% of the US population. Most families can hitch the Sea-Doo trailer to the sedan and get there with-in a day.
And the river, oh boy, the Tennessee River is a treat. It offers miles upon miles of beautiful, seemingly untouched winding water that meanders through the mountains. We took a 60+mile trip during the middle of the week on a perfect summer day and were amazed at how little boat traffic there was. We enjoyed miles of perfect, glass flat water, something that seemed foreign as we passed the bustling I-24 on the south bank of the river as we left the downtown area.
Sea-Doo watercraft docked at Hales Marina in Chattanooga.
If you are looking to make meaningful family memories this is the perfect Sea-Doo family destination. Chattanooga offers plenty for the family to see and do on-land as the kids will actually learn some cool stuff with out realizing it. On-water the river offers a variety of landscapes and scenes. Begin your day riding under the tall bridges connecting both sides of downtown Chattanooga to the untouched river banks where we saw dozens of dear grazing the shorelines. Plan a refueling stop at the colorful Hales Bar Marina & Resort adjacent to the remains of the first hydroelectric plan in the US on Nickajack Lake.
The ride experience is phenomenal and here is our guide to the perfect family sea-Doo trip to Chattanooga.
Where to stay:
PWC friendly docks at waterside hotel – the Springhill Suites Chattanooga Downtown.
As a commercial hub, there are great hotel bargains along the interstates with plenty of parking for trailers but to get into the heart of the action we recommend the Springhill Suites Chattanooga Downtown/Cameron Harbor. The property is new and modern and has room for trailers (albeit tight on busy days) and docks out-front for overnight mooring and a fuel dock next door. It’s also an easy walk to the downtown area or you can rent a city bike to enjoy the miles of riverfront bike paths.
Where to launch:
Easy boat launching at Riverpark.
Tennessee Riverpark is on the east side of downtown and offers free launch and park with plenty of parking and launch ramp in good condition. There is also a narrow ramp next to the Spring Hill Suites named Ross’ Landing Boat Ramp that is managed by the City of Chattanooga Marina.
Where to eat?
Fantastic river views from Scotties on the River.
Scotties on the River is an easy choice as it’s connected to the Spring Hill Suites and overlooks the river providing sensational food and sunset views. For lunch of dinner in the city you have to hit Urban Stack for ‘Killer Burgers’ and drinks. The specialty menu item that stole our hearts was the Key Lime Pie Mile Shake, wow. For lunch while you are riding on the river, head down stream to Hales Bar & Marina and keep in mind you’re there for the atmosphere. Before you stop to eat be sure to check out the cliffs at Grays Bluff where the adventurous have been rumored to do some cliff jumping.
What to see and do:
Exploring Grays Bluff on the Tennessee River.
Grays Bluff leads us into things to do. If you’re a gear head you have to check out the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum where you can explore engines and train cars from every era. Spend the extra coin and take the 6-mile train ride to the turn-table and train restoration shop. Get the kids involved at the Creative Discovery Museum where they’ll forget there tablet and fuel their passion for learning through play. And while you are downtown visit the Tennessee Aquarium where you’ll see more than sealife. Do you like Meerkats? The aquarium is fitting for the Sea-Doo Life as it’s an attraction you can actually ride your Sea-Doos too by parking at the city dock.
For more information on visiting Chattanooga, click on www.cahttanoogafun.com