The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) created Douglas Lake, or Douglas Reservoir, for flood control and hydroelectric power in 1942 and opened the lake to the public in 1943. TVA impounded the French Broad River, creating a lake that is located a few miles from the Gatlinburg tourist area and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Most of the over 513 miles of shoreline is privately owned, but TVA maintains recreational facilities at Douglas Dam.
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Boaters can find a TVA boat ramp at the camping area near the dam. Other locations to put in at Douglas Lake include commercial marinas and campgrounds located around the lake, but mainly near Dandridge.
Campers can find 41 camp sites at the Cherokee Dam Reservation, managed by TVA. This facility has grills, showers, and a swimming area. Another campsite is the Douglas Lake Campground for tents and RVs. This facility has 100 sites with electric and water hookups.
If you're seeking B&Bs, hotels and motels, or vacation rentals, you can find many of those accommodations in Dandridge. This town is located right on the lake. However, if you want to stay in Knoxville or near Gatlinburg, you can find plenty of accommodations in both areas. Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville may charge a bit more because of tourism. You'll also want to book accommodations early if you plan to stay in that area.
Review the Lake Resource Guide for additional lodging.
Douglas Lake is located in Jefferson County, Tennessee, and cities close to the lake include Dandridge, White Pine, Sevierville, and Newport. Dandridge is the most popular town, as it is situated on the north shores of Douglas Lake just off I-40. Dandridge is located less than thirty miles from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park via I-40. Dandridge also is less than an hour's drive from Gatlinburg, depending upon traffic. The heart of Knoxville is only 31 miles from Dandridge along I-40, but the Knoxville McGhee Tyson Airport might take more time -- that airport is located on the other side of Knoxville about 45 miles from Dandridge.
Fun times at Douglas Lake
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