5 Lakes in Tennessee with Cabins & Vacation Lake Houses

Tennessee is an absolute stunner of a state, and while so many vacationgoers head to Nashville, there’s so much more to explore. From the great Smoky Mountains to the beautiful lakes!

Scattered along the Appalachian Mountains, the stunning lakes in Tennessee offer endless outdoor activities and scenic views. Spend your summers boating, fishing, and swimming in crystal-clear waters, or curl up in a cozy cabin by the fire during the colder months. 

Below I’ve gathered my top five picks for lakes in Tennessee with cabins and vacation lake houses that will help you navigate where to stay in Tennessee.

My highlights have to be Norris Lake, with its crystal waters and the stunning landscapes surrounding it; you can stay in epic homes like this Cabin with Double Decker Dock. Or, if you prefer a more secluded spot, check out Lake Cherokee, with its stunning views and peaceful vibes.

Norris Lake

Hidden in the mountains of Northern Tennessee, Norris Lake is one of the most popular lakes in the state with gorgeous crystal clear waters and 800 miles of shoreline. Conveniently located right off the interstate, Norris Lake is the perfect way to really embrace the beauty of Tennessee without having to go too far off the beaten path.

Spend your days boating, fishing, or simply lounging in your cabin retreat. You can get an adrenaline rush with water sports like wakeboarding, tubing, and jet skiing, or relax on a pontoon boat and take in the great outdoors while you cast a rod and reel.

While many Norris Lake house rentals are located near marinas, there are also more secluded options for those seeking a quieter stay. From luxurious homes to quaint little cabin getaways, you’ll have easy water access and plenty of nights under the stars.

Norris lake with nearby lake front cottage, tennesseeNorris lake with nearby lake front cottage, tennessee
Lake Norris – Lake Front Cottage / VRBO

Best cabins at Norris Lake

  • Large Log Cabin – This beautiful cabin sleeps up to eight people and offers a private boat slip, fire pit, and access to a nearby golf course. It’s perfect for larger groups or families.
  • Cabin with Double Decker Dock – In a private cove on Norris Lake, this cabin offers lots of fun and quality time with a double-decker dock, a hot tub, and a game room.
  • Lake Front Cottage – A peaceful cottage with a private dock, two kayaks, and a canoe to explore the calm waters of Norris Lake. This is the perfect spot for fishing or just relaxing by the water.

Cherokee Lake

With miles of untouched shoreline, Cherokee Lake is a rugged and secluded destination for nature lovers. And while it feels miles away from civilization, it’s only 35 miles from Knoxville. The lake area was once a pathway for Native American tribes, and now it provides a serene escape for those seeking to get away from it all.

Cherokee Lake offers everything from fishing and boating to hiking and birdwatching. But most known for its plethora of Crappie, Walleye, and Striped Bass. And with over 400 miles of shoreline, there’s plenty of space for everyone to find their own perfect spot.

Many visitors choose to stay in charming lakeside cabin rentals or cottages, where they can fully immerse themselves in the peaceful surroundings and incredible mountain views.

Views over cherokee lake from the lake house, tennesseeViews over cherokee lake from the lake house, tennesseeViews over cherokee lake from the lake house, tennessee
View of Cherokee Lake from The Lake House / VRBO

Best cabins at Cherokee Lake

  • The Lake House – On the main channel of the lake, this Lake House has some of the best views of Lake Cherokee and is right on the water. It has a private dock for fishing and swimming.
  • Lake Front Lake House – A modern lake house with a huge wrap-around deck on the main floor with a ceiling fan, dining area, private dock, and a gas grill and fire pit. 
  • Hilltop Home – Located near Gilmore Dock and Panther Creek State Park, this charming hilltop home has beautiful lake views from the spacious decks and easy access to outdoor activities.

Old Hickory Lake

Located in Middle Tennessee, Old Hickory Lake is a popular destination for locals and tourists. The 22,500-acre lake was created by the Old Hickory Lock and Dam on the Cumberland River, and Nashville is only 25 miles upstream giving easy access to city attractions.

Old Hickory Lake offers activities like swimming at its four beaches, perfect for kids, plus boating and water sports with many boat ramps and marinas. For those who prefer dry land, there are hiking and biking trails, including the 4-mile Old Hickory Dam Greenway, offering scenic lake views and paths through the woods.

In the last few years, the waterfront properties on Old Hickory Lake have become a hot spot with an influx of luxury homes and rental cabins. All have gorgeous sunset views and large areas for entertaining groups of all sizes.

Old hickory lake at sunset from lake front house, tennesseeOld hickory lake at sunset from lake front house, tennesseeOld hickory lake at sunset from lake front house, tennessee
Sunset at Old Hickory Lake – Lake Front House / VRBO

Best cabins at Old Hickory Lake

  • Nashville Lake House – A renovated waterfront cabin with a rustic charm and modern amenities, close to Nashville. It offers a private dock, kayaks, paddleboards, and an outdoor fire pit.
  • Lake Front Home – This home is spacious and comfortable with amazing views of the sunset. With a sauna, full kitchen area, and a large deck, it is perfect for entertaining larger groups.
  • Couples Cove – Ideal for a romantic getaway, this cozy lakefront home offers a private hot tub, pool table, and kayaks. It is also conveniently located near Nashville’s attractions.

Douglas Lake

Douglas Lake is a reservoir located in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Pigeon Forge. With over 500 miles of shoreline and stunning blue waters, Douglas Lake is as good as it gets. And it’s just a short drive to all the popular Eastern Tennessee activities, like downtown Gatlinburg, the famous Dollywood, and the Titanic Museum.

Prepare to stay busy on Douglas Lake, with many activities to choose from. Jet skiing, water skiing, and wakeboarding are popular for those who love the adrenaline rush. Or venture into the mountains and visit the smoky mountain deer farm or go ziplining through the trees.

Snag Douglas Lake cabins with a private boat dock and spend your days fishing, swimming or simply taking in the breathtaking views. And at night, roast marshmallows over the campfire while stargazing alongside loved ones.

Fort sunsets cabin in winter with views over douglas lake in tennesseeFort sunsets cabin in winter with views over douglas lake in tennesseeFort sunsets cabin in winter with views over douglas lake in tennessee
Douglas Lake – Fort Sunsets Cabin / VRBO

Best cabins at Douglas Lake

  • Fort Sunsets Cabin – A luxurious cabin with a large waterfront deck, hot tub, and private dock for your boat. Plus, it’s pet-friendly! Excellent for family fun.
  • Charming Lakehouse – This lake house offers a cozy and rustic feel, with a screened-in porch overlooking the water with rocking chairs and a porch swing. 
  • Private Lakefront Cabin – At the edge of the Smoky Mountains, this idyllic lakefront cabin features stunning water and nature views. A great way to spend the evening is around the pool table or the hot tub.

Chickamauga Lake

Along the Tennessee River, Chickamauga Lake is a lesser-known but equally stunning destination for a quiet lakeside vacation. More popular with fishing boats, this lake offers a tranquil atmosphere with scenic views of the surrounding mountains.

The waters in the summer are cooler, and because of the current of the river, the largemouth bass in the lake are bigger and more plentiful, but it’s not all about fishermen. Chickamauga is also a great place for kayakers and paddleboarders to explore the calm waters. And North of the dam is a roped-off area for swimming.

With riverside lodges and waterfront cabins, a stay at Chickamauga Lake is much more low-key and laid back with direct lake access and loads of fishing docks.

Lake house on chickamauga lake at sunset, tennesseeLake house on chickamauga lake at sunset, tennesseeLake house on chickamauga lake at sunset, tennessee
Views of Chickamauga Lake at sunset – Lake House / VRBO

Best cabins at Chickamauga Lake

  • Luxury Lake Front Home – This Lake Front Home sleeps 20 people and is perfect for large groups or weddings. With a private dock and spacious outdoor area, it’s perfect for a summer getaway.
  • Lake House on Chickamauga – This modern lake house features a unique design with an open floor plan. It comes with a private dock, boat ramp, and kayaks, perfect for water activities.
  • Fisherman’s Retreat – Nestled on the banks of the Tennessee River, this fisherman’s retreat provides a peaceful getaway. Enjoy fishing off the private dock or relaxing on the spacious deck overlooking the water.

This travel guide is the perfect inspiration to lead you through the smoky mountains and the beautiful Lakefront cabins and vacation lake houses in Tennessee.

If you want more inspo on lakeside cabins spread out across the US, then take a look through our other destinations below!