Come Find Your Calm: Unicoi County Living

Many people have grown tired of the stresses and frustrations of life in large urban areas. With the constant buzz of activity and the growing cost of living in cities, it’s no wonder many professionals are looking to move to beautiful areas where they can slow down and find some peace to enjoy. Unicoi County has been drawing people every year as they learn about the beauty, seclusion, and natural resources available in this ultimate outdoors paradise.

So, let’s take a quick look at all the amazing things that are attracting people from around the country and world, and causing them to make Unicoi County their new home. If you want to breathe the fresh air of the oldest mountains in the United States, you might just realize this gateway to adventure is calling your name, too!


Local Dining

The towns and cities in Unicoi County play host to a wide variety of dining options for any palette. You will find many familiar chain restaurants in the area, including the eastern-most location of Pal’s Sudden Service—a regional fast food restaurant that has been regularly named as one of the best fast food experiences by national authorities like USA Today and Food & Wine.

If you’re looking for more local fare, there are a ton of locally owned restaurants to choose from as well. Below is a short list of just a few of the amazing local dining options available. All of these restaurants exemplify the Unicoi County laidback lifestyle. Nothing fancy or pretentious here, just amazing food and friendly hometown service.

  • Dari-Ace—American diner with homemade ice cream treats
  • Hibachi House—Independent Japanese dining
  • Choo-Choo Cafe—Train-themed American diner
  • Steel Rails Coffee House—Local coffee shop
  • Burnout BBQ & Grille—Local barbeque
  • Union Street Taproom—Local beer house
  • Clarence’s Drive-In—Local American diner
  • Maple Grove—Local American diner

For food trucks, try a local favorite—Noli Food Truck—which offers amazing, fresh street food for guests, and offers open air seating to enjoy the breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Local Shopping

If you love to shop at unique local stores, we have lots of great options available to give you plenty to browse. Looking for some great, authentic antiques to add to your collection? Here you’ll find some incredible treasures at any of the host of locally-owned antique stores in Unicoi County. The following is a short list of some of the great antique shops available within Erwin and Unicoi.

  • Restored Treasures
  • Valley Beautiful Antique Mall
  • Crackerbee’s
  • West Main Antiques and Variety Store

If you want to have the full mall experience, head up the road to Johnson City where you’ll find the largest mall in the area. While there, enjoy all the popular shopping destinations along with a full food court for hours of shopping bliss.

Outdoor adventurers should consider stopping by the Erwin Outdoor Supply shop to find great outdoor gear and a friendly, helpful staff who can give you valuable information about local hikes, camping, fishing, and details for any excursion.

Local Parks and Recreation Areas

Unicoi County has a number of amazing parks where you can enjoy the natural beauty of the region. Be sure to bring a picnic and make a day out of exploring these great features with your friends and family.

Erwin National Fish Hatchery

If you love trout, you need to come visit one of the largest fish hatcheries in the eastern United States. The Erwin National Fish Hatchery raises beautiful rainbow trout that are shipped nationwide to support sport fishing and preserve these amazing species in rivers and lakes.

Unaka Mountain Recreation Area

Minutes from Unicoi and Erwin, the Unaka Mountain Recreation Area offers miles of hiking, rivers, and outdoor fun for the whole family. This recreation area is a popular destination for visitors from around the world and offers some truly unique experiences for any outdoor enthusiast.

Limestone Cove Recreation Area

The Limestone Cove Recreation Area, which is part of the vast Cherokee National Forest, offers great day-hikes, picnic facilities, and access to the North Indian Creek. With easy access, it’s great for any outdoor adventure.


Unicoi County also offers a wide variety of local festivals and sporting resources for locals and visitors. Year-round you can find a fun event or opportunity that makes living here a constant celebration.


Here are just a few examples of some of the fun yearly festivals hosted in Unicoi County that are a must for those looking to enjoy the history, culture, and beauty of our region.


Unicoi County hosts a ton of great options for sporting men and women of any skill level. Our rivers are world-renowned destinations for fly fishing and traditional fishing for smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, black bass, musky, and several species of trout. We have great local guides who can help ensure a productive trip for anyone, while offering tales and tips that only the locals know.

If your sport interests are more on the leisurely side, we have beautiful golf courses all around that can give you a fun-filled day on the links with one of the most breathtaking backdrops in the nation. Here are a few options to get you started planning your trip:


Wouldn’t you like to have one of the most iconic mountain ranges in the world in your own backyard? The natural resources available to residents of Unicoi County are second to none. People have spent their entire lives in this area, and still haven’t experienced everything this region has to offer.

Appalachian Trail

Every year hundreds of thousands of people travel from every continent on the planet to come experience the Appalachian Trail, a continuous ribbon of hiking trail that traverses the eastern United States from Georgia to Maine. The sections you will find that border Unicoi County are regularly described as some of the most beautiful on the entire trail. The main reason for this is that we host several long sections of exposed range hiking on the AT. The naturally occurring “balds” in these sections offer some of the very best 360 degree views of the Appalachian Mountains into North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.

Nolichucky River

After a day on the mountain highs of the Appalachian Trail, why not plunge into one of the top adventure rivers in the entire world? The Nolichucky River is a natural treasure that courses through the Unicoi County region. The sections you will find in Unicoi County are also home to world-class whitewater that draws athletes and adventurers from every corner of the globe. To learn more, here’s an in-depth look at the history and unique features of this legendary water way.

Cherokee National Forest

Unlike other sections of the Appalachian Mountains that are managed by national, state, or local parks, the Unicoi County mountains are primarily part of the Cherokee National Forest. What does that mean for you? Well, mainly it means you’ll have much more open access to all the natural beauty and resources at no additional cost! You can experience the thousands of acres of protected wilderness any time and enjoy hiking and camping in most every area at no charge. It truly is a wilderness experience worthy of any true adventurer.

If you’re tired of the fast-paced urban life, or just want to be closer to the great outdoors, you’ll find a forever home in Unicoi County. We’re sure you’ll find plenty of room to stretch your legs and breath in the fresh mountain air here. Living in Unicoi County is a great place to start your next lifetime adventure, and the neighbors here will soon become your most treasured friends.



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