Crystal clear water and miles of shoreline at some of the finest lakes in the nation attract many people looking for retirement destinations at or near the water’s edge. Tennessee lake living offers tranquility, a relaxing environment and innumerable outdoor recreational activities.
Tennessee boasts over 250 lakes and reservoirs, most of which were man-made. Nestled in the Smoky Mountain foothills of Tennessee, Lake Tellico, created by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in the 1970s, is just a short drive from Knoxville. The Tellico Dam created a navigable water system connected by canals that enables long boating trips and accessibility to 21 states.
Tennessee’s Watts Bar Lake was formed by the TVA-built dam in 1939. The lake covers more than 39,000 acres and has 771 miles of shoreline. According to Lynn and Lloyd Sparks of Dalton, GA, who built a second home in Lakefront Estates on Watts Bar Lake, “What’s really unique about Watts Bar is that there about 64 miles in between dams. It’s a deep lake, and you always have navigable water. You can take the boat through the river to Chattanooga or to Knoxville and dock your boat right at a restaurant. Watts Bar Lake is such a big lake that, even on the holidays, it’s not crowded.
“We will eventually retire to Lakefront Estates. Here we are at retirement age, and it’s an investment for us to take out of our retirement to build a home here. We want to make sure it is protected not only for us, but for our children and grandchildren as well, and that is what you have here at Lakefront Estates.”
Ramay Winchester of Retire Tennessee says, “The number one reason people relocate to Tennessee is that property taxes are significantly lower than other states.” Tennessee has no state property tax. Property taxes are locally determined and collected. There are no state personal income taxes in Tennessee either, and the average cost of living is 10 percent lower than the national average, including low utility costs.
Winchester indicated that the mild four-season climate draws a significant number of retirees. Cool mountain breezes as well as verdant valleys and lakes attract a great number of “half-backs,” those who moved further south, but decided they wanted to move halfway back to their original home. In addition, many from the Northeast and Midwest have made Tennessee their new home to escape harsh winters and find a milder climate.