The Most Expensive Lakes in Tennessee to Buy a Second Home

Written by Kaleigh Moore
Updated: August 24, 2023
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Tennessee lakes are an ideal choice if you’re seeking a fantastic spot to call home. It’s understandable why so many individuals decide to invest in second homes here given the state’s breathtaking natural beauty. 

Whether it’s as a vacation home or a permanent residence, having a property with a stunning view of one of Tennessee’s many lakes is quite literally living the dream. Tennessee’s breathtaking environment will leave you awestruck whether you like to relax at the lake’s edge or explore the neighborhood. 

In this article, we will look at seven of Tennessee’s priciest lakes that are ideal for second home purchases. According to statistics from Redfin, the median price of housing in Tennessee in April 2023 was $360,300. While this might seem like a large sum, some of the best Tennessee lake houses are much more expensive. 

Infographic for the 7 Most Expensive Lakes in TN to Buy a 2nd Home.
Beautiful settings and lots of activities draw people to these lakes and to investing in a second home.

In this article, we will explore seven of Tennessee’s pricey lakes that are perfect for second home purchases. So which are the most expensive lakes in Tennessee when buying a second home? Delve deeper to find out the best and most expensive Tennessee lake homes for your investment.

1. Fort Loudon Lake

Most individuals are unable to resist the draw of a lakeside home. If you fall into this category, Fort Loudon Lake offers an opulent setting where you ought to think about investing in a second home. The lake extends over 50 miles of the Tennessee River, offering serene views and a peaceful environment ideal for daily living or vacations.

Fort Loudon Lake boasts some of the most expensive lake homes in Tennessee with a median home price of about $1,767,850. It offers a variety of leisure activities, including kayaking, fishing, hiking, water skiing, swimming, and bird watching. Interestingly birdwatching draws many people to Fort Loudon Lake. Some of the species we can expect to see here are herons, gulls, cormorants, bald eagles among others.

The nearby Great Smoky Mountain National Park location adds to the list of exciting places to visit. That’s beside the alluring backdrop that constantly attracts visitors from many states. Finally, a lake home here will offer a great return on investment when you want to sell.

A view of Fort Loudon Lake, located in Tennessee

Fort Loudon Lake boasts some of the most expensive lake homes in Tennessee.


2. Old Hickory Lake

Old Hickory Lake is located in the Nashville metro area south of Hendersonville. The lake spans 22,500 acres providing a bustling development of palatial lake homes. Although the lake isn’t the cleanest, thanks to sediments, it can’t be called a dirty lake.

The affectionate “Ole Muddy” name does a disservice to the lake which has the cleanest waters of lakes in Tennessee. Ole Muddy has a plethora of recreational opportunities you’re sure to love.

Fishing, boating, paddle boarding, jet skiing, swimming and kayaking are some leisure activities you’ll enjoy here. Several parks also surround the lake, extending the recreational opportunities available much to the delight and benefit of anyone who has a second home on the lake. 

Additionally, full-service marinas add to the outdoor fun possible when you have a second home here. All these recreational activities make lake homes on Old Hickory some of the most sought-after locations with average home prices close to $510,000. 

A view of Old Hickory Lake from the shore, with a dock and several boats.

Old Hickory Lake has numerous recreational opportunities including fishing and boating.


3. Tellico Lake

East Tennessee has several lakes, but Tellico Lake has built the rather pleasant reputation of being the cleanest. A breathtaking Smoky Mountains backdrop isn’t the sole reason a palatial second home on the lake would be splendid.

The lake boasts a wide array of activities, from canoeing to swimming and fishing. Furthermore, the lake area boasts peaceful waterfront views, ideal for someone looking to retire from the tumult of modern-day city life.

The large waterfront estates are suitable if you need something large and lavish for a second home. However, there are also smaller communities that would suit an extroverted person looking for a second home. Tellico Village and the several harbors along the 357-mile shoreline are all excellent options, with the average home price here being close to $529,000.

A view of homes around Tellico Lake, Tennessee.

Tellico Village has several harbors and lots of second homes along its 357-mile shoreline.

© Koellish

4. Kentucky Lake

What’s a Kentucky lake doing on a list of lakes in Tennessee? The fact is Kentucky Lake stretches across two states, Tennessee and Kentucky. With over 2000 miles of shoreline, this is one of the United States’ largest lakes.

Such an expansive shoreline offers ripe opportunities for luxurious properties scattered over 150,000 acres of water. If you dream of an affluent second home on this lake, you are likely to find them in the towns below:

  • Buchanan
  • Sandy
  • Springville

The lake has various attractions, including boating, swimming and kayaking. However, the main attraction is fishing. Catfish, bluegill, crappie and bass are the main fish types available for fishing.

If you’re looking for a lavish getaway lake home for fishing, then don’t ignore the lake homes on Lake Kentucky that have a median home sale price of $400K.

The beautiful recreation lake of Kentucky Lake is a tourist destination in Kentucky

Kentucky Lake has over 2000 miles of shoreline providing numerous options for luxurious properties.

©Norm Lane/

5. Chickamauga Lake

The Chickamauga Lake stretches 800 miles from Watts Bar Dam to the Chickamauga Dam. The long stretch includes ten places with wildlife and many luxurious houses to consider for a second home.

If you’re looking for a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, Chickamauga Lake is the perfect second home. Although nearby urban elements may be visible, it is nevertheless an area where one can still experience solitude and the beauty of nature. 

Water activities form the bulk of leisurely activities on the lake. Swimming, fishing, rides on powerboats and jet skis are all excellent options to unwind. Named after the native word for creek, the lake also features several creeks offering different recreational opportunities. The availability of these activities also adds to the luxury of having a home on Chickamauga Lake.

Homes for sale in this area typically have a list price of $479,000, but the closer to the lake you want to be, the more expensive your property will be.

Map of Chickamauga Lake, Tennessee

Chickamauga Lake stretches 800 miles from Watts Bar Dam to the Chickamauga Dam.

©Tudoran Andrei/

6. Norris Lake

Another expensive lake to buy a second home in is Norris Lake. The lake’s location next to the Cumberland and Smoky Mountains guarantees you some of the best scenic mountain views money can buy.

With an 800-mile shoreline with several marinas and two rivers, you can enjoy many fun activities on the lake. Want a quiet time on your boat as you fish? Norris Lake offers that. What of adrenaline games such as water skiing and swimming? The lake offers that as well.

Additionally, proximity to Marble City, Knoxville, makes it an exquisite vacation destination. Closer proximity to the Knoxville International Airport means you can be in and out of the area in a few hours whenever you need to take care of personal business. That further aids the cause of buying a luxurious home in the area.

Buying a home on Norris Lake guarantees the eternal feeling of always being on vacation. It is also one of the clearest lakes in Tennessee, and you’ll also be spoiled for choice on the lake home to buy. The lake has over 200 lake homes available for sale thanks to the 809-mile shoreline.

The median pricing list for homes on Lake Norris is $562,000, according to Having clean waters perfect for different leisurely activities sure does help drive up the price.

Norris Lake is a reservoir that is located in Anderson, Campbell, Claiborne, Grainger, and Union Counties in Tennessee. The lake was created by the Norris Dam at the Cove Creek Site

You can find a lakeside cottage, a high-end home, or something in between at Norris Lake.

©Stephen P Robinson/

7. Center Hill Lake

According to Lake Homes Realty, boasting about 450 miles of shoreline, Center Hill Lake is a top twenty lake property marketplace. The area has a median lake home property price of $411,000, marking it as one of the places to go for affluent second homes.

What makes Center Hill Lake so appealing to buyers is the proximity to amenities such as the Nashville International Airport. The airport is a paltry 67 miles away. There’s also a lot to see on the lake, with hardwood forests, rocky bluffs and waterfalls that form an attractive sight for visitors and residents alike.

Edgar Evans, the largest state park on the lake, is one of the biggest attractions. It has over ten miles of hiking trails and hosts fun events such as kayaking, wildflower walks and fishing lessons.

Another thing you’ll love about having a second home on Center Hill Lake is the strategic positioning. The lake is close to Chattanooga, Nashville and Knoxville. All those cities have interesting cuisine and culture anyone would love to explore.

One visit to the lake will make you fall in love with it, making you understand why it’s an expensive market for lake homes in Tennessee.

Guntersville Lake in Scottsboro Alabama

Living on a lake is an experience for which many homebuyers are willing to pay top dollar.

©Carl Banks Photography/

Why Buy a Tennessee Lake Home?

The allure of a lake house is undeniable; buying one to use as a second home can be an excellent investment. 

A Feeling of Always Being on Vacation

Water and humans have a natural bond that can be soothing and calming for our mental health. According to studies, being near or in the water might improve how we feel. Wallace J. Nichols, a scientist and author, claims that being close to water can lower stress, enhance mood, and boost our sense of wellbeing. Oceans, lakes, and rivers are vital to our mental health because they may bring calm and joy into our lives.

That explains why most people love vacationing on beaches or places with plenty of water. But what if you could live next to water? That’s what buying a lake home means. Your family life will always feel like one huge vacation. 

That alone explains why waterfront properties are prestigious and sought after by many people. It also explains why they don’t come cheap. In most cases, the money is usually totally worth it.

Lake Homes Have a High ROI

Life and situations change. That’s why the high resale value of a lake home is critical.

Even with a downturn in house sales, selling a waterfront property is relatively easier than a regular one. The return on investment is one of the reasons buying a lake home is an excellent idea.

You can buy an expensive home on the lake, enjoy the serenity and sell it faster than a house deep in a city. Score two for having a lake home in your property portfolio.

Easier Accessibility to Water Sports

If you love water sports, the proximity to water is an obvious benefit of owning a lake home. If you want to live life like you’re on vacation, you’ll also want access to the best water sports possible.

That’s what buying a lake home as a second home gets you. Access to water skiing, fishing, boating, kayaking and other sports living in a busy city wouldn’t afford you.

Most lake homes also include access to recreational places such as wildlife parks. Score three for having a lake house as a second home.


Buying a second home on a Tennessee lake is a great choice for outdoor-loving families.


The Downsides of a Buying Lake Home

Living near a lake may hold many alluring benefits, but there are also some drawbacks that should be taken into consideration before making the investment. Here are three important things to keep in mind before buying a lake home in Tennessee:

Insurance Costs 

Utility expenses are high for a waterfront home, especially the insurance cost. Flood insurance premiums will be expensive since your home is more susceptible to flooding. There’s also a higher risk of injury for occupants of a lake home, further raising insurance fees. Fortunately, private companies could offer you favorable insurance terms for your lake property.

Expensive Maintenance

There are premium costs involved in maintaining a lake home. Unlike a home on dry land, the elements have an easy ride against your lake home. Water, especially when salty, can cause damage to your home’s structure and materials. Wear and tear can be an issue for lakefront homeowners. Natural disasters, storms, and mist can wreak havoc on your home, leaving you spending a good deal of money in repair costs.

Less Privacy

Buying a lake home doesn’t mean you own the lake. The government does. You only own the land next to the lake. Therefore people on boats can come and go as they please. That could be frustrating if you bought a lake home with the idea of getting some privacy.

However, the most expensive lake homes are usually entirely private. So if you want privacy, it might cost you, but will be worth it in the long run.

Cost Of Lake Homes 

Lake homes don’t come cheap. Their proximity to water bodies makes them hotcakes in the property market. Most people want a home next to a waterbody, which drives the price to higher levels.

Homes on Lake Conway

Owning a second home by a lake comes with many challenges, including the upkeep and maintenance required to sustain an enjoyable lifestyle.

©Chris Gent / CC BY-SA 2.0 – License

Expensive Lake Homes In Tennessee Are Worth It

If you’re looking to buy a second home on a Tennessee lake, we trust you’ve found what you need. Tennessee has many lakes, offering the best lake homes money can buy.

With a median price of $360,300, you’ll find no shortage of palatial homes on the over 12 great lakes in Tennessee. Tennessee boasts some of the most stunning lakes and waterways in the United States. It offers a variety of buying options for second homes, ranging from quaint lake cottages to luxury mansions on sprawling waterfront property. 

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat, a family gathering spot, or an investment opportunity in a growing real estate market, Tennessee has something for everyone interested in lakeside living. 

With magnificent views, plenty of lakeside activities, and an abundance of options for second home buyers, this region offers a dream come true for anyone looking to buy a home on one of America’s most beautiful, though expensive, lakes.

Summary of the 7 Most Expensive Lakes in Tennesee to Buy a Second Home

Fort Loudon Lake$767,859Near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Old Hickory Lake$510,000Near Nashville metro area
Tellico Lake$529,000Southwest of Knoxville
Kentucky Lake$400,000In northwest Tennessee and into Kentucky
Chickamauga Lake$479000Northeast of Chattanooga
Norris Lake$562,000North of Knoxville
Center Hill Lake$411,000East of Nashville, one-third of the way to Knoxville

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Chris Gent / CC BY-SA 2.0 – License / Original

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