Tennessee is the perfect place to experience the thrill of water skiing. With its vast lakes, warm weather, and stunning scenery, it’s no wonder that water skiing is a popular activity in the state. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about water skiing in Tennessee. From where to go and what to expect to tips and tricks that will help make your experience unforgettable. We’ll also provide insights into other states where you can enjoy water skiing if you plan a trip outside Tennessee. So get ready to hit the waves and make some memories!

Where Can One Water Ski in Tennessee?

Tennessee offers several destinations for water skiing enthusiasts, with lakes and facilities that cater to this popular water sport. Here are some notable water skiing destinations in Tennessee:

  • Norris Lake: In northeastern Tennessee, Norris Lake is a large reservoir known for its clear waters and beautiful surroundings. Marinas and rental facilities around the lake offers water skiing equipment and boat rentals, making it a popular destination for water skiing.
  • Center Hill Lake: Situated in central Tennessee, Center Hill Lake is another popular destination for water skiing. It offers over 400 miles of shoreline and numerous coves, providing ample space for water skiing enthusiasts. You can find marinas and rental services that provide water skiing equipment and boats for a thrilling experience on the lake.
  • Douglas Lake: Douglas Lake, located near the Great Smoky Mountains in eastern Tennessee, is a scenic reservoir that attracts water sports enthusiasts. It offers plenty of open water areas for water skiing and has marinas and rental services to find water skiing facilities and equipment.
  • Kentucky Lake: Although Kentucky Lake extends into Kentucky, a significant portion lies in Tennessee. This massive reservoir is renowned for its water sports opportunities, including water skiing. The lake has marinas and resorts that provide visitors with water skiing facilities and equipment.
  • Percy Priest Lake: Situated near Nashville, Percy Priest Lake offers a convenient water skiing destination for locals and visitors. It has several marinas and rental facilities that cater to water skiing enthusiasts, providing boat rentals and equipment for a fun-filled water skiing experience.

When visiting these destinations, you should check with local marinas and rental services in advance to ensure they offer water skiing facilities and equipment. Additionally, be mindful of specific rules and regulations governing water skiing in each location for a safe and enjoyable experience.

Things to Keep in Mind Before Going Water Skiing

Before going water skiing, there are several important things to remember to ensure your safety and maximize your enjoyment. Here are some key considerations:

  1. Learn from a professional: If you’re new to water skiing, taking lessons from a certified instructor is highly recommended. They can teach you the proper techniques and safety guidelines and help you get started on the right foot.
  2. Check the weather conditions: Before heading out, check the weather forecast. Avoid water skiing during storms, high winds, or severe weather conditions, as they pose significant risks. Opt for clear skies and calm waters for a safer experience.
  3. Wear appropriate safety gear: Always wear a properly fitting life jacket or personal flotation device (PFD) when water skiing. Ensure it is approved by relevant safety authorities and designed specifically for water sports. Additionally, consider wearing a wetsuit or rash guard to protect your skin and provide insulation in cooler waters.
  4. Know the boating rules and signals: Familiarize yourself with the local boating regulations and adhere to them. Understand the hand signals commonly used by the boat driver to communicate instructions to you while you’re skiing.
  5. Communicate with the boat driver: Establish clear communication signals with the boat driver before you start skiing. Agree on hand signals or radio communication methods to convey your readiness to start, speed adjustments, or if you need to stop.
  6. Inspect equipment and gear: Before hitting the water, inspect your water skis, bindings, ropes, and handles for any damage or wear. Ensure that they are in good condition and functioning properly. Faulty equipment can lead to accidents, so it’s crucial to address any issues before skiing.
  7. Warm-up and stretch: Engage in some light warm-up exercises and stretches to prepare your muscles for the physical demands of water skiing. Pay attention to your arms, legs, and core, as they are heavily engaged during skiing.
  8. Start with a shallow learning area: If you’re a beginner or haven’t water skied in a while, start in a shallow area where you can stand if needed. This allows you to practice getting up and finding balance before moving to deeper waters.
  9. Be mindful of other water users: When water skiing, be aware of your surroundings and other boats, the boat’s wake, swimmers, or objects in the water. Maintain a safe distance from them to prevent accidents or collisions.
  10. Stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun: Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated while out on the water. Apply sunscreen before skiing and reapply as needed to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.

Where to Go if You Want to Try Water Skiing in Other States?

If you want to try water skiing in other states, several popular destinations are known for their water sports activities. Here are some options across the United States:

  • Florida: Florida is often called the “Water Sports Capital of the World” due to its numerous lakes, rivers, and coastal areas. Key locations for water skiing include Orlando, Miami, Tampa, and the Florida Keys.
  • California: With its vast coastline and abundance of lakes, California offers many opportunities for water skiing. Popular destinations include Lake Tahoe, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the Colorado River, and various lakes in Southern California.
  • Texas: Texas is home to many lakes and rivers, making it an excellent place for water skiing. Locations such as Lake Travis, Lake Austin, and Lake Conroe are popular choices for water skiing enthusiasts.
  • Michigan: Known as the “Great Lakes State,” Michigan offers numerous water skiing opportunities. The Great Lakes, including Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, and Lake Erie, provide vast waters for water skiing, while inland lakes, such as Torch Lake and Higgins Lake, are also popular.
  • Wisconsin: With its abundance of lakes, Wisconsin is a haven for water sports enthusiasts. Areas like the Wisconsin Dells, Lake Geneva, and the Chain O’ Lakes offer excellent opportunities for water skiing.
  • Arizona: Arizona may be known for its desert landscapes, but it also has several lakes and reservoirs ideal for water skiing. Lake Havasu, Lake Powell, and Lake Pleasant are popular destinations for water skiing in the state.
  • Minnesota: Minnesota is the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” and offers countless opportunities for water skiing. The Twin Cities area, particularly Lake Minnetonka, is a popular spot, along with other lakes such as Gull Lake, Mille Lacs Lake, and Leech Lake.


Whether you are a beginner or an experienced water skier, Tennessee has plenty of options for you to choose from. With its numerous lakes and rivers, Tennessee offers some of the best water skiing experiences in the country. Before you hit the water, it is important to keep in mind certain safety rules and guidelines. If you are also looking to try out water skiing in other states, many great destinations across the US offer fantastic water skiing opportunities. So pack your bags and prepare for an unforgettable adventure on the water! For more information on where to go and what to remember before water skiing in Tennessee, check out Outdoor Troop’ website for more articles.