there is a city park in downtown elizabethon that sits right along the watauga. i can't remember the exact road names, but if you're driving through downtown where the road splits (right to historic downtown left to the food city and hwy 19 jct), stay left and then turn on about any of the left hand roads and make your way in the general left direction till you hit the river. an easier way i just remembered is to go by the minor leauge baseball stadium. as you're coming up 321 go about 1/4 mile past walmart and look for the 'traveler's inn' hotel, then turn left at that road, it will take you down the the baseball field. take a right at the road the fields on the city park is just one block to your left off that road.
another access point on the other side of the river is a little tougher to explain if you dont know the roads well, but here goes:
as you're coming into elizabethon from johnson city on hwy 321 go through the first red light (jct with milligan hwy) go down the hill (past the little league fields off to your left and the golf course to your right) to the next light and take a left. then take your next right beside a small car lot and that road runs along the watauga and there are a few pull offs and a boat ramp. this road basically runs opposite sycamore shoals until it turns left into the hills.
and then you've always got sycamore shoals which is easy to find.
sorry my directions are a little shaky, i just lived there for one school year. there's some more access headed towards unaka but i wont even try to explain that since i've only been that way once or twice.
"I've got to stop wishin, I've got to go fishin"