Nashville isn’t exactly known for its water parks, but we have a really awesome one right here in our own back yard. It’s called Nashville Shores.
I’m originally from Florida, and I am a water park enthusiast.
Some things that I always look for in a water park are: safety, cleanliness, seating, and fun for all ages.
Obviously, safety and cleanliness are the 2 most important, but if you can’t find a place to plop your stuff for the day, the fun factor takes a big hit. It’s also huge when a water park offers something fun for everyone, regardless of age or level of adventure.
Nashville Shores ranks high on all of these features… and more!
The very first thing I look for in a water park is safety.
Right off the bat, I noticed the number of lifeguards on hand at Nashville Shores. I have never seen so many lifeguards at a water park in all my life!
The lifeguards at Nashville Shores are “certified and trained in CPR and first aid” and have been internationally recognized in the past for their commitment to safety. You can see that just by watching them in action. They have a very systematic way of checking their assigned areas. Even at the water slides, the lifeguard at the top was in constant communication with the lifeguard at the bottom. This ensured that only one rider was on the slide at a time, and I’ve got to tell you, that is one important factor in keeping water slides safe.
I was at the park pretty much all day and I did not see one on-duty lifeguard sitting around casually. They were paying close attention all the time. My kids are excellent swimmers, but that doesn’t mean that something can’t go wrong at a water park. I’m very happy with what I saw at this water park. Two thumbs up from this mom!
Clean Inside & Out
My next concern with water parks is cleanliness.
Water quality at water parks is nothing to be trifled with. People can get very sick when the correct standards are not being met… daily. You can rest assured that the water quality at Nashville Shores is checked often throughout the day because water standards are very high for water parks, as required by law.
I saw a person walking around Nashville Shores with a water testing kit. He made my day! There were also employees walking around the park whose sole job was to tidy up the park. And they did a great job!
I never saw any trash sitting around, the bathrooms were clean, and the walking areas were clear of debris. (This park also has beautiful trees.)
I can’t stand a water park that is not clean! Nashville Shores is one of the cleanest I’ve seen.
During a recent unannounced safety visit by the Health Department, Nashville Shores received top honors for its lifeguard teams and emergency plans. It also earned a perfect score for water quality! —WZTV Fox 17
Great Places To Sit
Seating is next on my priority list for water parks.
It’s imperative to have enough seating for all your guests — especially those who just want to relax and lounge around. (Yes, you still have to pay even if you don’t swim.)
One thing Nashville Shores has plenty of is space. It’s a big water park… 385 acres! That leaves lots of room for seating — covered and uncovered — tables, picnic tables and private cabanas (for an additional rental fee).
The most popular place for seating is right around the wave pool because it’s covered. Don’t get discouraged though, if you don’t get a prime seat. Head over to the water slide area. There is plenty of extra seating there.
We arrived right when the park opened and got excellent seats by the wave pool. We kept our beach bag and towels on the chairs to reserve them while we were swimming and put our valuables in a locker (for an additional rental fee).
We did not sit around all day in these chairs. We were on the move, but we did check back often throughout the day. (Our stuff was fine all day long.)
Fun For All Ages
Finally, in my opinion, water parks have got to have something for everyone.
Let’s face it, many people will visit a water park just to be present while their kids run around and do all the fun, adventurous stuff.
In my case, I brought my daughter and her friend so they could hang out in one spot, and I could run around and do all of the adventurous stuff with my boys. She’ll be the first to admit that she’s not crazy about water slides (or roller coasters for that matter), but she loved the wave pool and lazy river.
If we had shelled out the money for Nashville Shores tickets (which are expensive) and there had been nothing for her to do, then this review would be very different. I did my due diligence by researching the park prior to committing the money to buy her a ticket. I knew ahead of time about the wave pool and lazy river; I knew she would love it.
In the end, I felt good about buying her ticket despite the fact that I knew she would not ride any of the adventurous rides. (She did ride one water slide one time – LOL.)
Best Things To Do At Nashville Shores
My boys and I had a blast running (not really running) around this water park!
We did everything — and I mean everything — at least once.
View the complete list of attractions at Nashville Shores to view details of all of the water slides.
Our favorite water slide by far is the Music City Racer.
This is a 6-lane racing slide that is more than a football field in length. It’s a 5-story hike (carrying your raft/mat) to get to the top, and you travel at speeds of up to 35 mph. Oh what fun it is! You do not have to rent a mat for this ride, but you may have to wait to get one. This is a fast-moving ride. We never waited long and we were there on a very busy day.
The park also features 6 different (traditional) water slides. The Tennessee Twisters are 2 fully open water slides.
You do not need a raft (nor can you use one) to ride these 2 tame slides. These end in a pool with lifeguards on hand.
Located on the same platform as the Tennessee Twisters are the Twin Cyclones.
You have to use a raft (single or double) to ride these slides. Most of the time you can use a complimentary raft but you may want to rent one (for an additional fee) because they become scarce. These water slides are partially enclosed and, at the end, each slide has its own landing area (versus ending in the pool). These 2 water slides are fast and fun. For people like me who do not like fully enclosed, pitch dark water slides, these are perfect!
Across the way are the Thunder & Lightning water slides.
These are fully enclosed slides. (They are not pitch black; they have light holes.) And you have to ride with a single rider raft. These slides end in the pool, and you need to jump off quick — or be grabbed by a lifeguard — so you don’t cross the border into the area where the Tennessee Twister folks are landing.
The last water slide is the Big Scream.
This is a half pipe water slide. You are required to ride in a single raft or a double raft. (There are free rafts for this specific water slide, so wait in line for one.) It is a bit intimidating to get up there and see the lifeguard (who operates this slide) in a safety harness tethered to the railing, but it is a necessary precaution because they are situated at a very steep angle. We only rode this once — just to say we did it. It was fun and over very quickly, but the steepness is intimidating. Have no fear though. You need to go on it at least once!
- The Breaker Bay wave pool is fun, and you can enjoy it with a tube or without a tube. We rented 2 tubes and shared them throughout the day. The wave pool is “25,000 square feet and features the patented WaveTek system capable of producing 5 different wave patterns creating rolling waves up to 4 feet.” You’ll hear a large blast warning everyone to prepare themselves for the waves — which start immediately after the blast. The wave pool was awesome because of the different patterns, and the “wait time” between waves was different. Yes, a person could spend hours at this wave pool — just ask my daughter.
- Castaway Creek is the “first lazy river ever constructed in Tennessee.” It is 1,000 feet long and 17 feet wide. You can enjoy the lazy river via raft (highly recommended) or with out a raft (swimming/floating along). If you need or want a relaxing time, this is for you. You can get on your raft, close your eyes, and know you aren’t going far. Plus, there are lots of lifeguards watching you. You may get sprinkled along the way, but hey that’s to be expected at a water park.
- The Wacky Pond is shallow and has a few kiddie things to do, so it’s geared more for youngsters.
- The Suntan Lagoon is deeper and made for swimming. There were adults and kids alike enjoying this pool.
There is also a Lily Pad obstacle course, but that is a strictly enforced area.
If a person falls off the obstacle course (into yet another pool) they must quickly get to the stairs and out of the pool. (It is not for swimming or wading.) I actually got talked to for sitting at the edge of this area with my feet in (while waiting for one of my boys to cross the lily pad). I could sit there, but not with my feet in the water. There’s nothing like getting “that look” from a lifeguard (…who I still appreciated by the way).
Another fun area is called the Bucket Dump.
It’s in a very shallow pool but it’s got this large bucket — high above the pool — that fills up with water and then dumps it out on the waiting guests below. I don’t know how many gallons of water this bucket holds, but it dumps out every 10-15 minutes so it takes awhile to fill. It is fun to watch all the people get purposefully soaked. This can be called the “fun bucket” and truly live up to the name.
Finally, one of my favorite areas (just because I got a chance to sit and relax) is Kowabunga Beach.
This is a massive “water tree house” with lots of spray gadgets on the outskirts of the treehouse. There is a height restriction to go on the tree house, but no restriction to play in the spray gadgets. This area is also surrounded by lots of seating. There were kids of all ages in this area, and they were having a blast!
Beach & Water Toys At Nashville Shores
The Nashville Shores water park is awesome all by itself. However, it comes with a big bonus because it’s built on Percy Priest Lake!
Nashville Shores offers a variety of lake/beach activities and a lot of them are included in the cost of admission to the water park. There are several beach areas for swimming, relaxing, building sandcastles and playing beach volleyball.
Nashville Shores also owns the Shoreliner, a large boat offering 20- to 30-minute cruises around Percy Priest Lake. These boat rides are also included in your ticket price, but if the lake is low the Shoreliner will not be running (which was the case when we were there).
There are also a variety of activities for additional fees that you can partake in:
As if those things were not enough, Nashville Shores also has a Treetop Adventure Park (an “aerial adventure course” with zip lines and such) and an RV Resort and Campground! The RV Resort and Campground offers cabin rentals and water park packages with special pricing. There were lots of people taking advantage of the RV Resort on the day of our visit.
Nashville Shores is the type of water park where I would let my teenager (with friends) hang out for the day. I feel the level of dedication to safety and cleanliness are excellent and that anyone could visit and have a great time — whether relaxing or keeping busy.
Save Money On Nashville Shores Tickets
To get the most bang for our buck, we arrived when the park opened and stayed almost until the park closed. (We left 15 minutes prior to the official closing time.)
I am not one to casually shell out a lot of money for anything these days, so I did some research to get the best possible ticket price for the day of our visit.
Here is what I found:
- It is less expensive to buy your tickets online (print them yourself) than to buy them at the park.
- If you know you will be visiting this park often, then buy a season pass.
- Check the “special events” at Nashville Shores . There may be something unique going on that can help you save money on your visit.
- If you have a friend with a season pass, ask if they are using their 1/2-price coupons. Each season pass comes with coupons, and many times they go unused by the pass holders themselves. So, it never hurts to ask.
- Check online for a Nashville Shores promo code or Nashville Shores coupons to save money when you buy tickets.
- Keep your eyes open for Nashville Shores discounts at local stores and restaurants.
Must read: Mrs. Cheap’s guide for making the most of a Nashville Shores season pass!
Good To Know Before You Go
Here are a few things that will make your visit to Nashville Shores even more enjoyable:
- Check the Nashville Shores hours of operation first. This water park is not open year round.
- Parking is $9.
- Each person can bring one (1) 20-ounce bottle of water (unopened) into the park. No other outside food or drink is allowed.
- The park sells a large variety of food and drinks on site.
- To save money on food, we packed a picnic lunch (kept in a cooler in our car), got our hands stamped (if you leave for any reason, get a hand stamp), ate at our car, then re-entered the park.
- If you rent a raft or locker, don’t forget to return them and get your deposit back.
- I did a lot of walking and the bottom of my feet hurt bad. Water shoes are permitted attire. (Next time, I’m wearing them!)
- First Aid is on site and readily available if you need so much as a bandaid. (We needed one, and we got it quickly.)
- Life jackets are provided free for anyone who needs them. (No outside flotation devices are allowed.)
- Check the Nashville Shores FAQ. It is packed with useful information — like rain policy, height restriction for rides etc.
- Here is a helpful map of Nashville Shores.
Some things I wish Nashville Shores had on their website:
- History of the water park along with photos — so we can see progression through the years. I mean, they have the first lazy river ever built in Tennessee. That‘s big!
- A tab on the site just for Nashville Shores info (and then subset into water park versus lake activities). It gets confusing when you have a ton of information all lumped together under “Park Info”.