Did you know that wherever you are in Tennessee there’s a state park within an hour’s drive?!
I live in Nashville, and I can attest to the fact that it’s true for us.
But the best news is that all 56 Tennessee state parks are FREE!
Most of Tennessee’s state parks used to charge $3 or so per vehicle just to enter the park and enjoy nature at its finest — plus a few cool amenities provided by the state.
Tennessee’s state park system was recently ranked by the National Recreation and Parks Association as one of the top 4 state park systems in the country. Florida was No. 1, and Tennessee was tied with North Carolina and Missouri for second place. Source
Our Favorite Tennessee State Parks
The most visited state park in Tennessee, Fall Creek Falls is a “resort park” that’s known as one of the most spectacular recreation areas in the country! Its waterfalls (the highest waterfalls east of the Rocky Mountains — at 256 feet) are viewable from the main auto route. Plus, there are lots of streams and gorges. It’s the perfect place to spend a day with a camera. And there are lots of fun things to do there too: biking (3-mile paved bike trail, plus 20 miles of mountain biking trails), hiking (50 miles of hiking trails!), boating (pedal boats, canoes and aluminum fishing boats can be rented on-site). The all-u-can-eat buffet at the Gaul’s Gallery Restaurant is to die for! And the view while you’re eating is amazing — because you’re overlooking the scenic Fall Creek Lake.
Tims Ford State Park, located on the Tims Ford Reservoir in the rolling hills of southern middle Tennessee. The 10,700-acre Tims Ford Lake is one of the most picturesque in Tennessee and is regarded as one of the top bass fishing and recreational lakes in the Southeast. There are 5 miles of paved trails for biking, plus the wide open “main road” itself is great for bicycling as well. The cabins are plentiful, yet the atmosphere is quiet and peaceful. It seems there is rarely a crowd at Tim’s Ford Lake. We also like that you can rent pontoon boats here (…and they’ll let you take your dog on board).
We like Paris Landing State Park because of its close proximity to the Land Between The Lakes (170,000 acres of undeveloped, uninhabited land situated on a peninsula with 300 miles of natural shoreline and 420 miles of country roads), Kentucky Lake (184 miles in length, with 2,064 miles of shoreline), and Lake Barkley (134 miles in length with 1,004 miles of shoreline). This is the state park where we choose to camp and swim and go offroading in our Jeep whenever we’re in the area.
Tennessee State Parks offer many recreational opportunities for people across the state. All 56 state parks offer hiking and picnicking as activities, but many also have fishing, boating, biking and camping as well as interpretive programs. There are 6 Tennessee State Parks with inns and conference centers. Many of the parks also have restaurants that can also provide on-site catering. 8 parks feature golf course, 3 of which are signature Jack Nicklaus designed Bear Trace golf courses. Source
Check out Ms. Cheap’s tips for enjoying the beautiful scenery at Tennessee’s state parks.
More Like This…
In addition to the links I’ve included above, here are some other articles we’ve written to help you find fun things to do around Middle Tennessee:
- Camping at Seven Points Campground on Percy Priest Lake
- Best Boating, Kayaking & Canoeing In Nashville
- Horseback Riding Locations In Nashville & Franklin, TN
- Where To Rent Pontoon Boats & Water Toys In Nashville
- Percy Priest Lake’s Swimming Beach + Other Middle Tennessee Beaches
- Our Favorite Dog Parks In Franklin And Nashville, TN
- Visiting Nashville For The First Time? Some Things You Must Do
- 10 Fun Activities To Do With Kids In Nashville
I like to help people find unique ways to do things in order to save time & money — so I write about “outside the box” ideas that most wouldn’t think of. As a lifelong dog owner, I often share my best tips for living with and training dogs. I worked in Higher Ed over 10 years before switching gears to pursue activities that I’m truly passionate about. I’ve worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo — to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).