Best Outdoor Activities in Middle Tennessee

With all the warm weather, it’s time to get outside and enjoy! Tennessee has so many amazing outdoor attractions from historical sites to parts to lakes and rivers. The choices can definitely be overwhelming so, we’ve included some of our favorites here for you! We hope you have a great summer!


Cheekwood Estate and Gardens

1200 Forrest Park Drive
Nashville, 37205 

Cheekwood Estate boasts 55 acres of carefully tended gardens, a sculpture and art trail through the woods, and outdoor spaces designed just for children. The impeccably restored 1930s mansion is now an art museum, so be sure to head inside for a tour if you want to escape the heat for a while.

Cheekwood is among Nashville’s crowning cultural attractions. Visit in the spring to see 150,000 bulbs in bloom, in the summer to enjoy Hoppy Hour’s rabbits in the sunset while you sample local food trucks, in the fall to soak in the changing colors, and close out the year under one million twinkling holiday lights when winter arrives.

We recommend touching base with Cheekwood Estate ahead of your visit to make sure you’ll be able to see the attractions that most appeal to you; occasionally exhibits and portions of the gardens are closed.

Visit https://cheekwood.org/visit/buy-tickets/ to price your visit and purchase tickets in advance of your trip.


Centennial Park

2500 West End Ave
Nashville, 37203

In Nashville’s West End, residents and visitors who are seeking respite from the city can escape to Centennial Park, a lush, verdant oasis sprawling over 132 acres. Visit the sunken garden if you’re in a contemplative mood, visit the ducks at man-made Lake Watauga, or have fun with your pooch at Centennial Park’s large dog park. Children will be delighted with the large play area; be sure to check the schedule for children’s theater in the band shell!

One of Nashville’s most famous cultural landmarks is Centennial Park’s Parthenon, which is a full-scale replica of the temple built by the ancient Greeks. An ode to the greatest classical architectural achievement, Nashville’s Parthenon now houses an art museum and displays 63 works by artists from the 19th and 20th centuries.


Nashville Farmers Market

900 Rosa L Parks Boulevard
Nashville, 37208

Nashville is famous for its farms, farmers, produce, food artisans, and talented restauranteurs, so a visit to the renowned 12-acre Nashville Farmers Market will place you in food paradise. Here you’ll find produce, honey and jams, meats, cheeses, and baked goods. Additionally, you can visit shop owners, flea merchants, take classes, join in workshops, see live cooking demonstrations, and patronize local crafters and builders. The Nashville Farmers Market is open year-round from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Not every vendor keeps the same hours, however, so if there’s a certain shop you know you want to visit, you may want to check their hours directly before planning your trip.

The peak season for Tennessee’s produce begins in June and lasts to November. Bring your bags and enjoy taking a stroll as you shop for beautiful, local, sustainable farm goods.


Warner Parks

Warner Parks Nature Center
7311 Highway 100
Nashville, 37221

Warner Parks is the collective name for Edwin and Percy Warner Parks, one of the largest park areas in Tennessee. The parks encompass more than 3,100 acres of lush fields and thick forests. Warner Parks welcomes nearly one million people annually and considering the amenities the park offers, it’s little wonder. Visitors can explore the Nature Center and dog park, have picnics at one of the picnic shelters, visit the equestrian center and ride out on the horse trails, play golf, run on any one of the cross-country training courses, or play on the athletic fields.

Warner Parks are only 9 miles outside of downtown Nashville and are open from dawn until 11 p.m. The parks are beautiful year-round, but in the fall the trees burst into a riot of colors that should not be missed.


Paddle Up Nashville

525 Basswood Ave
Nashville, 37209

(615) 571-0708

If you are the outdoorsy type, you’ve probably either already learned to use a Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP) or you’re eager to try your hand at it. Paddle Up Nashville offers one-on-one lessons and group paddle expeditions. They are located right at Rock Harbor Marine, making Paddle Up the only Middle Tennessee paddle board company located right on the water. You MUST BE ABLE TO SWIM to participate.


Radnor Lake State Park

1160 Otter Creek Rd
Nashville, 37220

Radnor Lake State Park is the single largest wilderness area in the United States that lies so close to a major city. 1,332 acres have been untouched; rarely has such wild splendor survived development of a metropolis on its doorstep, making this state park unique. Visitors can hike nature trails, observing and photographing diverse wildlife; owls, waterfowl, mink, otter, reptiles, amphibians, ferns, fungi, mosses, vines, shrubs, trees, and hundreds of varietals of wildflowers all thrive within the park.

Pets are welcome on the Otter Creek Road trail only and must share the road with joggers and cyclists. All-terrain wheelchair users can explore the Lake Trail.

Radnor Lake State Park is open during daylight hours.

Rangers lead expeditions throughout the year, including canoeing, wildflower walks, nature hikes, and astronomy education night-time hikes.


Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park

600 James Robertson Pkwy
Nashville, 37243

This 19-acre park is nestled next to the Capitol right in downtown Nashville. A meandering walking path beckons visitors to explore facts and themes of Tennessee’s rich history as they take in stunning architecture and memorials. Visit the Rivers of Tennessee Fountains, see a 200-foot granite map of the state, and explore the garden planters showcasing native plants from growing regions all over the state. Visitors to Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park are encouraged to pick up a park map to inform their self-guided park tour.

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