When you travel to Tennessee's cities, you'll want to fill your itinerary with iconic attractions, night life and restaurants. Take some time to explore city parks, too, as they're filled with hiking and biking trails, beautiful views and some even have art and a carousel. Here are some parks you'll want to visit in your favorite Tennessee city.
Get a true taste of Memphis life at Overton Park, conveniently located near culture, nature and community. Memphis Zoo, the iconic Overton Park Shell and Memphis Brooks Museum of Art are all close by for you to explore after your time in nature. The park offers 342 acres with paved, limestone and forest trails snaking around and through the Old Forest State Natural Area. Enjoy the formal gardens and art sprinkled throughout the space. Overton Park also has a fun dog park named Overton Bark. Coming Fall 2021, The Links at Overton Park will reopen featuring a preserved course with cosmetic improvements, ideal for beginners and advanced golfers alike. This summer, 10 minutes from Overton Park will be the weekly Get Loud! Concert Series at Handy Park Beale Street, featuring performances by St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Paul Thorn, Marc Broussard, and many more now through Aug. 12.
Centennial Park - Jackson
The 9-acre Centennial Park in Jackson is a kid's paradise. Here, you'll find a walking trail, playground and splash pad. Play catch at the two ball fields. You can use curbside pickup at local restaurants like The Blacksmith Restaurant, Brooks Shaw's Old Country Store and Back Yard Bar-Be-Cue and utilize one of the two picnic pavilions found at Centennial.
Edwin and Percy Warner Parks are one of the largest parks in Tennessee and are more than 3,100 acres of forest. They’re located just 9 miles from downtown Nashville. Within both parks, you’ll find mountain bike trails, hiking trails, a dog park and overlooks. Before heading to the park, pick up a lunch from Prince’s Hot Chicken, Slim & Husky’s or Peg Leg Porker to name a few and enjoy while taking in the views at one of the picnic shelters sprinkled throughout both parks. For pet owners, dogs are welcome throughout Warner Parks (with the exception of the Burch Reserve) as long as they are leashed.
In Clarksville, go to Liberty Park for a day full of activities. You can fish the 10-acre pond or utilize the 4-lane boat ramp that leads into the Cumberland River. Take your furry friend to the dog park and your kids to the playground. Walk the 1.8 miles of trails. See the Pat Head Summitt statue and learn more about the winningest coach in history through an interpretive display at Freedom Point in Liberty Park.
The Gateway Island in Murfreesboro is a great place to take pictures. Stretch your legs on the Gateway Island Trail - part of the extensive Murfreesboro Greenway system. Stop by one of the city's beloved restaurants like The Alley on Main, Buster's Place and The Goat Murfreesboro to pick up a meal. Spread a blanket at the park and enjoy views of the lake and cascading waterfalls..
Grab takeout from Chattanooga favorites Taco Mamacita, Basecamp Bar and Restaurant and sweet treats from Clumpies Ice Cream Co., head to Coolidge Park and spread a blanket to take in the beautiful views of the Tennessee River. Stretch your legs either walking or going for a run on one of the world’s largest pedestrian bridges, Walnut Street Bridge and on the Tennessee Riverwalk, a 13-mile public greenway along the Tennessee River. Let the kids choose their favorite whimsical animal and go for a ride on the 100-year-old restored antique carousel. Finally, mark your calendar for Sept. 11-12, 2021 for Moon River Fest with Wilco, Lord Huron, Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors, Old Crow Medicine Show and much more.
Knoxville locals thrive on outdoor activity as the city is close to a myriad of state parks and natural areas, hiking and biking trails, rock climbing and more. The city is located along the Tennessee River, so SUP yoga, paddle boarding and kayaking are popular as well. You can enjoy water sports in addition to biking and fishing as well at Volunteer Landing, a riverfront park that boasts beautiful views of the Tennessee River. Navigate the Neyland Greenway and the James White Greenway (both greenways welcome leashed dogs) which connects to Volunteer Landing on bicycle or on foot walking or running. Kids will love the swings and seasonal splash pads. Make your way to Volunteer Landing during a UT football game and you’ll see The Vol Navy line the river with boats decked out in orange, cheering the home team.
Blend an outdoor stroll with local art when you visit Founders Park in Johnson City. Admire the sculptures (and take pictures) that sprinkle this park, placed by the Public Arts Committee. You may even hear musicians playing their instruments in the open air pavilion. Spread a blanket or enjoy the five-acre water greenway (leashed dogs are welcomed as well). At night, you can see the 150 color changing LED Passion Flowers in nearby King Commons. When there’s a breeze, the petals flutter and slightly rotate. Have a picnic with local food from White Duck Taco Shop, Main Street Pizza Company, Southern Craft BBQ and more.
Though only a half acre, Kingsport’s Carousel Park is a treasure in the city. The crown jewel is the Kingsport Carousel which has 32 hand-carved animals and tow chariots. The city’s history is highlighted in painted scenes on the 24 rounding boards. The carousel is open year round, Wednesdays-Sundays. Kids will love the adaptive playground for ages 6-12 featuring a rubberized surface, tunnel, spinner, climbing net, musical equipment and a fort structure.
Steele Creek Park in Bristol is an expansive 2,200-acre park which has plenty to fill your day with sunshine and outdoor fun. An 18-hole disc golf course, 20 picnic tables throughout the park, the 52-acre Steele Creek Lake with seasonal paddle boat rentals nearby (available mid-May to mid-September), hiking trails, horse shoe pit, a multi-use field with soccer goals, splash pad, bike trails, idyllic photo locations, playgrounds and so much more can be found at Steele Creek Park. It’s also home to a nature center which houses 5,000 square feet of educational space with exhibits on the natural history of the Southern Appalachians. Guided hikes and educational public programs are offered year-round.
Want to soak up even more sunshine? Check out additional parks located statewide in Tennessee.