How to Spend a Weekend in Tennessee's Upper Cumberland Region
Photo Credit: Josh Ness

Things to Do in Upper Cumberland, a Region Near Nashville

Travel the Promised Land Trail for outdoor scenery and great small towns.

If your vacation is based out of Nashville, you're only about 80 miles from Cookeville, a town with fun, outdoor things to do near Nashville like waterfall hikes, caving, local restaurants, boutiques and more. You can travel the Promised Land Trail, one of the 16 Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways, which is full of stops that'll take you to charming town squares, overlooks, historic homes and waterfalls. Explore these things to do near Nashville.

Caney River 

Start your trip off right with a kayaking or canoeing adventure with Canoe the Caney, an outfitter that can supply you with what you need for the ultimate river expedition. Canoes and kayaks are for rent as well as fishing gear so you can reel in one of the hundreds of rainbow trout that swim in the Caney's clear waters. Kid-friendly adventure packages and even a romantic picnic for two, Canoe the Caney provides a variety of options for you to choose your experience. 

Blue Water Grille

Make your way to Blue Water Grille after your river adventure for relaxed southern style cuisine and sunset views on Center Hill Lake at Hurricane Marina. Order a local craft beer, frozen drink or cocktail with your barbecue shrimp and grits, Blue Water burger, fish tacos or catfish platter. With indoor and outdoor seating, you can enjoy lakeside dining however you'd like. 

Overnight at The Saltbox Inn

The Saltbox Inn combines authentic hospitality with southern rustic elegance to provide you the perfect relaxing getaway you've always wanted. The Carriage House Suite has an expansive living area, a wet bar, gas fireplace, pool views with a separate pool patio area and more. The Saltbox Suite has a large master bathroom with a claw foot bath tub, large front porch, living area with a loft and four large sky lights. 

Cane Creek Park

Cookeville's first community-created mountain bike trail at Cane Creek Park is an exciting ride. The 262-acre park boasts a single-track route with jumps, tight turns and more. You can also hike or bike along more than three miles of trails.

Downtown Cookeville

Downtown Cookeville is a quaint town with great food and culture with loads to offer. Check out Poet's Coffee for strong coffee and delicious pastries; World Foods International Market and Delicatessen for some of the best gyros and pizza; Father Tom's Pub for a laid back local atmosphere serving brews, scotch, cocktails and more; and Cream City Ice Cream & Coffee House for milkshakes, ice cream cones and other sweet treats. Do some shopping at local boutiques and shops that line the downtown area. Before you leave, take a few photos in front of several murals decorating buildings.

Bee Rock 

Hike the short trail that leads you to Bee Rock which showcases sweeping views of tree-clad mountains and rugged terrain.  Spend some time in quiet reflection on one of the many boulders you can find at the top, while surrounded by rhododendron, mountain laurel and pine trees.  

Fall Creek Falls State Park

Twenty-thousand acres on the Cumberland Plateau make up Fall Creek Falls State Park. A popular outdoor retreat for many, the area is home to streams, gorges, cascades, lush forests and waterfalls. Fall Creek Falls towers at 256 feet, making it the highest waterfall in the eastern United States. Take a hike to see this wonder and then explore the park to see Piney Falls, Cane Creek Falls and Cane Creek Cascades. Try your swing on the challenging 18-hole golf course. If you want to sleep under the stars, Fall Creek Falls has campsites and 20 fishermen cabins located on Fall Creek Lake along with 10 landside cabins. 

Rock Island State Park

Spend some time in the rugged wilderness found at Rock Island State Park. There are 883 acres of waterfalls, limestone paths and overlooks offering beautiful views. You'll hear the roar of water before seeing it as you hike to Great Falls. The falls rise up to 30 feet, creating a  horseshoe, cascading waterfall. Professional kayakers from around the world come to Rock Island to navigate the challenging whitewater. Boating, fishing and wildlife viewing are other popular activities in the park.

These are just a sampling of the great sites on the Promised Land Trail. Plan your excursion and experience the trail yourself. 

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