Local Adventures this Summer
Summer is here! That means vacation days, sunshine, and school break for everyone. What
better way to celebrate than with an exciting outdoor adventure?
Luckily, there are tons of jaw-dropping destinations just a few hours away from Nashville. So
pack your bags, grab a lunch, rent a fun car, and head out to some of these top outdoor
adventure spots to make memories that will last a lifetime.
Radnor Lake State Park
Just south of town is Radnor Lake State Park, a large park perfect for a day trip. The
lake and its surrounding wilderness areas are home to a variety of wildlife, including
deer, otters, and waterfowl.
The park is also a favorite for bird watchers. While on some of the 6 miles of trails,
visitors can spot owls, herons, woodpeckers, and a number of other local species that
call the area home. Visitors can also stop off at the Barbara J. Mapp Aviary Education
Center to meet some of the non-release birds or prey and view the park from a
beautifully positioned walkway.
Cummins Falls State Park
Just over an hour from Nashville on the Blackburn Fork State Scenic River is the
Cummins Falls State Park. The namesake of this park is a favorite swimming hole for
many Tennessee residents, thanks to the shallow pool below a climbable double drop of
The park has more outdoor adventures for those not inclined to dive in. There are a
number of trails that go along the river bed, and the climb into the gorge where the pool
is located is an adventurous experience. Don’t forget to bring your poles and compete to
see who can catch the biggest bass!
Looking for a getaway for just the adults? Take a 25-minute mini-road trip out to Arrington Vineyards, nestled in the rolling hills of central Tennessee.
Known as Tennessee Wine Country, the vineyards contain a winery, a retail shop that sells the
perfect wine pairings, and a tasting lodge for those 21 and up.
Be sure to bring a picnic basket with your blanket, chairs, lunch or dinner for a peaceful
day admiring the scenery from atop the vineyard hills. Sign up to tour and sample local
vintages straight from the source. And during the summer, the vineyard hosts a free
concert series every weekend known as Music in the Vineyards.
Harpeth River State Park
Harpeth River State Park is a narrow park that follows the Harpeth River. The park
itself is full of fascinating sites to see, including natural, historical, and archaeological
areas as well as meadows, grasslands, and bluffs that are open to the public and
accessible by trails.
The river is one of the biggest attractions at the park. It is perfect for kayaking and
canoeing with access points all along the 7 mile float zone. And the fishing is unbeatable
– visitors can catch a variety of local species, including large and smallmouth bass,
bream, crappie, bluegill, channel catfish.
Percy Priest Lake
Just off of Interstate 40 east of the airport is Percy Priest Lake, another excellent option
for a day trip. This 42 mile long lake has a number of recreation areas along its
shoreline, as well as the Long Hunter State Park and a number of islands to explore.
Open year round, the lake has a number of marinas making boating and extreme water
sports a popular pastime. Outside of water transportation, visitors can explore the
nearby trails, ride horses or bikes, cliff jump and swim, and camp at the many
campgrounds. It’s the perfect destination for the whole family.
Bledsoe Creek State Park
Half and hour out of town to the northeast is Bledsoe Creek State Park. This park is one
of the top local camping destinations, with more than 50 campsites and miles of trails to
explore. The whole family could spend a weekend – or even a week – enjoying the
outdoors along the Cumberland River and Old Hickory Lake.
The forest around the park is home to all sorts of wildlife, including birds and deer.
Campers fish for dinner and children can play on the numerous playgrounds. And best
of all, the park is dog friendly. So make sure to bring a camera and snap shots of the
whole family enjoying the lake and the fresh air.
For an adventure a little bit further away, consider driving a couple of hours away to
explore the famous Cumberland Caverns, one of Tennessee’s most popular tourist
destinations. The caverns and passageways cover approximately 32 miles, and offer a
variety of spelunking adventures, including guided tours and even overnight camps!
What’s so fascinating about the caverns? This underground maze is filled with geological
wonders, from stalagmites to stalagtites. Visitors can see the pools and waterfall all
hidden underground during one of the many tours. But the caverns’ main feature is the
Volcano Room, a two story tall concert hall that hosts Cumberland Caverns Live events.
Guest Blogger Lexi Carr