Tennessee turns into a veritable wonderland during the summer months. Once the cold bleeds away, you have a whole lot of beautiful natural vistas perfect for hiking and celebrating, and restaurants for enjoying meals on a patio. Because summer budgets can be tight, we’ve found 11 things you can do completely free. Yes – you’re oh so very welcome.
11. Visit a local crafts fair.
There are quite a few scattered across the state, and the next Nashville Fair will be held from May 5th to the 7th. It's a fun way to explore local makers and truly invest in Tennessee's state economy - support the independent artist!
10. Hike up to Clingman's Dome.
Clingman's Dome is open year 'round, but you may want to think twice about the half mile hike to the top - it's extremely steep, and although the 6,643 peak is magnificent you should VERY careful.
9. Take a quick drive down Newfound Gap Road.
The well-known scenic route hops back and forth over the Tennessee and North Carolina border, and the mountain pass has proven to be one of the most traversed and beautiful drives in the state.
7. Find a local park and have a picnic.
This is a given - but it's such a winner! Picnics have stayed around for a reason, folks - they're fabulous. We'd recommend Shelby Farms in Memphis if you're on the west side of the state, and World's Fair Park in Knoxville if you're all the way on the other end of Tennessee.
7. Drive the eleven miles through Cades Cove.
Ah, yes - the beautiful Cades Cove. As one of the most commonly visited places in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, the isolated valley has come a long way since it served as home to a group of Tennessee's earliest settlers.
6. Snag a picnic lunch and head to the Natchez Trace.
Again with the picnic - yes! Because a drive down the Natchez Trace will give you multiple opportunities to get out and stretch your legs, plus quite a few spots that are great for a quick lunch.
5. Take a trip to Gatlinburg!
It's a popular spot for Tennesseans and out-of-state folk alike because of its massive opportunity. Wander through downtown or take a hike, find a cabin or visit for the day. It's a land of oh so many possibilities!
4. Visit the gorgeous Nashville Public Library.
The downtown Nashville Public Library is one of the most beautiful buildings downtown, both inside and out. It is home to the lecture halls for the Southern Writers Conference in the fall, and there are even Saturday shows perfect for your littles.
3. Browse the ever iconic Beale Street.
Ah, yes - a walk down Beale. You'll feel inspired to put on your blue suede shoes and wax poetic once you make your way home. A walk down the iconic street is ever so free, so walk to your hearts content!
2. Take a spin on the Greenline.
The Shelby Farms Greenline in Memphis is located in Shelby Farms Park, roughly 4,500 acres of land perfect for recreational activities.
1. Take a dip in Douglas Lake.
Douglas Lake has long been known as one of the prettiest lakes in the state, whether or not it's man-made really doesn't mean much if you're headed out for the day. Right? Right.