Nature April 08, 2021
A Nature Lovers Definitive Guide To Tennessee’s Natural Beauty – Parks, Beaches, Hikes And More!
Tennessee is a favorite destination for families and adventure seekers of all types. Of course, you could always visit the popular tourist attractions like Memphis, Chattanooga, Gatlinburg, and Nashville, but Tennessee has a lot to offer those who like something a little more off the beaten path, too. It is a land filled with beautiful mountains, waterfalls, caves, and rivers that are made for the outdoor enthusiast. This natural wonderland is the backdrop for many of the more well-known destinations and many of them are close by. If you want to take a break from the crowds and experience something a little more remote, here are a few of our favorite places.
The Best Little Known Park in Tennessee
One of the most secluded and best hidden gems of Tennessee is Big Hill Pond State Park. You might not have ever heard of it, but it has a few things that make it a fun family destination. It is one of few state parks where you can hike, paddle, or explore on horseback or mountain bike. The park is surrounded by Cypress Creek and the Tuscumbia River. The waters are calm and perfect for canoeing, kayaking, and paddle boating. It features seven glorious hiking trails, one of which leads to a 70-foot observation tower for a panoramic view that you will not want to miss.
Big Hill Pond State Park is one that you will want to include in your Tennessee vacation plans.
The Most Pristine Beach in Tennessee
If you are looking for a secluded swimming hole, locals know of the perfect place just about an hour and a half northeast of Knoxville. Watauga Lake is in the hills of Cherokee National Forest and is one of the most pristine spots you can visit. It is known for gorgeous scenery and the Appalachian Trail passes by it. It has several public swimming areas where you can enjoy some of the cleanest water in the state. The beach sand is clean and soft between your toes.
Watauga Lake is an excellent place to enjoy the peace and quiet, so be sure to include it on your trip itinerary.
The Most Jaw Dropping Lake in Tennessee
Norris Lake is one of many lakes that came about when the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) constructed a series of dams and flood-control methods beginning in 1933. This lake is actually a reservoir and it is known for its clean, clear water. The lake has 800 miles of shoreline and a maximum depth of 210 feet. It is a popular spot for catching walleye, black bass, striped bass, and sunfish. You will also find plenty of trails and natural areas around the lake. Be sure to book a stay at one of the rustic cabins at Norris Dam State Park so that
you are close to the activities at Norris Lake
The Most Beautiful Island in Tennessee
Dale Hollow is one of Tennessee's best-kept secrets. It is a reservoir that sits on the border of Tennessee and Kentucky. This 27,700-acre lake is a popular destination for those who love water sports like jet skiing, scuba diving, swimming, and fishing. The water is so clear that the brilliant sunsets reflect across the water for a spectacular effect. Geiger Island allows you to enjoy primitive camping right in the middle of all this natural beauty, including a large population of nesting bald eagles.
Geiger Island at Dale Hollow Lake is an experience that should be on your bucket list before summer's end.
The Best Trail to Hike in Tennessee
The rushing cascade at Burgess Falls is stunning any time of the year. This natural wonder is located on Falling Waters River. The water cascades 136-feet over gorgeous limestone rock formations. You can hike to the waterfront by trail. This trail is considered challenging and you cannot get there by bike or horseback. The park has four waterfalls to enjoy but Burgess Falls is the most popular because of the underlying rock formation and the way the water cascades over it. The Falls are within an hour of the Cumberland Caverns cave, which is another natural wonder that you must see.
Plan your trip to Burgess Falls when the spring wildflowers are in bloom or during fall foliage season for the most breathtaking view.
The Most Beautiful River in Tennessee
There is a lot of competition for the most beautiful river in Tennessee. Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area is one that we think is at the top of the list. This recreation area is located on the Cumberland Plateau and is in a region that is famous for its natural bridges. The Big South Fork is known for its spectacular beauty as it winds its way through the river gorges with gorgeous cascades and pools. The river is secluded and pristine. It is also a popular area for bird watching during migration season and for its trails. You can find many camping opportunities with a gorgeous view of the stars far from the city lights. The river has a few rapids and several stables that offer horseback experiences near Big South Fork National Park. The Big South Fork is an area that you will want to explore for more than a day,
so book a week so you can take in as much of the natural beauty as possible.
The Most Scenic Mountain in Tennessee
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most-visited areas in the country. As many people flock here every year for sights such as the Grand Canyon. The natural beauty of the pristine woods is unmatched any time of the year. This mountain range is one of the oldest in the world and you can find trails for all skill levels. While you are here, you will want to check out the view from Clingmans Dome which is 6,643 feet above sea level. The view of the larger, more distant mountains and smaller mountains is one you will not forget, so be sure to bring your camera. This view will take you above the clouds. You can drive most of the way to the top and, if you are up to it, a short and steep hike will bring you to an observation tower with a gorgeous view.
Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains should be at the top of your bucket list in the near future.
The Most Unique Garden in Tennessee
The Memphis Botanic Garden is one of the most famous in Tennessee. It is known for its artistic and creative botanical displays. It is also known for its children's programs and community events. Regardless of your age, there is something here for everyone. The garden is made of 31 small specialty gardens that feature many kinds of flowers. Everything from the beautiful spring cherry blossoms to the annual Christmas lights display is something to see. It features creative and fascinating sculptures throughout and you can even purchase plants to add to your own garden.
Memphis Botanic Garden is a destination that you must plan to see.
Over 230,000 guests every year can’t be wrong!