Summertime is coming up, and it’s about time we all figure out our warm weather plan! Tennessee tends to get incredibly hot, humid and muggy during the summertime, even in the midst of heavy mid-season showers. If it gets too hot, don’t hide away in your air-conditioned home! Get outside, fall in love with Tennessee’s waterfront parks and truly experience all the warmer weather has to offer.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
15. Reelfoot Lake State Park - Tiptonville
Reelfoot Lake is the only natural lake in Tennessee, formed during a series of earthquakes in the early 19th century. Nowadays, the 15,000-acre lake shows off a flooded forest of cypress trees that make for an interesting ecosystem and wildly entertaining view. Come for camping, boating, hiking, fishing or birding. Some folks have even seen American bald eagles! Address: 2595 Hwy 21 E, Tiptonville, TN, 38079
14. Cove Lake State Park - Caryville
Located on the eastern edge of Tennessee's Cumberland Plateau, Cove Lake boasts 606 acres of diverse wetlands and woodlands, great for wildlife viewing. Equipped with a myriad of campsites and picnic spots, this is a great park for fishing or outdoor events for the entire family. Address: 110 Cove Lake Lane, Caryville, TN, 37714
13. Paris Landing State Park - Buchanan
Paris Landing State Park is actually located on the widest part of Kentucky Lake, right on the edge of Kentucky and Tennessee. The park is actually most famous for its challenging 18-hole golf course, but it's also a great location for all sorts of watersports like boating, waterskiing, swimming and fishing. Address: 16055 Hwy 79 N, Buchanan, TN, 38222.
12. Norris Dam State Park - Rocky Top
Located on the Norris Reservoir, the park has more than 800 miles of shoreline making it a great spot for fishing and boating. There's a fully equipped marina onsite, as well as campsites and cabins available for reservation. Address: 125 Village Green Circle, Rocky Top, TN, 37769
11. Natchez Trace State Park - Wildersville
As one of the most expansive state parks in the system, Natchez Trace State Park boasts hiking trails from a half mile to a forty-mile overnight trail, some even winding through the forest and along streams and the lakeshore. Come and visit the museum on-site, with the option to reserve campsites, cabins and picnic areas. Address: 24845 Natchez Trace Road, Wildersville, TN, 38388.
10. Rock Island State Park - Rock Island
Rock Island State Park is located at the headwaters of Center Hill Lake, and it clocks in at 883 acres as a whole. Camping and hiking are by far the most popular activities, especially with so many folks excited to see the waterfalls speckled throughout, but you can also go boating on Center Hill Lake close by or swimming, and fishing is also a top option! Address: 82 Beach Road, Rock Island, TN, 38581
9. Fall Creek Falls State Park - Spencer
Known for its expansive waterfalls and incredible, lush and overgrown gorges, Fall Creek Falls State Park is one of the most -visited in the state. Made up of more than 26,000 acres on the acclaimed Cumberland Plateau, the entire park is truly a time capsule of what Tennessee used to be before our contemporary society brought skyscrapers and roadways with it. Don't miss the 256-foot drop of Fall Creek Falls, of course. It's incredible! Address: 2009 Village Camp Road, Spencer, TN, 38585.
8. Radnor Lake State Park - Nashville
Radnor Lake is one of the best-known spots for Nashvillians to go when they get a little tired of the city. Great for birdwatching, hiking and walking, it's a solid spot to get a great view of the water without needing to get IN it. Swimming isn't allowed, but there are canoe floats and wildflower walks hosted throughout the year that offer up great opportunities to explore deeper. Address: 1160 Otter Creek Road, Nashville, TN, 37220
7. Pickwick Landing State Park - Counce
This Hardin County gem is known for its great lake location, perfect for water sports including swimming, boating, and fishing. There's an inn and a restaurant on-site as well as options for cabin reservations and camping. There are even indoor and outdoor pool options for cabin and inn guests! Address: 116 State Park Lane, Counce, TN, 38326
6. Harpeth River State Park - Nashville
Popular for the hiking, canoeing, fishing and kayaking set, Harpeth River State Park provides river access along forty river miles. It's home to historic and archeologically profound areas and all sorts of equipment rental spots that make for a great experience on the water. There's even an expansive wildflower meadow that explodes with color in the late summer! Address: 1640 Cedar Hill Road, Kingston Springs, TN, 37082.
5. Montgomery Bell State Park - Burns
Located in Dickson County, Montgomery Bell State Park was once the heartbeat of Tennessee's iron industry. Nowadays, it's a popular event venue with an on-site restaurant and inn. Rent a campsite or perhaps a cabin, and pitch up along the water's edge for a gorgeous experience in the Tennessee wilderness. Address: 1020 Jackson Hill Road, Burns, TN, 37029
4. Edgar Evins State Park - Silver Point
There are roughly 6,000 acres that make up Edgar Evins State Park, a gorgeous natural hotspot that's located on the shores of Center Hill Lake. It's one of the most popular parks for camping, either in a primitive campsite or cabin, and the on-site marina makes it easy for you to take your boat out on the water. Address: 1630 Edgar Evins State Park Road, Silver Point, TN, 38582
3. Long Hunter State Park - Hermitage
Long Hunter State Park is a go-to spot for Nashvillians, especially since it has two boat launch ramps on J. Percy Priest Lake and offers up plenty of opportunity for fishing and hiking. With more than twenty miles of hiking trails, Long Hunter State Park is fabulous for those looking to explore on foot or take a quick dip. Address: 2910 Hobson Pike, Hermitage, TN, 37076
2. Panther Creek State Park - Morristown
Located in the historic Holston River Valley, beautiful Panther Creek State Park has seventeen different hiking trails that cover over thirty miles of terrain. It's a great place for mountain biking, and if you make your way to Point Lookout Trail at 1,460 feet above sea level then you'll have an incredible view of the Cumberland Mountains and Cherokee Lake. Address: 2010 Panther Creek Park Road, Morristown, TN, 37814
1. Tims Ford State Park - Winchester
Tims Ford Lake is said to be one of the most beautiful in Tennessee, offering up picturesque views and holding the record as one of the top bass fishing lakes in the state. There's a marina, the Lake View Marina, as well as a snack bar, fish-cleaning area and bait shop that makes it easy to get outdoors and stay outdoors all day long. Address: 570 Tims Ford Drive, Winchester, TN, 37398