COVID-19 UPDATES: Keeping Visitors Healthy

Learn more about Covid-19 Closures at Tennessee State Parks

Keeping Visitors Healthy

2021 Trip Planning Information

All Tennessee State Parks, and most park facilities, are open. Some operations may have occupancy and usage limits. Signage throughout the parks will encourage physical distancing and responsible recreation.

Parks or areas of parks could be closed when the capacity is reached. Check out the Alerts page for the most up-to-date information. 


Contents

  1. Overnight Accommodations
    • Cabins & Camping
    • Lodges
    • Group Facilities
  2. Safety Tips for Visitors
    1. Travel Planning FAQs
    2. Covid-19 Park Visitor Safety Info
    3. General Visitor Safety Info
  3. Other Park Facilities
    1. Boat Rental Operations
    2. Golf Courses
    3. Outdoor Grilling Areas
    4. Restaurants
    5. Swimming Pools
  4. Events Hosted at TN State Parks
    1. Indoor Events
    2. Outdoor Events
  5. Resources

Overnight Accommodations

Cabins & Camping

Cabins, campsites, and campgrounds are open. Online reservations are available. Reservations are also accepted over the phone by calling the particular park you wish to visit. Normal cancellation policies apply to upcoming reservations. 

The CDC recommends physical distancing from people outside your traveling party.

Lodges (Hotels)

Tennessee State Parks operates several hotel properties across the state. The Lodges at Tennessee State Parks staff are working to ensure overnight Lodge guests have a safe and pleasant experience. We have made a few changes to our processes to make this possible during your stay:

  • Room Cleaning Procedures. In accordance with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and State of Tennessee COVID-19 Guidelines, Policies, and Procedures, we will not be servicing lodge rooms as we traditionally did pre-COVID. Until given further guidance and to ensure your safety and the safety of our staff, we cannot service your room during your stay. However, we will continue to offer the quality service you deserve by providing the traditional amenities that you have come to expect from our Lodge. These include replacement towels, coffee, and other amenities. To receive these amenities, simply call or visit the front desk between the hours of 9 am-4 pm or ask one of our staff members when you see them. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding.
  • Lobbies and common spaces. We encourage physical distancing in high traffic areas including lobbies, foyers, gift shops, restaurants, etc.  We encourage you to wash your hands frequently, especially after coming in contact with frequently touched surfaces.
  • Dining services. Our restaurants may have adjusted hours and service offerings during your visit. This may include limiting service to takeout only.
  • Safe outdoor recreation. We have developed general recommendations for all Tennessee State Parks visitors to help control the spread of COVID-19. We ask that you read our Keeping Visitors Healthy information to prepare for a safe and enjoyable visit.

Group Facility Rentals

Group facilities are available for rent, provided that groups adhere to current CDC guidelines and Tennessee State Parks requirements for events during COVID-19. Details about these requirements are available on the COVID-19 Event Planning page.  

Safety Tips for Visitors

Travel Planning & COVID-19

Wondering how to plan a safe trip to a Tennessee State Park during COVID-19? Here are the tips, FAQs, and links to help you plan. This page includes information like

  • Links to pages explaining state and major city responses to COVID-19
  • Rules pertaining to pets, discounts, reservations, etc.  

Covid-19 Response Tips for Safe Travel

Tennessee State Parks have implemented policies designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and will monitor all aspects of the issue to ensure continued safety. Staff urges the public to help keep state parks open by doing their part to stay apart, by maintaining proper social distancing, and practicing personal hygiene. The CDC has recommendations for those looking to visit public lands.

Here are some specific things you need to know as you plan your visits: 

  • Don’t visit if you’re sick or were recently exposed to someone with COVID-19.
  • Give people space.
    • Appropriate space on trails and at gathering areas fosters a pleasant outdoor experience for all visitors.

  • Don’t travel long distances to visit state parks.
    • Look for parks that are a short drive from your house. 

    • If you are considering an overnight trip, we encourage you to stay local if possible.
  • Don’t visit crowded areas.
    • If parks are full, consider coming back at a different time.

    • Consider coming earlier in the day to allow for plenty of time if an area is full and you need to adjust your plans. Tennessee State Parks may limit access to certain parks or areas if capacity is reached.

  • Only park in designated areas.
    • Please do not park along the shoulders of roads. If a parking area is full, please adjust your plans and find another area to visit. 

  • Follow all park rules and regulations. 
    • You can find Tennessee State Park rules and regulations here.

    • Please stay on the trail and do not enter areas that are closed or restricted. 

  • Face coverings are optional in state buildings.
    • Face coverings are optional and are no longer required for visitors and employees entering state buildings with limited exceptions or to participate in a program.
    • In some pre-determined functions or locations, face coverings may be required.

    • During periods of prolonged close proximity, physical distancing should be considered.
  • Plan ahead.
    • Understand if a park or area of the park you plan to visit is open or closed. Specific details about any closures is available on the COVID-19 Closures page.

    • Bring everything you will need to have a safe and enjoyable day in the park. 

  • Pack out your trash.
    • When it’s time to leave, please clean up after yourselves. Carry out any trash or dispose of it in the appropriate containers.

  • Contact Information.
    • Most park offices and Visitors Centers should be open and able to assist during your visit.
    • If a facility is closed, there should be signage providing phone numbers and methods for reaching staff or rangers.
    • In the event of a life-threatening emergency, please call 911.

General Safety Tips for Visitors

Our Tennessee State Parks are full of beauty and adventure; however, they are also natural and wild places. Our park resources, wildlife, and staff depend on you to enjoy them safely and responsibly during your next visit. Please check the Alerts page or the particular park's homepage on our website for updated information or emergency bulletins. If you have any questions about the park, please contact the park office, visitor center, or on-duty Park Ranger directly.   

While planning your next visit to a Tennessee State Parks, please keep in mind a few safety tips to ensure your adventure is a safe and enjoyable one:

  • BE WEATHER AWARE- Tennessee weather can change quickly. Know the day's forecast and plan accordingly. 

  • KNOW YOUR LIMITATIONS- Understand your fitness level and experience with hiking and outdoor activity. Know the distance you plan to hike, and always carry adequate food and water. Always wear appropriate footwear for the type of activity you are planning to enjoy. Flip flops are not the best for hiking and often result in injured ankles. 

  • HAVE AN EMERGENCY PLAN- Always tell someone where you are going, and when you return. If possible, keep a cell phone or communication device with you. Always register at designated trailheads where kiosks are present. Give yourself plenty of time to return before sundown or close of day. We recommend visitors not hike alone in case of an emergency.

  • LIFE JACKETS SAVE LIVES!- While recreating on or near water, always wear your life jacket. Tennessee State Law requires everyone under the age of 12 to wear a life jacket.

  • NO RISKY BUSINESS- Always abide by park rules and regulations. Do not jump or dive from cliffs or waterfalls. Don't risk going around barricades or off-trail into dangerous or protected areas for shortcuts or Instagram selfies. Always stay on the trail and enjoy the scenery from overlooks and safe locations. Never recreate in Tennessee State Parks under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 

  • SECURE YOUR CAR AND VALUABLES- Always lock your vehicle at parking lots or trailheads. Limit break-ins by not leaving items such as cell phones, electronics, purses, or valuables in plain sight. 

  • BE PET RESPONSIBLE- All pets much be on a six-foot physical leash while in Tennessee State Parks. Pack plenty of water and food for your pet, and clean-up any pet waste.

  • IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING- Every day, visitors help to save lives and protect our parks by alerting Park Rangers or staff to dangerous situations or behavior occurring in the park. We depend on you to help us preserve and protect our greatest resources in Tennessee State Parks. 

Other Park Facilities

Boat Rental Operations 

Hours and operating procedures for boating rentals vary by park. Each park is implementing additional safety and sanitation protocols to protect park staff and visitors and encourage social distancing. Boaters are encouraged to bring their own life jacket or approved personal floatation devices (PFD).

Golf Courses

TN Golf Trail courses are open and have implemented a few best practices to increase social distancing and combat the spread of COVID-19. Everyone should have a tee time in advance. You may call ahead to reserve a tee time. Walkup players may be accepted depending on availability. Practice areas and some clubhouses will be closed. Please be advised that restrooms could be closed. Staff will not provide water coolers or sand bottles on the course, and ask that guests avoid common touchpoints during play. Our staff will let you know of any additional rules or changes upon arrival. If you have questions, please call the particular course you wish to visit.

Find a course

Outdoor Grilling Areas

Parks that offer outdoor grills for visitors’ personal use are available. Please practice social distancing while using these facilities. 

Restaurants

Service, menus, and hours will vary at each location. Please visit the specific restaurant webpage, or call the restaurant, for more information.

Swimming Pools

Tennessee State Parks are closing public swimming pools at state parks for the 2021 summer season. The uncertainty surrounding vaccination schedules and the continuing threat of COVID as a public health concern necessitated the decision to keep these facilities closed in the interest of public health and staff safety. We apologize for this inconvenience. 

Tennessee State Parks still offer a wide range of water-based recreation. Boating, fishing, and paddling are always popular summer activities. Many Tennessee State Parks even have places to splash and wade at approved spots on the shorelines of lakes and rivers. To see a full list of impacted park pools, click here

Events in the Parks

Tennessee State Parks are popular destinations for family reunions, conferences, retreats, scout troops, board meetings, and weddings. To learn about the specific steps we are taking to ensure events operate safely during this time, please visit the COVID-19 Event Planning page.

Park events- such as guided hikes, tours, etc.- are still occurring. Parks have made changes and modifications to such programming to assist with visitor safety. Please visit the event calendar to find an event at a park near you. Certain parks also offer guided tours. Use the "Tours" filter on the reservation page to explore the list. 

Resources

Looking for more information about the coronavirus? Here are a few resources to help:

Centers for Disease Control

Tennessee Department of Health