Best Tennessee State Parks to Watch the Sunrise and Sunset

August 1, 2022  |  Permalink

State Parks offer some of the most incredible places in Tennessee to catch the sunrise and sunset. From cypress forests and lakefront campsites to misty gorges and tucked-away cabins, Tennessee State Parks provide a myriad of spots to take in the sunrise or sunset. Here are some of the most spectacular state parks to watch the sun show off.


Where to Watch the Sunrise

1. Fall Creek Falls State Park

Buzzard's Roost • Scenic Loop Rd, Pikeville, TN 37367

Buzzard’s Roost is a secluded overlook at Fall Creek Falls State Park that proudly showcases awe-inspiring sunrises. You can access Buzzard's Roost from a “hidden trail” to the left of the popular Millikan's Overlook area. 

Early in the morning, you’ll find a quiet spot to perch near the edge of a magnificent gorge and watch the sun slowly burst over the ridge. As one of the most inspiring vistas in Tennessee, this sunrise spot is not one to miss.

Spend the Night:


2. Warriors' Path State Park

Duck Island at Warriors’ Path State Park • Colonial Heights, TN 37663

For those who like to exercise in the morning, the walking trail on Duck Island at Warriors’ Path State Park offers that opportunity with the bonus of watching the sunrise along the way. The eastern side of the loop trail looks out over Fort Patrick Henry Lake and offers unobstructed views of the sunrise.

Those staying at the Warriors’ Path State Park campground can easily access the loop trail at sunrise. If you’re not staying the night, make sure to note park opening times.

Spend the Night:


3. Montgomery Bell State Park

The Lodge at Montgomery Bell • 1000 Hotel Avenue Burns, TN 37029

If you’d like to roll out of bed, grab a warm cup of coffee, and step out to a spectacular view, check out the Lodge at Montgomery Bell. This hotel is located inside Montgomery Bell State Park on the shores of Lake Acorn. A raised outdoor patio with comfortable seating offers a front-row seat to watch the sunrise over the lake. Also, each guest room features a private balcony, and some face east.

The best part? As an overnight guest at the lodge, you’ll receive a complimentary breakfast that can be enjoyed while you watch the sunrise.

Spend the Night:


4. Reelfoot Lake State Park

Photo by @adarrylljacksonsr on Instagram

Reelfoot Lake State Park Cabins • TN-21, Hornbeak, TN 38232

The back deck of each cabin at Reelfoot Lake State Park offers an incredible sunrise view. With the lake located just a few steps from the back porch, you can watch the sunrise over the water and illuminate the magnificent cypress trees. The lake is also home to a large population of birds that can be seen and heard stirring in the early morning. Take a seat in one of the Adirondack chairs and enjoy the show!

Spend the Night:

  • The campground accommodates tents and RVs.
  • The cabins offer comfortable beds, a kitchen, and a living area for up to six people.

5. Mousetail Landing State Park

Mousetail Landing State Park Campground • 3 Campground Road Linden, TN 37096

Mousetail Landing offers some hidden gems when it comes to waterfront camping. The campsites at the Spring Creek Campground sit on the shores of the Tennessee River facing east. This is the perfect setup for watching the sunrise from the comfort of your tent or while you cook breakfast.

Spend the Night:


Where to Watch the Sunset

1. Paris Landing State Park

Photo by Chad Baumer Photography

The Lodge at Paris Landing • 400 Lodge Rd, Buchanan, TN 38222

The sunset at Lodge Paris Landing rivals those on the coast. With the lodge situated on the shores of the widest portion of Kentucky Lake, you’ll enjoy expansive water views that mimic the feeling of the Great Lakes or (with some imagination) the ocean. The sun sets over the water right behind the lodge, and there are plenty of spots to sit and watch. Each guest room features a private balcony overlooking the lake. There are also two fire pits with seating areas and a patio outside the restaurant. You could even watch the sunset from the outdoor pool that’s available to lodge guests.

Spend the Night:


2. Panther Creek State Park

Photo by @marissacraft.photo on Instagram

Panther Creek State Park • 2010 Panther Creek Park Rd, Morristown, TN 37814

The sunset over Cherokee Lake at Panther Creek State Park is outstanding. There are multiple ways to take in the view at the park, but we suggest checking it out from the overlook located at the far end of the park near the Smallman Area picnic shelters. The view looks out over the lake at the Cumberland Mountains. When the sunset is notably vibrant, you’ll often see the colors reflecting off the lake’s surface.

Spend the Night:


3. Pickwick Landing State Park

Photo by @megmcmama on Instagram

Pickwick Landing State Park • 120 Playground Loop, Counce, TN 38326

It’s no secret that Pickwick Lake is one of the best bass fishing destinations in Tennessee. However, you may not know Pickwick Lake is also one of the best destinations for sunsets. At Pickwick Landing State Park, you’ll find plenty of locations to sit near or on the water to watch the sun go down.

The Lodge at Pickwick Landing offers incredible lake views from the guest rooms to the restaurant. Grab a meal and a craft cocktail on the restaurant’s outdoor balcony, or book a room and enjoy the show from your private lakefront balcony.

Grab the family and book a lakeside getaway at one of the cabins. Each premium cabin features a deck with gorgeous views of the water and a grill so you can cook out while enjoying the sunset. The park also offers picnic areas along the shoreline facing west toward the dam.

Spend the Night:


4. Natchez Trace State Park

Pin Oak Campground at Natchez Trace State Park • Pin Oak Rd, Wildersville, TN 38388

Score a lakefront campsite with full hookups and incredible sunset views at the Pin Oak Campground inside Natchez Trace State Park. These sites offer a one-of-a-kind experience to watch the sunset from the comfort of your campfire. The fiery displays of pinks and purples reflect off the still waters of Pin Oak Lake and make for picture-perfect camping trips.

Spend the Night:


5. Harrison Bay State Park

Photo by @oliviabrooke3 on Instagram

Harrison Bay State Park Campground • 7855 Bay Marina Circle, Harrison, TN 37341

Another spot for campers looking to watch the sunset from their site is Harrison Bay State Park. The campsites on Chickamauga Lake face west and provide fantastic views of both the sunset and the night sky.

Spend the Night:

 


Honorable Mentions

There are so many Tennessee State Parks that offer incredible opportunities to watch the sunrise or sunset. We couldn't limit it to just ten so here are a few additional parks to check out.

Booker T. Washington State Park — Sunset

Booker T. Washington State Park, Fishing Pier • 5801 Champion Rd, Chattanooga, TN 37416

This park is known for its incredible sunsets. Catch the show from the large fishing pier overlooking the beautiful Tennessee River.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

 

Bledsoe Creek State Park — Sunset

Bledsoe Creek State Park • 400 Zieglers Fort Rd, Gallatin, TN 37066

Looking to watch the sunset near Nashville? Head to Bledsoe Creek State Park where you can watch the sunset from the shores of Old Hickory Lake.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

 

Edgar Evins State Park — Sunset

Edgar Evins State Park, Courtesy Dock • 1630 Edgar Evins State Park Rd, Silver Point, TN 38582

The Courtesy Dock at Edgar Evins State Park sits on beautiful Center Hill Lake a short walk from the park's cabins. The parking lot of this area offers a great vantage point to watch the sunset behind the rolling hills that surround Center Hill.

PLAN YOUR TRIP


You're never more than an hour from a state park when you're in Tennessee!

Every Tennessee State Park has something to offer when it comes to natural beauty. Find a Tennessee State Park close to you and start exploring!

FIND A PARK

About the author