Get Out and Explore Springtime

February 28, 2018  |  Permalink

5 Adventures for Exploring Springtime Graphic

Can you believe the winter is almost over? The fluctuating temperatures and heavy rains are tell-tale signs that spring is just around the corner in Tennessee. Hopefully we’re past the extreme cold and can get back to what we all enjoy: spending time outdoors. Here are a few ways you can get outside over the next several months:


Camping at Pickwick Landing

1. Get Out and Camp

Don’t you wish you could get away and unplug for a minute? Wouldn’t it be great to escape the grind and just be somewhere for a moment? Tennessee State Parks has 36 campgrounds spread across the state, making it easy for you to grab your favorite people and head to the woods year-round. But what if you don’t know how to camp? What if you don’t have the gear you need? What if you want to learn a new skill like backcountry camping? Whether you’re new to camping or an experienced camper looking for new adventures, we have events that are tailor-made for you: 


  • Camp O.U.T. - Various Dates: Outside. Unplugged. Together. That’s the idea with our Camp O.U.T. programs. Paris Landing and Cordell Hull Birthplace are both offering experiences that are perfect for the whole family. These are ideal chances to learn about camping and enjoy the outdoors together. 
    • Paris Landing March 10-11: Click here for event information
    • Cordell Hull Birthplace March 24-25: Click here for event information
  • Henry Horton - March 17 to 19: Have you ever wanted to try backcountry camping? Join park staff for a guided introduction to backpacking. The park offers training every step of the way, and can even provide the gear. 
  • Girls Outdoors Workshops - Various Dates: Henry Horton and Dunbar Cave are hosting Girls Outdoor Workshops to provide girls ages 12-15 with an authentic experience in the great outdoors. Attendees will learn about women working in the science and conservation fields while fostering a strong foundation in the natural world.
    • Henry Horton March 24-25: Click here for event details
    • Dunbar Cave April 7-8: Click here for event details

wildflower from Marty Silver

2. Catch a Glimpse of Spring Wildflowers

If you like flowers - and who doesn’t - then springtime is an ideal period to hit the trails in Tennessee. The fields and the forests will burst to life over the next six weeks or so, capturing the hearts of visitors young and old. The opportunities for enjoying these flowering beauties abound. Many parks are offering special hikes during March and April to guide visitors right to the best spots:

  • Mousetail Landing -  Various Dates: The park is leading several nature hikes focused specifically on flowers blooming along the trails.
  • Rock Island - March 10 and 11: The park is hosting several wildflower hikes over the course of the weekend. These hikes will lead guests along the Downstream and Blue Hole trails. 
  • Spring Hikes - March 24: All 56 Tennessee State Parks are offering free, ranger-led Spring Hikes on March 24. Many of these will showcase the blooming flowers along the trail, and all are great opportunities to take in some fresh air and learn more about the world around you. 

(Photo credit: Marty Silver)

Volunteering at Parks

3. Give Back on a Volunteer Day

Spring is a perfect time to volunteer at a park. The weather is usually cooler and the parks are offering a wide range of opportunities. These are especially great for high school students needing Tennessee Promise service hours. Grab your favorite pair of garden gloves and plan to join us for one of these service projects:

  • Weed Wrangle - March 3: More than 30 Tennessee State Parks are hosting events to “wrangle” in those invasive plants and non-native species in public areas. Park staff are prepared to sign off on Tennessee Promise service hours at these events. 
    • Click here to see the full list of Weed Wrangle events
  • South Cumberland - Various Dates: The park is hosting several cleanup and restoration projects focusing on historic features and trails. South Cumberland is even offering trail building days to help forge new paths in recently acquired areas. 

Looking for other ways to volunteer? Click the button below to see the complete volunteer calendar


Paddling on the Ghost River

4. Go for a Paddle

Spring rains often swell our local waterways. Those higher waters can make this an ideal season for canoeing and kayaking, especially in areas that might dry up during the summer months*. If you don’t own the equipment, or if you don’t want to go out on the river alone, there are floats coming up at local parks that are perfect for you:

  • Reelfoot Lake - Various Dates: Reelfoot Lake is offering several canoe floats in March. Join park staff on a float into the Deep Swamp to see Bald Cypress Trees that are over 200 years old. It’s also a great place to see eagles, herons, and other birds living around the lake. 
  • Harrison Bay - March 30: Join staff for a Full Moon Paddle at Harrison Bay State Park. This is a unique sunset and night-time paddling program on Chickamauga Lake, just minutes from downtown Chattanooga. 

*Please exercise water safety during your visit. If the water seems too high or too fast, please do not enter it. Flooding often occurs during periods of heavy rains. We encourage the use of personal floatation devices (PFDs) and adherence to all relevant boating laws in Tennessee. 

Easter egg basket

5. Hunt for Easter Eggs

It’s hard to believe that Easter is almost here! Many Tennessee State Parks will offer weekend festivities and dining specials. Some of the most popular events are the Easter egg hunts the parks will host. Here are a few places to look for kid-friendly activities that weekend:

  • Easter Egg Hunts - Several parks are hosting Easter egg hunts. Thousands of eggs are up for grabs, so make sure and add one of these free events to your weekend calendar.
  • Cordell Hull Birthplace - March 10: Come out to Cordell Hull Birthplace State Park and learn to dye Easter eggs using natural material! There are only a few slots left for this event, so register today! 
  • Dining Specials: Tennessee State Park restaurants are offering specials for Easter lunch. Let us do the cooking while you spend the day outdoors.
    • Click here to read about dining special at Tennessee State Parks

Go Out and Explore

The spring season is too nice and the options too plentiful for you to stay inside. Don’t see something that interests you in the list above? Click the button below to explore our full event calendar. There are free and paid events covering everything from waterfall chasing and guided hikes, to rock climbing and educational adventures. Whatever you choose, our hope is that you’ll get up, get outside, and do something!


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Tennessee State Parks