COVID-19 UPDATES: Keeping Visitors Healthy

Safely Recreating on July 4th Weekend

July 2, 2020  |  Permalink

guide to safely recreating at tennessee state parks July 4th

The outdoors have been an especially popular recreation option this summer. The mental and physical health benefits of spending time outdoors were well known even before COVID-19 increased general interest in getting outside. 

The weekend of July 4th is always popular in Tennessee State Parks, and we expect this trend to continue in 2020. We want to make sure it is a safe and enjoyable weekend for our visitors as well as the parks. Here are a couple of things everyone should know when planning a trip this weekend:

social distancing at Tennessee state parks signage

1. Please follow our tips for Keeping Visitors Healthy. This includes

  • Staying at home if you are sick or were recently exposed to someone with COVID-19.
  • Wearing a mask when you can’t maintain at least six feet of social distance.
  • Maintaining appropriate personal hygiene to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

life jackets at Tennessee state parks

2. Practice boating and water safety

  •  All children 12 years of age and younger are required to wear a Coast Guard approved PFD while on the open deck of a recreational boat except when anchored, moored, or aground.

3. Follow all rules and regulations during your visit.

  • Pay special attention to these topics:
    • Fireworks: TCA 004-02-02-.09 prohibits the use of fireworks, firecrackers and explosives.
    • Fires: TCA 0400-02-02-.12 discusses when and where you can build fires.
    • Alcohol: TCA 0400-02-02-.14 discusses the possession and consumption of alcohol in state parks, outlining where it is prohibited and where it is allowed.
    • Drones: TCA 0400-02-02-.02 addresses the use of aircraft in our parks. Drones are considered aircraft and would fall under this rule.

henry horton state park

4. Try to stay local and choose less busy parks. 

  • The closer a park is to a major city, the more likely it is to be crowded and full.
  • We recommend avoiding high-visitation parks and natural areas on holiday weekends. These would include:
    • Short Springs State Natural Area (Machine Falls)
    • South Cumberland State Park (Foster Falls, Greeter Falls, Sycamore Falls, Grundy Forest)
    • Rock Island State Park
    • Burgess Falls State Park
    • Radnor Lake State Park
    • Long Hunter State Park
    • Harpeth River State Park

wildlife at Paris landing state park

5. Please respect the land, animals, and park grounds.

  • Do not throw trash on the ground.
  • Carry out of the woods everything you carried in with you.
  • Use the trash and recycling containers found throughout the parks.
  • Do not touch or disturb the wildlife.

Cummins falls state park gorge access permit

6. Some activities – like entering caves, rock climbing or visiting the base of Cummins Falls – require special permits.


Together, we can have a safe and enjoyable weekend. We appreciate your assistance in taking care of our parks and each other during your visit.


Before you leave this page, here are a few other things we think you should know:

1. All 56 Tennessee State Parks are open and are free to enter.
  • Tennessee does not charge entrance fees for state parks.
2. Donations are accepted and help further improve our parks.
  • Your donations help us build trails, make improvements and offset the cost of running the parks.
  • Our online donation form makes it easy to give to Tennessee State Parks, Tennessee State Natural Areas, or your favorite park directly.
3. We provide online maps and a mobile app for navigating our parks.
3. Our staff is ready to help
  • Our rangers and office staff are great resources. If you have a question about things to do during your trip don’t hesitate to ask!
5. In addition to hiking, Tennessee State Parks provide campsites, cabins, Lodge rooms, boat rentals and guided events.


Thanks for choosing Tennessee State Parks! We look forward to seeing you this weekend. 

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