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The Summer Staples at Tennessee State Parks

May 3, 2021  |  Permalink

Kayak on the Duck River at Henry Horton State Park

Casting a line, paddling open waters, teeing off on the greens, and a peaceful night's rest in nature. These activities have been a trusted recipe for sweet summer memories in Tennessee for ages. Some might regard them as the summer staples.

If you're the kind of person who finds themselves spending more of the summer season outdoors than in, you'll want to take notes. We're listing off some of the best places to fish, golf, paddle, and get a good night's rest to do it all again the next day.

Where to Stay and Play This Summer

Tims Ford State Park

Tims Ford State Park

Middle, TN

Near the famous Jack Daniels distillery, Tims Ford State Park is a favorite for boaters, anglers, and golfers in the lower middle Tennessee area. Cabins and campsites overlook Tims Ford Lake and offer easy access to its water activities. Situated on a peninsula, the Bear Trace Golf Course offers challenging and picturesque games. The on-site marina provides pontoon and kayak rentals.


Pickwick Landing State Park

West, TN

Some of the best opportunities to score smallmouth bass on the Tennessee River system lie beneath the shimmering waters of Pickwick Lake. Above the surface, you'll find boats cruising in the summer sun. Pickwick Landing State Park offers a full-service marina with pontoon boat and paddling rentals, plus all the amenities you'd need for a day on the water. On land, the newly renovated Lodge offers guest rooms with private balconies, outdoor and indoor pools, and a full-service restaurant. Cabins with spacious porches overlooking the lake are also available. A short drive from the Lodge and you'll find rolling greens ready for your best swing.


Montgomery Bell State Park

Middle, TN

Nestled between three lakes you'll find the Lodge at Montgomery Bell. This newly renovated hotel inside Montgomery Bell State Park overlooks Lake Acorn and offers a premium stay in one of the most serene natural areas close to Nashville. Cast a line at Creech Hollow Lake, take in views of the iconic spillway at Lake Woodhaven, or rent paddleboards at Lake Acorn. The golf course is known for its Champion Bermuda greens and gorgeous views that rival the hiking trails at the park. You can grab lunch at the clubhouse or check out the outdoor patio at the Lodge's Restaurant.


Warriors Path State Park

Warriors' Path State Park

East, TN

Located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Warriors' Path is home to an incredible golf course, a beautiful lake, and some great camping opportunities. Paddling rentals are available and fishing for bass, crappie, and catfish is popular. The family-friendly campground is located near the lake and offers a convenient camp store in a unique building.


Paris Landing State Park

Paris Landing State Park

West, TN

Tucked away near the Kentucky border in West Tennessee, Paris Landing is another prized destination for bass fishing that attracts annual tournaments. The waters of Kentucky Lake are also inviting to those looking to kick back from the seat of a kayak or the deck of a boat. On the tree-lined golf course, you're in for a peaceful game filled with sightings of wildlife and Kentucky Lake. The appetite you work up under the hot sun is easily quenched at Marker 66 Marina and Grille, serving tasty cocktails, burgers, fish tacos, and lighter fares. Spend the night under the stars at the park's campground, sleep in a soft bed inside one of the cabins, or find a middle ground with a camping cabin.


Cumberland Mountain State Park

Cumberland Mountain State Park

If you're looking for somewhere near Cookeville Tennessee to find the staples of summer, look to Cumberland Mountain State Park. This CCC-era park is known for its beautiful lake, Bear Trace golf course, and unique cabin offerings. You'll find boat rentals at the shoreline of Byrd lake, and although the lake may be smaller than some, it's the perfect size for those looking to float or fish. Some of the historical cabins at the park recently received full renovations and offer a unique night with history with comfortable furniture and finishings.


Henry Horton State Park

Middle, TN

Located on the shores of the Duck River, one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world, Henry Horton offers the summer staples only an hour outside Nashville. The Duck River offers a natural lazy river for those who love to soak up the sun from a kayak. It's also a great spot to cast a line for bass, catfish, and trout. The golf course was the first established in the state park system and has only gotten better with time. For overnight stays, check out the Lodge at Henry Horton's hotel-style rooms or spend a comfortable night in one of the park's cabins.


Fall Creek Falls

Middle, TN

This iconic park is home to much more than the tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi River. For avid anglers, it doesn't get much better than the Fisherman Cabins that sit on Fall Creek Falls Lake. The cabin's porch sits above the water allowing you to drop a line just a few steps from the living room. Paddlers will also love the lake's calm, tree-lined waters. The park encompasses the inspiring beauty of the Cumberland Plateau and the park's golf course is no exception. The course was a  three-time selection by Golf Digest magazine as one of the Top 100 Public Places to Play.


Harrison Bay State Park

Harrison Bay

East, TN

20 minutes north of downtown Chattanooga, Harrison Bay offers some of the best lakeside RV sites in Tennessee. The Chickamauga Reservoir is noted for its catches of bass and easy-going waters perfect for kayaking. The park offers paddling rentals at hourly rates. The Bear Trace golf course is one that keeps players engaged and coming back. Surrounded by water and dense woods, you're immersed in nature at every turn.


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