While Nashville is world famous for its toe-tapping, guitar-strumming country music, this southern belle has a lot more to offer than just award-winning entertainment. If you’re looking for a place that boasts sun, family fun and the great outdoors, check out these open-air getaways in and around Nashville as recommended by our local insiders.
Who doesn’t want to go off the beaten path to discover some of the cool, lesser-known areas of a city? If this speaks to your wandering soul, be sure to check out Natchez Trace Parkway. Named one of America’s Best Drives, Natchez Trace Parkway is 444mi (708km) long and spans three states; however, you don’t have to tackle all 444mi (708km) to get a dose of Nashville’s scenic beauty. Hike, bike, horseback ride or simply take a relaxing drive through thousands of years of American history (and don’t forget your camera). Recommended by local insider Chaney Curd
Made famous by the eastern red cedar trees discovered by early American settlers, Cedars of Lebanon State Forest Natural Area is a 1,139-acre (461-hectare) park nestled in the 10,000-acre (4,047-hectare) state forest within the state’s Inner Central Basin. If you’re looking to spend a day away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Cedars of Lebanon will help you recharge with miles of hiking trails through forests, glades and vibrant wildlife. Perfect your swing at the 18-hole disc golf course, paddle glade-covered rivers or rent a tent and enjoy a night of stargazing. Recommended by local insider Chaney Curd
When you’re on vacation five o’clock rolls around quickly, and if you have a hankering for a refreshing libation you’ve come to the right place. Only a 90-minute drive from Nashville lies the famous Jack Daniel’s Distillery. No matter whether you are a whiskey novice or connoisseur, the distillery offers a variety of tours to quench your knowledge and your thirst. After the Flight of Jack Daniel’s tour, unwind with samples, tastings and flights of the distillery’s famous whiskeys. Before you leave, head over to the Lynchburg Hardware & General Store to snag some fun vacation souvenirs. Recommended by local insider Erica Commisso
Make a splash in your next Nashville vacation by spending a day canoeing on the majestic Harpeth River. This hidden gem is popular with both locals and visitors, and rewards with over 40mi (64km) of crystalline waters, ideal fishing and hiking spots and historical and archaeological sites. Enjoy a day floating or paddling down miles of peaceful waters or traipsing through wildflower-laden hiking trails. If you’re planning to rent a canoe or kayak make sure to make your reservation in advance, as spots fill up quickly with people looking to beat the summer heat. Recommended by local insider Erica Commisso