Tennessee’s State Park system is incredible! There are 56 awesome parks, along with multiple “State Natural Areas”. All of them are worth visiting, and provide some excellent opportunities for family entertainment. The best part about it, all of the parks are free to visit! These parks have everything from hiking, swimming, biking trails, restaurants, and even dark sky star gazing. Eventually I would like to visit all of the Tennessee State Parks, but for now I am going to give you a list of my personal favorites. This post may contain affiliate links.
Fall Creek Falls State Park
Fall Creek Falls State Park is the largest and most visited State park in all of Tennessee. There is a good reason for this, it is amazing! This park is absolutely beautiful. The pretty waterfalls alone are worth the trip, but there is so much more that you can do there. There is an 18 hole golf course and even a treetop obstacle course!
South Cumberland State Park
By far my favorite park in Tennessee is South Cumberland State Park. This park is vast and full of amazing features. At over 25000 acres there is so much to do in this park. Stone Door, Savage Gulf, Foster Falls, and Fiery Gizzard are just a small portion of what you can find in this park. All of these are day hikes, but there is also back country overnight hiking allowed in certain areas with a permit. I could seriously spend days exploring this area and keep finding new stuff.
Cummins Falls State Park
Located near Cookeville, TN, Cummins Falls is another one of the busier parks. Especially in the summer! The Gorge at the bottom of the falls fills up with swimmers early and stays that way. It is a great place to spend a hot summer afternoon. The Gorge isn’t the only offering though, there is also fishing, hiking, and a great picnic area. Don’t skip out on this park just because it seems crowded, it is a lot of fun!
Old Stone Fort State Park
I have probably visited Old Stone Fort State Park more than any of the others. Located in Manchester, TN, Old Stone Fort sits right where the Duck River and the Little Duck River converge. Surrounded on three sides by water this area was used by Native Americans as a ceremonial gathering place. There are some nice waterfalls and hiking trails all around the park. It is not uncommon to see deer foraging just off of the trail.
Long Hunter State Park
Long Hunter State Park is located in Nashville on Percy Priest Lake. It is home to some great hiking trails, camping areas (including some back country sites), boat launch ramps, and incredible fishing areas. There is also an archaeological area, Sella’s Farm, with a lot of information about the history of the area. Long Hunter hosts a lot of events each year too, including the NAIA Pow Wow.
Rock Island State Park
Rock Island State Park is located in Rock Island, TN. This park is awesome for whitewater Kayakers, hikers, and families alike. The entire place is beautiful from the Old Mill to the multiple hiking trails, but the real gem for me is Twin Falls which is a little bit down river from Great Falls. Don’t miss this when you visit the park, but be aware swimming is not allowed by the falls due to dangerous currents.
Montgomery Bell State Park
Biking, butterflies, fishing, swimming? Montgomery Bell State Park has all of this and more! Located just east of Dickson, TN, this Tennessee State Park has some of the best dirt mountain bike trails in Middle Tennessee. The trails aren’t just for experts either, they have trails for every experience level of mountain biker. The park also has boat rentals and a nice golf course. I think this park has a little bit of something for everyone int he family.
Radnor Lake State Park
Of all of the Tennessee State Parks, Radnor Lake State Park is on of the prettiest. Along with being a recreational park, it is also a class II natural area. It provides unique opportunities to view wildlife along its lush hiking trails around the lake. Popular with bird watching enthusiasts, it is not uncommon to spot owls, herons , and other species of birds. The park is ecologically diverse, and is an excellent place to learn about Tennessee’s native wildlife. Throughout the year, there are some great ranger led programs from night hikes, canoe floats, and even some off-trail land acquisition hikes.
Cedars of Lebanon State Park
Cedars of Lebanon is located in Wilson County and named for the Cedars found throughout the area. This park is one of my favorite places to hike. It has 8 miles of hiking trail that meanders through the woods in the park. The park is also home to a disc golf course, and Olympic sized swimming pool, and 12.5 miles of horse back riding trials.
Tims Ford State Park
Tims Ford State Park is a great park. Located in Winchester, TN on Tims Ford Lake, this park is loaded with activities. It has over 6 miles of hiking trails, 22 miles of biking trails, boat rental, a golf course, a swimming pool, and more. It is also a great place for fishing for striped bass, hybrid bass, and large mouth bass. The hiking trails run along the shoreline of the lake and give you some incredible chances to spot wildlife including birds, deer, and all kinds of other native animals.
Tennessee State Parks
While there are a lot of Tennessee State Parks I have not visited yet, I am slowly making my to all of them though. The ones i listed are my absolute favorites, and I hope you enjoy them too! Which Tennessee State park is your favorite? Where should I go next? Let me know in the comments and be sure to follow us on Instagram to keep up with our travels around the Volunteer State!