One of the advantages many Nashville residents enjoy most are the many parks and green spaces found throughout the city. This provides a great way to get some sun, enjoy time with family and stay healthy. With nearly 100 parks spread throughout Nashville, you won't have to travel far to find a great place to soak up some sun. Nashville is even home to some of the most beautiful parks found in the entire country.
Residents also gain access to over 12 miles of hiking trails, 20 miles of some of the best scenic roads and 10 miles of equine trails. The Metro Board of Parks and Recreation manages over 10,000 acres and they take their job seriously. Here's a short list of some of the top parks in the area.
Found west of downtown, this large park provides 132 acres of space. It features a massive Greek Parthenon, Lake Watauga and an amphitheater. It's not the largest park in the area, but it is one of the most popular you'll find in Nashville.
Percy Warner Park
A mixture of running trails, picnic areas, hiking trails, horse trails and golf courses attract over 50,000 annual visitors. Enjoy the short drive from downtown Nashville leading you to a great place to enjoy time with the family, a peaceful day away from the city or one of many activities offers at this park.
Found in a very historic part of the city, this park features a small golf course, dedicated dog park and more. It's found near Cumberland River and many residents enjoy time with their dogs at this park.
These are just three of the more popular parks found throughout Nashville, which residents love. There are many more and as a resident of Nashville, you'll enjoy spending time discovering all the parks within your specific area of the city.
For Nashville's more outdoors-oriented individuals, going for a nice long hike is a great way to pass the time during the summer without spending a dime. Not only is getting outside good for you, but it is a cheap and easy source of entertainment that is sure to relieve some stress, too. But where do you go to find the best trails? Here are a few places to get you started:
Warner Park – This versatile park has nine separate hiking trails for you to make use of, which means that you won't be feeling bored here anytime soon. Over 12 miles of paved and non-paved hiking trails span this thickly forested park, and each one offers you a unique outdoor experience. The nice thing about a park like this is that whether you are feeling up for a 1 mile hike or a 5 mile hike, you have a place to go without doubling back on yourself. The Park is also used once a year for the society horse racing event known locally as "Steeple chase". This a good excuse to dress up in colorful clothers, overindulge, socialize and have a great time!
Shelby Bottoms – This multi-use collection of paved trails is great for cyclists looking for natural elevations to get some exercise on, as well as anyone looking for a nice easy and beautiful hike along Nashville's Cumberland River.
Beaman Park – This park contains 3 hiking trails for you to explore, each riddled with convenient rest stops that make great places for a picnic or to catch some mid-hike shade during one of Tennessee's hot summer days. The main trail is a slightly longer than 2 mile loop, but there are several smaller farm trails and a nature center as well.
No matter which of these parks you visit, it is always a good idea to bring a friend with you for safety purposes and always be mindful of the pristine Nashvillean outdoors – Leave nature alone, just enjoy the beautiful view and atmosphere.
Radnor Lake State Park provides one of the best natural areas found just a few miles outside of downtown Nashville. This park provides residents with a man-made lake, plenty of wooded areas and more. It includes a paved road, which is closed to vehicular traffic and allows for walking throughout the park. Serious hikers can enjoy the steeper trails and might even spot deer feeding throughout the area.
Trails found within the park are off limits to bicycles, pets and jogging. They are for walking and hiking only. Trails include:
- Spillway Trail - Easy
- Lake Trail - Easy
- Access Trail - Moderate
- South Lake Trail - Moderate
- Ganier Ridge Trail - Strenuous
- South Cove Trail - Strenuous
- Otter Creek Road - Easy and allows jogging, bicycling and pets
Enjoy walking on the trails with plenty of great scenery from the lake, wildlife and more. The park is found in Davidson County in the Oak Hill Community.
Programs at the Park
Many programs are scheduled throughout the year including Volunteer Days to help with removal of exotic plants, planting new vegetation and mulching the trails. Other programs include:
- Wildflower walks
- Nature hikes
- Cave ecology
- Canoe floats
- Astronomy high hikes
- Birds of prey
- Programs on snakes
- And more!
Canoe floats happen during the summer and many of these programs will provide you with the best opportunity to experience the unique features of the park. Many other programs are also held throughout the year to clean up after big events and education the community about the amphibians, reptiles and invasive plants found throughout the area.
The park is open from 6am to dark every day and the visitor center is open daily, as well. The visitor center is open Sunday and Monday from 9am to 5pm, Tuesday through Thursday from 8am to 5pm and Friday and Saturday from 8am to 4pm.
Nashville is full of many great parks, but some of the best parks don't provide picnic areas, playgrounds or anything you'll find in a regular park. Some of the best parks throughout Nashville are Theme and Amusement Parks. If you're looking for something out of the ordinary, here are a few great places for family fun.
It's a little bit of a drive from Nashville (about 3 hours and 45 minutes), but Dollywood is one of the most well known attractions in the entire state. This amusement park is found near the most scenic acres of the state and features over 40 different rides, a water park and so much more. It's found in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
Beech Bend Park & Splash Lagoon
Found much closer to Nashville, but not in Tennessee, Beech Bend provides all kinds of fun. This is the closest of the theme parks to the city, found in Bowling Green, Kentucky and will only take a little over an hour to get to your destination. This park is locally owned and provides all kinds of fun with 40 rides, including four roller coasters, a water park and much more. There's even an on-site campground if you want to make a weekend of it.
Found in Huntsville, Alabama, about 2 hours and 15 minutes from Nashville, this water park is known as one of the best. With many carnival games and rides, you can have plenty of fun with the family. Of course, if you plan to travel here, you might as well stay in Huntsville and enjoy the rest of the area.
Another park found a little over two hours from Nashville, Lake Winnepesaukah provides three roller coasters, a carousel, paddleboats and more. This is an older park, originally opened in 1925. They still provide an old-time feel perfect for families. It's found just past Chattanooga in Rossville, Georgia.
Davidson County is home to over 80 different parks and they cover over 9,000 acres. However, all of these parks don't provide a place for dogs. Only three of them actually have dog parks. Here are the three and a few guidelines you will need to follow.
- Centennial Park - 222 25th Avenue North - Open from Dawn to 8pm
- Warner Park - 50 Vaughn Road - Open from Dawn to Dusk
- Shelby Park - Shelby Avenue and South 20th Street - Open from Dawn to 8pm
These three dog parks are found in Davidson County and are the closest choices for residents in Nashville. However, there are a few others in the Mid-Tennessee area including:
- Freedom Run Dog Park - Franklin at Liberty Park
- Maggie's Bark Park - 138 Claude Yates Drive, Franklin
- Fenway's Park - 745 Caldwell Lane, Goodlettsville
- Murfreesboro Bark Park - Old Nashville Highway and West College Street, Murfreesboro
- Clarksville Bark Park - Highway 47 at Riverside Drive, Clarksville
- Fairgrounds Bark Park - Clarksville Fairgrounds
Dog Park Guidelines
The dog parks in Davidson County and around Mid-Tennessee all have the same guidelines. You will want to understand some of these before taking a trip to the dog park of your choice. Guidelines include:
- Only enter through the double-gated entrance
- Unleash your dog once through the first gate, before you enter the actual park
- Exit in the same manner and leash your dog in between the gates
- Always clean up after your dog
- All dogs must have current rabies and identification tags
- No more than two dogs per owner
- No dogs in heat
- No dogs under four months of age
- No spiked collars
- No aggressive breeds or dogs
Follow these guidelines and any rules specific to each dog park in the Nashville and Mid-Tennessee area.
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