Things to Do Outside in Nashville

Nashville is full of opportunities to have outdoor adventures. From parks to hiking to water recreation, there's a world of outdoor recreation just waiting to be discovered in Nashville.

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Things to Do Outside in Nashville

Posted by Gary Ashton on Thursday, September 23rd, 2021 at 9:19am.

Best Outdoor Activities in Nashville

Country music, hot chicken, and southern hospitality are all things that the city of Nashville is known for. There's certainly no shortage of fun things to do in Nashville. However, it's also a phenomenal city for those who appreciate outdoor adventures. Between the lakes, rivers, rock formations, vast forests, and impressive waterfalls, nature lovers are free to explore the breathtaking beauty all around the area. While Nashville might not seem like it has a lot of options for getting in touch with nature, outdoor enthusiasts look for Nashville real estate because of how many opportunities it offers. Ready to explore the great outdoors? Keep reading for a guide to Nashville's best outdoor activities.

Water Recreation in Nashville Flows All Around Town

Nashville Water Recreation Opportunities

  • River Queen Voyages
  • Nashville FlyBoard
  • Nashville Paddle Board Adventures
  • Radnor Lake Natural Area
  • Tip-A-Canoe

Nashville is a haven for water enthusiasts, and opportunities for boating, canoeing, kayaking, river floating, and much more are available in the city and the surrounding woodlands. However, those looking for a unique adventure on a large paddleboat or who want to try paddleboarding or flyboarding will get their chance to show off their boldness.

River Queen Voyages offers a two-hour pedal pontoon boat rental guided and helmed by a USGC certified Master Captain and first mate to ensure things flow smoothly. The custom-built Pedal Pontoon is a private rental with a minimum of 6 passengers and a max of 16. There are 10 pedal stations situated around a spacious wooden bar table where guests can drink, eat and socialize.

Percy Priest Lake is simply stunning, and it's even better with a bird's eye view. Soak in the sights of the water and the Nashville skyline on a flyboard hoverboard or jetpack on a one-hour trip with Nashville FlyBoard. One or two guests pay only $189 for the aerial experience, which also comes with a short training class and all necessary equipment for a safe and fun flight.

Nashville Paddle Board Adventures is operated by Big Willies Nashville Only and takes passengers down the Cumberland River right through downtown. Instruction and equipment are provided, making this standup paddleboard tour ideal for paddlers of all ages and skill levels.

Those seeking a little fun outside by the water will enjoy the Radnor Lake Natural Area. This natural area is perfect for viewing wildlife and provides six miles of trails for hiking. The area is over 1,200 acres large, with plenty of activities to enjoy.

Ever wanted to take a canoe trip? Tip-A-Canoe can make those dream come true. They provide guided trips down the Harpeth River on warm days. They are located about 15 miles west of the city on Highway 70. Visitors can rent a canoe or take a guided trip, and the friendly staff there will help with any needs.

Nature-Filled Nashville Hiking & Biking Trails

Popular Nashville Trails

  • Radnor Lake Loop
  • Narrows of the Harpeth
  • Montgomery Bell Trail State Park Trail
  • Natchez Trace Parkway
  • Nashville Grotto

One of the most popular places to hike for locals is the Radnor Lake Loop. This 2.4-mile trek around the lovely Radnor Lake passes wooded hills, shaded zones, and several impressive waterfront homes. This is an easy hike that boasts a few pretty wooden bridges, mostly flat and paved throughout.

Narrows of the Harpeth is the trail to take if a wild landscape with unusual features sounds appealing. By far, this State Park offers one of the most beautiful short hikes in the area and is suitable for pedestrians of all ages. Pass by incredible rock formations, unique trees, and even a waterfall that shoots out of a hole between a wide hole in a group of rocks on the ledge.

The Montgomery Bell State Park Trail is a 10.5-mile journey across varied terrain with impressive landscapes and photography-worthy vistas throughout. There are several historical markers and an old log cabin to view on the trail. Hike along the lakeside for a bit until it transitions to a stream. Several stream crossings on the trek add a bit of challenge to the experience.

The Natchez Trace Parkway goes on for miles and miles and showcases some of the best scenery in Mississippi and Tennessee. The best hiking portion of the Natchez Trace near Nashville is the Garrison Creek Loop Trail, a historic path just outside of Franklin, TN. This 6.3-mile loop trail has been used for centuries and is one of the few of its kind where hikers need to wade through water in some places.

For those who enjoy exploring, cave trips are great fun. Spelunkers will walk through many tight spaces and dark areas as they explore each of the caves. The underground structures are amazing, and visitors will be able to take one of the many expeditions provided by the Nashville Grotto. The organization is meant for members-only and serious cave explorers. However, once after becoming a member, spelunkers can enjoy the regular trips and meetings.

Pristine Parks in Nashville

Nashville has a number of beautiful parks for residents and visitors to enjoy. Here are four of the best.

Centennial Park

Centennial Park Amenities

  • Sporting courts
  • Trails
  • Gardens
  • Monuments
  • Covered shell
  • Along Watauga Lake

Centennial Park is one of the city's most popular and activity-filled parks. It has just over 130 acres of sporting courts, trails, gardens, monuments, and much more for locals and visitors to enjoy. There is a covered shell for bands and live performances, a massive sporting complex, a replica of the iconic Parthenon, and an art center. Centennial Park is also situated along Watauga Lake, making it a water lover's destination.

Centennial Park Additional Information

  • Address: Centennial Park, 2500 West End Ave, Nashville, TN 37203
  • Phone: 615-862-8400

Beaman Park Nature Center

Beaman Park Nature Center Amenities

  • 1700 acres
  • Henry Hollow Loop trail

Beaman Park Nature Center is one of the largest parks in Nashville, with 1700 acres of highland rim open spaces to get active and pursue various hobbies. While spacious, it's still a hidden gem that doesn't see as many visitors as other parks. This means runners, hikers, cyclists and walkers often find themselves in a quiet solitude filled with wildlife amidst the big city. Leashed dogs often accompany owners here along the Henry Hollow Loop trail.

Beaman Park Nature Center Additional Information

  • Address: Beaman Park Nature Center, 5911 Old Hickory Blvd, Nashville, TN 37015
  • Phone: 615-862-8580

Cumberland Park

Cumberland Park Amenities

  • Spray zones
  • Fountains
  • Outdoor amphitheater
  • Climbing wall
  • Trails

Cumberland Park is filled with Nashville activities for kids, as there are spray zones and fountains for kids to play in, an outdoor amphitheater, and a climbing wall near picnic areas. The park is 6.5 acres and has a few short trails for hikers and walkers.

Cumberland Park Additional Information

  • Address: Cumberland Park, 592 S. First St, Nashville, TN 37213
  • Hours: 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Shelby Bottoms

Shelby Bottoms Amenities

  • Miles of trails
  • Playgrounds
  • Pond
  • Picnic shelters
  • Dog park

Shelby Bottoms is a perfect place to hike, with three miles of trails and three miles of groomed trails alongside the Cumberland River. Popular with cyclists, pedestrians, and runners, athletes come out to pursue baseball and enjoy the park's golf course. There are playgrounds, a pond, picnic shelters, and a dog park here for open use.

Shelby Bottoms Additional Information

  • Address: Shelby Bottoms, 1900 Davidson St., Nashville, TN 37206
  • Hours: Dawn – Dusk

Golf Courses in Nashville

Nashville Golf Courses

  • Harpeth Hills
  • Hermitage
  • Gaylord Springs

Harpeth Hills Golf Course is a public 18-hole course in Percy Warner Park. Arguably one of Nashville's top places to take a few swings, this par 72 layout has its challenges but is optimal for all skill levels of play. Warm up on the driving range, practice chipping or putting, grab a bite at the clubhouse, or visit the pro shop for specialty services and rentals. The Harpeth Hills area is always popular among people looking for golf course homes in Nashville.

Hermitage Golf Course has won numerous awards for both of its 18-hole championship courses that offer two distinct golfing experiences. The General's Retreat Course follows alongside the Cumberland River and is rich with water hazards. The President's Reserve Course takes players through 300 acres of wetlands and wilderness. There is a hotel, bar, and pro shop on-site.

Gaylord Springs Golf Course is a Scottish links course along the river with scenic limestone bluffs and tree-lined fairways. As one of the best golf courses in Nashville, Gaylord Springs has received several accolades from Golf Digest for its superb par 72 course with 220 acres of playable holes. There is a snack bar, beverage cart, driving range, and chipping zone open for guests at Gaylord Springs Golf Course.

Nashville Outdoor Music Festivals

Nashville Outdoor Music Festivals

  • Make Music Festival
  • Tomato Art Fest
  • Live on the Green

Nashville and its immediate surroundings offer many ways to get out and be active, but residents don't have to be a hiker, biker, boater, or caver to enjoy the outdoor life. This is a city that loves music and has many city parks and outdoor performance venues.

The two come together easily in the summer. Check these out:

  • Make Music Festival: Singers, songwriters, or guitarists can indulge and show off their skills at this one-day summer event at Music City Center. 
  • Tomato Art Fest: This zany summer event held at Five Points in the East Nashville area always draws a crowd. The best part? It's free.
  • Live on the Green: Public Square Park, by the Courthouse, is the site for free Thursday evening concerts by nationally-known performers in August and September.

This is just a sampling; in Music City, there is always something going on involving music.

Unique Nashville Outdoor Attractions

The outdoor fun in Nashville doesn't stop with the categories listed above. Here are a couple of other ideas for great outdoor activities.

Nashville Zoo

Nashville Zoo Amenities

  • 90 acres of exhibits
  • Personal encounter zones
  • Zip lines
  • Train
  • Carousel
  • Jungle Gym

The Nashville Zoo is the 9th largest in the United States and is located six miles south of Nashville. There are 188 acres here, 90 of which are developed as exhibits and habitats for various wildlife. This top attraction has many interactive personal encounter zones, and there is a historic home and farm here. Fun times can be had riding the zip lines, a train, a carousel, or with a visit to the amazing 66,000 square foot Jungle Gym on-site.

Nashville Zoo Additional Information

  • Address: Nashville Zoo, 3777 Nolensville Pike, Nashville, TN 37211
  • Phone: 615-833-1534


Adventureworks Amenities

  • Ziplining
  • Swinging bridges
  • Hanging vines
  • Cargo nets
  • High-speed lines

Adventureworks is the place to go for ziplining in Nashville. These tours are unique and present challenges that include swinging bridges, hanging vines, cargo nets, and high-speed lines. Guests can embrace their inner Tarzan inside while traveling through the forest treetops and across ponds under the watch of a skilled instructor.

Adventureworks Additional Information

  • Address: Adventureworks, 4125 Whites Creek Pike, Whites Creek, Tennessee
  • Phone: 615-297-2250
  • Hours: Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Sunday Noon – 4 p.m.

Nashville Locals Love the Great Outdoors

Locals can take a short walk or drive from many of their new construction homes or condos in Nashville to get to a place where outdoor adventures await. The year-round pleasant weather makes Nashville a great place for outdoor pursuits, from parks, lakes, and rivers to golf and other unique attractions.

If the opportunities of Nashville excite you, contact The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage with Nashville's MLS at (615) 603-3602 to get in touch with local real estate agents who can help find the perfect Nashville home for you today.

Read Our Outdoor Activities Guides For Each City Below


Gary Ashton

The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage

The #1 RE/MAX team in the World!

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