Summer is in full swing at Tennessee State Parks, with plenty to do and see! With a Tennessee State Park within an hour’s drive of just about anywhere in the state, families seeking unique recreation opportunities, high-quality accommodations and an exceptional value can look a bit closer to home. Finding a state park in your own backyard is easy to do and you don’t have to spend a lot of gas money to get there!
Tennessee State Parks offer a variety of activities and events throughout the summer. From great hikes to a one-of-a-kind butterfly celebration – there’s something designed for the entire family!
Listed below are just a few of these great “One Tank” Trips.
Cedars of Lebanon State Park
Visit Cedars of Lebanon State Park on Friday, August 13th, for a Veterans Day Out. Join the Friends of Cedars of Lebanon as they host and honor hospitalized veterans from Alvin C. York Medical Center for a day in the park. Lunch will be served by local organizations, churches and businesses – all gracious sponsors of the event. Music will also be provided by local bluegrass musicians, donating their time and talent. For more information, please call the Friends Group at 615-286-1390.
Cedars of Lebanon’s 7th Annual Triathlon is scheduled for Saturday, August 28th. Proceeds from this popular sprint triathlon benefits the Friends of Cedars of Lebanon. Be sure to register early, as the event is limited to 448 racers! Race distances include a 300-yard swim, 16.5-mile bike ride and a three-mile run. For more information, contact Faye Yates or at 615-415-3520.
Visit http://team-magic.com/events/cedarsoflebanon/index.html for online registration.
Cedars of Lebanon State Park and State Forest are located in the southwestern part of Wilson County within the central basin of Tennessee. Both were established during the 1930s as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s program to resettle people and replant the Cedar trees that had been heavily harvested. The area now contains one of the largest juniper forests in the country. For more information about the park, visit www.tnstateparks.com/Cedars.
David Crockett State Park
David Crockett State Park will host Crockett Days, Friday through Sunday, August 13th-15th. Come step back in time at this annual celebration of David Crockett’s birthday. A pre-1840s rendezvous will be set up in the park and will host a number of activities. There will be shooting competitions, tomahawk throwing, blacksmithing, fire starting, tanning, period music, trade goods for sale and more! For more information call: 931-762-9408.
David Crockett State Park is located at 1400 West Gaines, just off of Highway 64, one half-mile west of Lawrenceburg. David Crockett was a pioneer, soldier, politician and industrialist born near Limestone, TN in 1786. He moved to Lawrence County in 1817 and served as a justice of the peace, a colonel of the militia and as a state representative. Along the banks of Shoal Creek, he established a diversified industry consisting of a powdermill, gristmill and distillery – losing all three operations to a flood in 1821. Financial difficulties from these losses prompted Crockett to move to West Tennessee, where he was elected to Congress. Crockett died at the Alamo Mission in March 1836, while aiding the Texans in their fight for independence from Mexico. Additional information about the park can be found at www.tnstateparks.com/DavidCrockettSP.
Fall Creek Falls State Park
Fall Creek Falls State Park’s Summer Concert Series offers live music every weekend through September 5th. Featuring an array of artists, including country, bluegrass and folk, all concerts begin at 7:30pm (CDT) and will run approximately two hours. Admission is $3.00 and children six and under are admitted free. The roster of upcoming featured artists includes:
- Saturday, August 14th: Fredonia Bluegrass
- Saturday, August 21st: Lantana Drifters
- Saturday, August 28th: Hickory Wind
Make plans for the Tri Fall Creek Falls Triathlon, scheduled for Sunday, August 15th. This is a popular Olympic distance triathlon featuring a 1.5k swim, followed by a 40k bike ride and a 10k run. Register at http://www.racedayevents.net/Fall_Creek_Falls.html. For more information, please call Martin Coleman at 865-250-3618.
Fall Creek Falls’ Summer Season also is in full swing – offering an array of activities! Softball, nature hikes, canoe floats, campfires, horseback riding and bluegrass music are just some of the unique opportunities that mark Fall Creek Falls’ summer programming. Interpretative and recreational events are scheduled seven days a week. For a complete schedule of events, please call 423-881-5298.
Fall Creek Falls State Park is a 25,500-acre paradise on the western Cumberland Plateau. Located just 40 miles south of Cookeville and 65 miles north of Chattanooga, the park offers incredible scenic beauty and recreational opportunities. Beautiful waterfalls, tremendous canyons and dense forests are protected within the park’s boundaries. Visitors will find a 250-site campground, a hotel and conference center and 30 cabins among the park’s many amenities. For more information about the park, visit www.tnstateparks.com/FallCreekFalls.
Long Hunter State Park
Long Hunter State Park will hold a number of events and activities in the coming weeks. For additional information about these opportunities, please call 615-885-2422.
- Friday the 13th Movie Night: Friday, August 13th, at 7:00pm – Are you among those who consider bugs to be scary, mysterious, creepy-crawly creatures? Join Long Hunger for a one-of-a-kind film that will change your mind and show you a whole new world. The documentary Microcosmos uses groundbreaking camera techniques to show you the insect world like you’ve never seen it. From the same team who produced the classic nature documentaries Winged Migration and Oceans – this is one you can’t miss! Feel free to bring snacks and drinks.
- Volunteer Clean-Up Day: Saturday, August 14th, at 9:00am – Join in the effort to clean more flood debris from Long Hunter State Park. Efforts will focus on the section of the Bryant Grove Trail located near the Bryant Grove Recreation Area. Participants should bring water, gloves, and a snack for a lunch break and meet near the swim beach at Bryant Grove. Cleanup should last approximately two to three hours. Please contact the park office for directions at 615-885-2422.
- Edible and Medicinal Plants: Sunday, August 15th, at 4:00pm – Could you survive in the woods on our native plants? Learn to identify edible plants and how to make delicious treats and thirst quenchers from plants that may be growing in your very own back yard. Participants will meet at the park office.
- Early Bird Canoe Float: Monday, August 16th, at 8:00am – Join us on scenic Couchville Lake for a peaceful canoe float before the day gets too hot. There will be a basic canoeing lesson before we head out on the water. Equipment will be provided. This program is designed for ages six and above. Reservations can be made at the park office.
- Tree ID Walk: Wednesday, August 18th, at 5:00pm – Did you know that Long Hunter State Park features the only state-certified arboretum in Tennessee State Parks? Join Naturalist Jason Allen on a leisurely stroll along the two-mile arboretum trail and learn about the wide variety of trees found at Long Hunter. Participants should meet at the Area 2 parking lot.
Totally Turtles, Captivating Canoes and Rowdy Raccoons are just a few of the upcoming topics The Nature Circle at Long Hunter State Park will be discussing in the coming weeks. Kicking off its season programming in early August, The Nature Circle is an interactive group made up of nature-themed stories, puppets, songs and crafts for ages three to five. The group meets at the park visitor center every Monday at 10:00am and is co-sponsored by the Friends of Long Hunter State Park. Children are encouraged to bring an item, such as a favorite book, stuffed animal or photograph that relates to each week’s theme. For a complete schedule of events, please visit http://www.friendsoflonghunter.com/kidsplace.html or call 615-885-2422.
Long Hunter State Park is situated along the shore of J. Percy Priest Lake. It consists of four units: Couchville, Baker’s Grove, Bryant Grove and Sellars Farm. Picnicking, swimming, hiking, backpacking, boating, fishing, nature photography and wildlife observation are among the activities available to park visitors. Planned activities include interpretive and recreation programs for the general public and environmental education programs for school and other interested groups. For more information about Long Hunter State Park, please visit www.tnstateparks.com/LongHunter or call 615-885-2422.
Tims Ford State Park
Enjoy an evening of bluegrass, country and gospel music at Tims Ford State Park’s Saturday Night Pickin’s party on Saturday, August 14th, from 5:30pm to 9:00pm. The event will be held at the park’s recreation building and musicians are encouraged to bring their own instruments to join in the music making! For more information about this event, please call 931-962-1183. There will be another opportunity to enjoy this event on Saturday, August 28th, with more to be announced for the month of September.
Tims Ford State Park, located on the Tims Ford Reservoir in the rolling hills of southern Middle Tennessee, is an outstanding recreational area and fishing paradise. Long before the construction of Tims Ford Dam on the headwaters of the Elk River, the area was used extensively by American Indians as a hunting and fishing territory. Archaeological excavations uncovered numerous artifacts and occupational sites, indicating that man had occupied the area as much as 10,000 to 12,000 years ago. For more information about the park, please visit www.tnstateparks.com/TimsFord.
Burgess Falls State Park
Burgess Falls State Park and Natural Area in Sparta will host the 6th Annual Butterfly Garden Celebration from 9:00am to 3:00pm on Saturday, August 14th. A variety of educational programs will be offered in the award-winning Native Butterfly Garden and surrounding park for this event. Scheduled programs will include:
- A Walk in the Woods: 9:00am – State Naturalist Randy Hedgepath will take participants on an easy hike through the forest, talking about trees and telling their stories. Participants will meet at the River Trail/Service Road Loop trailhead.
- Goodness Snakes Alive: 10:00am – The park’s cold-blooded residents will be discussed at the park amphitheater.
- Dragonflies and Damselflies: 11:00am – Join Richard Connors for an easy walk, learning how to identify these unique insects. This program will begin at the park amphitheater, and participants are encouraged to bring binoculars.
- Landscaping with Native Plants: 11:00am – Meet at the amphitheater to learn how to landscape with native plants and attract butterflies and other wildlife to your own yard.
- Butterfly Identification Walk: Noon and 2:00pm – Middle Tennessee Naturalist John Froeschauer will lead an informal butterfly identification “walk and talk,” beginning in the open garden and continuing into the nearby woodland habitat. His talk will focus on native butterfly food and nectar plants. Participants are encouraged to bring binoculars. The program will be held at noon, with a repeat presentation at 2:00pm.
- Creek Studies: Noon – Participants will learn to measure a stream’s health by observing the animals that live in it. They will meet at the picnic pavilion and should wear wading shoes.
- Hike to the Big Falls Overlook: 2:00pm – Participants will join the park’s Ranger staff for an hour-long hike from the picnic shelter to the main falls overlook. They should wear sturdy shoes and bring water. Meet at the amphitheater.
Burgess Falls is a 350-acre park, which lies on the rugged Eastern Highland Rim in Putnam and White counties. It is noted for its sheer bluffs, narrow ridges, waterfalls and diverse forests. The Burgess Falls Native Butterfly Garden was created by park staff, the Putnam County Master Gardeners, countless volunteers and the Iris Fund group. For more information about the Butterfly Garden Celebration at Burgess Falls State Park and Natural Area, please call 931-432-5312.
Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park
Join the Friends of Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park on Saturday, August 21st, for a Park Clean-Up effort – helping improve the park for all to enjoy! Cleanup will last approximately three hours. Participants are encouraged to wear their “volunteer” shirts.
Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park is located at the foot of the State Capitol. The park is bordered by James Robertson Parkway, Jefferson Street and Sixth and Seventh Avenues. For more information about the park, please visit www.tnstateparks.com/Bicentennial or call the park office at 615-741-5280.
Tennessee’s 53 state parks and 80 natural areas offer diverse natural, recreational and cultural experiences for individuals, families, or business and professional groups. State park features range from pristine natural areas to 18-hole championship golf courses. For a free brochure about Tennessee State Parks, call toll free 1-888-867-2757. For additional information, visit our Web site at www.tnstateparks.com.