Tennessee – The holidays are upon us and there’s no better place to get into the spirit of the season than at a Tennessee State Park! Below are several upcoming events in your area – celebrating the holidays with a variety of fun, family opportunities. We also wanted to send a quick reminder that Tennessee State Parks’ restaurants will be open on Thanksgiving Day
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 fall. From great hikes to bluegrass – there’s something designed for the entire family!
Here are just a few state park events in your area.
Thanksgiving in Tennessee State Parks
Take the stress out of your holiday and let Tennessee State Parks host your friends and family, with Tennessee’s natural wonders serving as your backdrop during this season of thanksgiving.
Tennessee State Park officials are pleased to announce that all eight state park restaurants will be open Thursday, November 25th, serving their annual Thanksgiving Day feast. Thanksgiving turkey and all the traditional trimmings, along with an assortment of desserts, will be available beginning at 11:00am until closing at state park restaurants across Tennessee. Selections and prices will vary depending on location, ranging from $12.95 to $14.95 (excluding drink and gratuity). Group reservations are recommended.
The Tennessee State Park restaurants serving Thanksgiving Day dinner are:
- Cumberland Mountain State Park — 931-484-7186
- David Crockett State Park (Lawrenceburg) — 931-762-9541
- Fall Creek Falls State Park — 423-881-5241
- Henry Horton State Park — 931-364-2222
- Montgomery Bell State Park — 615-797-3101
- Natchez Trace State Park — 731-968-8176
- Paris Landing State Park — 731-642-4311
- Pickwick Landing State Park — 731-689-3135
South Cumberland State Park
South Cumberland State Park will host a variety of unique hikes and programs this weekend, including:
- Tree ID Guide: Friday, November 26th at 2:00pm – Meet at the Stone Door Ranger Station to create your own backyard tree ID field guide. All materials will be provided.
- Animal Tracks: Saturday, November 27th at 2:00pm – Meet the ranger at Stone Door Ranger Station for a discussion on native animals, creating your own field guides. Participants will be able to take their own field guide home to identify tracks left around the park and at home.
- Make Your Own Terrarium/Aquarium: Sunday, November 28th at 2:00pm – Meet the ranger at the Stone Door Ranger Station to make and decorate land or water containers to take home and fill with your own fish, insects or small critters. Participants should bring an empty two-liter bottle.
- Savage Gulf Slideshow: Sunday, November 28th at 3:00pm – Meet Ranger George for an informative slideshow about the Savage Gulf/Stone Door area. Participants should meet the Savage Gulf Ranger Station.
- Knot Tying 101: Thursday, December 2nd at 4:00pm – Meet Ranger Brent at the South Cumberland Visitor Center to learn how to tie some basic knots.
- Animal Tracks: Friday, December 3rd at 2:00pm – Meet the ranger at the Stone Door Ranger Station for a discussion on native animals. Participants will create their own field guides to take home for identification of tracks around the park or in your own backyard!
- Pinecone Birdfeeders: Saturday, December 4th at 2:00pm – Join park staff at the Stone Door Ranger Station to learn about our feathered friends and their role in the ecosystem, while making pinecone birdfeeders.
- Snakes: Sunday, December 5th at 2:00pm – Meet at the Stone Door Ranger Station to learn about snakes and how to identify the few venomous snakes in the area.
Located near Monteagle, South Cumberland is one of the newer Tennessee State Parks. Almost the entire park lies atop the Cumberland Plateau and, unlike most state parks, South Cumberland is made up of ten different areas located in four different counties. The Visitor Center is located between Monteagle and Tracy City on Highway 41. For more information about the park, please call 931-924-2980 or visit www.tnstateparks.com/SouthCumberland.
Long Hunter State Park
Animals Hibernating, Migration Moves Me, the Feather Club and Evergreen Exploration are just a few of the upcoming topics The Nature Circle at Long Hunter State Park will be discussing in the coming weeks. 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 www.friendsoflonghunter.com/kidsplace.html or call 615-885-2422. The park would like to also take this time to inform visitors about the holiday schedule for The Nature Circle, which will be closed December 27th and January 3rd.
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.
Fall Creek Falls State Park
Fall Creek Falls State Park will herald in the holidays with its annual Christmas on the Mountain Celebration, slated for Friday, December 3rd through Sunday, December 5th, at the park’s Inn and Conference Center. In addition to a number of activities for all ages, the three-day celebration will feature handmade crafts, candies and breads. The Inn will be adorned with holiday decorations and various musical groups and choirs will perform throughout the weekend.
Make plans now for a special breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Inn’s restaurant on Saturday, December 4th, from 8:00am to 10:00am. Adding to the festive spirit will be weekend appearances by Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, bringing gifts to the little ones. Other activities for children and adults include Christmas craft making and storytelling, which will be offered on Saturday, December 4th, beginning at 9:00am until 11:00am. Also on Saturday the Friends of Fall Creek Falls will host a silent auction from 11:00am until 3:00pm, with proceeds benefiting the Friends group’s ongoing efforts at Fall Creek Falls.
To make this weekend even more special, the Fall Creek Falls Inn is offering a “Christmas on the Mountain Package,” which includes two nights (based on double occupancy) lodging, along with breakfast for two on Saturday and Sunday for $124.12. To make reservations, please call the Inn toll free at 800-250-8610 or 423-881-5241. The Fall Creek Falls Restaurant also will be serving a seafood buffet on Friday night and a chef-carved Prime Rib buffet on Saturday night.
Fall Creek Falls State Park features waterfalls, cascades, streams, gorges, timberland and a variety of recreation facilities and activities. The park is located in Bledsoe and Van Buren counties, 11 miles east of Spencer and 11 miles west of Pikeville. It may be entered from Highway 111 or Highway 30. For more information about Fall Creek Falls State Park and upcoming activities, please visit the park’s Web site at www.tnstateparks.com/FallCreekFalls. For information regarding the Friends of Fall Creek Falls, please visit www.fallcreekfalls.org. For information regarding Christmas on the Mountain, please call 423-881-5708.
Tims Ford State Park
Runners are encouraged to participate in the Tims Ford Deer Trail Run on Saturday, December 4th. Sponsored by the Mach Tenn Running Club, this scenic run-mile run through Tims Ford State Park is part of the Tennessee State Parks Running Tour – a unique fall and winter series of foot races with distances varying from 5 to 13 miles and serves as the oldest state parks’ running series in the nation. There are a total of 20 races this season and the Deer Trail Run is the ninth race of the tour. For more information, please e-mail Holly Matthews at .
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.
Tennessee’s 53 state parks and 81 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.