Tennessee is a great state for outdoorsy family activities. Whether you are a native or just passing through the Volunteer State, here are some of the top outdoor activities the state has to offer.
Ocoee River Whitewater Rafting
In 1996, the Ocoee River was home to Olympic events that pertained to whitewater. Now, there are several outfitters who will take you and your family down the five miles of Class III / IV river.
The U.S. Forest Service now operates the former Olympic venue in Ducktown, Tennessee, an hour away from downtown Chattanooga.
The Henry Horton Trap and Skeet Range
The range is located at Henry Horton State Park, which offers a wide range of activities in addition to shooting sports. The range has a concession stand, two trap fields and five skeet fields. While gun rentals and ammo are available, you can bring your own gear, too. If you plan on making target shooting a regular feature of family time, you might want to pick up some equipment to avoid wasting money on weekly rental fees.
Visitors can fish, hike, golf and boat at the park. There are also several lodging options: RV parking, an inn, tent camping sites and cabins.
Davy Crockett’s Birthplace State Park
This 105-acre state park in Greene County honors Davy Crockett, the legendary frontiersman turned politician who was killed at the infamous Alamo battle. A replica cabin was erected near the site of the Crockett’s original cabin. Additionally, the park has 88 campsites (RV, tent and primitive camping), a swimming pool and a playground.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
According to the National Park Service, eight to 10 million people visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park every year. It is America’s most-visited national park. Nature is the main draw to this Southern Appalachian treasure. From wildlife watching (watch out out for bears) to hiking, the park is a great place for outdoorsy types to play.
At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome, is Tennessee’s and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s highest point. It is also the third highest point east of the Mississippi River. Clingmans Dome Observation Tower is open to the public, but the road leading to it is closed December 1st through March 31st. You can see 100 miles on clear days, so it is definitely worth the trip.
You can even stop by Dollywood, Dolly Parton’s theme park in Pigeon Forge, while you are in the area.
Honeysuckle Hill Farm Zip Line
Honeysuckle Hill Farm Zip Line in Springfield (30 minutes from Nashville) is a cool way to spend the day. The Tree Top Canopy Tour consists of the following: three Skytowers, three Skybridges and eight zip lines. Admission to the park also includes use of a climbing wall, two jumping pillows and a bungee trampoline.
Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park and Ski Area
Families have a ton of options at Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park and Ski Area. While snow skiing, ice skating, tubing, and snowboarding take center stage during the winter, the attraction has something going on year-round.
Historic Mansker’s Station at Moss-Wright Park
Located in Goodlettsville, much of this 147-acre park isn’t much different than any other municipal park: soccer fields, a dog park and picnic areas. However, Moss-Wright Park is also home to Historic Mansker’s Station, recognized as one of America’s best living history exhibits. Here you can get an idea of what life was like for Tennessee’s earliest settlers.