For those who have lived in Tennessee for some time know that our state parks are rich with scenic views and history. All 56 state parks offer hiking and picnicking as activities, but many also have fishing, boating, biking and camping as well. While visiting any of the state parks is a great idea, here’s a short list of 5 that you should visit as soon as you get the chance.
1Roan Mountain State Park in Carter County
About: Roan Mountain State Park located near the Tennessee-North Carolina line in the Blue Ridge of the Appalachian Mountains. One of the really unique features of the park is an authentic Appalachian settlement called the Miller Farmstead, which was originally built in 1908. The homestead includes a barn, corn crib, hog pen, root cellar, smoke house, chicken house, spring house and, of course, and an outhouse, and is available for tours from Memorial Day to Labor Day. There’s also tons of trails with beautiful scenery to explore.
Distance: Approx 5 hour drive
2Big Ridge State Park in Union County
About: Heavily wooded and expanded across 3500 acres, the Big Ridge State Park was created in the 1930s as part of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) Norris Project, which sought to offer visitors a natural refuge. Big Ridge is a hiker’s dream. It consists of more than 15 miles of hiking trails ranging from easy to very rugged. This park also offers a 49 acre lake, which offers boating rentals and swimming during the summer season, while it’s ramps are open year round.
Distance: Approx 3 1/2 hour drive
3Cumberland Mountain State Park in Cumberland County
About: Part of the Cumberland Plateau, the Cumberland Mountain State Park is just a small piece of a larger park that expands from western New York to central Alabama. It was once home to many poverty stricken families, and later was reserved for recreational space for another 250 displaced families in 1937. Today, this large park offers year round activities and scenery for the whole family.
Distance: Approx 2 1/2 hour drive
4Tims Ford State Park in Franklin County
About: This 1300 acre park around the Tims Ford Reservoir includes plenty of playgrounds and picnic spaces for the whole family to enjoy. The park has an olympic sized pool open from Memorial Day through Labor Day and visitors are also welcome to swim in the lake. The Tims Ford Lake is considered one of the most picturesque lakes in Tennessee and is regarded as one of the top bass fishing and recreational lakes in the Southeast.
Distance: Approx 1 1/2 hour drive
5Montgomery Bell State Park in Dickson County
Once a park of the iron industry here in Tennessee, the park was home to those seeking a better life through mining iron. The park includes the replica sites of the first Cumberland Presbyterian Church founded by Reverend Samuel McAdow and his log cabin. Like other state parks, it also has tons of trails and activities for the family to take part in and year-round presentations.
Approx: 1 hour drive
Tennessee proudly welcomes locals and visitors to their state parks to discover the wildlife and heritage of the state. For more information on these and other parks, including events, activities, and tour information, visit their official website here.