Nashville isn’t all hot chicken, honky tonks and live music. In fact, the greater metro area is home to more than 100 parks, miles of trails and greenways and an iconic botanical gardens. And yes, while it may be landlocked, there’s also plenty of spots to shake the summer heat along one of its many rivers and expansive lakes.
Here, we’re sharing our favorite spots that give you a bit more leg room in and around Music City.
Grab a bike through Nashville B-cycle for a day and ride the greenways through the city starting at Riverfront Park in downtown along the Cumberland River. Break off and head toward Bicentennial Park to the Farmer’s Market. Or continue on for a long, leisurely 6-mile ride ending at Ted Rhodes Park (and back). Or Bike the Greenway. There are two separate paths depending on the level of adventure your looking for. The Shelby Bottoms Greenway is a 4-mile ride into East Nashville and the Stones River Greenway covers 8 paved miles with numerous side routes and some elevation changes. Challenge accepted!
Just 10-miles south of the downtown action sits Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, a 55-acre garden and art museum on the historic Cheek estate year-round. In July, a new exhibition ‘Chihuly at Cheekwood’ will feature artwork (some exclusive) in both an indoor and outdoor setting.
Cast a line at Percy Priest Lake, among Nashville’s largest lakes, 15-minutes from downtown. The park spans 14,400 square acres and more than 250 miles of shoreline. Boat, fish, swim, picnic – you name it – you can do it here. Take a breather, sit back and relax or get out on the water. Check out Nashville Paddle Company for paddleboards and kayak rentals (check website for availability).
Tennessee’s largest municipal park sits just 9-miles from downtown Nashville, known as “The Warner Parks.” Spanning more than 2,600 acres, you’ll find a number of hiking trails, natural conversation areas, equestrian trails, golf courses and an 11-mile winding road if you’re into the cycling game.
Paddle your way down the Narrows of Harpeth, located 15-miles from Nashville. You’ll see just why it gets its name. You’ll head through a 100-foot tunnel carved through the rock in the early 1800s taking you for a five-mile float down river. It’s a class-1 river so beginners welcome. Don’t worry about gear. There are canoe outfitters like Foggy Bottom and Tip-A-Canoe, offering floats in case you don’t have your own.
Image credit to Caitlin Harris and Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp