Tennessee has some of the most beautiful parks in the country. Steeped in history, the parks of Tennessee are a paradise for nature lovers and history lovers alike.
In the Northernmost part of the state, the area surrounding the city of Clarksville is a great place to start your adventures. And one of the best ways to do that is by visiting nearby state parks.
Map of State Parks Near Clarksville, TN
Here is a map of the state parks in Tennessee covered by this post:
List of State Parks Near Clarksville
Here are each of those state parks with distance from Clarksville and what is special about each.
1. Dunbar Cave State Park
Location: 401 Old Dunbar Cave Rd, Clarksville, TN 37043
If you are visiting or even just passing through Clarksville, you will find this unique park just four short miles from the center of town.
Dunbar Cave is a prehistoric park rich in the history of Mississippi Native America. Prehistoric cave drawings dating back to the 14th century adorn the walls of the cave that Mississippians believe was a portal to the underworld. Visitors can take a guided tour of the cave and get an up close and personal view of the historic art work.
The park offers various educational activities for students either in the park or in the classroom. Outside of the cave, the 144-acre park offers a wealth of natural beauty with a wide variety of wildlife to observe, the most prevalent species being birds.
Over three miles of hiking trails of varying levels of difficulty wind through the park from the visitors’ center providing a serene, natural experience with a unique journey into the history of the area.
2. Port Royal State Park
Location: 3300 Old Clarksville Hwy., Adams, TN 37010
Just a short, 14-mile drive East of Clarksville lies Port Royal State Park.
This small but significant park is rich in the history of the area and definitely worth a visit. Part of the National Trail of Tears Historic Trail, Port Royal brings together the history of the Cherokee Native Americans, the once-prosperous town built by enslaved men, women and children, and the agriculture and commerce that built the area. The park focuses on these and other historical aspects of the area in its programs and events.
A historical tour of the town is offered every Saturday and Sunday year-round for a $5 fee, and lasts for approximately one hour. School groups of school-aged children ages 8-12 can schedule an immersive interpretive experience about the Trail of Tears. This is a three-hour program that consists of three separate activities about the history of the Cherokee in the area.
Short, easy walking trails will take visitors through the historic town’s main street, along the Red River, and through the natural forested areas surrounding the town.
3. Paris Landing State Park
Paris Landing State Park is a 841-acre park that lies 45 miles West of Clarksville along the bank of the Tennessee River.
The river is dammed to form the 160,000-acre Kentucky Lake, which is perfect for all sorts of water sports, from boating and fishing to water skiing. There is one fishing pier located at the lake, and over 100 species can be found in the deep waters and hidden coves. There is also a public swimming beach with a beach house and picnic area nearby.
The park also offers a full-service marina for annual and daily slips for rent. A four-lane public boat ramp will accommodate wave runners and boats. Smaller personal boats can be launched from the shoreline. Sailing is popular on Kentucky Lake as well.
For land activities, the park features a 72-par golf course along the Western shore of Kentucky Lake. The course offers a driving range, putting green, club rentals, and a snack bar. Lessons are also available at this year-round course. For those who wish to extend their stay, onsite cabins can be rented as part of a golfing package.
Other land activities are available for day use or overnight guests. There are three loop trails ranging in difficulty from easy to moderate including one ADA accessible trail. The camping facilities include a 38-site modern campground, 18 primitive sites, and six camping cabins for rent. While camping is offered year-round, the camp store is open May through October and carries camping supplies and snacks.
4. Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park
Location: 600 James Robertson Pkwy, Nashville, TN 37243
Located a 47-mile drive South of Clarksville in Nashville, Tennessee, The Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park is rich in the area’s history and gives visitors a natural way to explore the wonders of Nashville. Tennessee’s Bicentennial Celebration on June 1, 1996 solidified the park’s place in the city, preserving the nature surrounding the Capitol despite the urban development that has spread across the city.
Visitors walking through the 11-acre park can experience all sorts of aspects of Tennessee history including a World War II Memorial, a Pathway of History, a 200-foot granite map of the state, and the Rivers of Tennessee Fountains. But perhaps the most popular of the attractions at the park is the 95-bell Carillon that plays on an automated schedule throughout the day, delighting visitors of all ages.
There is a visitor center with restrooms, and picnic tables are available on a first-come first-serve basis. For shopping, the park gift shop is located inside the visitor center, and the Nashville Farmer’s Market, adjacent to the park, is open year-round, offering a wide variety of shops and restaurants.
The park is an excellent location for gatherings of all kinds. School groups can take advantage of educational programs for an immersive historical experience through hands-on activities. The park is also a popular outdoor venue for events such as weddings, concerts, or other events. There are four rental areas available, and all areas have electrical access. Reservations must be made for event rental at $1545 per day, per area.
5. Bledsoe Creek State Park
Location: 400 Zieglers Fort Rd, Gallatin, TN 37066
Bledsoe Creek State Park is the farthest of these parks from Clarksville, sitting 69 miles Southeast of the city. Like many of the parks in Tennessee, the area is rich in history, and offers an engaging classroom surrounded by natural beauty.
The park has a modern, paved, 58-site campground complete with electrical hookups and modern bathhouses. There are also grassy tent sites and three sites have been modified to meet ADA compliance standards. Rustic, hammock sites are available at the back of the park. They are hike-in only and are limited to six people per site.
Although there are no areas designated for swimming, Old Hickory Lake is perfect for fishing, boating and water skiing. The hiking trails throughout the park vary in difficulty and provide lots of opportunities for bird watching and absorbing the natural wonder of the park.
The Visitor Center at the park offers a gift shop with maps and souvenirs, classrooms for educational activities, and a modern-equipped board room for hosing events for up to 20 people. The park is the perfect blend of history, natural beauty and educational opportunities that you can expect from Tennessee.
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