Planning spring and summer travel that’s a little closer to home is the aim for many Americans in 2021. Maybe you’re searching for a smaller destination that’s less crowded than a beach or theme park. Maybe you’re ready for a convenient and affordable road trip with fun activities for the whole family. Maybe you’re simply looking for something different. Clarksville, Tenn. is a mid-size and budget-friendly city northwest of Nashville that offers scenic outdoor adventure, historic attractions, family entertainment, a charming downtown, and a surprisingly diverse food and beverage scene.
Dunbar Cave State Park is one of the region’s most popular outdoor sites, and its size makes social distancing easy. This 144-acre natural playground includes almost five miles of trails, picnic areas, wildlife, and seasonal cave tours. The meandering Cumberland Riverwalk is the city’s crown jewel, where you can enjoy walking, biking, boating, or finding a swing to take in a spectacular sunset. The Riverwalk connects directly to historic downtown restaurants, entertainment, shopping, galleries and breweries via the urban Upland Trail.
Rotary Park is a 111-acre forested city park with five+ miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, creeks, playgrounds, disc golf and picnic areas. You’ll also find large open spaces for play and a new 4,200-square-foot Nature Center with permanent and temporary displays and hands-on activities that show the natural history of the area. At North Ford St. Mountain Bike Park, cycling enthusiasts can enjoy a range of trails from a children’s area through technical routes that challenge advanced riders.
Climbers of all skill levels will have fun and relish the birds-eye river views at King’s Bluff Park. The limestone crag is 9.78 acres and has over 160 routes traversing the Cumberland. As at all public outdoor spaces, please make sure to take out what you bring in and help leave the areas pristine for future visitors.
Entertainment centers dot the perimeters of the city. The whole family will love indoor putt-putt and high-speed go-carts, axe throwing, trampolining or escape games. On summer weekends, enjoy free outdoor concerts at Downtown Commons and Beachaven Winery. The top-rated outdoor Downtown Market with fresh produce, crafts, baked goods and entertainment is a Saturday morning highlight.
Step into the rural mid-19th century when you visit Historic Collinsville Pioneer Settlement. Explore the16 authentically furnished buildings over 40 expansive acres with a self-guided audio tour. Time seems to slow down a bit amid the quiet rolling hills where you’re never in a hurry and have plenty of room to socially distance. Bring along a picnic and soak in the serenity.
The Fort Defiance Civil War Park and Interpretive Center is a defensive earthworks fort high above the bluffs of the Cumberland and Red River. Interactive displays inside the visitor center bring voices to the many faces of this turbulent era in our nation’s past. Outside, walk through the mounded grounds with canons, picnic areas and trails. Best of all are the panoramic views of downtown Clarksville.
The stunning 1898 architecture at the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center is a wow-factor for all visitors. Recently, the museum added underlighting around the roofline and cornices, making the site even more spectacular and night. Inside, visitors will enjoy both permanent and rotating creative and historic exhibits. The lower level includes a large area for hands-on kids’ play, a family art room and a massive model train exhibit.
Food & Beverage
Highlight your time in Clarksville with a globally inspired food culture for an even more memorable experience. Restaurant dining rooms are currently open at 50% capacity. The influence of a major military installation, state university and international industries bring the world’s flavors and sips to the community. One especially creative example is The Mad Herbalist, a tea lounge that crafts a full-sensory experience by curating sharable menus with edible concoctions, fragrance fusions, and plant-based drinks.
A hand full of breweries, a distillery, winery, and meadery give you a taste of the city’s passion for creativity, excellence and fun.
Some 25 sculptures, fountains and murals give Clarksville an artsy vibe. You’ll find many in an easily walkable four-block area within the central downtown district. Don’t miss Clarksvillian and Gomer Pyle USMC star Frank Sutton, “Tennessee Triumph” and the Eternal Flame on Public Square, the “Bursting with Pride” mural of the city’s historic spires, and the Children’s Fountain on Strawberry Alley. Adjacent to downtown inside Liberty Park, explore the stories of trailblazers and gold-medal Olympians Wilma Rudolph and Pat Head Summitt, who both hail from Clarksville and continue to inspire millions of young athletes.
Start planning your trip today at www.visitclarksvilletn.com or downtown the free VisitClarksvilleTN App.