Like many of us, your plans for a getaway to a major destination may have been waylaid this year. Or, maybe you're not yet comfortable flying or traveling with crowds. A regional road trip to a smaller destination might be just the thing to work wonders for your family's morale...without a burden on your budget. Plus, there's nothing quite like a family road trip to create the memories your children will talk about for years.
These four family travel influencers visited Clarksville from Florida, Texas, North Carolina, and here in Tennessee. We're sharing some of their favorite places to spark ideas for your trip. (And, their original blog posts are linked too.)
The Hurried Hostess
The Andersons drove to the east coast from Texas last August and needed a good half-way stop. With a little research, they decided on Clarksville. This family of four packed in everything possible during their stay.
Because it was August, they balanced their plans with plenty of indoor playtime at DEFY Clarksville Extreme Air Park (formerly Planet 3) and The City Forum. They were all pleasantly surprised at the variety of things to see at the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center.
Our favorite story from Stacey came from her son on their last evening in Clarksville. After playing at Downtown Commons' Imagination Playground, they walked to Frozen Fuel. While there, he said, "Mom, this was the best day ever." #highpraise
Favorite Meal: "Strawberry Alley Ale Works was my favorite meal from our trip. The soft pretzels with cheese sauce for an appetizer are a must! I hate soft pretzels that are too hard, and these were just perfect!"
The Ferriers traveled from Nashville for an action-packed weekend in April. There was still so much they wanted to experience that they returned in early November for a weekend of fall activities.
Between the two trips, the Ferriers explored most all of the city's trails, especially enjoying Rotary Park, the Greenway, and RiverWalk. "I try to find a great spot for family photos on every vacation," says Lindsay, "and in Clarksville, McGregor Park & the RiverWalk at sunset definitely fits the bill." They also found the tour at Dunbar Cave especially interesting. "I consider a cave tour to be a must-do if you’re visiting Clarksville. It’s that good."
The Ferriers also raved about downtown. Admittedly, they didn't spend a lot of time shopping on their family trip, but Lindsay eyed several spots to check out when she's with girlfriends or own her own. "Everything I saw in the windows at Hey Noli looked amazing and it will be the first shop I visit when I come back to Clarksville." Another favorite for a truly local experience is the Downtown Artists Co-Op.
Favorite Meal: "It's so hard to choose just one favorite, but I think Clarksville's most interesting and unique experience for visitors is The Mad Herbalist. The food was creative and fantastic and we also really loved the selection of teas. The hobbity feel of the space also makes it great for kids."
The Evans family traveled from North Carolina in early November. Clarksville had been on Drea's list to visit for a long while because of its military connection. Normally, that would be a fantastic time to visit -- cooler, pleasant temperatures, low humidity. But, this past November we enjoyed an early cold front with ice. The Evans had some car trouble about 70 miles away and weren't sure they could make it. Fortunately, they were able to get the repairs they needed and arrive safely in spite of the atypical weather.
They loved learning about local history and hearing the various interpretations of the Civil War at Fort Defiance. Seeing the views of the city from atop the bluff was a plus. Downtown Franklin Street with its art and history was a favorite for Drea. "The cutest shop that caught my eye was The Copper Petal. Everything in the shop screamed 'buy me'."
As a wine lover, the Evans' arranged a tour and tasting at Beachaven Winery. Normally sticking to the familiar, Drea's adventurous spirit won out and she fell in love with Heavenly Peach, but the whole family enjoyed seeing and learning about the process of making the wine from vine to glass.
Favorite Meal: Drea says, "I loved how the walls at Mission BBQ were filled with recognition of soldiers and veterans. We ordered a great spread of yummy food that we all could not stop talking about."
Detail Oriented Traveler
The Denmarks drive from Central Florida every summer to visit family in Michigan. Again, Clarksville made the perfect half-way stop to add to their adventure. Educational experiences that engage teenagers are an important part of their travel planning, so Clarksville offered plenty to accommodate their criteria.
This active family enjoyed a cave tour at Dunbar Cave, learning about the Mississippian Native American art. They also explored King's Bluff and made some observations about climbing for a future trip, and rented B-Cycles to ride along the Cumberland RiverWalk and Upland Trail.
One of their highlights was a tour at Historic Collinsville Pioneer Settlement. "We visit a lot of these types of places with the kids, but this is one of the most authentic we've seen," Tonya said. They also spent time at the "extraordinary" Customs House Museum.
Finding so much to explore and enjoy about downtown, Tonya wrote a separate blog and mapped out a downtown walking tour that highlights historic churches, public art, places to eat, and interesting shopping and activities.
Favorite Meal: "We loved the atmosphere, pizza and beers at Upstairs at Strawberry Alley. The food was also incredible and the beers good at Blackhorse Pub & Brewery. The kids really enjoyed Frozen Fuel."