Originally Published July 2021

While we all relish the idea of a summer getaway, taking the time to research and plan can be time-consuming. While we want to create life-long memories for our family, traveling with children can be a strain on the wallet. We have some good news: Clarksville continues to be an affordable destination for families, with plenty of free fun! Our central location off I-24 makes us a convenient road trip for many Americans. To help make your planning a breeze, we've put together some ideas and activities that will help you make the most of your travel budget this summer. (Header Photo: @britneytaylor.) 


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Downtown Commons

This full-block downtown park is a kid’s paradise. The Imagination Playground’s collection of large portable foam shapes allows kids to create a play space that is constantly built and rebuilt by their imaginations. Yard games on the lawn give plenty of opportunities to run out all that energy, while water features and splash fountains allow everyone to cool off from the summer heat. 

Worth The Splurge: Frozen Fuel serves made-in-house ice cream just down the street on Strawberry Alley. 


Fort Defiance Civil War Park

Spend some time learning about Clarksville’s Civil War history at one of the last intact earthen works forts in the United States. Wander the grounds to discover pieces from its past and admire the views of Historic Downtown Clarksville across the river. Don't miss the U.S. Colored Troops Monument, one of three in the nation, honoring the more than 20,000 UCSTs from Tennessee who served in the Civil War. Inside the large interpretive center, hear stories from those who lived in Clarksville during the war and browse artifacts and documents from that time. 

At events throughout the year, you can learn about life during the Civil War -- what the medical profession looked like, how soldiers mended their clothes, what types of food they ate and songs they sang, what a typical Christmas involved, what artillery was used and what a cannon sounds like.

Don't Miss It: Just around the block, Sevier Station is the oldest standing structure in Montgomery County. This was the homeplace of Valentine Sevier, revolutionary war hero and brother to Tennessee's first governor, John Sevier.


Hit the Water

Time on the water is like no other for unplugging and reconnecting. Bring your kayaks or schedule a trek with Run-A-Muck Outfitters  or Float Ya Boat to see the natural beauty of the area. If you venture down the Cumberland, you can also take in the best views of the city. Choose routes from 2-14 miles along the Cumberland and Red Rivers and their many creeks and forks. Of course, boating, fishing, waterskiing, canoeing, tubing, and creek wading are all fun too!

Bonus Idea: Stand-Up Paddleboarding. Wildflower SUP operates from nearby Cheatham Dam but also serves the Cumberland River here in Clarksville. 


Disc Golf

Have you discovered disc golf? It is truly a sport that the whole family can enjoy. Clarksville’s 18-hole course can be found at Rotary Park. Rotary is hilly and a bit challenging through woods and open areas so be prepared for some hiking. You will need to provide your own discs.


18 Themed Challenge Trails

Use the VisitClarksvilleTN App to explore the community. With trails like Outdoor Adventure, Artsy Shopping, and the African American Legacy Trail, you're sure to find something fun and interesting...and maybe even educational! Once trails are selected, the app acts as a GPS. Check in at stops along each trail to earn collectible challenge pins. Earned pins will be sent by mail. For a full summer adventure, collect all 18 custom-designed pins.


Picnics, Trails, Wildlife

Clarksville is home to over 30 local parks. Easily fill a day with splash pads, picnic areas, walking trails, mountain biking, horseshoes, playgrounds, a skate park, and more – all free!

Dunbar Cave State Park is a 144-acre natural playground full of wildlife, trails, picnic areas and signs sharing the site’s rich history

Rotary Park is a 111-acre nature park with over 5 miles of hiking/biking trails, an 18-hole disc golf course, an ADA-accessible playground, a sensory trail, and creek access. Be sure to visit the Wade Bourne Nature Center to play in the nature discovery area and see live animals and fish native to the area.

If off-road cycling is your thing, bring along the bikes and explore the trails at North Ford Street Mountain Bike Park. A variety of trails, even a designated kids' area, make the park suitable for all skill levels.

Worth The Splurge: If your budget allows, and everyone in your party is over age five, a guided cave tour at Dunbar is fascinating. It's the only public cave in the WORLD where you can see Mississippian Native American cave art dating to the 14th century. You can make reservations here


Let the Music Play

Downtown @ Sundown brings live music to Downtown Commons every first and third Friday from May to October. The free, family-friendly concerts feature local and regional bands from every genre. Bring a picnic and lawn chairs or dine at a local restaurant or food truck before heading over to hear the music.

Clarksville Parks and Recreation’s Summer Concert Series showcases local talent and local food at parks across the city on the third Thursday of each month from May to August.

Enjoy local singer/songwriters and food trucks at Beachaven Vineyards & Winery and the Restaurant at Old Glory Distilling every weekend.

Discover all of Clarksville’s concerts on our Concerts Calendar.


Clarksville Greenway

The Clarksville Greenway is an excellent and scenic choice for biking, walking, jogging, or inline skating. Hop on the 9-mile paved trail at any of four trailheads and find picturesque scenery among the bluffs, creek, overlooks and open fields. The 600-foot pedestrian bridge is particularly noteworthy.


Community Built Playground

The community-built playground in Liberty Park has just about everything a child could want in a playground, including a separate space designed exclusively for toddlers. With picnic facilities nearby, a two-mile paved walkway along the Cumberland River, a dog park, wildlife, a stocked fishing pond and plenty of open spaces for frisbee, soccer or kite flying, it is easy to spend an afternoon here.


Arts Galore!

Murals, sculptures, fountains, and galleries abound in downtown Clarksville. Find plenty of selfie-ready spots to learn about Clarksville's culture and heritage while seeing different artists' talents and perspectives. Meet and socialize with fellow art lovers and artists during monthly First Thursday Art Walks. Create art for free or for a small fee at ArtLink. Music fans must follow the TN Music Pathwaysfive stops in Clarksville. 

Even if you're not a planner but want a spur-of-the-moment, end-of-summer getaway, this list can make a trip to Clarksville easily do-able for your family. Order or download a Visitor Guide today for even more ideas.