While we all relish the idea of a summer getaway, taking the time to research and plan can be time consuming. Not to mention, travel cost -- like everything else -- is on the rise. Here's the good news: Clarksville continues to be an affordable destination for families, which 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.)
This full-block urban park is a kid’s delight. An imagination playground with a collection of large blue foam parts allows kids to create a play space that is constantly built and re-built by their imaginations. Water features like a small river replica, a delta area, and small fountains make this a summer favorite.
Worth The Splurge: Frozen Fuel made-in-house ice cream just down the street on Strawberry Alley.
Fort Defiance Civil War Park
Hear the stories, learn the history, see the equipment, wander the grounds and experience the views at the Fort Defiance Civil War Park & Interpretive Center. This free attraction includes a remarkable Visitor Center. At event 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 along your kayaks or schedule a trek with Run-A-Muck Outfitters to see the area's most natural beauty. 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!
New This Year: Stand-Up Paddleboarding. Wildflower SUP operates from nearby Cheatham Dam but also serves the Cumberland River here in Clarksville.
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 more 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. Some 18 different themed trails from Best Burgers to Outdoor Adventure to Architectural Gems to Artsy Shopping to the African American Legacy Trail, you're sure to find something fun and interesting...and maybe even educational! From the app, select the trail(s) you'd like to follow and you'll have an automatic GPS. Check in at the required number of stops (usually about half of the total stop on any trail), and earn your challenge badge. We'll connect with you by email about where to mail your trail pin. For a full summer adventure, collect all 18 custom-designed pins.
Picnics, Trails, Wildlife
Dunbar Cave State Park is a 144-acre scenic natural playground ready to explore with wildlife, trails, picnic areas and events throughout the year. Plus, you can also have a blast at any of 30+ local parks. Easily fill a day with splash pads, picnic areas, trails, horseshoes, playgrounds, a skate park, Blueway access, and more – all free! Make sure to stop by Rotary Park and visit the Wade Bourne Nature Center.
If off-road cycling is your thing, bring along the bikes and explore the mountain bike trails at North Ford St. 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 travel party is over age 5, 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. Reservations are recommended and you can make them here.
Let the Music Play
Downtown @ Sundown happens the first and third Fridays, May – October at Downtown Commons. These free, family-friendly concerts feature local and regional bands from every genre. Bring a picnic and lawn chairs, or enjoy a meal at a downtown restaurant or food truck, then head over to hear the music.
Singer/songwriters along with food trucks are at Beachaven Vineyards & Winery every weekend of the year, and for only $5 attend the winery's Jazz on the Lawn monthly during the summer.
Discover all of Clarksville’s concerts on our Concerts Calendar.
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. Bcycle rentals are also available.
Community Built Playground
The Community Built Playground is a giant space in Liberty Park with a separate area for smaller children and just about everything a kid could want in a playground. Within picnic facilities nearby, a two-mile paved walkway along the Cumberland River, a Dog Park, wildlife, a stocked fishing pond and plenty of large, open spaces for Frisbee, soccer or kite flying, you can easily spend most of your day here.
Murals, sculptures, fountains, and galleries are plentiful in Clarksville, concentrated in downtown. You'll find plenty of selfie-ready spots to learn about Clarksville's heritage and culture while you see different artists' talents and perspectives. First Thursday Artwalk is also a fun time each month to meet and socialize with fellow art lovers and the artists themselves. The TN Music Pathways designated four stops in Clarksville.
Independence Day Celebration (July 3)
See one of the most impressive fireworks displays in the state, if not the southeast, right here in Clarksville. Celebrate our nation's independence with great food, live music, and family-friendly activities followed fireworks display at Liberty Park on the banks of the Cumberland. Liberty Park opens at 5:00, with festivities beginning at 6:30. Fireworks begin about 9:15p.m.