Going for a picnic is common during the summer, but sometimes it can be hard to justify heading out for your mid-day meal knowing that you’ll have to fight the traffic and the crowds at your favorite picnic spot.
Lucky for you, Tennessee is full of parks for you and your family to explore. To help you get started with your next family picnic excursion, here are eight parks around the state that offer opportunities to get more out of your picnic and enjoy a day full of recreational activities and sight-seeing.
Learn about more family fun activities in Tennessee.
Nestled atop Lookout Mountain, Point Park is part of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. Completed in 1905, Point Park looks out over Moccasin Bend and Chattanooga to commemorate the “Battle Above the Clouds,” an important battle during the Civil War.
Point Park is the perfect location for families seeking an afternoon of adventure. From beginners to longtime nature enthusiasts, the park has a variety of recreational activities, including multiple trails for:
- Mountain biking
- Nature walks
Point Park also has a variety of landmarks, from the Civil War monuments and museum to the mountain’s natural terrain. Make sure these sites are included on your must-see list:
- Cravens House
- New York Peace Memorial
- Ochs Museum
- Sunset Rock
- Umbrella Rock
Stringer’s Ridge is located in North Chattanooga, overlooking the Tennessee River. This 92-acre wilderness park was established in 2008 in an effort to preserve one of the last wilderness areas within the city limits.
Though Stringer’s Ridge is smaller than Point Park, it offers just as many opportunities for families to enjoy outdoor activities, including:
- Mountain biking
- Trail Running
If you’re looking for a place to rest after your long hike or hours spent looking for your next geocache treasure, make sure to stop by the Civil War cannon and various vistas to view the Tennessee River and city below.
Holston River Park
Located along the banks of the Holston River in East Knoxville, the Holston River Park consists of 44 acres of land ideal for families to enjoy a picnic and afternoon full of adventure.
This multi-recreational park features a playground, as well as many opportunities to take advantage of the outdoors during the summer, including trails for:
If you’re seeking an afternoon on the water, Holston River Park offers boat launches and piers for you and your family to take advantage of various water activities, including:
While you’re at the park, make sure to check out the Ramsey House Plantation, a 1797 house and museum that sits on 100 acres of land. Or, for the dog lovers out there, stop by the dog park which features separate areas for larger and smaller dogs, as well as a fountain.
Big Ridge State Park
Located just 25 miles north of Knoxville, Big Ridge State Park lies along the Norris Lake in the Cumberland Mountains.
Located on more than 3,500 acres of land, Big Ridge State Park has nearly a dozen trails ranging from easy to moderate for families to enjoy:
- Nature walks
If you’re looking for activities for larger groups, the park also offers several amenities for group sports, such as a:
- Basketball court
- Horseshoe pit
- Sand volleyball
- Softball field
- Tennis court
While venturing through the trails located throughout the park, look for the remnants of farms and houses that were located within the area before the park was created. Looking for a place to cool off? Make sure to take advantage of the beach along the river.
Mississippi River Greenbelt Park
This 105-acre urban park is located on Mud Island along the banks of the Mississippi River in downtown Memphis. Near the north end of the park there’s a boat ramp for families looking to spend a day out on the water.
If you would rather spend your afternoon on land, take some time to enjoy the 2,000-foot replica of the banks of the lower Mississippi River that runs along the outer rim of the park. The park also features a 1.5 mile trail, which is ideal for:
Other highlights include a museum, monorail and swan boats.
Wolf River Nature Area
The Wolf River Nature Area is a 70-acre nature reserve along the Wolf River in East Memphis. As part of the Wolf River Restoration Project, this park has various educational and recreational activities for families to experience and learn more about nature.
The nature reserve offers trails and locations for:
- Nature walks
There are seven educational stations located throughout the reserve, including:
- Aquifer Island
- Beaver Boondocks
- BlueHeron Rest
- Bottomland Glen
- Electric Outlook
- River History Plaza
- Turtle Bayou
If you’re looking to take a break from the heat, be sure to stop by the various scenic overlooks and rest areas located throughout the reserve.
Located across the river from downtown Nashville, the park encompasses 6.5 acres along the riverfront. With close proximity to both the downtown area and the riverfront, the Cumberland Park is a must-visit summer attraction for families with children of all ages.
Packed with family-friendly activities, the park features a:
- Balance board
- Bouncing pad
- Rock wall
- Rope climb
- Rope course
- Sand pit
- Splash pad
- Walking trail
If you have some downtime, take a stroll along the Explorer Trail, which features butterfly gardens.
Fannie Mae Dees Park
Established in 1978 and located in southwest Nashville, Fannie Mae Dees Park is also known as the “Dragon Park.” The park features a 200-foot long concrete sea serpent decorated with a mosaic of colorful tiles, whose arches provide a fun area for children to play.
Fannie Mae Dees Park is equipped with several features for families looking to enjoy a leisurely afternoon outdoors with smaller children, including:
- Soccer field
- Tennis courts
The park also features a large open space for families to play Frisbee, fly a kite or play fetch with their dog. When you need to cool off, stop by the mist-breathing dragon. If you’re looking for some downtime, take advantage of the shade provided by the trees that border the park, providing the perfect spot to read.
Everyone enjoys a great picnic, but finding a spot where your family can also enjoy time outdoors, whether it be by land or by water, can make a hot summer day even more enjoyable. Where do you go to picnic in your city? Let us know in a comment below!
Most outdoor activities have some level of risk, and you may need to consult an expert before engaging in the activity. Always check the current weather conditions before embarking on any outdoor activity.