Nashville Outdoor Activities for Adventure and Natural Scenery

Ranked one of the best cities in the U.S., Nashville is a popular destination for lively concerts and Southern comfort food. However, this city has a scenic side that visitors can’t miss – or they miss what locals love most about Nashville. For an inside look, read about the top Nashville outdoor activities and where to find them.

Popular Nashville Outdoor Activities All Ages Will Enjoy

nashville parks family

Visit Area Parks

Middle Tennessee is packed full of waterways and mature trees, lending the area to ample space for parks and recreation.

Near the downtown area, guests visit popular parks such as Centennial Park and the Parthenon, Cumberland Park along the river, Shelby Park, Sevier Park, and Bicentennial Capitol State Park.

Those staying further from downtown have options as well. In west Nashville, visit Percy Warner Park. Those south of downtown have access to Radnor Lake State Park, Antioch Park and Seven Oaks.

Each park has its own amenities, including green space, walking trails, picnic pavilions, hiking trails, playgrounds and dog parks.

Explore Nashville Zoo

Nashville Zoo at Grassmere is one of the best attractions for families and animal lovers. More than 3,000 animals live at the zoo, which is also involved in research, habitat protection, preservation and educational programs.

The zoo features indoor and outdoor exhibits, and guests should plan to walk a couple of miles. Exhibits include birds, primates, large cats, rhinos, giraffes, and hundreds more species. The zoo also has dining, a jungle gym (check availability), a historic home, gift shop, petting zoo, zipline, carousel and train for young children.

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Tour Cheekwood

Touring Cheekwood ranks among the top Nashville outdoor activities due to its 55 acres, stunning gardens and art museum.

More than 15 gardens greet guests at Cheekwood Estate and Gardens. While strolling, see dogwoods, herbs, roses, water features, Japanese plants, boxwood, wildflowers and a children’s garden, to name a few. Other attractions include a sculpture trail, historic mansion and museum, learning center and gift shop.

Book a Tee Time

Many don’t know that Nashville has 15 golf courses, and 13 open to the public. In addition, there are more than 25 golf courses located within 20 miles of Nashville. The area’s waterways, rolling hills and foliage offer scenic options for players of all skill levels.

Top golf courses in Nashville include Two Rivers Golf Course, Ted Rhodes Golf Course, Gaylord Springs, Golf Links and McCabe Golf Course. Those who prefer more private options should play Richland Country Club, Belle Meade Country Club, and Nashville Golf and Athletic Club. Nashville also has a Top Golf located in downtown.

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Zip Through the Trees

In addition to golf, the city has ziplining activities tailored to different skill levels and abilities. This allows all ages to find a course suited to their needs. Most are located outside of downtown Nashville but within reasonable driving distances.

Three companies offer ziplining adventures: Treetop Adventure Park, Adventureworks Nashville West and Adventureworks Zipline Forest. Each have their own lines, obstacles, climbing and outdoor activities.

Bike the Greenway

There are more than a dozen greenways in Nashville. Those who want to stay active enjoy riding bicycles through these areas. In fact, greenways can access more than 100 miles of paved trails. Plus, many are within a short distance of trendy neighborhoods.

One of the most popular is Shelby Bottoms Greenway and Nature Park. This trail allows guests to ride along the Cumberland River. For more options, riders can plan routes at Richland Creek Greenway and Whites Creek Greenway.

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Play on the Water

From water parks to lakes and guided tours, water recreation is one of the most popular Nashville outdoor activities. In addition, visitors also enjoy canoeing, kayaking, water tubing and fly-boarding.

Nashville Shores operates the city’s largest water park with 1 million gallons of water and water slides. For more remote water recreation, rent a boat and explore Percy Priest Lake, Cedar Hill Lake and Old Hickory Lake. Guests may also enjoy kayaking Radnor Lake and Sevier Lake. High Tide Rides hosts guided activities, or contact Nashville flyboard for a new experience.

Attend a Game

Nashville has four professional sports teams and several collegiate and minor league teams. There is usually a sporting event waiting for spectators.

Professional sports teams include the NFL Tennessee Titans, NHL Nashville Predators, Nashville Soccer Club and MiLB Nashville Sounds. Colleges worth following include Vanderbilt University, Tennessee State University, Middle TN State University and Lipscomb University.

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