It’s never a bad idea to step out of the city and get some fresh air! Whether you live here or you are just visiting, there are many outdoor activities in Nashville to explore. From kayaking right downtown near the Music City skyline, hiking to a beautiful waterfall, or floating the river on inner tubes, there are plenty of things to do outside in Nashville!
Set your sights on something outside that the whole family can enjoy for your next trip to Music City. Our list includes wholesome day trips, fun-filled outdoor activities, and easy afternoons in nature. Nashville isn’t all honky tonk bars and bachelorette parties. Outdoor activities in Nashville are in abundance!
If you’re the kind of person that plans your vacation around seeing the sights or if you just want to take a break from the bar scene, make sure to add these to your itinerary! Here’s a list of the best outdoor activities in Nashville:
1. Pontoon Saloon
Located in Downtown Nashville, the Pontoon Saloon is the perfect river cruise for views of the Music City skyline! The bar-like atmosphere, friendly staff, and convenience of location makes for the perfect 2-hour excursion on the Cumberland River! This is one of the best outdoor activities for groups who want to enjoy being outdoors, but also still feel like they are getting a unique Nashville experience. Reservations are required for this BYOB Nashville boat tour and can be made over the phone or online. Pontoon Saloon offers both public and private cruises. While our private cruises are open to all ages, our public cruises are a 21+ activity.
2. Shelby Bottoms Greenway
This is a 5-mile nature trail great for walking, running, and biking. It’s located in East Nashville, just minutes from downtown. This paved walkway wraps along the Cumberland River with scenic views of the city and smaller off-road trails for the more experienced hiker. Enjoy easy terrain and beautiful views along this greenway. If looking for outdoor activities in Nashville, the Shelby Bottoms Greenway is a perfect place to go!
3. Rent a Pontoon Boat
Enjoy a day on the water with a pontoon rental. Located on the Cumberland River, Boat Rental Nashville provides access to downtown and scenic Ashland City. Their fleet includes premium tri-toons with bimini tops, tables, lounge seating, and a Bluetooth-capable sound system. Located at the closest marina to Downtown Nashville, these boat rentals are a quick 15-minute drive from the city.
4. River Queen Voyages
Kayaking on the river is a hit for locals and tourists alike! River Queen Voyages offers public and private group kayaking sessions on the Cumberland River. They offer a unique experience—an ultimate scavenger hunt on kayaks! Gather clues and solve riddles through a customized app along your route. Boarding is done right downtown near Nissan Stadium. This is the perfect activity for a warm summer day to catch some rays. You will get wet on the kayaks, so a swimsuit is the perfect attire!
5. Cummins Falls
This scenic waterfall and natural swimming hole makes for the perfect day trip from Nashville. Located 86 miles from downtown, you can get out of the city and explore a beautiful Tennessee State Park. Gorge access permits are required for entry and can be bought on-site or online. Be prepared for hiking, swimming, and incredible views at Cummins Falls!
6. The Caverns
People come from all over to experience a unique experience at The Caverns. With an underground music venue, above-ground amphitheater, and guided tours available 7 days a week, The Caverns make for a thrilling activity. South of the city in Grundy County, Tennessee, you can find caves that are fun for the whole family to explore. Tickets are available online for concert series as well as guided tours.
View this post on Instagram
7. Percy Priest Lake
Nashville outdoor recreation isn’t hard to find with so many great lakes close by. Percy Priest Lake is an excellent option for exploring parks, fishing, and camping. With 213 miles of shoreline, Percy Priest is great for water activities, marina dining, and renting water toys. A quick 12-mile drive east from downtown, you can spend time by the water free of charge. Spend the day by the beach or find a rocky shore to cast a line. Being by the lake is the perfect way to cool off during the summer.
View this post on Instagram
8. Harpeth River
Floating the river is a must on the Harpeth! Renting canoes, kayaks, and tubes are made easy by all the vendors near the loading areas. The riverbank is a great spot to hang out with beach chairs. You might as well bring a fishing pole to keep you busy! Find a quiet, relaxing beach or join in on the fun along the main drag of the river. This relaxing day is made possible if you’re willing to travel about 23 miles east to Kingston Springs.
9. Warner Parks
Perfect for getting fresh air and exercise, the Warner Parks are conveniently located just 9 miles from Downtown Nashville. Spanning over 3,100 acres, these parks offer 30+ miles of walking and hiking trails, golf courses, equestrian trails, picnic shelters, and so much more. These parks are perfect to explore any time of the year. They have parking lots and free street parking near the trailheads, and they allow dogs on leashes. The Warner Parks offer beautiful sights and unique plants, wildlife, and waterways perfect for a nice day outside!
While Nashville may be known for its tourist attractions, the landscapes you can find in and around the city are just as breathtaking. If you’re not necessarily the drinking type or you just want to enjoy the vast terrain middle Tennessee has to offer, there really is something for everyone to explore.
It’s never a bad idea to get out of the chaos of the downtown streets and explore something new. Whether it’s a new hiking trail or a fun new water activity you’ve never done before, Nashville doesn’t disappoint. We hope you’re excited to get out and explore this wonderful city and all it has to offer. We just know you’ll find something to pique your interest!