Best Picnic Spots in Tennessee

A picnic blanket spread under a shady tree, with a wicker basket, sandwiches, fruit, and a thermos. Rolling hills and a clear blue sky in the background
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Tennessee boasts an array of scenic locations that are perfect for outdoor enthusiasts looking to enjoy a picnic. From the rolling hills of middle Tennessee to the vibrant landscapes of state parks, you have access to a diversity of settings that offer more than just a meal under the sky. Nashville’s urban parks blend historical sites with family-friendly amenities, ensuring your picnic is both relaxing and engaging.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

In the Great Smoky Mountains, you’ll encounter a landscape brimming with wildlife and lush wildflowers, especially vibrant during the spring. Your adventure awaits with over 150 trails suited for hiking and offering serene scenic views. Among the notable trails is the journey to Abrams Falls, where the reward is a spectacular waterfall.

Cades Cove offers some of the most picturesque picnic spots, where open spaces meet historical sites. Whether you’re seeking tranquillity or a day filled with activity, the Great Smoky Mountains deliver an unforgettable experience.

Radnor Lake State Park

At Radnor Lake State Park, you can immerse yourself in nature right in the heart of Nashville’s metropolitan area. With 1,368 acres of protected land and a variety of wildlife, it’s an ideal spot for nature lovers. Enjoy leisurely walking on over 7.75 miles of shaded trails or partake in some serious hiking for a more challenging experience.

Your visit promises encounters with nature along the park’s scenic lake. Here, hiking is not simply a physical activity, but a tranquil journey surrounded by Tennessee’s stunning biodiversity. Remember though, the park is strictly for day use, so you can plan your picnic during daylight hours.

Percy Warner Park

At Percy Warner Park, you’ll find a harmonious blend of natural beauty and recreational space. The park’s iconic sandstone steps are not only a perfect place for your picnic backdrop but also rich in history, dating back to the 1930s. Stretching over 3,000 acres as part of the Warner Parks system, it stands as the second-largest municipal park area in Tennessee, shared with its sibling, Edwin Warner Park.

Percy Warner’s allure includes diverse picnic spots, picturesque hikes, and a variety of trails. You have over 60 miles of trails to explore, ranging from leisurely walks to challenging hikes, suitable for you whether you’re on foot, wheels, or horseback. The sheer expanse and connectivity to nature make Percy Warner an essential pit stop for locals and visitors in Nashville.

Centennial Park

Centennial Park, a Nashville landmark, features lush greenery and cultural attractions in the heart of the city. At its center stands a full-scale replica of the Parthenon, surrounded by manicured lawns and walking paths. Families and friends gather here for picnics, concerts, and leisurely strolls.

With its scenic beauty and iconic architecture, Centennial Park offers a tranquil escape and a vibrant hub for community activities in Nashville’s bustling urban landscape.

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area

In the serene expanse of the Cumberland Plateau lies the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, a perfect spot for your picnic outings. Here, you’re surrounded by over 125,000 acres of picturesque gorges and sandstone bluffs, offering a backdrop that’s as breathtaking as it is tranquil.

You can savor your meal alongside the free-flowing Big South Fork of the Cumberland River, or choose from the various spots amidst the lush greenery. Remember to explore the miles of scenic trails after your picnic for a full day of adventure and discovery.

Cummins Falls State Park

As you plan your outdoor adventure, consider visiting Cummins Falls State Park, a gem located on the Blackburn Fork State Scenic River. The park features the eighth-largest waterfall in Tennessee by volume, with the gorge reaching depths of approximately 200 feet.

Cummins Falls is not only scenic but also rich in history, serving as a popular spot for over a century. Your visit requires a Gorge Access Permit for entry to the waterfall’s base, ensuring your safety while preserving the park’s natural beauty.

Fall Creek Falls State Park

Your adventure in Tennessee isn’t complete without a visit to Fall Creek Falls State Park, a nature lover’s dream with an impressive array of outdoor offerings. Enveloped in lush forests, this park boasts the towering Fall Creek Falls, one of the highest waterfalls in the eastern United States. Here, you can savor your picnic with a view of the falls or find a secluded spot by a serene stream.

Notable within the park are other majestic waterfalls, including Piney Falls, Cane Creek Falls, and cascading Cane Creek – each with designated picnic areas near them. Savvy picnickers can take advantage of the various amenities such as picnic tables, grills, and pavilions in designated areas, ensuring your comfort amidst the park’s natural beauty.

Edwin Warner Parks

Edwin Warner Parks, part of Nashville’s renowned Warner Parks system, offers serene natural surroundings just minutes from the city. With over 3,000 acres of wooded hills and meadows, it provides ample space for picnicking, hiking, and wildlife observation.

Trails wind through diverse landscapes, leading to tranquil streams and scenic overlooks. Whether seeking solitude or recreation, visitors to Edwin Warner Parks can immerse themselves in the beauty of Tennessee’s outdoors.

Burgess Falls State Park

Your exploration of Tennessee’s natural splendors isn’t complete without a visit to Burgess Falls State Park. Situated on the Falling Water River, this day-use park captivates with its four cascading waterfalls, with the tallest waterfall plunging over 130 feet into the gorge below.

During your stay, traverse the well-maintained trails for a hike that’s as rejuvenating as it is scenic. You’ll discover ample spots perfect for a picnic, where you can relax to the soothing sounds of rushing water. Don’t forget to visit the butterfly garden, adding a dash of color to your serene day out.

Chickasaw State Park

Chickasaw State Park is a haven for picnic enthusiasts in the rolling hills of western Tennessee. You can enjoy a tranquil meal on the banks of Lake Placid or at one of the scenic picnic areas dotting the park. With over 1,280 acres dedicated to recreation, your options for an ideal picnic spot are abundant.

Historically rich and naturally beautiful, the park is nestled on some of the highest terrain in the region. Whether you’re seeking a quiet corner under the towering pines or an expansive view by the water, Chickasaw State Park offers the perfect backdrop for your outdoor dining experience.

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