How to spend a father-son weekend at Paris Landing State Park

How to spend a father-son weekend at Paris Landing State Park

From golf to fishing, Olympic kayaker Eric Jackson shows how he and his son spent a memorable weekend at Paris Landing State Park in TN.

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I was looking for a weekend getaway for my son, KC and me to do something that we would both enjoy. I saw that the FLW Costa Championships was being held on Kentucky Lake at Paris Landing State Park. It seemed like a good opportunity for us to do a little fishing, play golf, check out some of the tournament, and see this state park from a new angle.  

Situated in the middle of one of the most famous bass fishing lakes in the country - Kentucky Lake, Paris Landing State Park has an inn and restaurant, a golf course, boat ramp, and lots of land to explore. The golf course was where we went first. KC is not an avid golfer yet, but since the course was not very busy he could play the ball near the green and putt-in without any pressure from behind. Riding the golf cart, playing occasionally, while I played every hole, we were able to do all 18 holes in about 3 hours.

November in Tennessee is a perfect month for golfing. The leaves are changing, the weather is in the mid-70’s; it’s an ideal setting.

We walked without a tee-time and were on the course in a matter of minutes. The staff seemed excited that I was golfing with my young so, encouraging this family activity. We grabbed some snacks and drinks for the round at the Pro Shop, a clean cart, a score card, and some junior clubs for KC.   

Golfing at Paris Landing State Park
Golfing at Paris Landing State Park

I was excited for this round of golf. I have heard about some of the holes and was excited to see them for myself. KC had fun from the beginning. #4 is a long downhill par 3. Kentucky Lake is the backdrop to the green which makes you want to hang out and have lunch there. It is truly a wonderful hole to play. We were able to take it slowly and enjoy the scenery. KC stopped playing around the 9th hole, but still wanted to ride the cart around the course with me and was having fun.    

In typical Tennessee golfing fashion, the woods are lush with mostly hardwoods, making the course challenging but very playable for a golfer like me. Playing more than one round on this course will improve your score quickly as you learn the strategy for it. Jack Nicholas, the famous golf course designer, put his talent to work with this course and the beauty and complexity of it shows. I scored a 91 and lost a couple of balls in the woods on wayward drives. A second round will be much easier with just a little knowledge of how the holes are laid out.  

Paris Landing is a magnet for pro fisherman as Kentucky Lake is one of the best lakes in the world for ledge fishing and this is where many of them learned their skills. Knowing this, KC and I were ready to go fishing! It was getting dark so we were going to have to wait until morning, which was not easy, much like waiting for Christmas morning. We had a nice dinner at the Paris Landing Inn and got to bed early.    

Fishing at Paris Landing State Park
Fishing at Paris Landing State Park

The boat ramp was wide open and easy to use. Once I fired up the 250hp Evinrude, he remembered one of the fun things about fishing - going fast in a boat!     

Cruising around Kentucky Lake, especially on a calm morning, gives me a sense of freedom. It seems like an endless lake. There are more creek channels, pockets, main lake ledges, bridges, docks, and other options than you could possibly cast a line for weeks of fishing.

I only had one real goal and that was for KC to catch a fish or two. I am hoping that he’ll be my fishing buddy as he grows up. Perhaps KC, one day, will be a pro fisherman and fish the tour with me. You never know, but a little time on Kentucky Lake can go a long way. KC’s main focus was on the drinks in the cooler and the snacks I brought. Surprisingly, he paced himself, but he still treated the bucket of goodies like presents under a Christmas tree and before finishing with one was on to the next. I was wondering if he was actually going to fish!

It was a fairly windy day so we stuck to creeks that were protected and calm. I found myself in a creek with an awesome rope swing. I marked it on my electronics, so that when I return in the summer, we can go swimming. KC and my older kids love rope swings, but November is a little late and cold for even the kayakers in my family. 

I caught a few small fish around fallen trees towards the back of the creek and let KC reel them in. He is willing to pick them up. The excitement of catching one and pulling it out of the water doesn’t seem to diminish with more experience. Catch and release fishing allows you to enjoy the hunt and catch, and still have a connection to the fish and enjoy letting it go and watching it swim back to its friends.   

Paris Landing State Park is a great destination for a father-and-son vacation. Fishing, golfing, comfortable accommodations and more are in store for an unforgettable weekend at a beautiful Tennessee state park.