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Plan your Labor Day Weekend with ease. We've curated four itineraries that'll get you on the water, exploring some of the best things in Nashville and Memphis and an adventure-filled weekend in parks. Or, pick and choose your activities for a weekend unique to you. Read more below.
On the Water
Have a peaceful stay at the Lodge at Pickwick Landing, a waterfront destination with newly renovated rooms that provide amazing views of Pickwick Lake. Take a dip in the indoor and outdoor pools, do a workout in the fitness room, catch rays at the swim beach and have a delicious meal at the full-service restaurant. Fill your weekend with boating, golfing, paddling, hiking and fishing.
If you’re close to Nashville, secure a pontoon party boat from one of the marinas near Percy Priest Lake for a great day on the water. Float along and visit the islands that dot the lake. Percy Priest is a 42-mile long, 14,000-acre lake which provides plenty of space for a relaxing day. Recreational activities besides boating include horseback riding, picnicking, wildlife watching, hiking and biking.
Want an adventurous weekend? Stay close to the Ocoee River, some of the best whitewater rafting in Tennessee. Big waves and non-stop action will make your Labor Day Weekend a memorable one. There are many whitewater rafting outfitters that can help you navigate the whitewater.
Hire a guide through an outfitter like Cumberland Kayak or Kayaking Adventures of Tennessee to paddle to the base of the majestic Burgess Falls. Cumberland Kayak offers several excursions in addition to the Burgess and Fancher Falls trip (Nashville skyline and kayaking the Harpeth River). You’ll put in at Cane Hollow Recreation Area and paddle up Center Hill Lake to Burgess Falls. Guided trips from local business Kayaking Adventure of Tennessee include a kayak, gear and transportation from the parking lot, to launch and back. The route is a 2-mile paddle each way on a still water lake, beginner-friendly and they provide a kayak lesson/safety briefing before heading out.
For a lakeside dining experience that’ll make you feel instantly relaxed, enjoy outdoor dining at Blue Water Grille. Sip frozen drinks, local craft beer and nosh on specials with seasonal ingredients. The family-friendly atmosphere makes it great for kids with a menu that includes chicken tenders, fried pickle fries, mozzarella sticks, burgers and chicken quesadillas. Selections also include crab cakes, filet steaks served with a loaded baked potato and steamed broccoli, ribeye steaks and seared scallops.
Russell Nashville is a concierge-less, technology driven boutique hotel in Nashville. To check in, guests are given a unique code to access the building and their room. Once inside, you’ll love the unique character of your room which includes stained glass windows, old brick walls, pews as bed headboards and bright, bold colored furniture and accent pieces. You’re close to many restaurants, music venues and coffee shops so if you want to experience Nashville as a local, this is a hotel that gives you easy access to do just that. A percentage of each night’s stay is also given to local nonprofits who help those experiencing homelessness in the city.
Do some mural hunting while in Nashville. The 12South neighborhood is the perfect place to do this. While doing your own unique poses at the Flowers Mural, “Looking Pretty, Music City” or the “I Believe in Nashville” murals, spend some time grabbing coffee, shopping local boutiques and eating at the many establishments that line the sidewalks. You can also get a meal to go and enjoy it at Sevier Park.
Get a taste of the heat Hattie B’s serves up. The hot chicken restaurant has six heat levels from southern (no heat) to shut the cluck up (hottest) for tenders, hot chicken sandwiches, thighs, wings and more. Pair your chicken with some of the sides like southern greens, black eyed pea salad, pimento mac and cheese, baked beans and more. Banana pudding, peach cobbler and root beer floats are the perfect ending to a meal.
Step into the rosy world of White Limozeen, a posh rooftop bar atop the Graduate Hotel Nashville. Beautiful views of the Nashville skyline, themed cocktails and even a Dolly Parton art piece make this rooftop a must-visit. The menu is French-inspired with caviar, salmon tartare, ratatouille, campanelle and more. Reservations are required for table dining and pool access. Sip on cocktails like Queen of the Rodeo – vodka, grapefruit, pomegranate and lime or the Cherry Blossom Baby – tequila, mezcal, orange oil, cherry and Hellfire bitters while drinking in the ambiance.
Cap off your night with a performance from touring artists at the incredible First Bank Amphitheater. Surrounded by stone and wooded features, enjoy music from this world-class boutique venue. Artists from a wide variety of music genres have performed or are slated to perform like ZZ Top, Earth, Wind & Fire, Josh Groban, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss among many others.
Cozy up in your sumptuous room after a long day of fun in the city. The Central Station Hotel has 123 beautifully-designed rooms which include king or double queen plush beds, custom artwork and amenities like in-room Keurig coffee, a 50” HDTV, products from the William Roam Steam Collection and complimentary WiFi. You can even enjoy an in-room, custom Eggleston Works speaker so you can jam to The Central Station’s Memphis-inspired playlist.
Hailed as the Queen of Rock n’ Roll, you can see Tina Turner’s costumes and other memorabilia and learn about her childhood as she grew up in Nutbush, Tennessee all held in the one-room schoolhouse she attended as a child at the Tina Turner Museum Flagg Grove School on the property of the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center.
Did you know part of the U.S. Civil Rights Trail is in Memphis? Tennessee has 14 stops throughout the state, and in Memphis, you can visit six of those stops from the National Civil Rights Museum to the Clayborn Temple and I AM A MAN Plaza. Take time to learn about the brave men and women who brought words to action through peaceful protests and legal actions to secure their American civil rights. You can download the brochure or get the digital passport (visit all 14 places and receive a commemorative gift).
Make a music pilgrimage to Sun Studio, the hallowed place where rock n’ roll was made famous thanks to some guys named Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis. Hear the stories, listen to the incredible music and get in touch with the Memphis studio that began a music revival.
Order a burger with a side of truffle fries to instantly be transported to a simpler time at The Beauty Shop Restaurant, formerly Priscilla Presley's go-to shop to get her hair cut and styled. Seating is beneath Belvedere hair dryers and everything on the menu is delicious. If burgers and truffle fries aren't your thing, order the Thai Cobb salad, salmon Gravlax - herb goat cheese, avocado, greens, tomato and red onion or the chicken and brown rice bowl packed with sweet bell peppers, cabbage, onion, mushrooms, fried kale, and sprouts.
This eco-friendly, LEED-certified hostel has become a base camp for adventurous travelers in Chattanooga. The Crash Pad’s owners’ goal is to help establish the city as one of the best places for outdoor activities in the U.S. You can either stay in one of the hostel’s 24 bunk beds or one of its five private rooms, but either way, you get a complimentary DIY breakfast. In addition, The Crash Pad offers free Wi-Fi, bathrooms, a fully-equipped kitchen, and several common areas to hang out and relax.
At High Point Climbing, you’ll find a one-stop shop for climbing fun. Gear rentals, fitness classes, beginner bouldering classes, outdoor guiding trips and a kid zone. More than 100 boulder obstacles and 45ft climbing walls and outdoor climbing walls will keep you busy for a full day of activity. Children can enjoy a boulder wall, climbing walls, auto belays and top rope routes as well.
Twin Arches, considered the largest natural bridge in the states of Tennessee and Kentucky, in Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area is not to be missed. Have an adventure to this natural wonder this summer. There are two ways to access the arches. The Twin Arches Upper Loop is considered easy to moderate and is about 1.2 miles round trip. The short loop goes to the Twin Arches, a beloved Instagrammable spot. Or, you could access the Twin Arches through the Twin Arches Lower Loop, classified as difficult, which takes you by a series of rock houses and cliffs before ending up at Twin Arches. Pack a picnic and enjoy taking pictures at this beautiful wonder.
See the Great Smoky Mountains from the back of a horse with Cades Cove Stables, the only National Park-authorized riding stables of Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Cades Cove. Guided trail rides, carriage rides and hay rides are available to book. The guided rides are kept small, up to 9 riders per group, and last about an hour. Enjoy viewing wildlife, the mountains and wooded scenic beauty. Riding safety helmets are provided free of charge for all riders. All children under 15 are required to wear a helmet.
Take a break from your outdoor adventures with a wine tasting paired with wood-fired pizza at Lookout Winery/Pizzaria. Grab a table on the covered balcony, patio and newly opened deck, all overlooking the Tennessee River and gorgeous mountain views. The menu conveniently lists the different pizzas available (cauliflower crust is offered, too) with the wine(s) that would pair well. Try The Tuscany pizza, a fan favorite, which includes prosciutto di Parma and local artisan sausage (pairs with The Italian Trio wine, a blend of cabernet, zinfandel and merlot) or The Roma pizza topped with artisan sausage and fresh mushrooms which goes well with the Riesling, Moscato or Mama Malvasia featuring lemon and peach flavors.