From the mystery and beauty of Reelfoot Lake in west Tennessee, to the grandeur of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the east, and thousands of miles of sparkling streams and rushing rivers in between, Tennessee offers endless options for enjoying the natural world.
Take advantage of parks and forests, greenways and rivers, wildflower walks and farmers markets. Sink your teeth into the fresh Tennessee taste of home-grown foods and Tennessee wines. Go for a bike ride or a hike, settle in for a day of bird watching, or learn about the native plants and animals that call Tennessee's great outdoors home. Whatever you choose, you're sure to want more time to take in Tennessee's natural beauty.
Parks & Natural Areas
Tennessee is a rich and varied place with mile-high mountains in the east, the grand Mississippi River in the west and 19,000 miles of sparkling rivers in between. Parks, forests, birding, hunting, camping and water, water everywhere--Tennessee has a mind-boggling array of natural resources.
Investigate the beauty and mystery of Reelfoot, a cypress-filled natural lake in Tennessee's northwest corner, created by a series of earthquakes, where dozens of species of fish and shore and wading birds are harbored, including golden and bald eagles. Grab your binoculars and explore the diversity of habitats, stretching 65 miles alongside the Tennessee River, on Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge which provide ample feeding, nesting and resting areas for 301 bird species. Get spritzed by the highest waterfall in the eastern United States, Fall Creek Falls, laced with cascades, gorges, streams, and lush stands of virgin hardwood timber. Stride a celebrated riverfront greenway, Chattanooga's Riverpark, and cross America's longest pedestrian bridge, the Walnut Street Bridge, spanning the Tennessee River as it flows south-southwest. World renowned for its diversity of plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains, and its remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the largest national park in the east and America's most visited. A tour of the Smokies, by any means of locomotion, offers panoramic views, tumbling mountain streams, weathered historic buildings and uninterrupted forest stretching to the horizon.
Be warned: Full-on excitement is waiting in Tennessee! Decide if you want intense action, a wilderness experience, an invigorating getaway or an easy family outing. Our waterways and trails have distinct personalities and experiences to offer.
If whitewater's your passion try Tennessee's premier rafting river, the Ocoee, site of the 1996 Olympics and one of America's Top Ten Rivers, or the Cumberland in Big South Fork National Recreation Area, the Lower Nolichucky, Watauga and Holston rivers. You can kayak the four-mile paddle from Cane Hollow to the base of the 130-foot rush of Burgess Falls on Center Hill Lake or canoe Waynesboro's scenic Buffalo River with its quiet beauty. If a refreshing family is more your style, take in the cool water in Townsend in the Smoky Mountains. In Memphis, experience the Mighty Mississippi at Mud Island River Park, where education and water sports meet, or relax in the undisturbed headwaters and forests of the serene Wolf River. Whatever your favorite water sport, Tennessee has plenty to offer.
Horticulture & Agritourism
From the hills of East Tennessee to the Mississippi Delta of West Tennessee, our state has much to offer in agricultural tourism. Visit a farm and participate in a fall festival with corn mazes, pumpkin patches and sorghum making, or take your horse on a trail and hang your spurs up in the bunkhouse. Enjoy a campfire with country music.
Take in the heritage and conservation of a Tennessee Century Farm. Tennessee's viticulture flourishes in the vineyards, with both amateur and commercial grape growers and winemakers devoted to favorite varietals and fruits. Farmers markets are a Tennessee tradition where you can "pick your own" fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers and crafts while supporting the farming community and ensuring the ripest quality at a great price. Wildflower walks, arboreta, greenhouses, nurseries and gardens flower your way across a horticultural green map of Tennessee. Once your agritouristic appetite is thoroughly whetted, sit down at one of the Volunteer State's organic eateries for the finest fare down home has to offer.