The last days of summer are upon us, so don’t pass up the chance to spend a little more time in the sun this Labor Day weekend Sept. 1-3. Whether you’re aiming for some time on the water or seclusion in the woods, Tennessee State Parks can help you make the most of the three-day weekend. Here are a few ideas to get your planning juices flowing:
Last chance to enjoy swimming pools
Labor Day is your last chance to enjoy poolside lounging at many of our state parks. There are more than a dozen state parks with swimming pools in Tennessee staffed with lifeguards and usually equipped with sunbathing space, bathhouses, snack bars, diving boards and wading pools. Some even feature splash pads for kids to enjoy. There is a $5 fee for day guests, while cabin and camping guests receive a 50 percent discount. Click here to find a full list of parks featuring swimming. Make sure to check out the website or call the park to confirm hours of operation for Labor Day weekend.
Take a boat out on the water
If you prefer your time on the water in a more natural setting, why not take a boat out on one of the great lakes and rivers in Tennessee State Parks? There are more than 20 parks across the state offering boat rentals of various types, from paddle and Jon boats to canoes and kayaks. Most of the parks offer boat rentals through Labor Day, but make sure to call the park or check the website to confirm rental hours. Find a boat.
Enjoy a ranger-led event
Did you know that Tennessee State Park host events every day for the public to enjoy? From pontoon tours and guided hikes to educational programs and concerts, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Park rangers have planned some great events for Labor Day weekend and would love for you to join them. Find an event.
Swing away on the Tennessee Golf Trail
Our state parks have combined the good nature of Tennessee with the talent of outstanding course designers like Jack Nicklaus and Joe Lee to create the Tennessee Golf Trail. Whether you choose to play one of the six traditional courses or select from the three Jack Nicklaus designed Bear Trace courses, you will be surrounded by some of the most fantastic scenery in Tennessee.
Find a course.
Discover a new waterfall
Did you know there are more than 80 waterfalls in Tennessee State Parks? Chances are there’s one you haven’t seen. Respond to the call of the wild and hit the trail to discover these natural wonders.
Travel Tip: Places like Cummins Falls and Burgess Falls are popular and beautiful, but they are small parks and will be very crowded on Labor Day weekend. Neither of these parks has visitor centers, they each have one set of restrooms, and they do not have cabins or campgrounds where you can spend the night.
Consider venturing toward some of the other waterfalls on the list. Fall Creek Falls State Park has several waterfalls within its boundaries and is a much larger park with cabins, campsites, a swimming pool, and places to eat. Cumberland Mountain has similar features and is a short drive from Ozone Falls, Virgin Falls, etc. Discover a waterfall.
Fire up the grill
Maybe you just want to come out and spend the day in the park with a group of friends. Tennessee State Parks has a variety of picnic shelters and pavilions available to rent. Throw some hamburgers on the grill and enjoy the day under the sun (and the shade). Full-day rentals may be completed online or you may contact the park of your choice to learn about other rental options. Reserve a pavilion.
Need a place to stay?
Sometimes a day is not enough of an escape. All of these activities are perfect additions to a camping, cabin or inn room stay. From Memphis to Bristol, and everywhere in between, you can find a pillow for your head or a patch of dirt for your tent at a Tennessee state park. Take advantage of the three-day weekend and extend your time in the outdoors. Find lodging.
Need a place to eat?
If you don’t want to cook, let a one of eight state park restaurants handle it for you. They offer a variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner options, and can even cater an event or picnic. Find restaurants.