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8 Best Outdoor Activities in Nashville

Getting outside is easy in Music City

Tennessee benefits from incredible weather and four distinct seasons, which means there are ample opportunities for getting outside and enjoying everything Nashville has to offer. There’s something for the whole family to enjoy—from horseback riding to sunset sailing, here are eight outdoor activities for you to take part in all year long.

Go Horseback Riding

Near Nashville, the rolling green hillsides speak to equestrians. There are several places in the area for horseback riding, lessons, and full-service equestrian facilities. With over 900 acres of green space, Cedars of Lebanon State Park is a picturesque oasis that’s only 30 miles from Broadway’s open-air bars and flashing lights. With 12.5 miles of dedicated riding trails and adjacent fire trails to explore, it’s easy to spend the day submerged in nature at Cedars of Lebanon. 

The Trish Franks School of Riding at Natchez Bend is perfect for young riders who want to learn the reins. Here, students will learn good horsemanship skills and foster their love for equine animals while growing friendships with other riders, learning proper animal care techniques, and enjoying the beauty of being surrounded by nature. The school also offers boarding for horses with amazing services to ensure happy, healthy animals. 

In nearby Franklin, The Jaeckle Centre is a premier equestrian facility offering a well-rounded selection of services to fit the needs of both you and your equestrian athlete. A few of their amenities include Olympic-sized arenas, on-site equine Performax veterinary and therapy services, and spacious animal stalls. The Jaeckle Centre also offers conditioning training for riders, regenerative and chiropractic therapies for horses, and a pro shop with all the bells and whistles. 

Credit: Nashville Boat Club

Set Sail on the Lake

Boating and fishing at J Percy Priest Lake are a great way to spend a sweltering summer afternoon. This nearby reservoir is 42 miles long and was created by the installation of the J Percy Priest Dam in 1968. Only a 15-minute drive from Downtown Nashville, this freshwater escape is excellent for early morning fishing or a relaxing swim in the evening. 

For serious boaters, Elm Hill Marina is a full-service marina equipped to meet your specific needs. Plus, this marina has a public boat launch and boat rentals, a year-round bar and grill, and live music entertainment near the docks. The Nashville Boat Club is a members-only boating country club that provides access to a top-of-the-line fleet of boats without the hassle of purchasing and owning a private vessel. 

A valid Tennessee State fishing license is required to fish on the lake, but this all-ages activity is available year-round for anglers of all skill levels. Whether you prefer boat fishing or bank fishing, there is plenty of space at J Percy Priest Lake and a plethora of fish species, including Cherokee bass, sunfish, catfish, and bluegill. 

Swim Deep with Scuba Diving

You don’t need to travel somewhere tropical to flex your diving skills. Island Hoppers Scuba Nashville is the perfect place to practice your diving techniques whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned diver. If you’ve never dived before, consider getting fully certified in only one weekend for a starting price of $499. Year-round class dates make it easy to fit getting certified into your schedule, and Island Hoppers Scuba only uses state-of-the-art diving equipment. In addition to their certified scuba instructors, this program can help guests coordinate diving excursions in tropical locations such as Indonesia, Hawaii, and the Philippines. 

If you want more flexibility in your learning techniques, consider taking classes from Dive Below H20. This facility offers a range of programs designed for individualized learning. Start with recreational courses, from scuba diving to skin diving, before bolstering your education with technical courses, such as Intro to Tech and Technical Wreck Penetration Diver, and specialty courses on deep diving and search and recovery divers. 

Credit: Tennessee State Parks

Take a Rejuvenating Hike

Step into the wilderness and leave behind the bustling downtown because beautiful Nashville has a myriad of hiking trails close by. Radnor Lake State Park spans 1,200 acres and is open year-round for woodland walks alongside wildlife in this Class II Natural Area. This day use-only park has 7.75 miles of dedicated hiking trails that are ideal for getting your heart rate up while birdwatching or taking photos. Without the traffic of cyclers or dog walkers, these peaceful trails are perfect for a restful morning stroll. 

Named after Edwin and Percy Warner, the Warner Parks total 3,100 acres combined and are only 9 miles from Downtown Nashville. These parks have a rich variety of amenities, such as picnic areas, a nature center, an equestrian center, and a dog park, but one of their most delightful features is their dedicated hiking trails with breathtaking vista points and overlooks. 

Avid hikers will love browsing the individual maps of Nashville’s greenways, which provide in-depth information about trailhead locations, park size, trail acreage and distance, and more. Whether you’re looking for pastoral farmland akin to Bells Bend Park or a paved, meandering path alongside Mill Creek, Nashville has a wealth of stunning scenery to explore. 

Get Inspired with Art en plein air

If you’ve ever wanted to preserve the dappled light in a garden or capture the nuance of the setting sun, then you’ll love painting en plein air. This movement began with the French Impressionists—which explains its nomenclature—and invites artists to move beyond the walls of the atelier and get in touch with nature. Painting outdoors provides artists with a fresh look at light and the impact of weather on a scene. 

In Nashville, The Chestnut Group is a nonprofit alliance of landscape artists called Plein Air Painters for the Land. This outdoor painting group brings artists together to recreate Middle Tennessee’s stunning natural beauty on canvas. Since 2001, this painting conglomerate has welcomed artists of all skill levels who are passionate about preserving the irreplaceable landscapes found in this part of the country through art. Combining a love of art and nature, this group is perfect for painters who want to let their creativity flow while enjoying the great outdoors. 

Brush Up on Your Aim While Skeet Shooting

Get locked and loaded for target practice at one of Nashville’s incredible shooting schools and gun sports facilities. The Nashville Gun Club is the state’s largest recreational shotgun sports venue and has been serving the Nashville community since 1876. This public club doesn’t require a membership, making it easy to enjoy an afternoon on the range. Whether you’re skeet shooting, using sporting clay pigeons, or trapshooting, the NGC has a little bit of everything to keep you on your toes. 

If you need to brush up on your safety regulations, Royal Range USA is a firearms training facility—this premier 5-star academy is dedicated to bolstering the community by creating safe, smart gun owners and users. Their facilities boast the largest indoor scenario area in the region, which spans 15,000 square feet. Their Art Deco-inspired building is Instagram-worthy, too!

Dance the Night Away at an Outdoor Concert

From rock and roll bands to country classics, there is always someone coming through town— we are in Music City, after all. Enjoying an outdoor concert is a fantastic way to get a breath of fresh air while listening to some of your favorite tunes. The four-day CMA Fest is hosted by the Country Music Association and brings the best of country music to Nashville. Previous performers include Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton, Zac Brown Band, Carrie Underwood, and Kelsea Ballerini. 

Arrington Vineyards hosts a range of talented jazz musicians on their breathtaking winery grounds in the fall. This immaculate, gated vineyard brings Wine Country to Tennessee, while their live music series include incredible jazz, bluegrass, and blues artists.

Local artists take the stage alongside big-name musicians at Live On The Green over Labor Day Weekend. Performers include recognizable names such as Bruce Springsteen, Jason Isbell, The Avett Brothers, and Amos Lee among many others. Additionally, this festival has spearheaded the movement toward a more sustainable music experience and aims to lower its carbon footprint by cultivating a zero-waste event. 

Explore on Bike

Biking on the Natchez Trace Parkway, a 444-mile winding path between Natchez, Mississippi and Nashville, Tennessee, is a one-of-a-kind experience. This historic trail is ideal for beginning bikers and experienced cyclists because commercial traffic is prohibited along the route, providing ease of mind for cyclers. Whether you’re biking a short distance along the parkway or its whole length, you’re in for an energizing trip.

​​​​​​​From deep-sea diving lessons to country music festivals, Nashville has a little bit of everything, and its location amidst Middle Tennessee’s remarkable landscape is perfect for retreating into nature. If you’re interested in learning more about Nashville luxury real estate or homes for sale near Nashville, TN, don’t hesitate to reach out to me for more information.

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With over 15 years in the real estate business, Lisa Peebles Chagnon has positioned herself as one of Nashville’s top Realtors, selling well over $150 million dollars worth of real estate and counting.
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