If you’re looking for a fall or winter getaway that’s off the beaten path but convenient, affordable with plenty to do, loaded with scenic outdoor recreation but not too crowded, Clarksville, Tenn., checks all your boxes. You can best enjoy Clarksville’s outdoors by following recommended safety precautions like wearing a mask, staying six feet apart, and washing your hands frequently.
Dunbar Cave State Park is one of Clarksville’s most popular outdoor spots in every season. This 144-acre natural playground in the middle of the city includes almost four miles of hiking trails, picnic areas, wildlife, and guided cave tours May-October. Enjoy breakfast or lunch at The Wonderland Café with divine pastries, as well as breakfast and lunch entrees.
The nine-mile Clarksville Greenway is a paved walking and biking trail along two waterways where you’ll enjoy native species, bluff walls, tree canopies, overlooks, and a 600-foot pedestrian bridge. The nearby North Ford Mountain Biking Trail is the perfect spot for riders of all skill levels.
Enjoy an evening downtown where you’ll be captivated by historic architecture at every turn. The city offers several choices for dinner along with pubs, breweries, and a meadery. Explore a variety of local shops and check the schedule at the Roxy Regional Theatre for live professional productions.
Start your day with a mouthwatering French pastry from Madeleine’s Bakery then take in some local history and switchback trails at Fort Defiance Civil War Park overlooking the confluence of the rivers. Next, find permanent and rotating exhibits, plus plenty of interactive play spaces for children, at the Customs House Museum. The iconic architecture outside and massive model train exhibit inside are thrills for all ages. If you’re a fan of good sushi, enjoy lunch at Yellowtail or Kohana just outside downtown.
Schedule a tour and tasting at Beachaven Winery or Old Glory Distilling. You’ll meet people who are passionate about their craft and have been working many years to perfect it. With a driving tour and short walk in Liberty Park, you’ll be inspired by two Clarksville trailblazers and legends, Wilma Rudolph and Pat Head Summitt, whose bronze likEnesses anchor both ends of the park.
You’ll want to time your evening activities around a vivid Cumberland River sunset. A romantic stroll along the RiverWalk is an ideal way to soak up the last of the daylight. Dinner at Liberty Park Grill overlooking the marina is another prime location for a fantastic view.
Frank Sutton, who played Sgt. Carter in the sitcom, Gomer Plye, USMC, is a Clarksville native. Take a selfie with his statue downtown.
Cover Photo: River walk, photo by Lucas Chambers