Nestled along the banks of the Cumberland River, Clarksville, Tennessee, is a charming city that beautifully balances its rich history with modern conveniences. As a travel blogger with 15 years of experience exploring the hidden gems of cities across the globe, I was captivated by the warmth and vibrancy of Clarksville. Its picturesque landscapes, inviting atmosphere, and diverse attractions make it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking a memorable experience.
In this guide, I will share with you 15 exciting things to do in Clarksville that I discovered during my visit. Whether you’re a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or a foodie, this city has something to offer everyone. So, let’s dive into the heart of Tennessee and uncover the treasures that make Clarksville a truly special place to explore.
1. Visit the Customs House Museum and Cultural Center
Begin your journey by immersing yourself in the region’s history, culture, and art at the Customs House Museum and Cultural Center. Housed in an architecturally stunning building dating back to 1898, this museum is the second-largest general museum in Tennessee. It features a wide variety of exhibits, ranging from fine art and history to science and hands-on activities for children.
As you explore the museum, be sure to check out its unique exhibits, such as the model train exhibit, showcasing the city’s transportation history, and the fascinating collection of Outsider Art. The Customs House Museum is a perfect starting point for gaining a deeper understanding and appreciation of Clarksville’s rich cultural heritage.
2. Stroll through the picturesque Historic Downtown
Next, take a leisurely walk through Clarksville’s charming Historic Downtown. As you meander through its tree-lined streets, you’ll be greeted by beautifully preserved architecture, friendly locals, and a delightful array of locally-owned boutiques, galleries, and restaurants. The area is also home to some of Clarksville’s most iconic landmarks, such as the Montgomery County Courthouse and the Roxy Regional Theatre.
While exploring the historic district, be sure to stop in at some of the quaint shops and eateries, as you’ll find unique souvenirs and delicious local cuisine that you won’t want to miss. The Historic Downtown is truly the heart of Clarksville, and it’s an area where you can easily spend hours simply soaking in the ambiance.
3. Explore Dunbar Cave, State Park
Just a short drive from downtown, Dunbar Cave State Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers. The park spans 110 acres and boasts a fascinating history, as the cave was used by Native Americans and early settlers, and even as a speakeasy during Prohibition. Today, visitors can enjoy guided cave tours, hiking trails, and picturesque picnic spots.
The park’s 3 miles of trails offer varying levels of difficulty, providing options for both casual strollers and experienced hikers. As you explore the park, keep an eye out for local wildlife, such as deer and various bird species. Dunbar Cave State Park is an ideal spot for enjoying the beauty of Tennessee’s natural landscape and escaping the hustle and bustle of the city.
4. Take a scenic walk at the Clarksville Greenway
For a serene and picturesque outdoor experience, head to the Clarksville Greenway, a 9-mile linear park perfect for walking, biking, and birdwatching. The Greenway follows a former rail bed, winding through lush forests, over wetlands, and along the banks of the Red River. It’s a great place to enjoy a leisurely walk or bike ride while taking in the beautiful Tennessee landscape.
The Greenway also offers several access points, making it easy to customize the length of your visit. Keep an eye out for wildlife sightings, such as deer, rabbits, and a variety of bird species, as you traverse the well-maintained trails. The Clarksville Greenway is an excellent destination for travelers seeking a peaceful retreat in nature.
5. Discover Fort Defiance Civil War Park & Interpretive Center
History buffs will thoroughly enjoy a visit to Fort Defiance Civil War Park & Interpretive Center. Situated on a bluff overlooking the confluence of the Cumberland and Red Rivers, this historic site played a crucial role during the Civil War. The park offers visitors a chance to explore the earthen fort, reconstructed log structures, and interpretive signage that tells the story of the site’s history.
The Interpretive Center features interactive exhibits, artifacts, and informative displays that provide a deeper understanding of the Civil War in the region. Guided tours are also available, offering a more immersive experience. Fort Defiance is an important piece of Clarksville’s history, and a visit here is an opportunity to step back in time and gain insight into the lives of the people who lived through these tumultuous events.
6. Experience the Clarksville Speedway
For an adrenaline-pumping experience, head to the Clarksville Speedway, a local institution that has been thrilling race enthusiasts for decades. The Speedway hosts a variety of exciting races and events, including stock car, drag, and dirt track racing. It’s the perfect destination for a fun-filled evening with family or friends.
For the best seats and experience, try to arrive early and choose a spot close to the action. Be sure to bring earplugs or noise-canceling headphones, as the roar of the engines can be quite loud. The Clarksville Speedway is a fantastic way to experience the exhilarating world of racing and create lasting memories.
7. Visit the Roxy Regional Theatre
Situated in the heart of downtown, the historic Roxy Regional Theatre has been entertaining audiences for over a century. The theatre offers a diverse lineup of live performances, including plays, musicals, concerts, and special events. With its intimate setting and top-notch productions, the Roxy is an excellent venue for a memorable night out.
Before your visit, be sure to check the theatre’s schedule for upcoming shows and events. Many performances sell out quickly, so it’s a good idea to book your tickets in advance. The Roxy Regional Theatre is a testament to the thriving arts scene in Clarksville and a must-visit destination for lovers of live performance.
8. Savor the local flavors at Beachaven Vineyards & Winery
Located just minutes from downtown, Beachaven Vineyards & Winery offers a delightful escape into the world of wine. This award-winning winery is renowned for its exceptional wines, picturesque vineyard views, and welcoming atmosphere. Enjoy a wine tasting in their elegant tasting room, where the knowledgeable staff will guide you through their selection of reds, whites, and specialty wines.
Be sure to take a vineyard tour to learn more about the winemaking process and the history of the winery. Additionally, Beachaven hosts a variety of popular events throughout the year, such as their Jazz on the Lawn concert series and their annual WineFest. A visit to Beachaven Vineyards & Winery is a perfect way to unwind and savor the flavors of Tennessee’s thriving wine scene.
9. Admire art at the Downtown Artists Co-op
The Downtown Artists Co-op (DAC) is a vibrant hub of creativity, showcasing the work of talented local artists in various mediums, including painting, sculpture, photography, and mixed media. This unique gallery offers visitors the opportunity to support the local arts community by purchasing one-of-a-kind pieces to take home.
In addition to its monthly art exhibits, the DAC hosts workshops, classes, and special events designed to foster artistic growth and engagement within the community. Be sure to check their calendar for upcoming events during your visit. A stop at the Downtown Artists Co-op is a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in Clarksville’s thriving arts scene and discover the city’s creative spirit.
10. Honor the past at the Don F. Pratt Memorial Museum
Located on the grounds of Fort Campbell, the Don F. Pratt Memorial Museum is dedicated to preserving and sharing the history of the 101st Airborne Division, also known as the “Screaming Eagles.” The museum’s extensive collection of artifacts, photographs, and memorabilia spans from World War II to the present day, offering an in-depth look at the division’s storied past.
Exhibits cover a range of topics, including airborne operations, D-Day, and the Vietnam War, providing visitors with a comprehensive understanding of the division’s role in American military history. Note that a valid photo ID is required to enter Fort Campbell. The Don F. Pratt Memorial Museum is a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and those interested in learning about the sacrifices and valor of the 101st Airborne Division.
11. Relax at Liberty Park and Marina
Liberty Park and Marina is a sprawling 100-acre park located along the banks of the Cumberland River. This beautiful green space offers a wide range of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy, including picnicking, fishing, boating, and walking or biking on paved trails. The park also features a state-of-the-art playground, sports fields, and an amphitheater that hosts concerts and events.
Take some time to explore the marina, where you can rent boats, kayaks, or paddleboards to explore the picturesque Cumberland River. With its stunning views, lush greenery, and ample recreational opportunities, Liberty Park and Marina is the perfect place for a relaxing day outdoors in Clarksville.
12. Experience adrenaline-pumping fun at the Zipline Adventure Park
For an unforgettable adventure, visit the Zipline Adventure Park, where you can soar through the treetops on a series of exhilarating zip lines and navigate challenging rope courses. The park offers various levels of difficulty, making it suitable for both beginners and seasoned thrill-seekers.
Safety is a top priority at the park, and trained guides are on hand to ensure that you have a memorable and secure experience. While navigating the courses, you’ll also have the chance to enjoy stunning views of the surrounding landscape. A visit to the Zipline Adventure Park is a fantastic way to add a little excitement to your trip and create lasting memories with family or friends.
13. Satisfy your sweet tooth at Silke’s Old World Breads Bakery
Treat yourself to a mouthwatering selection of European-style baked goods at Silke’s Old World Breads Bakery. This family-owned bakery has been delighting locals and visitors alike for years with its delicious bread, pastries, and desserts, all made from scratch using traditional recipes and techniques.
Stop in for a freshly baked pretzel, a flaky croissant, or one of their famous fruit-filled Danishes. Pair your treat with a cup of their expertly crafted coffee or tea for the perfect afternoon pick-me-up. Silke’s Old World Breads Bakery is an essential stop for anyone looking to indulge their sweet tooth while exploring Clarksville.
14. Take a scenic drive to the nearby Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area
Just a short drive from Clarksville, the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area is a 170,000-acre outdoor paradise straddling the border between Tennessee and Kentucky. The area offers a wealth of recreational opportunities, including hiking, camping, fishing, boating, and wildlife viewing.
Explore the extensive trail network, which ranges from short, leisurely walks to challenging backcountry treks. Keep an eye out for the abundant wildlife that calls the area home, including deer, turkeys, and even bald eagles. With its diverse landscapes, ranging from dense forests to serene lakeshores, the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area is an ideal destination for nature lovers seeking a more extensive outdoor adventure.
15. Tee off at the Swan Lake Golf Course
Golf enthusiasts will love spending a day at the Swan Lake Golf Course, an 18-hole, par-71 course set amidst the beautiful rolling hills of Clarksville. The course offers a challenging yet enjoyable round for golfers of all skill levels, with well-manicured fairways, strategic bunkers, and undulating greens.
Take advantage of the on-site pro shop to stock up on any necessary gear, and consider booking a lesson with one of the course’s professional instructors to improve your game. After your round, relax at the clubhouse with a refreshing beverage or a bite to eat. A day at the Swan Lake Golf Course is a fantastic way to enjoy the great outdoors while indulging in your favorite pastime.
From its rich history and vibrant arts scene to its beautiful parks and thrilling outdoor adventures, Clarksville, Tennessee, has something for everyone. I hope this guide to 15 exciting things to do in Clarksville has inspired you to plan your visit and experience this charming city for yourself. Be sure to share your own Clarksville experiences and discoveries with me, as I’m always eager to learn more about the hidden gems that make each destination unique. Happy travels!