Relaxing view from Shelby Bottoms Nature Center, one of the best Nashville parks

13 Best Nashville Parks in 2023 (By a Local)

Tennessee is known for its beautiful outdoor spaces, and Nashville parks are no exception. The city is full of local and state parks with plenty of activities for both locals and visitors to enjoy.

Whether you’re looking for a dog park, a skate park, a place to hike, or a playground for kids, there’s a park for you here. As a Nashville local, I can help you find the park that matches exactly what you’re looking for. 

In fact, many of Nashville’s parks are so good they made my list of the best things to see in Nashville. In this guide, I’ll tell you about all of Nashville’s most-visited parks plus a few hidden gems.

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13 Best Parks in Nashville

Fannie Mae Dees Park

A family-friendly park also known as “Dragon Park”.

View of a dragon mosaic at the Fannie Mae Dees Park
The dragon mosaic sculpture at Fannie Mae Dees Park

📍 Google Maps

Fannie Mae Dees Park, located near Vanderbilt University, is one of the most unique parks in Nashville thanks to its giant dragon mosaic. This park is relatively small compared to other parks in the city, but the mosaic sculpture is worth visiting.

If you’re looking for things to do in Nashville with kids, then make sure to visit the playground. There’s also a picnic shelter where you can enjoy lunch in the shade.

Centennial Park

Walk around Lake Watauga or visit Nashville’s Parthenon.

The Centennial Park in Nashville from afar
View of Nashville’s Parthenon across the lake

📍 Google Maps | 🌳 Centennial Park Website 

Take a mini-vacation to Greece without leaving Nashville at this popular local park. Centennial Park is home to a full-size replica of the Greek Parthenon built for Tennessee’s centennial celebration. Visitors can explore the replica complete with a full-size statue of Athena.

Bring a picnic lunch and spend some time walking around the lake. The park has lots of other great features including a dog park, sunken gardens, sand volleyball courts, and the Centennial Art Center.

Centennial Park is frequently host to a variety of events. Go on a Nashville date night to one of the Big Band Dances held there during the summer or enjoy live music at the Musicians Corner concert series. There’s something for everyone at this park.

Shelby Park

An East Nashville park with a hiking trail, dog park, and playgrounds.

View at the one of the children's areas in Shelby Park
One of the children’s areas at Shelby Bottoms

📍 Google Maps | 🌳 Shelby Park Website 

If you want to spend a lot of time outdoors during your trip to Nashville, then check out Shelby Park in East Nashville. Including the Shelby Bottoms Greenway and Natural Area, this park has over 1200 acres for visitors to enjoy. You can visit the playgrounds with kids, take dogs to the fenced dog park area, play golf, fish at Sevier Lake, or attend one of the programs at the Shelby Park Community Center.

The Shelby Bottoms Greenway is one of the best places to hike in Nashville. There are 5 miles of easily accessible paved pathways along with 5 miles of primitive paths throughout Shelby Bottoms. Make sure to stop by Hidden Lake (it’s on the map) where you’ll sometimes spot beavers.

Percy & Edwin Warner Parks

One of the largest park areas with hiking trails, horse trails, and lots of other features.

View of trees at the Percy & Edwin Warner Parks
Percy Warner Park

📍 Google Maps | 🌳 Warner Parks Website 

Percy and Edwin Warner Parks make up one of the largest city parks in Tennessee. Whether you’re interested in hiking, biking, or horseback riding, you’ll find the perfect trails in the 3000+ acre parks. It’s easy to forget you’re still in Nashville once you’re surrounded by forests at the Warner Parks.

The parks also have lots of other amenities to enjoy. Bring your dog to the dog park, visit the Nature Center, or have lunch at one of the picnic pavilions. There are golf courses, a cross-country running course, athletic fields, and even a model airplane field. 

Cumberland Park

A cool green space in downtown Nashville.

Overlooking view of the Cumberland Park in Nashville
Cumberland Park with the city skyline in the background

📍 Google Maps | 🌳 Cumberland Park Website 

For outdoor fun right downtown, check out Cumberland Park. This popular park is located along the Cumberland River. In the summer, the outdoor amphitheater at the park is used for live music and other exciting events.

Besides the riverside views, the park is especially great for families to visit. There’s a splash pad to cool off at, a sand play area, a maze, and even a small climbing wall for children to enjoy. 

Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park

A downtown park full of historical monuments and a beautiful view of the capitol building.

View from the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park
The Bell Carillon at the Bicentennial Capitol Mall

📍 Google Maps | 🌳 Bicentennial Capitol Mall Website 

History lovers should visit the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. The downtown park has a beautiful view of the Tennessee State Capitol building, and the park has monuments and pathways highlighting the state’s history – including a World War II memorial. One of the most popular features in the park is the Bell Carillon which chimes every 15 minutes and plays a song at the top of the hour. 

The park is located right across from the Tennessee State Museum, one of the best free things to do in Nashville. You could easily spend an afternoon exploring the park and the museum.

Sevier Park

A tranquil green space located in the trendy 12 South neighborhood.

📍 Google Maps 

If visiting 12 South is on your Nashville itinerary, then make sure to visit Sevier Park while you’re in the neighborhood. 

While this park is small, it’s a great place to bring a picnic or sit and enjoy the fountains. There’s also a playground for kids. On Thursdays during the summer and fall, Sevier Park hosts the 12 South Farmers Market. The farmers market has live music and food trucks, making it a fun, family-friendly outing.

Radnor Lake State Park

A popular hiking and wildlife-viewing area in Davidson County just a few miles from downtown.

View of turtles on a log in Radnor Lake State Park
Turtles on a log in the lake

📍 Google Maps | 🌳 Radnor Lake Website 

Radnor Lake State Park is a day-use state park located in Nashville. If you want to see wildlife, this is the place to go. The park has 6 trails where visitors can hike. It’s not uncommon to see animals like turtles, otters, and owls while exploring the park. Radnor Lake is very popular with locals. Either get there early or wait until the early birds are on their way home to find a parking spot.

Long Hunter State Park

An outdoor getaway with fishing, hiking, camping, and swimming just 30 minutes from Nashville.

View from Long Hunter State Park during sunset
Percy Priest Lake

📍 Google Maps | 🌳 Long Hunter State Park Website 

For a quick escape from city life, make the 30-minute drive to Long Hunter State Park. The park is a popular place for fishing and hiking. You can go swimming at the designated swimming beach area. Just know that swimming is unsupervised. There are also two boat launch ramps on Percy Priest Lake and a backcountry campsite.

If you’re interested in hiking, try out the Volunteer Day Trail Loop. This moderately easy hike follows the shoreline and leads hikers through a peaceful forest, rocky bluffs, and a quiet cover.

Beaman Park

A quiet natural area in Davidson County north of Nashville.

📍 Google Maps | 🌳 Beaman Park Website 

Nashville parks tend to be very popular, and they are often busy. For a quieter outdoor experience, head just north of Nashville to Beaman Park in Ashland City. There are over 15 miles of trails for hikers to explore. Make sure you check the trail difficulty before beginning because the terrain can be hilly in some areas. 

While Beaman Park is beautiful, one of its best features is the nature center. Check out the event schedule to learn more about the guided hikes, workshops, and other recreational programs.

McCabe Park

A community park in Sylvan Park with access to a 3.8-mile greenway and a golf course.

View of a creek at the Richland Creek Greenway
The creek on the Richland Creek Greenway

📍 Google Maps 

If you’re looking for the perfect spot for a morning run, head to McCabe Park. Located in Sylvan Park, one of Nashville’s residential neighborhoods, the park has access to the Richland Creek Greenway. 

I’m not a runner, but I can confirm that I’ve been passed on the greenway many times by people who are. The 3.8-mile paved pathway encircles a golf course, and there are several scenic areas along the path.

Richland Park

A small park in Sylvan Park with a great farmer’s market every Saturday.

📍 Google Maps

Located in Sylvan Park, Richland Park is small, but it’s got a lot going on. The Richland Park Farmer’s Market, one of Nashville’s favorite markets, takes place in the park every Saturday morning. The park also has a playground, tennis courts, and a picnic pavilion. It’s next to the Richland library, and there are several cool shops and restaurants right across the street.

👉 Pro Tip: The Charlotte Avenue location of Hattie B’s is just a few streets away. Place a to-go order online and take it to the park to enjoy one of the best restaurants in Nashville without the long wait.

Two Rivers Park

A park in Donelson with a skate park, golf course, dog park, and greenway.

Aerial view of the Cumberland River Pedestrian Bridge
The Cumberland River Pedestrian Bridge (photo: Cory Woodruff / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | 🌳 Two Rivers Park Website  

Located in the middle of Donelson, Two Rivers Park is full of activities for visitors to enjoy. Practice your moves at the skate park, tee off at the golf course, or play disc golf. The park is also home to the Stones River Greenway which connects to Shelby Bottoms via the Cumberland River Pedestrian Bridge. 

Those with dogs will enjoy the Two Rivers Dog Park. The large, fenced area gives your pup plenty of room to run around.

FAQs About Nashville Parks

Does Nashville have good parks?

Nashville has great parks for everyone to enjoy. Many of the city’s green spaces are relatively near downtown Nashville, and there are even more options just a short drive away.

What national parks are in Nashville?

There are no national parks in Nashville. However, Nashville is a 1.5-hour drive from Mammoth Cave National Park and a 3.5-hour drive from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

What is the number one attraction in Nashville?

The Ryman Auditorium is one of the most popular attractions in Nashville. A few other must-visit attractions in Nashville are the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Is there nature around Nashville?

Nashville has excellent green spaces and parks within the city. There are also several great state parks and other places to visit in Tennessee just a short distance from Nashville.


Thanks for reading my guide to the best Nashville parks! Still, planning your trip to Nashville? Check out our guide to getting around Nashville

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