Make your family vacation budget stretch further this summer with a road trip to Clarksville. This mid-size southern city is on I-24, 40 minutes northwest of Nashville. With so many free activities to choose from, you can stay longer or plan a second trip! 

Downtown Commons

This full-block urban park is a kid’s delight. An imagination playground is constantly built and re-built by the creativity. Kids also love the water features – a small river replica, a delta area and small protruding fountains. The whole family will enjoy free concerts on the first and third Fridays, May – October. 

L&N Train Depot

Teach the kids some music history with “Last Train to Clarksville” then let them explore the train and depot at L & N Train Station. Next door, find the Dixon Park Splash Pad open in summer months. 

Kayaking and Water Sports

With 650 navigable miles of waterways, pack in all the boating, fishing, kayaking, waterskiing, canoeing and creek splashing you can manage. Find ramps at Yellow Creek, Robert Clark, Billy Dunlop and Port Royal State Parks on the Red River, and multiple places along the Cumberland including Liberty and McGregor Parks. 

Fort Defiance Civil War Park

Hear the stories, wander the grounds and experience the blufftop views at Fort Defiance Civil War Park.  This free facility offers a remarkable and engaging Visitor Center. Outside, enjoy a picnic or the trails.

Dunbar Cave & Port Royal State Parks

Explore two state parks in the area. Dunbar Cave is 144-acre massive natural playground with a huge cave (guided cave tours require tickets), wildlife, trails, picnic areas and events throughout the year. Port Royal was the site of one of the earliest colonial communities and trading posts in Middle Tennessee. The smaller 26-acre park offers river access plus short trails. 

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While those options are a great start, there’s still much more like 25 pieces of public art, a greenway, river walk, enormous community-built playground, history trails, splash pads, skate park, Saturday downtown market, disc golf, outdoor concerts and a gigantic Independence Day Celebration on July 3.

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