Nashville Outdoors and Recreation Overview
PHOTO CREDIT: Wes Aldridge
Nashville's sports and recreation options create an ideal environment for fun, whether you want to get active yourself or just actively cheer on your favorite team. With hockey, football and baseball teams, fishing and hunting opportunities, several parks and growing greenways, there's lots to see and do in the area.
Music City hosts scores of sports events that translate into millions in economic impact. Nashville is home to the National Hockey League’s Nashville Predators, the National Football League’s Tennessee Titans and the Nashville Sounds Class AAA minor league baseball team, which plays its summertime games just south of downtown in Greer Stadium. The Nashville Sports Council, founded in 1992 to bring tourism dollars into the city and heighten the awareness of Nashville as a sports destination, was instrumental in bringing the Titans and Predators organizations to town. Another major sports event in Nashville is the annual 26.2-mile Country Music Marathon and 1/2-Marathon in April.
Active youth associations provide athletic outlets for the region’s children. As in many American cities‚ soccer has moved to the forefront as a popular team sport for kids. In addition to the huge soccer leagues‚ almost every county in the area offers leagues for baseball‚ gymnastics‚ football and basketball.
Lakes, Natural Areas and Water Fun
Regardless of what might float your boat‚ Davidson County is home to three lakes that will surely satisfy one’s thirst for being on or near the water. J.Percy Priest and Old Hickory lakes‚ both of which are managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers‚ offer a variety of activities such as boating‚ fishing‚ swimming and camping. J. Percy Priest Lake has 31 recreation areas‚ nearly 500 camping sites‚ eight swimming areas and 31 boat docks. Old Hickory has 65 recreation areas‚ 590 camping sites‚ 11 swimming areas and 56 boat ramps.
Those looking for a more serene lake experience should motor south of town to Radnor Lake‚ which is run by Tennessee State Parks. The lake is located eight miles south of downtown Nashville and is ideal for the peace and quiet of passive recreational pursuits. The main mission of Radnor Lake is wildlife preservation, but visitors may enjoy six miles of hiking trails‚ and jogging and bicycling are allowed, but only on the park’s paved road. Visitors can also take ranger-led canoe floats on the lake from late April to early October in addition to other scheduled events.
Both small- and big-game hunting are available in several state-operated Wildlife Management Areas. There are several hunting reserves in the Cheatham‚ Hermitage‚ Old Hickory and Percy Priest areas‚ as well as in the Land Between the Lakes near Dover‚ about two hours northwest of Nashville. Hunting seasons are strictly regulated. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (615) 781-6500 can provide more information.
Nashville greenways include more than 40 miles of paths‚ and the Parks and Greenways Master Plan aims to grow that to 210 miles eventually. Existing paths include the Richland Creek Greenway, a two-and-a-half-mile scenic trail that winds around McCabe Golf Course‚ which was the site of Nashville’s first airport. The trail opened in 2007 and connects the neighborhoods of Sylvan Park and Cherokee Park with the shopping centers and entertainment areas of White Bridge Road‚ is designed sort of like an airplane propeller. Richland Creek is just one of the greenways Nashville has developed since the commission was created in 1992. The Harpeth River Greenway at Morton Mill Road was the first‚ and the city’s crown jewel is the Shelby Bottoms Greenway and Nature Park. It offers five miles of paved multi-use trails and another five miles of primitive hiking trails. The 810-acre park is a haven for migrating birds and other wildlife.
The region’s mild climate and large number of public and private golf courses make it possible to get a tee time almost any month of the year. Nashville features three resort courses – the Gaylord Springs Golf Links‚ Vanderbilt Legends Club and Hermitage Golf Course. Surrounding areas such as Kingston Springs also offer resort play. Metro Board of Parks and Recreation also operates several outstanding public golf courses.
Metro Parks Programs and Facilities
In addition to its public golf courses and scores of parks and playgrounds, the Metro Board of Parks and Recreation arranges annual softball and basketball league play. The board also oversees the Sportsplex at Centennial Park. The city-owned Sportsplex features indoor and outdoor tennis courts‚ two ice skating rinks‚ an indoor pool and workout areas with instructors. Two of the city's most popular parks, Edwin and Percy Warner Parks, earned recognition in January 2012 from Women's Running magazine, named among top five trail running destinations in the country.
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