Nashville, TN Area Lakes and Outdoor Recreation

Nashville has many lakes in the area that are great for canoeing, boating, and more.

John McBryde
On Friday, May 6, 2011 - 16:40
Nashville TN Percy Priest Lake

For those seeking a wide range of water-related recreational opportunities‚ the best bet is to head north or east of Nashville.

Those looking for a more serene lake experience should motor south of town.

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. Radnor Lake‚ which is run by Tennessee State Parks and is located eight miles south of downtown Nashville‚ is ideal for the peace and quiet of passive recreational pursuits.

“As they say in real estate‚ it’s basically location‚ location‚ location that makes both J. Percy Priest and Old Hickory so popular and well-attended‚” says Dave Treadway‚ public affairs specialist for the Corps of Engineers. “They’re near the freeway‚ and they’re not hard to get to.”

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.

“They run the full gamut of recreation opportunities‚” Treadway says. “We discourage risky behavior‚ but everything else is permitted.”

Since the main mission of Radnor Lake is wildlife preservation‚ “we list ours as passive recreation‚” says Steve Ward‚ the park’s manager. “People come here for different reasons‚ but the primary reason is quantity and quality of wildlife here.”

Radnor Lake has six miles of hiking trails‚ and jogging and bicycling are allowed 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.

Take a look at more Nashville, TN outdoor activities.


John has written for Livability since 2012.